Jakarta Welcomes the Year of the Rabbit

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The lunar New Year is almost here and various activities are underway around the world. We go now to Jakarta where our correspondents will show us what's happening in the capital city to prepare for the Lunar New Year.

Vice Governor of Jakarta, Prijanto, along with a number of prominent ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, sprinkle bean powder on the top of pickles and stir it all together with chopsticks.

This activity symbolizes good fortune and togetherness in welcoming the Chinese New Year.

It also marked the opening of the Chinese New Year night of performances held at the Jakarta Buddhist Building on January 30th.

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The performance also highlights the collaboration between Chinese traditional dance and Jakarta traditional dance.

[Prijanto, Vice Governor of Jakarta]:
"I saw an encouraging atmosphere here, the harmony of the Jakarta people. It's not only the Chinese community, I also see many kinds of ethnics groups have come here. The performers also put on many kinds of artistic performances. It's a good way to build harmony."

Indonesian Chinese have only been allowed to celebrate the Lunar New Year since 2000, when late President Abdurrahman Wahid repealed the decree passed by his predecessor Suharto in 1967.

The decree banned ethnic Chinese from celebrating their new year in public.

Suharto's policy suppressed or strongly discouraged many aspects of Chinese culture, including the use of the Chinese language or names.

Wahid's successor, Megawati Soekarnoputri, declared the Chinese New Year as an Indonesian national holiday in 2002.

[Prijanto, Vice Governor of Jakarta]:
"I want to wish a happy Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fat Chai, to the people who celebrate Chinese New Year. I hope all of you can be always in a good health, have a lot of luck, and live in harmony. Gong Xi Fat Chai."

Ethnic Chinese make up just four percent of the country's population of 238 million.

NTD News, Jakarta, Indonesia.

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