Yiwu welcomes expats' participation in social governance

By Zhang Liying
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, May 14, 2021
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The service center of the Jimingshan residential community in Yiwu, east China's Zhejiang province, May 12, 2021. [Photo by Chong Yatu/China Pictorial]

Located in east China's Zhejiang province, the city of Yiwu is known as the world's largest wholesale market for daily commodities, and is home to more than 15,000 foreign merchants from over 100 countries and regions.

While constantly improving its business environment, Yiwu also invites its foreign residents to participate in social governance and help develop a more attractive international commercial city.

Gholamhossein Dehghani, an Iranian businessman, came to Yiwu in 2003. Impressed by the city's inclusiveness and hospitality, he decided to settle down and started a foreign-trade company.

Gholamhossein Dehghani, an Iranian businessman, poses for a photo at the service center of the Jimingshan residential community in Yiwu, east China's Zhejiang province, May 12, 2021. [Photo by Zhang Liying/China.org.cn]

"All residents are treated equally in Yiwu, regardless of their nationalities and ethnic groups," Dehghani said in an interview on Wednesday. "Though living abroad, I have a strong sense of security here."

Dehghani now lives at the Jimingshan residential community, along with more than 1,380 expats from 74 countries and regions. The multicultural community is often compared to the United Nations by locals.

Fluent in six languages, Dehghani helps resolve disputes between people from different countries. In 2014, he was invited to work as an "international laoniangjiu" by the community. In the Zhejiang dialect, "laoniangjiu" means someone who is good at mediating disputes.

Dehghani said disputes are common and unavoidable when people from diverse cultural backgrounds live and work alongside one another, and most of the issues he handles arise from language barriers.

He added that the number of new disputes has been in decline since the community began offering free mandarin classes for foreign residents.

Through the community's volunteer station, Dehghani also takes an active part in various public service activities, such as security and fire inspections. When finding Chinese and foreign residents are having difficulty communicating, he is often on hand to help interpret for them.

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