I remember that 3 years ago, Ash Wednesday actually fell on the 1st Day of the lunar New Year and the people still came. No protests at all as they understood the meaning of being Catholic and the meaning of Lent.
In a multi-cultural and multi-racial Church, which has many Indian and Eurasian Catholics, this is highly inappropriate. Why not simply have the imposition of ashes today and have another ceremony after Mass on the weekend for those who can't make it today for whatever reason, which is the usual practice. Why deprive Catholics of other races the chance to start Lent liturgically? Why can't mature Catholics be given the choice? I am of course pro-choice =) Just have it and let them decide if they want to come. What's the problem with that? Why be so dictatorial and impose this choice on Catholics of all communities?
And why postpone it for 10 days? Power should not have been given to the conferences to decide this. They have proven again and again, in many countries, that they can't wield such authority properly. Power should be re-centralized in Rome, to maintain uniformity and unity in the Catholic Church.
I can understand the transferring of the obligation of fasting and abstinence as many Chinese Catholics have non-Catholic relatives and friends. Pastoral reasons and all that. But moving the imposition of ashes so far away is rubbish.