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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in China

The first Jews in China - Mongul rule - Jewish refugees from Russia and from NS Germany in Shanghai - emigration after 1945 - Herzl Israel and Chinese support for PLO - no human rights

Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: China,
                                vol. 5, col. 469: map with the main
                                places of Jewish settlement in China
                                from the eighth century to modern times.
                                Number indicates century.
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: China, vol. 5, col. 469: map with the main places of Jewish
settlement in China from the eighth century to modern times. Number indicates century.

from: China; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 5

presented by Michael Palomino (2008)



<CHINA, country of eastern Asia.

Early Jewish Visitors And Settlers.

Individual Jews might have visited China before the eighth century, but the first authentic evidence of their presence dates only from that period. Two fragmentary documents of this period were found in Khotan, Chinese Turkestan (now Sinkiang Province), then the westernmost outpost of the Chinese Empire. Sir Aurel *Stein during his explorations here in 1901 found a mutilated Persian document in Hebrew script, part of a business letter dating from 718. Shortly afterward Paul Pelliot discovered, among thousands of Chinese manuscripts, a single-leaf Jewish prayer text written in square Hebrew letters. The prayer was still folded when found; apparently the owner had carried it on his person in (col. 468)

this way. Both Jewish visitors probably arrived by caravan from or via Persia across Central Asia.

While these visitors traveled by land, other Jews arrived in China by sea along the Muslim trade route to the southern Chinese port of *Canton, Kwangtung Province. There, during a rebellion in 878-79 some 120,000 Muslims, Jews, and other foreigners are said to have been massacred.

The Jews who entered Khotan and Canton may never have had an opportunity of seeing the interior of China. Their stay was temporary and they exercised no lasting influence. Reports that there were other Jewish communities in Chüanchow (Zayton), Fukien Province, and Ningpo, Chekiang Province, may be true, but cannot be corroborated.

[Jewish immigrants speaking Persian - professions and products - Mongol rule]

Under the declining Sun Dynasty a cohesive Jewish group of some 1,000 people, including women and children, settled in the ninth or tenth century at the invitation of the emperor in *Kaifeng, capital of Honan Province. They spoke New Persian and arrived from either India or Persia. Some 250 of their descendants, whose Jewishness has been lost through intermarriage, are still living in Kaifeng. By profession the original settlers were specialists in the manufacture, dyeing, or pattern-printing of cotton fabrics. This industry was then being developed in China to meet the chronic silk shortage.

Additional information is available regarding Jews in China under the Yüan Dynasty. Marco Polo, who visited China toward the end of the 13th century,

[[according to the latest research Marco Polo is an invention]]

reported that Jews, Muslims, and Christians were disputing the advantages (col. 469)

of their respective religions before the Mongol conqueror and his court.

Moreover, three decrees pertaining to Jews were issued in China under Mongol rule, indicating that the number of Jews in China at that period must have been sizable:

(1) "Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans shall be taxed as before..." (1329)

(2) *levirate marriages (Halizah) were prohibited (1340); these were practiced among Jews and Muslims, but were an abomination in the eyes of the Chinese, Mongols, and Manchus; and

(3) wealthy Muslims and Jews were summoned to the capital to join the army (1354).

no new Jewish communities were formed in China until the middle of the 19th century.

Modern Jewish Communities.

[Jews in China 1840-1937 - numbers]

Jews settled in China from the 1840s with the cession of *Hong Kong to Great Britain and the establishment of foreign concessions in *Shanghai, *Tientsin, and other cities. In Hong Kong the Jews were predominantly British subjects. Many of them went there from India and Iraq. By 1937, about 10,000 Jews were living in China. Some 2,000 lived in Shanghai, consisting of about 1,000 of various European nationalities (250 old-timers and 750 early refugees from Nazism); some 500 from Russia; some 400 British subjects, mostly from India and Iraq; and some 50 from America.

Tientsin had a Jewish population of about 2,000, about half of whom were of Russian origin, the remainder of various European nationalities. The Russian-Jewish population in *Harbin amounted to some 5,000 people, not counting small Jewish communities in other Japanese occupied Manchurian cities, especially Dairen. Most of these Russian Jews were refugees from the Russian Revolution of 1917.

[Jewish refugees from NS Germany in Japanese Shanghai - Japanese Jews deported to Shanghai]

The greatest influx of Jews in China was, however, caused by Hitlerism. Some 18,000 to 20,000 victims of Nazism found a precarious shelter in Japanese-occupied (col. 470)

Shanghai between 1938 and 1941. After the outbreak of war in the Pacific in 1941, the Japanese deported their own Jewish community via *Yokohama to Shanghai. Transient Jewish refugees from Europe on their way to other parts of the world, who were stranded in Japan due to the outbreak of the war, suffered the same fate.

