It’s celebration of Chinese heritage in Brazil. The country’s Chinese roots will now be honored each year on National Chinese Immigration Day.
CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports.
Hu Yu came from Shanghai to Sao Paulo 35 years ago to open a restaurant and build a new life on the other side of the world. Things worked out, and his China Lake Restaurant is among the best known in the city. Chef Yu said he is happy with his decision all those years ago. Many Chinese are still coming to Brazil to work.
“We don’t see so many people coming from big cities like Shanghai and Beijing anymore, because they are growing fast and there is much money to be made. But still we seen many people from poorer cities in China, where it’s harder to make money, coming here for work,” Yu said.
On June 26, Brazil’s President Michel Temer signed a law establishing National Chinese Immigration Day, to be commemorated every August 15.
“We have learned here to appreciate the thousands of years of Chinese culture, their gastronomy, their medicine, and also their diligence and spirit of entrepreneurship,” the president said.
Fernando Zhu came from China as a teenager 13 years ago. He is now the owner of two shopping malls in Sao Paulo, and heads the Asia Division of the Brazilian Labour Party.
“It’s great that the Chinese Immigration Day was created. We have a large Chinese community here in Brazil, about 500,000 people all struggling for and dedicated to the Brazilian society,” Zhu said. “We contribute a lot to the economy and job creation here and this recognition is great.”
The growing Chinese presence in Brazil and the fast developing relationship between the two countries has also increased the interest of Brazilians in Chinese culture. The popularity of learning Mandarin is growing among people interested in personal and professional development.
The Confucius Institute is the biggest Chinese Learning Center in Brazil. It began operations in 2009 with 30 students. This semester, 1,500 people are enrolled in its Mandarin courses.
“Because of the increasing bilateral relationship between Brazil and China, the people-to-people and cultural communication between these two countries also increased quite a lot,” Wang Ting, director of Confucius Institute said. “Because of this we can see quite a lot of people who would like to learn Chinese culture and Chinese language.”
“China is investing in many countries around the world and because of that in some years I think their language will be spoken more in different places. So, I notice the interest of people in learning Mandarin,” said Mandarin Student Brian de Paula.
The first Chinese immigrants came to Brazil in 1812, when it was still governed by Portugal. They were invited by the emperor to develop tea production in the country. It was the beginning of a relationship that now reflects a maturity and mutual respect won over more than 200 years.