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New Year gift from South Korea

Updated: 2010-02-04

Li Zhonghou does not feel cold despite the minus 24 degree temperature. A warm smile appears on his face as he says "I will receive 20 kg of rice given by Korean charity," he told China Daily happily.

The 58-year old, living in Xita Street of Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, is disabled and has an income of just 300 yuan per month. So he has to live on benefits. "In Xita area, there are 560 impoverished families like Li. They can always get help from Shenyang Korean 'Life's Gift'," said Jin Xikui, director of Shenyang Xita sub-district office.

"The charity donates daily necessities such as rice and bean oil at each festival. For years, they have donated about 50 tons of rice to poor families living here," added Jin.

"Besides giving us daily necessities, they also send volunteers to help people like me do housework," said Li.

Founded in 2007, Shenyang Korean "Life's Gift" is a nonprofit organization with over 1,000 members, mostly South Korean businessmen living in Shenyang.

"We live in China and get lots of help from the Chinese. Now we are friends. So give a hand to friends who need help is what we should do," said Park Choul-su, head of Shenyang Korean 'Life's Gift'.

According to Jin, the charity donated 11 tons of rice valued nearly 50,000 yuan.

"This is only a small gift to people who have difficulties, but it presents our best wishes to them," said Park.

Donating daily necessities is not the only program that Life's Gift carries out. The charity also gives the real "gift of life" to many poor children with heart disease.

For years, the charity has helped 32 impoverished kids with congenital heart disease. All fees, as high as 256 million, are donated by its members.

"Shenyang is one of the key areas presenting Sino-Korea friendship, and Xita is the key area of Shenyang-Korean friendship. By helping each other, Chinese and Korean living in this zone make contribution to the harmonious society and deepen the friendship between the two communities," said Shin-HyungKeun, consul general of Consulate General of the Republic of Korea Shenyang.

Xita area is the second largest South Korean community in the world after New York. About 1/3 of the 55,000 residents in this area are Korean.

"What we do is also give feedback to the Chinese community who help us a lot. And we wish we can share love and new birth with people living in China," said Park.

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