What do people in Albania think of China and Chinese?
Andrew Jacob Johnson, lived in Albania
Others have addressed China as a country, so I want to address interpersonal views on Chinese people. As my only disclaimer, I want to be perfectly clear that I love living and visiting there, and that I find Albanians to be overwhelmingly friendly and generously welcoming. None of what I say below is meant with any ill will. That said, it's a solid description of my experiences there with them.
Speaking to the culture in general, non-white foreigners, and particularly from outside Europe, the US, or Canada, are ill-thought of, treated poorly, or excluded from society. People outside that grouping will typically be living and associating in very small social circles of their own cultures, or only be visiting the area temporarily. I had little experience seeing or talking with Chinese people there, but what experience I did have fits with my descriptions.
The most common examples of foreigners that I saw in this category were Black men from France who had come to play on soccer teams, but the few Chinese individuals I saw had very much the same experiences. They were regularly heckled on the streets, particularly by teenage boys, and adults were not subtle about staring if they passed by on the sidewalks. These foreigners that I talked to said they were just used to it, but their spirits were definitely down about it and never felt very at home.
So, individuals were rather prejudiced against the Chinese people they met, but mostly as a subset of all the races they were unfamiliar with personally, and not because of any historical, political, or cultural conflict with China. Individuals were not typically inclined to be more accepting or inclusive of other races.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47087.html 译者：Joyceliu
Fred Fang, Architect at Alta Architecture (2015-present)
I’m in my early 30s, and I visited Albania in 2016 with very little knowledge about this country; luckily I was with my father and his friends, they were all in their late 50s and early 60s, highly educated and successful Chinese people, who went through the good times (now) as well as the bad times (1960–1970s).
On the tourist bus, the old folks started to discuss about what it was like back then when China and Albania shared close co unist ties. There was even a song about this close relationship, and they started singing “… Beijing Tirana, China Albania…” their generation certainly had some sort of nostalgia and a peculiar emotional attachment towards Albania.
The reason being, i guess, back then China was in extreme poverty with its own people not well fed, yet China aided Albania tremendously to gain its support in international affairs, they seemed to be best buddies at the time, and then things ended pretty bad very quickly. It’s a way of expressing how they’ve seen changes happen to them and the wheel of history rolls forward without concerning individual people, but that’s another story.
We had this dog following our tourist group on Tirana street, barking at anyone or cars that get close to us, as if trying to guard and protect this odd Chinese tourist group. No one on the street seemed to care about who we are, only a passing-by construction worker asked us in English where we are from, and when we said China, he replied with a calm yet emotionless tone “China is a good country”.
We also visited a museum for Albanian national hero Skenderbeu at a small town outside of Tirana( with name I cannot recall).
The head manager of the museum was also with us at the time, he was a older man probably in his 50s. Noticing my father’s curiousity, he started telling us, in Albanian, his childhood memories of a Chinese lady engineer visiting their house every so often, bringing him little toys from China, which he kept till today. Back then China sent engineers to this town to build power plant, the electricity they used today was still from the same plant.
He continued saying that the lady also brought them with some sort of oil… little round things (hand gesturing)… something you rub on your forehead with your fingers (hand gesturing), and it helps with headaches… the conversation was between 4 people, juggling between Albanian, English and Chinese, so we were lost in translation because the translators couldn’t understand what it was.
“ it’s Wanjin oil!” My father yelled in Chinese with great joy and excitement. Only he understood what the manager was referring to. It was a beautiful moment, back then the Chinese lady couldn't speak Albanian, nor could the museum manager speak Chinese, but they nonetheless become close friends.
In the end, my father took a photo with the museum manager, and it looks like this:
This moment is very moving and touching to me, I’ve never expeienced an European/westerner being so sincere and warm towards a Chinese he just met. Maybe it is the good old co unist comrade thing, but who cares, it’s the best shine of humanity.
My father later on told me that the museum manager was holding his hand so firmly that it brought tears to his eyes, and the tears were swirling and twirling, and nearly came out…
So here it is, my side of the story of how Albanian thinks of China and Chinese, and vise versa. This is my first post in Quora, i just thought it’s a good story worth sharing with you all.
