Chen Jinmei, a native of Wenxi, a town in Qingtian County, in East China's Zhejiang Province, moved to the Czech Republic in the 1990s. She is president of the Czech Federation of Overseas Chinese Women, and she is executive vice-president of the European and Chinese Women's Federation. As a successful entrepreneur and a leader of overseas Chinese in the Czech Republic, Chen is dedicated to promoting cooperation and cultural and economic exchanges between China and the Czech Republic.
After years of unremitting efforts, Chen and her husband established KKEUROPE International Trade Co., Ltd., in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. The company has more than 30 wholesale stations, with products sold in more than 100 chain supermarkets.
Chen enjoys a high reputation among overseas Chinese entrepreneurs in eastern Europe. She is enthusiastic about public-welfare causes, and she cares about the development of her hometown. In 2005, Chen established several companies in Qingtian County to help boost the area's economic development.
She regularly organizes overseas Chinese to visit and support orphanages and nursing homes in the Czech Republic. She has also helped raise more than 1.8 million yuan (US $257,143) to help returned overseas Chinese, who live in difficulties, in her hometown.
Love for Homeland
Qingtian County is known as the hometown of overseas Chinese, with more than 230,000 natives of Qingtian living in more than 120 countries or regions.
Chen and her family moved to Germany in 1992, to run a Chinese restaurant, and they later started an export-trade business in Prague.
"It was hard for us at that time to live in a totally different country. Despite the language barrier and various difficulties, I made up my mind to meet the challenges head-on, and to work hard to create a better life," Chen recalls.
With great determination and perseverance, Chen and her husband established their own company, and they eventually achieved success in their international-trade business. As her business grew, Chen hoped to contribute to the development of her hometown. So, in 2005, she established several companies in Qingtian County.
She has since invited Czech entrepreneurs to visit China, and to invest in the Chinese market, and she has helped Chinese enterprises enter the market in the Czech Republic. Chen has also promoted economic and trade exchanges between Chinese and Czech enterprises.
"When you stand on the land of the motherland, you truly feel at ease," Chen says. Patriotism is in her blood, and she always loves the motherland and its people.
Chen is directly involved in work related to overseas Chinese affairs, and she does everything she can to ensure the voices of overseas Chinese and returned overseas Chinese are heard. Chen is a member of the 10th Standing Committee of Zhejiang Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, vice-president of Qingtian Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, and president of Wenxi Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese.
Chen, also director of the Czech Chinese Language Media Group, is a communicator of Chinese culture. In 2010, she and like-minded Czech friends co-founded Prague Chinese Times, a Chinese-language newspaper based in Prague. With the aim of telling China-related stories and spreading China's voice, Prague Chinese Times has spread positive energy, promoted cultural exchanges and advanced Chinese culture.
Chen has supported several Chinese-language schools in the Czech Republic in their efforts to promote traditional Chinese culture. She has also conveyed the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China to overseas Chinese, and her Czech friends, since the congress was held in Beijing in October 2022.
Passion for Public-Welfare Causes
Chen is enthusiastic about public-welfare causes, in both China and the Czech Republic. Between 2010 and 2018, she donated 1 million yuan (US $142,857) to support underprivileged college and university students in China. She donated 100,000 yuan (US $14,285) in 2011 to Bowen Middle School, in Qingtian County. The money was used to set up a scholarship for students. "I want to help more students from rural areas. I'm funding the future of the children," Chen says.
Chen also donated 100,000 yuan (US $14,285) to the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, to help build the Chongli Overseas Chinese Ice-Snow Museum in Zhangjiakou, a city in North China's Hebei Province. It became China's first museum dedicated to ice and snow sports, and to the Winter Olympics.
Each year, Chen leads overseas Chinese as they participate in the Christmas charity sales activities hosted by the embassies and consulates of various countries in the Czech Republic, and all of the proceeds are donated to charities in the Czech Republic.
Chen also regularly organizes overseas Chinese to visit and support Czech orphanages and nursing homes, by making donations and showing love and care to the orphans and the seniors. For example, in July 2015, Chen and members of the Czech Federation of Overseas Chinese Women donated electric vehicles to a rehabilitation center, for children with disabilities, in the South Moravian Region.
"I devote a lot of time and energy to public-welfare causes, but I feel it's worth it," Chen says. In 2018, Chen was selected one of the advanced overseas Chinese by the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese.
After the COVID-19 epidemic broke out in Wuhan, in Central China's Hubei Province, in 2020, Chen donated 18,000 surgical masks and 3,000 sets of gloves to Wuhan, and she called on overseas Chinese in the Czech Republic to donate medical materials to help Wuhan. Chen also donated anti-epidemic materials to her hometown, and other cities in China. In the Czech Republic, she established a volunteer alliance to help locals combat the virus. She and members of the alliance donated masks and other materials.
Given her outstanding performance during the fight against the epidemic, Chen was named a National March 8th Red-Banner Holder in Fighting against COVID-19, by the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), the National Health Commission and the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission, on September 29, 2020.
Bridge of Communication
Chen is involved in work related to overseas Chinese affairs. She has been employed by her hometown's government to assist Qingtian's court and procuratorate in resolving disputes involving overseas Chinese, and to provide judicial convenience for overseas Chinese.
"We'd like to help overseas Chinese solve their problems ... We must be patient, thoughtful and make good use of various methods every time we meet a hard nut to crack. I remember once I encountered a dispute involving overseas Chinese. The judicial official could not contact one of the parties. Then, I tried and talked to the person, and finally the parties involved reached an agreement," Chen says. It is Chen's responsible attitude and heart-warming approach that has won her respect from and the trust of overseas Chinese in the Czech Republic.
Representatives of overseas Chinese are invited to Beijing to participate in the National Day celebrations in October each year. Chen has attended the celebrations six times since 2014, including the celebration marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"Every time I attend the National Day celebrations, I feel our country is prosperous and thriving, and our great nation is confident and strong. I am so proud of our motherland's strength and achievements," Chen says.
As a specially invited member of Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a specially invited member of Lishui Municipal Committee of the CPPCC and a member of Qingtian County Committee of the CPPCC, Chen has put forward many high-quality proposals, in terms of boosting local economic development, and those proposals have provided valuable reference points for decision makers.
Chen has paid special attention to the education of her two daughters, and she has set a good example for them. Her daughters have grown into contributing members of society. Last year, Chen's family was selected a National Five-Virtue Family by ACWF.
As a leader of overseas Chinese in the Czech Republic in the new era, Chen says she will give full play to her advantages, help unite and pool the strength of overseas Chinese, serve overseas Chinese, and promote exchanges between China and the Czech Republic, especially involving culture, the economy and trade, and science and technology.
(Source: Qingtian Women's Federation/Women of China English Monthly February 2023 issue)
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