Thus, on the eve of the Pacific War a total of between 25,000 and 30,000 Jews were living in China, including *Manchuria.

[Jewish emigration after 1945 - Russian Jews have to return to Stalin's terror Russia]

After the end of World War II the Jews in China, most of whom were living under miserable conditions in Shanghai, were given an opportunity to proceed to other parts of the world, largely with American aid. Russian Jews were urged by diplomatic representatives of the Soviet Union to return to that country. Those Jews of Russian origin who were unable to reach North or South America, Israel, or other countries automatically had to return to the Soviet Union. Practically all the Russian Jews in Manchuria were in this position, because Manchuria was cut off from the rest of the country by civil war.

A few elderly Jewish residents without families were allowed to live out their days in Shanghai. Neither the Nationalist Chinese Government on Formosa (Taiwan), nor the Chinese People's Republic on the mainland have any diplomatic relations with Israel. At present there are virtually no Jews living in China except in Hong Kong.

See also *Ai Tien, *Chao, *Hangchow, *Ningpo, and *Mongolia.


Table. Jews in China
number of Jews
9th-10th century
col. 469 Sun Dynasty
about 10,000 xxxxxx

col. 470
2,000 in Shanghai:
250 old-timers
750 early refugees from Nazism
some 500 from Russia
some 400 British mostly from Indian and Iraq
some 50 from "America"

2,000 in Tientsin:
about 1,000 from Russia
the rest with various European nationalities

5,000 in Harbin (all Russian Jews)

further small Jewish communities in Manchurian cities, above all Dairen.

Most of these Russian Jews were refugees from the Russian Revolution of 1917.
+ 18-20,000
col. 470
Jewish refugees from NS Germany
col. 471
including Manchuria
+ x
col. 471
Japanese Jews and Jewish refugees in Japan deported to Shanghai
Table by Michael Palomino; from: China; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 5, col. 470-471

Table. Jews in China according to the different towns and regions
Year or Century
Main Origin
9th cent.
Numerous massacred together with Muslims etc., Remainder disappeared
14th cent.
14th cent.
Hong Kong

Sephardim, British subjects [[from Indian, Iraq]]

Half Sephardim, half Ashkenazim


70 Sephardim, 160 Ashkenazim
(mainly Harbin)
Early 20th cent., 1917-1946
few 5,000
(mainly Ulan Bator (Urga)
Refugees, 600 in Urga were killed or fled to China
15th-17th cent.
20th cent.
250 from Europe, 50 from America, 400 from Baghdad
British subjects

Poland, Baltic States, Germany, Austria, Italy, Balkan States
European refugees from Hitlerism
17th cent.

c. 100
20th cent.
1,000 Russians, 100 Europeans
15th-16th cent.

10th-12th cent.

17th cent.
Surviving descendants of Jewish community

18th-20th cent.
from: China; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 5, col. 469

China and [[Herzl]] Israel.

[1950: Herzl Israel recognizes Mao's terror China]

Relations between the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) and Israel evolved mainly around the question of establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries. Israel was among the first group of countries, outside the Communist bloc, that recognized the P.R.C. This recognition was granted in January 1950 and resulted in the formal severing of relations between Israel and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

In the first years after its establishment, the P.R.C. displayed a desire to set up full diplomatic relations with Israel. The factor of Arab hostility toward Israel did not yet play a role in Communist China' consideration of this question since, in the early 1950s, the P.R.C. envisioned no strong possibilities of establishing firm ties with the Arab states, which were then mostly monarchical and strongly attached to the West and to what China considered the reactionary camp.

The next step, however, namely the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel, by means of mutual representation, suffered a setback because of the involvement of the P.R.C. in the Korean War and the prohibitive attitude of the United States toward the question of diplomatic relations between any country and government in Peking.

[[By this connection can see that Herzl Free Mason CIA Israel is only a puppet state of the "USA"]].

[1955: Jewish delegation visiting China]

After contacts were made in various parts of the world between the representatives of Israel and those of the P.R.C., and especially the contacts between the Israel minister in Rangoon, David Hacohen, with his Chinese counterpart, an Israel delegation, which was defined as a trade and goodwill delegation, was invited to visit China. Headed by David Hacohen, it visited China from Jan. 31 to Feb. 19, 1955, and held talks with the heads of the Chinese Foreign Office and economic officials. Its function was to examine closely the possibility of developing trade relations and the subject of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Even before the delegation's visit, but in light of contacts maintained at that time between the Israel representative and those of the P.R.C., an announcement was made by Chinese prime minister and foreign minister Chou En-Lai, at the meeting of the first National People's (col. 472)

Congress in September 1954, that "contacts are being made with a view to establishing normal relations between China and Israel."

