News / Asia

    China Welcomes Year of the Rabbit

    A fireworks seller in Beijing enjoys brisk trade as New Year celebrations get underway
    A fireworks seller in Beijing enjoys brisk trade as New Year celebrations get underway
    Peter Simpson

    China has ushered in the Year of the Rabbit with firework extravaganzas - an age-old custom to ward off evil spirits and beckon good fortune - and family gatherings.

    Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao told the Chinese in his annual New Year address the government will fight to control inflation and crack down on property speculators - two of the big issues facing the country over the next 12 months.

    Families gathered outside their homes at the stroke of midnight Wednesday to see in the New Year and to express their hopes - and fears - for the next 12 months.

    Li Yang works at the Forbidden City and spent New Year's Eve with her family making traditional dumplings before heading outside to let off fireworks. She says she hopes for sound economic growth for her family and her country.

    She says she trusts the government, which "has the capability to take the country forward" and improve the lives of [the] Chinese people.

    But not everyone is as optimistic. Ma Zhonghua, a taxi driver and is working over the holiday period, says it is becoming difficult to make ends meet. He thinks it is now impossible for him to make enough money to buy a home as property prices are too high.

    But like most Chinese, he is keen to see a prosperous society.

    The just-ended Year of the Tiger was mixed bag for China.

    Its impressive economic growth continued but rising inflation and property prices caused hardship for many.

    Labor strikes and wage increases also rocked the economy.

    Like shoppers at the New Year markets, China’s government is concerned. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said in speech marking the New Year holiday that the government would try to keep overall consumer prices stable.

    But he also warned the Chinese they would have to deal with thorny problems over the next year.

    A Chinese woman enjoys the traditional fireworks to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rabbit. Fireworks are an old Chinese custom and are used to scare off evil spirits and beckon in good fortune at the start of a New Lunar Year.
    A Chinese woman enjoys the traditional fireworks to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rabbit. Fireworks are an old Chinese custom and are used to scare off evil spirits and beckon in good fortune at the start of a New Lunar Year.

    Despite the cautionary tone, most people in China are taking the opportunity over the week-long holiday to spend time with loved ones, let off fireworks and hope for peaceful and prosperous Year of the Rabbit.

    Youngsters shout "Happy New Year!”

    South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam also are celebrating the New Year this week. Businesses in those countries have largely shut down and families gather for traditional feasts. 


    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora