China welcomes Lunar New Year

Thousands of people on Friday braved long queues to visit Beijing's Baiyun Temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year.

Once inside Baiyun Temple, the capital's largest Taoist Temple, many threw coins at a bell under a bridge. This custom is one of several at Baiyun, which are supposed to bring good luck.

Smoke from burning incense sticks wafted towards the sky, carrying with it the prayers of thousands of Chinese hoping for an auspicious Year of the Dog.

Also known as Spring Festival, the Lunar New Year celebrates the beginning of the ploughing season and warmer weather to come.

Factory worker, Wang, said; "I'm here for good wishes, that is, for the whole family to be safe. That's my one wish. It's the new year and I am wishing all my friends and relations good health. I pray for this."

Yang Youli, a 62 year old retiree, said; "In the past year, the country has been a really good place to be. The whole nation is full of joy. Our Chairman Xi manages the country well. Ordinary people are very happy."

Han Changxing, a 27 year old entrepeneur, said; "I hope the times get better and better, the wallet gets heavier and heavier and life gets better and better."