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PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (February 25, 2002 – Tahitipresse)---During Chinese New Year celebrations in Tahiti Sunday, French Polynesia Vice President Edouard Fritch and the High Commissioner representing France, Michel Mathieu, praised the Chinese community of Tahiti, saying that it was very important for the socio-economic development of French Polynesia.

Vice President Fritch recalled the words of President Gaston Flosse: "This country is indeed yours because each day you help us in building it," said Mr. Flosse on February 12th.

Six members of the Chinese-Tahitian community were praised for their career contributions and awarded Tahiti Nui medals.

"The future of French Polynesia, just like his present, is based not only on economic development but also on the way different ethnic groups share things together," said High Commissioner Mathieu.

During the celebration, a large crowd watched Chinese groups perform songs and dances and compete in martial arts matches.

The first Chinese to come to Tahiti in the 1860's to work in the cane sugar fields.

French Polynesia’s longtime Chinese residents were awarded French citizenship in the 1970's.

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse. 

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