Chinese Spring Festival comes to Downing Street
Updated 21:09, 26-Jan-2020
Richard Bestic

As the clock ticked down to the Year of the Rat, China's Spring Festival descended on Downing Street. 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the new year fun with children from Britain's many Chinese language schools. 

A pair of dragons were delivered to his Downing Street doorstep and the premier was given his own live performance by these mythical creatures. 

Born in the Year of the Dragon, Johnson dotted their eyes – which ancient Chinese legend says brings the dragons to life. 

Not this time though. But for the children in Downing Street, after weeks of preparation, it was magic enough to meet the prime minister. 

Who knows, these little linguists could become UK trade ambassadors in Britain's post-Brexit age...

Standing alongside China's ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, Johnson said: "Don't forget Mr Ambassador, the statistics – it is still true we have more Chinese students in the UK than anywhere outside China." 

Coming to Downing Street for Chinese community leaders in the UK is a matter of pride, according to Edmund Yo, the chairman of the Chinese Information and Advice Centre. He said: "We have brought the Chinese community closer to Downing Street and the prime minister interacting with the kids – the community is very pleased and very proud." 

The celebrations were the beginning of days of celebrations in the UK capital. Crowds of up to a million people were expected in the heart of London to mark the beginning of the Year of the Rat. 

And for a man who is now preparing a post-election Budget, the prime minister will be entertained to learn that the rat is a harbinger of wealth, in the eyes of the Chinese zodiac at least.


On the sideline of the celebration, Ambassador Liu said China was working with the international community to combat the coronavirus and get it under control.