Jian Wu was six years old when he fled China in 1989 with his parents. The family traveled from Japan to Thailand and on to Germany, before settling in Denmark after a year and a half on the run.
Now over 30 years later, he is paying it back by offering all the Ukrainian refugees coming to the country a free meal at his restaurant.
To TV2 News, Jian Wu says that upon arrival in Denmark 33 years ago, he and his parents spent the night in the Sandholm camp. When he woke up to his first day on Danish soil, he was greeted by a breakfast table filled with free milk.
“It was a huge contrast. We had no money and had been out there looking for garbage containers for food, and suddenly we could come here and get free milk,” Jian Wu says.
He remembers thinking that Denmark must be a good place to be and now he wants to pass on the same good experience to the Ukrainian refugees.
Jian Wu owns the restaurant Hidden Dimsum together with his wife and brother-in-law, and they have chosen to open their restaurants in Copenhagen and Hellerup to Ukrainians on the run as a result of the war.
“Dimsum” means “to touch the heart,” and that is why he and his wife and brother-in-law decided to open a Chinese dimsum restaurant in Denmark.
“It may seem like a sentimental talk, but it is actually linked to a Chinese and Buddhist philosophy that I grew up with,” Jian Wu says. The philosophy is based on a basic acceptance that everything changes. The acceptance of the uncertainty that lies in change, Jian Wu learned especially on his flight from China.
“When we opened the restaurant, we looked each other in the eyes and said: what is the worst that can happen? When you have tried to live on the run, you learn to tolerate adversity,” he says.
For Jian Wu, the contribution to the refugees from Ukraine is not only financial. He has paused the development of the restaurant’s menu, put food production in the front seat, and rented a remote warehouse so they are ready to serve free hot meals to all those who come hungry.
“The Ukrainians have lost their homes from one day to the next, and many have lost their loved ones. These are people who are in situations that are very reminiscent of our past. We came here with only two suitcases,” Jian Wu says.
Jian Wu takes no part in the war because in war everyone is a loser, he believes.
But he wants to help those who need it. Therefore, he hopes that the offer of free food can take the brunt of the concerns he thinks the Ukrainian refugees have.