Chinese in Greece acquire their own own local newspaper in Mandarin

Greece has acquired its first Chinese newspaper: Nan Wu Shinbao – or the South Europe Times – went into circulation on February 1, and will come out every two weeks. It aims to become a bridge between the 8,000 Chinese immigrants who live in Greece and the Greek community. The first stories cover migrants’ issues, as well as practical information. Nan Wu Shinbao is put together by a five-member team of journalists and is written in Mandarin. The initial print run is 2,000 and the paper sells for 2 euros at 10 Chinese stores in Athens and four kiosks in Omonia and Syntagma squares. Chief Editor Robin Wang came to Greece three years ago. «Our aim is for Chinese immigrants in Greece to acquire a channel of communication,» Wang told Kathimerini. «Besides, most Chinese in Greece don’t know Greek well enough yet to follow the news through the Greek media, nor do they know English.» Most of the news items in the first two issues of the South Europe Times concern the Greek migration laws. They also cover news from China and some international issues. Practical topics are prominent: from basic geographic and demographic information about Greece and simple lessons in Greek to how to play «Lotto,» «Joker» and other such games. «We try to find some practical means of helping Chinese communicate with Greeks in simple everyday matters,» said Wang. What are the main problems facing Chinese migrants in Greece? «The most important is the lack of communication. Those who are students, or who have children in Greek schools, have some opportunity to learn the language. The remainder, however, work long hours and don’t have such opportunities, although they are very keen to learn to communicate better with Greeks,» explained Wang, who is taking Greek language lessons at the students’ club of Athens University. Another significant problem is that Chinese students are not entitled to work. «A law that was passed a few years ago permitted young Chinese to study in Greece. Thanks to that law, some 2,000 students came here to study, mostly at private colleges. But their student visa does not give them the right to work, not even part time, so they cannot contribute to the cost of their studies.» As for the fuss that has arisen concerning Chinese clothing stores in Athens, Wang avoids taking sides. «I don’t think Greek businesspeople have anything to fear from the Chinese. The Chinese are hard workers and try to keep prices low so they can sell more.» What has brought Chinese migrants to Greece in recent years? «Most of them had heard that there were opportunities – for both Greeks and foreigners – in Greece because of the Olympic Games. A lot of them were already working in European countries and decided to come here. So they came to work, to see how they got on and to stay if they succeed.» Apart from everyday problems, Chinese migrants see Greece as «a hospitable country, with an important ancient civilization, like China,» said Wang. «Because of our culture, we generally keep a low profile. But most of us are pleased with what we have seen, how friendly and hospitable the Greeks are and how beautiful the climate and country are.» But the ultimate goal of every Chinese migrant is to return home one day. «In Chinese culture, when one gets old, one should return home. That’s where one must die.»

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