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Restaurant in Beijing comes alive in silence

By Du Juan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-01-02 10:36

Cooks at Mina's Restaurant discuss plans for their New Year's celebration in 2019 with deaf waiters and friends. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The couple believed artists would be the majority of their customers, as many of them live in Songzhuang.

"Artists seem more tolerant of others, so I accepted his idea," Mi said. "We asked Fang Fang, the heroine of the movie, to work with us, and she agreed. She has become like one of the family now."

When the restaurant was opened in 2008, they had only four deaf waiters besides Fang. Over the past 14 years, around 60 deaf people have worked there.

In the restaurant, cultural activities tailor-made for deaf people are held on Dec 31 every year. "Many deaf people all over China come here to enjoy themselves on this special night, but in the past three years, we could not get together because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe we will meet each other soon after this winter," Mi said.

Lin Fan, a customer who has been to the restaurant often, said there is not much difference of eating there compared with other places.

"The food is good and we can communicate smoothly with body language with those waiters," he said. "The environment is quiet and fit for friends chatting. Mi Na and Su Qing have done a good job by bringing deaf people a social life. We are happy to see them around."

According to the China Disabled Persons' Federation, in 2021 around 8.82 million certified disabled people, both in urban and rural areas in the nation, manage to get jobs.

"It will be increasingly common to be workmates with people having disabilities because of the development of the internet," said Liao Juan, an expert on the employment of people with disabilities and an associate professor of Capital Normal University.

"An increasing number of disabled people are willing to work with us as more jobs emerge," Liao said. "Mina's Restaurant has set a good example in this regard."

Duan Ling contributed to this story.

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