Expats enjoy Lunar New Year celebrations in Yiwu
Lina shows a red lantern she makes at a festive activity held at the Jimingshan residential community in Yiwu on Lunar New Year's Eve. [Photo/chinanews.com]
An Afghan teen who goes by the Chinese name Lina recently discussed how she spent this year's Spring Festival holiday in Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang province with local media outlets.
Lina, who is 16 years old, moved to Yiwu three years ago with her parents who are businesspeople seeking opportunities in the city's gargantuan wholesale market of small commodities.
The Afghan family currently lives in the city's Jimingshan residential community, along with about 1,380 expats from 74 countries and regions. The multicultural community is often compared to the United Nations by locals.
Lina has developed a strong interest in traditional Chinese culture. Besides studying the Chinese language at school, she often attends cultural exchange activities, as well as tries her hand at Chinese-style paper-cutting and embroidery.
However, Lina had never personally experienced the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in previous years, as she would usually travel back to her hom country as most of the community's expat residents did during the Spring Festival holiday.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more than 300 foreign residents in Jimingshan, including Lina's family, decided to stay over the holiday this year. Accordingly, local authorities invited them to take part in a series of festive activities to show the hospitality of Chinese people.
Expats and community workers are pictured at a festive activity at the Jimingshan residential community in Yiwu during the Spring Festival holiday. [Photo/chinanews.com]
"It feels like a cozy family reunion when people enjoy the meal together," a Yemenese young man who goes by the Chinese name Bada said when he attended a Lunar New Year's Eve dinner party at the community.
Bada has been living in Yiwu for three years as well, running a foreign trade company during the day and learning Mandarin at night. In early 2020, he joined a group of 40 expat volunteers who served the community's COVID-19 epidemic control efforts, helping with temperature and identity checks at its entrance, as well as the purchase and delivery of living necessities for its residents.
Bada said that he now has a strong sense of security about China and feels motivated to permanently stay in the country, which appeals to him far beyond its nice food and scenery.
"Through the pandemic, I found that the Chinese government was able to react effectively and efficiently," Bada said. He added that he had not imagined that the COVID-19 pandemic could be brought under control so quickly in China. With the resumption of all industries, his toy exportation business ended up making positive growth last year.
Bada said that he was also impressed with the kindness of Chinese people. "No one treats me like 'an outsider' here. People always help me out in a timely manner when I get into difficulties," he explained.
Bada shows a red lantern that he makes at a festive activity held at the Jimingshan residential community in Yiwu on Lunar New Year's Eve. [Photo/chinanews.com]