BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- About 100,000 Beijing residents took their brooms outdoors on
Saturday for a "Clean City" drive to mark traditional Chinese "Little New Year"
--- a week before "New Year," or Spring Festival.
Volunteer environmental inspectors could also be seen in the streets,
dissuading citizens from uncivil behavior such as spitting and littering.
The 23rd day of the 12th lunar month is called "xiao nian" in Chinese, which
literally means "Little New Year." Traditionally it is an important occasion
when people offer sacrifices to the "Kitchen God" who looks after the family's
According to traditional Chinese beliefs, the "Kitchen God" goes up to heaven
to give his annual report to the "Jade Emperor," the supreme leader, about the
family's activities over the past year. The god returns to his freshly cleaned
shrine on New Year's Eve.
"Little New Year" is also a day for families to carefully and thoroughly
clean their houses so that they are bright and clean --polishing the furniture,
cleaning walls and sweeping floors.
Beijing will be the host of the 29th Olympic Games in 2008, and local
authorities are keen to create a clean environment and to persuade citizens to
abandon "uncivilized" behavior.
The city will launch a "Clean City" drive every three months, mobilizing all
walks of life to protect the environment, said a spokesman with the Municipal
Environment Protection Office on Saturday.