„Wherever there is a moon, there are Chinese people“, says a Chinese expression – so obviously they can also be found in Austria. The Chinese are considered to be a rather quiet group of migrants. One doesn’t hear much of them, because, like everywhere else in the world, they adjust relatively quickly to the conditions in the country. They have a very pragmatic approach, don’t complain a lot, organise their lives themselves and if they want to, they get in with the already existing community without any problems. They „don’t make problems“, but solve them, mostly by mutual support.
Most Chinese migrants in Austria come from the southeastern province Zhejiang, which is known as the „Land of Fish and Rice“. So it seems only natural, that many of them had worked and still work in the food service industry: Hu Jinzhu worked in her sister’s restaurant for a long time, until she took over the big supermarket known as „China-Zentrum“ on the Rechte Wienzeile. Shan Jiaqian is the successful owner of the Far Eastern fast food chain „Mr. Lee“ and Xie Feiru owns a restaurant and a cinema in Mistelbach, Lower Austria. Furthermore, she founded the Association of Chinese Women in Austria.
At least economically speaking they all „made it“ here and don’t want to go back to China, even if the still existing atmosphere of departure has great appeal. Mister Wu however, who was also in Austria for a long time, dared to take the step: He opened a restaurant and a coffeehouse in Chengdu, which expertly attracts the local population with Austrian tourist stereotypes.
The filmmaker and cinematographer Judith Benedikt interviewed them about the reasons for their migration and their hopes and expectations at that time, in her insightful movie „China Reverse“. In the course of this, it becomes apparent that for most of them, Austria was not a dream destination. Partly it was coincidence that they ended up here, in other cases family members of theirs were already here, so it was an obvious choice. More than 20 years after their migration, their children are already grown up and are making their way, which might lead them somewhere completely different yet again. That’s how a multi-layered portrait of a go-getting generation comes to be, a story about cultural exchange and about what it means to create a home far away from one’s home.
Editor of: ray FILMMAGAZIN