Feature: Chinese community Christmas charity bazaar offers helping hand to Athens homeless


by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Dec. 15 — For a third consecutive year the Chinese community in Greece hosted a colorful Christmas charity bazaar in the center of Athens on Sunday, offering a helping hand to the city’s homeless in another show of solidarity with Greeks affected by the debt crisis and of the strong friendship which links the two countries and peoples.
Throughout the day Athenians flocked the municipal market of Kipseli, a central Athens district, to do their Christmas shopping, purchasing toys, Christmas and New Year ornaments, traditional porcelain handcrafts, silk garments, accessories and other products offered by Chinese entrepreneurs living in Greece.
Greeks and Chinese joined forces in the event held under the auspices of the Chinese embassy in Greece and the Municipality of Athens, sharing delicious Chinese tea and delicacies, enjoying performances of folk music and martial arts and exchanging wishes for a better future for both peoples.
Chinese expats living in Greece have in several occasions in recent years undertaken and supported initiatives for good causes.
This year, all proceeds raised during the bazaar will be donated to the Municipality of Athens’ Reception and Solidarity Center which provides for the thousands of homeless and families in need.
“With this bazaar the Chinese community wishes to send a message that it is here, standing always by the side of Greeks who face a crisis today … We want to offer a hand to people in need and express our solidarity … We want to express our gratitude to Greeks for assisting Chinese expats to build a good life in Greece and integrate into local society,” Chinese ambassador to Greece Du Qiwen said in his opening address and statements to media.
On his part, Mayor of Athens Yorgos Kaminis expressed the gratitude of Greek authorities and people and optimism for the future.
“We thank the Chinese community which organized today’s bazaar in this market and will donate all incomes to the Municipality of Athens’ shelter for the homeless, the Solidarity Center. I wish Happy Holidays to all. May the New Year be better. It will be better. The City of Athens is here to support all people in need and we have the assistance of several people in this effort,” he stressed.
“We love Greece. It is our second homeland. We hope this way we can help our Greek friends. Together we can overcome all difficulties,” said Xu Weichun, president of the Chinese Commercial and Cultural Association in Greece.
Among attendees this year was Chinese popular singer Cai Guoqing. He travelled to Greece for the first time with a large group of other artists to give a unique performance during which the envelope with the donations will be delivered to representatives of the shelter.
“For me it is very exciting and I am also very surprised. I know Chinese staying in Greece work very hard with honesty and do their best to keep the very good relations between China and Greece,” he told Xinhua.
He expressed hope that the bazaar and the show will offer Greeks “an opportunity to better understand Chinese culture and Chinese heart.”
For Adamantios Skordilis, Greek Professor of Chemical Engineering, there is no doubt.
An admirer of Chinese civilization, he believes that the two peoples can benefit from the enhancement of ties on all sectors and levels. After visiting China several times, he recently had his book on corporate waste management translated into Chinese.
In regards to Sunday’s charity bazaar, he told Xinhua “It is a great initiative for a good cause. I am truly impressed.”[db:内容2]