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How Chinese people working overseas in Belt and Road Countries spend the Spring Festival holiday?

(People's Daily Online)    13:33, February 13, 2019

Chinese workers of Egyptian branch of China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) celebrate the Spring Festival with Egyptian colleagues. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

A huge number of Chinese people working overseas in projects located in Belt and Road countries remained at their work locations during this Spring Festival, spending the holiday working and celebrating at project as well as construction sites, and ships.

As most Chinese people returned home from all over the world for family reunions during the Spring Festival, the most important Chinese festival which is also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, 997,000 Chinese people dispatched to projects located overseas stayed on their posts, according to statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce.

“The Spring Festival fell right during the period when we were busy with work”

“Our work continued during the Spring Festival because of the tight schedule of the project,” said Chang Weicai, general manager of the Egyptian branch of China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) which has undertaken the construction of the Central Business District (CBD) in Egypt’s new administrative capital.

There are about 1,200 Chinese employees in the project site, and all of them stayed on posts during this Spring Festival, according to Chang, who disclosed that in order to make sure everything went well during the Spring Festival holiday, Chinese employees were allowed to take time off in batches during the first three days of the holiday.

“The Spring Festival fell right at the time when we were busy with work, so instead of thinking about the festival, we paid more attention to the work for the following days,” said Chang, who has worked in projects overseas for 12 years and cannot even remember when he had taken a vacation on purpose.

During this Spring Festival, all the people working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the project sites of the Hassyan Power Plant Terminal, Water Intake & Outfall GRP Project in Dubai, and Abu Dhabi Khalifa Port Container Terminal Phase 2 Project in Abu Dhabi, UAE, were busy with construction.

There are about 170 Chinese employees in the two projects, only less than 20 people returned home during this Spring Festival, according to Li Jun, secretary of the Party branch of the Communist Party of China in the Middle East subsidiary of No.3 Engineering Co., Ltd. of China Communications Construction Co., Ltd. (CCCC) First Harbor Engineering Co., Ltd., which undertakes the two projects.

“Both the projects have very tight schedules. We stayed on posts during the festival just to ensure that all work will be completed smoothly as scheduled,” said Li, disclosing that the projects are scheduled to be completed this upcoming June or July, and those Chinese employees in the projects were permitted to take time off for a day and a half during this Spring Festival.

“Our colleagues from different parts of China give me the warmth of family”

Celebration activities including tea parties and reunion dinners organized for Chinese employees at overseas work sites.

Chinese sailors on COSCO Shipping Rose celebrate the Spring Festival. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

Di Wenshun, a sailor with COSCO Shipping Rose, a freight liner of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), enjoyed a number of celebration activities and a reunion dinner with a dozen colleagues from the Los Angeles branch of COSCO on the ship during the Spring Festival.

Di was sailing in the Pacific with COSCO Shipping Rose not long ago. The ship arrived at the west coast of the United States during this Spring Festival.

“There were 25 colleagues on the ship, including interns, veterans with several decades of experience, and post-80s and post-90s youngsters like me. We are like a family with members of three generations that care for each other. Our colleagues from different places of China give me the warmth of family,” said Di, who has just spent his third Spring Festival away from home.

Chen Kehua, a Chinese expert who teaches local people Juncao technology (Juncao means the plant for growing edible mushrooms) in Lesotho, started his routine work after taking three days off during this Spring Festival holiday.

As an expert in the China-Aid JUNCAO Technology Project in Lesotho, Chen enjoyed a reunion dinner with other experts in the project and employees from Chinese enterprises on the day marking the Spring Festival.

In the CBD project in Egypt’s new administrative capital, people held an evening gala to celebrate the Spring Festival, which was attended by about 600 people from both China and Egypt.

Other than this, people in the project site enjoyed group dinner and entertainment activities during the festival. In the morning of the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, People visited each other and wished each other a Happy New Year.

Celebrations for the Spring Festival in the project sites of the two projects in the UAE started ahead of the festival. According to Li Jun, they watched traditional performances encompassing lion dances and Beijing Opera and decorated their living space with festival ornaments like lanterns and spring couplets.

In addition, families of the Chinese employees in the two projects were brought to Dubai by CCCC for family reunions. “Although we cannot return home during the festival, our families can come here to visit us. We held various celebration activities and sightseeing tours for the families and our employees, so it’s a pretty good holiday with family reunions,” said Li.

As these Chinese projects yield fruitful progress, Li expressed his New Year wishes, saying that “I hope our mother country will grow stronger and stronger and that Chinese companies will continue prospering in the coming year, so that we can undertake more overseas projects and make greater contributions to the construction of the Belt and Road.”  

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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