Mauritian President Anerood Jugnauth and Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam sent greetings to the Chinese community in the country on Tuesday in celebration of the traditional Chinese Spring Festival, which falls on Thursday.
In his greeting message at a grand reception organized by the Federation of Chinese Societies (FCS), Jugnauth said the Chinese community in Mauritius is a major element in social harmony.
He appreciated the Chinese community's contribution to the development of the island country, especially in the fields of economy, culture, education and healthcare.
Mauritius is the first and only African country to declare the Chinese Spring Festival a national holiday, he added.
FCS Chairman Tang Yunsing said that according to Chinese tradition, 2008 is the Year of the Rat, which foretells good fortune and new beginnings.
Chinese Ambassador to Mauritius Gao Yuchen said the Chinese government and people are now making the final preparations for the 29th Olympic Games, scheduled to take place in Beijing in August this year.
China will make its best efforts to make the games an event that promotes world peace and development, while strengthening understanding among all the people of the world, he said.
The reception also provided a chance for artists from the two countries to showcase their traditional skills in music, acrobatics and dancing.