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Happy New Year of the Ox

It seemed like World War III was in full swing in Beijing last night, what with all the fireworks around the city. At midnight, the horizon in all directions was bright with colorful explosions to welcome in Chinese New Year. The coming year is the year of the "niu," or ox. Since "niu" is pronounced almost like new, it has become de rigeur in China to wish everyone a Happy Niu Year.

The above video is off our building in central Beijing off the Boulevard of Everlasting Peace.

Early this morning, the boulevard, which is normally Beijing’s business road, was so deserted that a blind man could have walked across without any danger.

It’s mid-afternoon now, and the sound of fireworks still fills the air.

New Year’s wishes are rolling into China from leaders around the world. Among the unique expressions of goodwill was the one below from Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. It’s in Mandarin, a language he picked up while serving as a diplomatic in Beijing, more than a decade ago. Sorry, it doesn’t have subtitles. Roughly, he offers his hopes that the coming Year of the Ox will bring more good news in Sino-Australian relations, and that Chinese people will find prosperity and happiness.


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Doing more harm than good? How is that measured?


陋习refers to traditions and customs that do more harm than good. Case in point: letting off firecrackers.



The question is, it is a 陋习? Why? What are the criteria for such kind of judgment?


In some sense, you are right. But I think 革除陋习 is better suited to this case. And…nice to know you understand Chinese, one of the most difficult languages in the world.



Great that you are a native Chinese. Then you should know what 因噎废食 means.


Thanks for your comment! You may have a point, but given the firecracker-related tragic events each and every year, this tradition is best to be ditched. By the way, I’m a native Chinese.



That's their tradition and you need to respect that. Just like any Chinese moving to the US needs to respect the American tradition of slaughtering turkeys in the name of giving thanks to some Native Americans and adults dressing up in weird costumes, crashing parties. They also need to observe and adopt the American lifestyle of producing more garbage than any other country does.

It's four great musicians

Wow, you've got a really nice home in Beijing! Happy niu year to you too.

In terms of new year's greetings, I thought the finger-lynching of the quartet in Obama's Inauguration is the best greeting of all to China. Interestingly it doesn't seem to have been well noticed in China, in contrast to the similar drama during the Olympics.


"World War III"--very well said! It's pretty much the same story here in Chengdu. Last night, everybody fell over themselves to explode as many firecrackers as possible in what seemed like a noise-making competition. I don't understand why Chinese people are so interested in making noise and polluting the environment. I don't see any joy in a war-like new year's eve.

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"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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