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Monday, 10 February, 2003, 10:31 GMT
Chinese community parties in style
Chinese New Year celebrations
Traditional temple fair celebrations in China
The largest Chinese community in south Wales celebrated its New Year with a colourful parade of dancers and entertainers.

The one-day festival saw people travelling from all over Wales - and the UK - to Swansea.

The special event, held on Sunday, also included a visit from the Chinese Ambassador Zha Peixin.

The event was well attended and proves that Swansea is thriving as a multicultural society

Swansea Council spokesman

The Year of the Goat, which officially began last week, was celebrated with festivities at Brangwyn Hall in the city.

Organisers used balloon crackers, rather than firecrackers, to herald the New Year.

A Swansea council spokesman said the authority was pleased to help the Chinese community host the event.

"The council is thrilled to be able to accommodate members of the Chinese community to celebrate the New Year," he said.

"The event was well attended and proves that Swansea is thriving as a multicultural society."

There were oriental crafts on show, Chinese calligraphy demonstrations and an arts group from London who performed dance routines.

Terry Wai, manager of the Chinese Community Co-op Centre in Kingsway, said everyone was honoured to receive the ambassador.

"We were not only pleased but honoured to have the ambassador here as he is the chief representative in the UK," said Mr Wai.

The manager, who organised the seven-year-old festival, said the Chinese community in Swansea and surrounding areas is the city's third largest ethnic group.

5,000-strong community

Mr Wai estimates the Chinese community in the region is about 5,000-strong, with members reaching beyond the city to Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire.

"There is a very large community in Cardiff but they don't have a community centre," he said.

The centre's two workers and team of volunteers help Chinese people with language difficulties, as well as organising or finding appropriate skills courses.

We try to help people stand on their own feet

Terry Wai, centre manager

"We are here to help the Chinese community," he said.

"The reason they need help is the language barrier - we look at their basic skills so they can go out and find jobs."

Mr Wai, who has been at the centre for eight years, said they try to help translating governmental information into Chinese.

Mr Wai said the Chinese community in Swansea and south west Wales has built up slowly over the years, but that he had noticed a recent surge in numbers.

"Over the last few years we have seen more and more people, we have more newly-immigrated people and more students," he said.

The centre also holds a Chinese school for youngsters every Sunday to teach them about their culture.


More from south west Wales
See also:

31 Jan 03 | Asia-Pacific
01 Feb 03 | Asia-Pacific
04 Feb 03 | Asia-Pacific
07 Sep 02 | Wales
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