On 9 February, the SCO Headquarters hosted an official reception to celebrate the Lunar New Year, or Chun Jie, the Spring Festival. In the run-up to this Chinese family festival, Meihua, a large-scale exhibition of Chinese paintings opened in the gallery leading visitors to the warm and welcoming atmosphere in the main hall for special events.
The SCO Secretary-General cordially greeted the guests, who "graced the SCO Headquarters with their presence and filled it with their light, warmth and kindness." Rashid Alimov expressed his special gratitude to the Chinese artists whose outstanding paintings brought "the Meihua purple and pink blossoms to the SCO common family home, while a warm and soothing wind suddenly blew from the Fragrant Hills Park nearby."
"All this is evidence that nature is waking up, the soil is coming back to life and powerful sprouts of life treasured in it will quite soon bring us new feelings of love, beauty and harmony. The main thing is that today is a festival, the Spring Festival! It is a small but very important part of the large Chinese national festival, which we celebrate in the SCO family together with our Chinese friends. This is another proof that all of us have a shared goal to strengthen friendship and neighbourly relations, mutual understanding and support, develop cooperation and expand an intercultural dialogue. In other words, to enhance the Shanghai spirit," Mr Alimov said proudly and passed the floor to the first Secretary-General of the SCO Zhang Deguang, an honorary guest at the festival.
The former Secretary-General pointed out the growing significance and unquestionable authority of the Organisation, at the same time highlighting the important contribution of the capable SCO leaders who served after him.
In conclusion of the official part of the evening, Mr Alimov wished everyone "peace and prosperity, health and happiness, success and good luck. Let the atmosphere of love and harmony, eternal spring and joy reign supreme in each of your homes."
Representatives of the China Artists Association also spoke at the event. They described the exhibition and expressed readiness to cooperate with art communities from the SCO family in order to spread the Shanghai spirit. The SCO Is Our Common Home exhibition of Chinese paintings aroused much interest among the guests at the Spring Festival. It showcases a wide variety of images and symbols of the Meihua Spring Festival, such as plum-tree blossom, landscapes with mountains and rivers, portraits and calligraphy. Over 60 artists accepted the invitation to take part in the exhibition and displayed 100 canvases in total.
Ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Turkmenistan, Latvia and the European Union, diplomats from the SCO family countries, including the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and media representatives took part in celebrating the Chinese New Year.
The SCO Headquarters traditionally marks the Gregorian New Year, the Spring Festival, or the Lunar New Year, and the Nowruz international festival.