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Chinese Peacekeepers Mark Lunar New Year Eve in Haiti

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With dumplings, karaoke, the Spring Festival Gala and broken hearts, Chinese peacekeeping police in Haiti celebrated the traditional Chinese lunar New Year eve in the quake-ravaged nation on Saturday.

This year's Spring Festival, a symbol of unity, prosperity and new hope for the Chinese people, undoubtedly has a special meaning for the Chinese peacekeepers, who lost eight comrades just a month ago in the 7.3-magnitude earthquake.

A series of activities were organized to alleviate their pain and homesickness.

Chinese lanterns and paper-cut Chinese characters for "spring," a traditional Chinese decoration, and other decorations were hung on the door and walls of their encampment, which was repaired after the quake.

Making dumplings is one of the most significant activities to celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival eve. The peacekeepers, in a festive mood, made hundreds of them for the festival eve dinner.

Airlifted dishes from China, including Beijing roast ducks, beef, chicken, fish, together with vegetables grown by the peacekeepers around the camp, made it a sumptious dinner.

After eating, the peacekeepers began a karaoke competition. Instead of singing popular songs, they performed peacekeeping songs composed by themselves with MTV.

At the end of the karaoke, the Chinese peacekeepers formed a choir to sing a song expressing their best wishes to their motherland, commemoration to their fallen comrades, yearning to their families and loyalty to their mission.

At around midnight, team leaders of the Chinese peacekeeping mission boarded armored vehicles to deliver dumplings to their comrades patrolling the streets of the Haitian capital, where most areas are still in darkness due to a shortage of electricity and where nighttime traffic provides its own dangers.

Eating the delicious dumplings, Zhang Hongwen, one of those on patrol, said: "We will definitely obey orders and directions, hold our position and fulfill the sacred mission."

(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2010)

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