Cambodian PM Sends Best Wishes as People Prepare for Chinese New Year Celebrations

People buy items for Chinese New Year. Photo: Lay Long

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet has extended best wishes to the Chinese people and Cambodians of Chinese descent as they prepare to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, on Feb. 10.

In a recent message sent to Pung Kheav Se, president of the Federation of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia, Hun Manet said the peoples of Cambodia and China have always stuck together through thick and thin since ancient times.

"On the occasion of the upcoming Chinese Traditional New Year, the Year of the Dragon, on behalf of the royal government of Cambodia, I would like to congratulate and join in the fun with all Chinese people and Cambodians of Chinese descent, who have always shared weal and woe with us since ancient times," he said.

"I would like to express my special thanks to the Federation of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia, Chinese people and Cambodians of Chinese descent around the world for their active contributions to the prosperity and development of Cambodia," he added.

The Cambodian leader also encouraged them to continue to support Cambodia's development policies and to contribute further to boosting the kingdom's economic growth.

Although it is not a public holiday in the Southeast Asian nation, the Spring Festival is widely celebrated, as some schools, companies and institutions are closed on the occasion.

Ky Sereyvath, director-general of the Institute of China Studies at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said on Thursday that the Chinese New Year is very popular in Cambodia thanks to close ties between the two countries and peoples.

"Most people in Cambodia, especially those in urban areas, enjoy celebrating the Chinese New Year because they believe that the celebrations will bring them good luck and fortunes throughout the year," he told Xinhua.

"The broad celebration in Cambodia truly reflects fraternal friendship between the peoples of the two countries," he said. "It also shows that Cambodia respects cultural diversity and freedom of belief."

Sereyvath, who is also a Cambodian of Chinese descent, said the Spring Festival is a special occasion for Cambodians with Chinese ancestry to honor their ancestors and enjoy a family gathering.

Days ahead of the festival, shops selling decoration materials such as red color paper-cuts, flowers, red lanterns and Chinese couplets have attracted crowds of customers.

"Our sales are very good days before the New Year, as many people have come and bought flowers, particularly plum blossom saplings, for their New Year's decorations," Kim Sry, a 38-year-old florist near the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, told Xinhua on Thursday.

She attributed an increase in sales to the country's better economic growth in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.

"We hope the economy will grow higher this year, so people will spend bigger for their next New Year celebrations," she added.

According to a government forecast, Cambodia's economy is expected to grow by 6.6 percent in 2024, up from 5.6 percent in 2023.

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