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Gateway to Maritime Silk Road


A celebration of tea at the UN

BY :China Daily

UPDATED :2024-01-08

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, and Munir Akram, his counterpart from Pakistan hold tea gift bags that were distributed during the celebration of International Tea Day at UN Headquarters in New York on May 19. (Photo by Zhang Minlu from China Daily)

When examining the Chinese character for "tea", the composition reveals three parts: grass on top, people in the middle, and wood at the bottom. The character depicts "people living in nature", explained China's top envoy to the United Nations.
Tea "helps us sip the taste of life, enjoy the spiritual tranquility, evoke enlightenment, and bring our heart and soul back to mother nature. For thousands of years, the sustainable cycle from tea planting to tea drinking has been a vivid example of harmonious co-existence between humans and nature," Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, said in his opening remarks on the celebration of International Tea Day on May 19.
In December 2019, the 74th session of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution establishing May 21 as International Tea Day.
After three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Permanent Mission of China to the UN on May 19 held the first in-person celebration for International Tea Day at UN Headquarters in New York.
Under the theme of "Tea for Green Development", Zhang said he hoped the face-to-face exchanges would "not only enhance our friendship, but also explore the intrinsic link between tea and human development, and seek common development and a shared future".
The booming of tea and its related drinking products and industries creates many jobs and much economic value, Zhang said, adding that tea is a bond between civilizations, and the development of tea culture is "an epitome of mutual learning between human civilizations", he said.
From the ancient Silk Road and Tea-Horse Road to the Belt and Road Initiative, tea has transcended time and borders and promoted mutual understanding and friendship among peoples and diverse and harmonious coexistence among civilizations, said Zhang.
"In today's challenge-ridden world, we wish to use tea as a medium to promote international exchange and cooperation, enhance mutual learning, mutual understanding and mutual trust among civilizations, and achieve harmonious coexistence," he said.
Over 100 guests, including Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare, Chief Economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization Maximo Torero Cullen, as well as representatives from more than 20 countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Portugal, Belgium, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Argentina, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone and South Africa gathered for the tea event.
Representatives from Cambodia, Indonesia, Eritrea, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan and other countries' permanent representatives to the UN said that tea is a key driver for social and economic development. They said tea is an effective means to help less developed regions eradicate poverty, increase farmers' income and empower women.
"I enjoy drinking tea, and my favorite Chinese tea is Longjing tea. It's a kind of green tea, which is very nice to drink in the summer when it's hot. And in winter, I prefer to drink Pu’er tea. It makes me feel very relaxed and happy," Ivaylo, a staff member at the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the UN told China Daily.
"I have a lot of tea at home, much more that I can drink, and a lot of teapots. I love tea ceremonies," he said. "I think Chinese tea culture is a great cultural asset that China can use and does use around the world." 

Photos: 微信公众号“海丝泉州文旅之声”

Editor: Annie