Thailand celebrates Chinese New Year in new normal
By Sun Guangyong and Zhao Yipu
People's Daily app

Bangkok (People's Daily) - High-ranking officials from Thailand and China jointly extended Chinese New Year greetings, wishing the people of China and Thailand as well as around the world health, wealth, and prosperity in the Year of the Ox.

The special ceremony was held in the new normal today at the Tourism Authority of Thailand Head Office under strict disease prevention measures, including limiting the number of participants and live streaming the activity via Facebook @AmazingThailand.

Presiding over the ceremony were Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, and Yang Xin, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand. They were joined by Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the TAT, and Chang Yumeng, Counselor (Cultural Affairs) of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand, as well as key figures and senior representatives from the Thai public and private sectors.

Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand

The ceremony commemorated the 46th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Thailand. It also celebrated the annual nationwide Chinese New Year celebrations that TAT has been organizing for 16 consecutive years in collaboration with China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Chinese Embassy in Thailand.

Minister Phiphat said, “The COVID-19 crisis turned 2020 into one of the most challenging and difficult years for people around the world. While travel restrictions had a significant impact on the ability of citizens of the People’s Republic of China and the Kingdom of Thailand to travel freely, it has also solidified the long-standing close ties between the people of both nations. We are like close friends or family members. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Chinese and Thai people all over the world happiness, health, wealth, and success during the Year of the Ox. Thailand is eager and ready to welcome back Chinese tourists when the situation improves.”

The ceremony also featured Chinese New Year 2021 greeting videos from Somdet Phra Maha Rajjamangalamuni (Thongchai Dhammadhajo), member of the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand and Assistant Abbot of Wat Traimit, and Hu Heping, Minister of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China.

In the evening, Phiphat and Yang Xin, as well as Yuthasak, Athitaya Chokkijmanaschai, Director of Samphanthawong District, Dr. Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, Director-General of the Department of Health, and Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, CEO and President of ThaiBev, jointly opened the Chinese New Year 2021 lanterns and decorations at the Chalermphrakiat Gate, Odeon Circle, Yaowarat Road.

TAT arranged the lanterns and decorations on a 200-meter stretch from the Thian Fah Foundation to the Chalermburi Intersection to brighten up the spirit of Chinese New Year on Yaowarat Road or Bangkok’s Chinatown, which is the biggest Chinese community in Thailand. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn provided four 67-inch lanterns to decorate the Chalermphrakiat Gate. The lanterns and decorations can be enjoyed from February 11-18.

In addition, TAT in cooperation with the Chinese Embassy in Thailand launched a Tiktok Challenge activity, inviting all to extend a Chinese New Year greeting in the new normal. Those interested can choose to do a duet video clip with the TAT Governor or TAT Deputy Governor of Tourism Products and Business, Thapanee Kiatpaiboon, or prepare an original duet video. The entries must be uploaded on the Tiktok application with #AmazingCNY2021 for a chance to win an iPhone 12, two SmartWatch Amazfit GTS2, and 13 health pillows for the neck and shoulders. The challenge is open from February 11-21. Winners will be announced on February 25.

Chinese New Year celebrations in Thailand are being organized in several areas around the country. These include: the 2020-2021 Chao Po-Chao Mae Pak Nam Pho Procession to celebrate the 105th Pak Nam Pho Chinese New Year Festival 2021; Korat Chinese New Year 2021; Udon Thani Chinese New Year 2021; Ratchaburi Chinese New Year 2021; and Ban Don, Surat Thani Chinese New Year 2021.