Hangzhou district celebrates community spirit

The city's Jianggan District International Community and Neighbor Cultural event is a week of fun activities and a time to honor selfless residents and organizations.

The awards ceremony kicked off a week of fun in Jianggan District.

Hangzhou's Jianggan District opened its International Community and Neighbor Cultural Week on July 3 — a festival of fun and activities that included honoring 15 residents and organizations for their contribution to the community.

The week includes a choral competition, sports meet, arts day, parent-and-kid games, a design exhibition, a flea market, food festival and film screenings.

Events are being held at 70 spots across the district. As well as promoting a sense of community, the week is also aimed at giving kids plenty to do during the summer vacation.

Those honored for their community spirit ranged from warm-hearted citizens to a dedicated sanitation worker and a community-minded supermarket.

Teng Jinhua, 57, was awarded for his work as a volunteer traffic assistant, helping traffic police at the congested intersection of Jichang and Tongxie roads during rush hours for more than two years.

“When I first stood on the road to direct traffic, I met with insults from walkers and riders,” Teng told Shanghai Daily. “They thought I was nosy and had no right to meddle.”

Two years later, most commuters understand his work and listen to his directions.

The crossroads is a junction leading to the jammed Desheng Elevated Road. Two years ago, it was a "black spot" as drivers and pedetrians disobeyed the rules.

Now, the situation has changed thanks to these volunteers such as Teng. The number of fatal accidents fell last year, the local traffic bureau said.

“Last year, a moped driver died there because he stepped on the gas instead of listening to a volunteer’s advice not to go through a red light," said district government official Yu Liang.

“That accident made people realize the importance of these volunteers.”

Teng sacrifices his family time to his volunteer work, and only takes a break during the hottest days of summer.

The district gives the volunteers 700 yuan (US$105) a month each, but Teng donates his to a local charity he has long supported that helps struggling university students.

Since 2002, he has covered the tuition and living costs of 17 students, some of whom went on to graduate from top universities, including Tsinghua and Peking universities.

The awards ceremony was well attended.

Another man devoted to helping others is Wei Chengzhong from the Huilan residential community. He and his wife have unselfishly taken care of a 90-year-old couple in the community for two years.

With no children to help, the elderly couple struggles with everyday matters such as going to the wet market, seeing doctors and cooking.

“I was really astonished when told to attend this award ceremony, since I have kept low profile from the very beginning,” Wei told Shanghai Daily. “I didn't know the community officials had applied for the prize on my behalf. I was really shy standing in front of the audience.”

The district government also recognized local businesses and organizations dedicated to the community and helping residents.

The Vangaurd Supermarket was honored for its contribution — organizing fire drills to boost public awareness of safety and how to escape a fire, hosting a food festival and a senior modelling competition and visiting "empty nesters" to give them support.

The awards ceremony was held in the Xinhe Lianchuang Digital Fashion Park, a cultural creative complex in a rejuvenated old factory.

It has an exhibition hall, hostel, cafes, restaurants, rooftop football and basketball courts and high-tech companies. It serves nearby communities and is a popular hangout for district residents.

Contestants in the choral contest

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