Christmas came early to China.org.cn when parent company China International Publishing Group (CIPG) hosted its annual New Year reception in the Grand Ballroom of the Diaoyutai Hotel on December 22, 2008.
Banquet host, President of CIPG and Vice-Director of the State Council Information Office, Cai Mingzhao in his address to staff and guests recalled a year of dramatic news and events that included the tragedy of the Wenchuan earthquake and the triumph of the Beijing Olympics. With uncertain economic times ahead for the world, President Cai talked about the solid progress made by CIPG on a number of fronts in 2008, including cooperation agreements with overseas publishing groups.
Huang Youyi, President of China.org.cn thanked staff for their hard work and dedication that helped keep the website one of China's top news organizations.
After the speeches, people got down to the serious business of toasting old friends and new. Foreign "experts" puzzled by the complex cultural semiotics of Chinese banquets swiftly worked out that it approximates to wandering the room glass in hand smiling and toasting - with obliging waiting staff always on hand to refill glasses.
Proving that we never stop working at China.org.cn, star of the Russian department Sasha Ivanova and China.org.cn CEO Li Jiaming talk some serious shop at the CIPG New Year reception.
The evening ended too soon for some who made their way to nearby hutong bars to continue celebrating and ensure that the following day would see a heroic struggle to deliver news about China to the world.