May we all work towards a bright future and a better world together!
Erlin Hysenbelliu, Developer (2013-present)
This is a tough question to be honest. As an Albanian married to a Chinese I might be able to give some insight. The thing is that the average Albanian has little to no knowledge about China, at best they have seen one in some kung-fu movie. What others said about Chinese products is true, but many countries have such perceptions of Chinese products although in Albania people have imported. This all varies from generation to education level. My aunt rents her shop to a Chinese couple in Tirana, I never heard them say anything bad about Chinese. My friends and family all love my wife, although when I tell other Albanians that my wife is Chinese they can’t help it but giggle a little. They don’t mean anything bad, they just find it a bit strange and hard to imagine. As I mentioned earlier almost none of them have ever met a Chinese in person.
But to sum it up, they think Chinese are some small creatures from some other universe. That they are very smart and know how to sell but make a lot of cheap knock-offs. The younger generation thinks of them a bit different thanks to Korean and Japanese culture.
Evans Hiro, studied High School Education (2019)
I live in Tirana and there is a little line of shops following each other in the Medrese and we call them only the chinese. I love China and Chinese people! We usually have to learn a bit about China and Chinese in history every year and it is a great variety of information even though not that much.When I was little my father and I would usually go to the Chinese shops in Medrese and would have a hot tea with a chinese lady there.The tea brings back memories and in fact it was so good that I always loved to go there and stay.The old chinese lady there actually had a daughter my age back than and we were both too shy(I would hide between a box or something back than).My father would usually talk about the country,the past,the bad economy and how we cannot be like at least Croatia and etc. with the old lady. I liked the chinese culture and their languange as well as history,and I still do!
Well stereotypes still exist.I don’t live in Albania but my parents lived there until the age of 35 and I grew up kinda Albanian-Greek(since I live in Greece).Even Albanians that are immigrants,have access to internet and live in an open minded society(compared to Albanian society),they still can be racists and ignorant.If you ask my parents they’re going to tell you how China is rising but their products are of low quality.They know Chinese people are hard workers and smart and they praise them for that.They seem to make a differentiation between China and Japan because Japan has a huge technology(meaning that Japan is better).As for the other Asian countries they don’t have an idea.The idea that Albanias are better unfortunately still exists.The truth is that other than Albanian and American culture(I visited Albania after many years and I was shocked to see American flags everywhere,that’s how much Albanians idolize Americans) Albania doen’t really bother with the rest of the world,they still lack basic things(villages don’t have water,electricity etc) so you can imagine they won’t bother much with what happens outside the country.I can’t imagine what it would feel like for a Chinese(or anyone from a different race) to live in Albania,I mean whenever I go they can very quickly distinguish that I’m a ‘’foreigner’’ because of my accent.Since I may be laughed at sometimes it’s only natural that it happens to other people too.Albania has a long way to go but it’s making a progress!
Arjeta Zenelaj, Singer-songwriter
I am an Albanian , and according to your question I think it depends in generations . The older generation maybe can recognize China from the com-ist re gie , as their only aleat during that time , so maybe you can say that ‘share” the co unist ties . Their “relationship” was so close that one funny fact is that now we ask from China to give us some old Albanians movies that Albania doesn’t have in their archives .The younger generation has another perspective . I am currently studying Chinese in Confucius Institution , and we are a lot of people especially youth , and when you start learning a new language you learn a lot for the culture of that place. and I can say that I am fascinated by the Chinese culture .Actually a lot of people here know little Chinese and the International students from Albania in China especially in Beijing and Shanghai are raising year by year. So I can say that Albanians are seeing now China as a new opportunity , especially from the fact that China is becoming one of the main investors of Albania or the the big opportunities it offers to Internationals .There are a lot of Chinese in here , and they say that they feel like home so you can imagine our opinion (Anyway Albanians are known in History as great hosts , generous and friendly, but for my opinion the respect for Chinese people its something that we have inherited from the previous generations .)
