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Greek viewers get online tour of China

XINHUA | Updated: 2022-03-03 08:40
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ATHENS-A Greek photographer is taking his compatriots on an online tour of China, organized by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation in the port city of Piraeus.

From Feb 16 through April 11, amateur photographer and environmentalist Nikos Stantzos will act as an online tour guide for Beijing and its outskirts, as well as the ancient capitals and the country's border areas. Stantzos will give five presentations, under the theme of "traveling to China", free of charge.

Stantzos lived in Beijing from 2012 to 2017, working for a German company as an expert in energy, renewables and climate change. He had taken more than 20,000 photos in China, and found the time to tidy up his archive during the COVID-19 pandemic. He decided to share his pictures and experiences to show Greek people the lesser-known side of a country he has grown to love.

Stantzos had traveled to over 20 Chinese provinces, and is planning more adventures in the future, he says.

Speaking from Singapore, where he is now based, the photographer says: "Beijing, when I moved in 2012, was a city that was just basking in the glory of the 2008 (Summer) Olympics. That was definitely a high point for the city. Because of my work there, I had to travel extensively all over China. …That gave me an exposure to how variable and amazing basically China is."

He was also impressed by the organization of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

"I think these Olympic Games show a China that it is more, if you like, confident and relaxed, compared with the first Olympics (2008).

"The Chinese did an amazing job to reuse a lot of the facilities. For example, the Water Cube (the National Aquatics Center in Beijing) became the 'Ice Cube'.… I thought that was a very good symbolism of how we can actually reuse facilities."

Stantzos' main motivation for the online tour was to contribute to the understanding between the East and the West. He wanted to show the country he saw and experienced, which is different from what is sometimes reported by mainstream Western media, he says.

"My message is that you have to go out and find out China with your own eyes. …Go there with an open mind and I guarantee you're going to like it or at least you're going to find a lot of things you like," he says.

Konstantinos Mazarakis Ainian, general director of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, was happy to see the interest some Greeks showed for China during the first presentation.

"What impressed us is that the number of viewers-approximately 600-who started watching the series at the beginning of the first episode did not decrease until the end," he says, adding that viewers had bombarded Stantzos with questions.

The foundation, which is a cultural and educational organization promoting Greek letters and historical and nautical research, has a close partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing, as well as the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"We thought that an important parameter that can bring China closer to Greece is for the average Greek to get to know China in a nonacademic way, as a tourist. So we arranged and organized this series of five trips (online) to China that I believe gives…a complete picture of China as it is today, highlighting culture, history and way of life," Ainian says.

"Traveling to China" is presented within the framework of the Center for China Studies, which was established two years ago at the foundation in collaboration with the academy, to enhance bilateral cultural relations and promote Chinese culture in Greece.


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