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Chinese music, dance fill NBA arena in DC

By YIFAN XU in Washington | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-01-27 11:05

China's Ambassador to the United States Qin Gang delivers remarks via video after the basketball game Tuesday between the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Clippers. [Photo/china-embassy.org]

Washington Wizards host Year of the Tiger celebration; Ambassador Qin addresses fans

An NBA game took on a festive atmosphere for the Lunar New Year, featuring Chinese music and dance and an address by China's ambassador to the US.

Ambassador Qin Gang delivered remarks via video after the basketball game Tuesday between the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Clippers, wishing both teams and their fans a happy Chinese New Year. Washington and other NBA teams celebrate the Chinese New Year annually.

Qin also expressed his best wishes to the Chinese and US teams in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.

Earlier Tuesday, the Chinese embassy and consulates in the US held an online awards ceremony for Olympic warmup events with the theme "Celebrate the Chinese New Year, Welcome the Winter Olympics, Cheer up Together".

In a message played on the video screen at the Capital One Arena, Qin greeted the audience, congratulated the NBA on its 75th anniversary and called for its continued success.

He said both the Wizards and the Clippers were special to Chinese fans' hearts, as famous Chinese players had played for the two teams — Yi Jianlian for the Wizards, and Wang Zhizhi for the Clippers.

Qin pointed out that the Wizards, formerly known as the Washington Bullets, were the first-ever NBA team to visit China, in 1979, shortly after the establishment of China-US diplomatic relations.

"Clearly, something is bigger than basketball," Qin noted.

The ambassador concluded by wishing the audience a happy and healthy Chinese New Year, the Year of the Tiger.

The arena was filled with a Chinese cultural atmosphere, and the game featured elements of the Chinese New Year. Before the game's opening tipoff, an artist played the US National Anthem on pipa, a traditional Chinese plucked string instrument. The names of the Wizards' players were displayed in Chinese characters on the big screen. During a timeout, the arena's video screen broadcast New Year's greetings from Wizards players in English and Chinese.

During the halftime break, a local Chinese dance ensemble performed a lion dance. The audience was immersed in the Chinese New Year blessings and an enjoyable "Chinese Cultural Night".

At the online awards ceremony for Olympic warmup events, the ambassador said that Beijing would welcome the much-anticipated Winter Games in a few days, an event with many highlights, full of "Chinese style" environmentally friendly practices and many futuristic technologies.

Qin emphasized that because the Olympics will be held during the coronavirus pandemic, strict preventative and control measures will be in place to give people peace of mind.

The envoy said that the US overseas Chinese community had vigorously organized activities including sports, calligraphy, painting, photography, singing, dancing and a flash mob to express their support for the Beijing Winter Olympics and blessings to the motherland.

"Each of the fifty-six works is unique and wonderful. Congratulations to all the winning projects and a heartfelt thank you to the overseas Chinese for their enthusiastic participation," said Qin.

The ambassador concluded that ice and snow sports are "holding a cold sword in a passionate hand", which he called a perfect blend of passion and reason.

"I hope that in the new year, China and the US will also hold the cold sword in a passionate hand, rationally manage differences, actively expand cooperation and boldly create a future, so that relations between the two countries can return to the normal track of healthy and stable development," Qin said.

Nearly 100 representatives from 56 overseas Chinese groups across the US attended the ceremony.

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