Jews in China

Most scholars agree that a Jewish community has occupied Kaifeng in the Henan province of China since the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), though some date their influx to the Tang Dynasty (618–907) or earlier. On a branch of the Silk Road it is likely that Jewish merchants descended on Kaifeng territory. During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), a Ming emperor conferred eight surnames upon the Jews, by which they are identifiable today: Ai, Shi, Gao, Gan, Jin, Li, Zhang, and Zhao. By the beginning of the 20th century one of these clans, the Zhang, had largely converted to Islam. It is difficult to estimate the number of Jews in China. 25,000 Jews left Germany for Shanghai during the 1930’s. The last census revealed about 400 official Jews in Kaifeng, now estimated at some 100 families totalling approximately 500 people. Up to 1,000 residents have ties to Jewish ancestry. Jews have intermarried with local Chinese sufficiently to be indistinguishable in appearance from their non-Jewish neighbours. The founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1921 and its formidable rise is testament to their concealment and manipulation.

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