Andi Domi, lives in Albania
I can certainly say, now, they are in excellent relationships.
Just like Marie Le said, Albania and China had some kind of economic and social (being both co unist countries) relations. Even tho after a while the relations between the two countries ended quite abruptly.
But nowadays they are cooperating again. If Im not wrong just before yesterday our prime minister Mr.Edi Rama, was in China to sign some mutual collaboration agreement between the two countries, mostly economic one.
And some are in already under development, for example a Chinese company won the right to build the "rruga e Arbrit" translated to "Arbër's route. A highway that will connect Tirana (our capital) with "Dibrën e Madhe" (Macedonia) .
More than this i just can say that personally I have a big respect for Chinese people living here, they are hard workers, really communicative and the one that actually try to learn Albanian, which per se is not a easy language ...
有些项目已经开工，例如有家中国公司赢得了建造“rruga e Arbrit”的权利，该项目被翻译成“Arber公路”。是连接地拉那(我们的首都)和马其顿的高速公路。
There are a lot of misconceptions about Chinese food, thats the reason why you don't find many chinese restaurants in Tirana. They think chinese only cook cats and dogs which people in Albania don't eat.
Apart from the food misconception the view of Chinese people from Albanians is positive. They won't discriminate in job applications or similar.
There are a lot of chinese people that have learned Albanian and live in Tirana and from what I have seen, they are happy there.
booms unknown, studied at Alternia High School
I live in Kosovo,but people here almost the same as in Albania.( We are Albanians,but we speak a bit differently (Dialect Gheg) )
I'm gonna tell you by my perspective To be honest we don't think much of the Chinese people,we sometimes make jokes out of their products and on how much Chinese people are in the world,and when we see one we start talking random words we heard in movies and see if they can understand us.
We have no problems with them,and I wouldn't mind having a Chinese friend.
(To bad China doesn't recognize Kosovo yet though.)
Besmira Nushi, Computer Science
Of course it is always nice not to ask questions as anonymous. Nevertheless, here goes my perspective on this. China has a pretty good reputation in Albania. Chinese people are considered smart and hard working. Chinese literature and art does not have a very high impact and people do not know much about it but this is true also for other Asian cultures. In the 80's the impact was much higher because of the relationships between the two countries
This is what I think:
China is a great country that they produce everything.
Chinese people are admired for their abilities and their motivation and can achieve almost everything.
One more thing. Everyone here thinks that Chinese can copy anything.
Greg Dill, lived in Albania
I live in Tirana and it is my perception that Albanians don't think too highly of the Chinese. Especially their products. And, because their cheap products are known to be poor quality, Albanians are fed up with the Chinese in general. I have personally seen Chinese people get mocked here. There is a small Chinese community located at the Medreseja on Rruga Dibres and this community doesn't seem to be too well respected, only tolerated.
I used to work in a bar in Tirana , in a area with a lot of tourists around the world. Mostly the chinese were normal but a little bit loud. However i saw some chinese men being rude ,laughing loud and also removing their shirts and keeping the stomac outside. For me it was very wierd and rude. I wouldnt say that the chinese are like that.I have met a lot of them in street and all of them were well behaved .
Lation Hyka, lives in Albania
I just want to mention an important information regarding China. Albania is one of the main reason that China is now part of the United Nations. Just check the resistance Albania made to US ambasador in the UN.
Smilyana Lozanova, Professional violinist and violin teacher, yogi and mom
I don't think I am quite qualified to answer this question as I come from a little further east than Albania but I do agree with Alfred Metushi on two points: Chinese products and our belief that Chinese would steal and replicate ideas. I guess it's a belief that many people in Eastern Europe hold. We also tend to still see Chinese food as tasty but exotic (with a hope that it doesn't turn out we're having cockroaches or something even more unexpected for dinner).
Marie Le, works at Volunteering
At the time of dic ship in Albania, Albania and China were "sister coutries" so although Albania was a closed country, they had quite a lot of chinese influences. Even today you would still see a few ladies with chinese umbrellas in the streets of Albania.