When its visit in Peking terminated, the Israel delegation invited a reciprocal Chinese delegation to visit Israel in order to continue the contacts. The expected affirmative response to this invitation would have been regarded by the Israel government as a sign of the mutuality of the contacts. The P.R.C., however, never responded to this invitation.

Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: China,
                                vol. 5, col. 469, table with the Jewish
                                settlements in China, demography of
                                major Jewish communities in China
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: China, vol. 5, col. 469, table with the Jewish settlements in China,
demography of major Jewish communities in China

[since 1955: China establishing diplomatic relations with Arab countries - communist influence in Arab states - Herzl Israel is "out"]

The Afro-Asian summit conference in Bandung (April 1955), which took place shortly after the Israel delegation's visit in Peking, dealt with the question of the P.R.C.'s relations with the Arab countries and, subsequently, its relations with Israel. This conference noted the beginnings of relations between Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser and Chinese Prime Minister Chou En-Lai, and shortly thereafter diplomatic relations were established between the P.R.C. and Egypt, later followed by Syria and a number of other Arab countries.

The question of relations with Israel was abandoned by the P.R.C. Moreover, since the time a breakthrough was made to the Arab world, the P.R.C. began to consider the opportunities provided by the Middle East by the Israel-Arab conflict for the penetration of Communist Chinese influence into the area. After the Bandung conference the establishment of relations between the P.R.C. and the Arab states began, and the former was no longer interested in relations with [[Herzl]] Israel.

From 1956, and especially after the Sinai Campaign, the leaders of the P.R.C. began to broadcast violent condemnations and denunciations of Israel, which it characterized as a "tool of imperialism". [[This is the correct prescription for the Herzl program, but China for itself had committed a mass murder holocaust concerning the "Big Step Forward" and did not resolve it's problems...]].

This anti-Israel stand became even harsher with the (col. 473)

passage of time. In the mid-1960s, the P.R.C.'s concept of the "war of national liberation" began to take root in some Arab states - especially in Syria - and Communist China reciprocated by expressing its support for every anti-Israel Arab action.

[China recognizing PLO - China supporting PLO with weapons, money, and propaganda support against the imperialist Herzl Free Mason CIA Israel puppet state of the "USA" for a victory of the PLO]

After its establishment, the Arab terrorist group, the Palestine Liberation Organization (P.L.O.), was recognized by the P.R.C. and was active in Peking. Chinese contacts with the P.L.O. were strengthened following the visit of Ahmed Shukeiry, its general secretary, to Peking in March 1965. Subsequently the P.L.O. was supplied by China with arms, financial and propaganda support, and training for its members in guerrilla warfare.

The Six-Day War (1967) lent new impetus to the anti-Israel activities of the P.R.C.

[[The 10,000s of Palestinians driven away by the Jewish Herzl army are not mentioned]].

Its relations with the Palestinian terrorist organizations grew progressively stronger, and it supported any extreme force in the area. At the beginning of 1970, the chairman of the executive committee of the P.L.O. and leader of al-Fatah, Yasser Arafat, visited Peking and was received there with the honors and diplomatic privileges accorded to a representative of a sovereign state.

The P.R.C. regards the war of the Arab states against Israel as part of the worldwide anti-imperialist struggle. The State of Israel is almost always mentioned in the same breath with the U.S., as its puppet [[and this is right. But communism in China is not at all better at this time with the "cultural revolution"...]]

Communist China's declared policy is opposed to any political settlement in the Middle East, and it repeatedly exhorts the Arab countries to pursue the way of "protracted war" until victory is achieved. [[Human rights would be the victory]].

The P.R.C. accused the U.S.S.R. of cooperating with the U.S. in frustrating the cause of the Arab countries. In contrast to the somewhat reserved attitude of the U.S.S.R. toward the Arab terrorist organizations, the P.R.C. maintains an attitude of complete support. The question of Palestine and the P.R.C.'s support for the "struggle of the Palestinian people" became the basic factor in the relations between the P.R.C. and all the Arab states and in its policy toward the area as a whole.

[[Human rights would be the victory]].


-- W.C. White: Chinese Jews (1966), includes bibliography
-- D.S. Margoliouth et al., in: JRAS (1903), 735-60
-- P. Berger and M. Schwab, in: JA, 1 (1913), pt. 2, 139-75
-- E. Ezra: Chinese Jews (1925)
-- S. Rabinovitz, in: Gesher, 3 pt. 2 (1957), 108-21
-- H. Dicker: Wanderers and Settlers in the Far East (1962)
-- Shunami, Bibl. 389-90> (col. 474)


Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: China, vol. 5, col.
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: China, vol. 5, col. 468
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: China, vol. 5, col.
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