ATHENS – With Chinese companies eyeing taking over more businesses in Greece, and Chinese tourists making beelines to the country and growing cultural links, a Greek bookstore chain is opening a special Chinese section in one of its Athens stores.
It will be in the Booktique in the wealthy section of Kolonaki and offers 50 books so far in Chinese and English with plans to build to at least 500, Sofika Eleftheroudakis, CEO of the G. C. Eleftheroudakis International Bookstore, told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
During the opening ceremony, organizers of the initiative told Xinhua that they want to build a new bridge of understanding between Greek and Chinese people after exchanges saw exhibitions in each other’s countries, still growing.
In cooperation with Chinese publishers, Eleftheroudakis brought to Greece a selection of Chinese editions mainly on Chinese language, Art, modern literature and children’s books under a program run by the China Publishing & Media Co., Ltd.
“This project is mainly to introduce Chinese good books to readers around the world. The Chinese Bookshelf has already landed in 16 countries on four continents. This is a good attempt,” Sun Yuemu, Deputy General Manager of China Publishing & Media told Xinhua.
“Greece has much in common with China, and we feel that the biggest thing in common is culture – we all have a long history and culture. The long history and culture are important symbol of the continuation of human development and the move towards a higher civilization,” he said.
Booktique’s clients responded immediately, browsing through the editions, as the Chinese Bookshelf was filled with books, Eleftheroudakis said.
“More and more Greeks are trying to learn the Chinese language. It is taught at some schools. There is clearly interest for everything, the Chinese language, literature, children’s books and you know one gets to learn a lot this way. You can learn something new about culture through literature,” she noted.
“Our goal is to bring the two societies closer through Chinese books in Greece and Greek books in China… This is my idea: to promote, to create sooner or later a similar Greek shelf with Greek books and design objects at Chinese bookshops,” she said.
Sun Yuemu said his publishing house has many books about ancient Greek myths and legends because those stories are. It is the spiritual nutrition that our Chinese youth grew up from generation to generation.”
“The Commercial Press has a number of the world’s academic masterpieces translated into Chinese. There are many Greek classics like the works of Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates, which have been popular for many years. Chinese readers enjoyed them very much,” he added.