Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Crackdown on Chinese Jews in Kaifeng reported

THIS DOESN'T SOUND GOOD: Chinese authorities reportedly crack down on Jewish revival in Kaifeng.
(JTA) — Chinese authorities reportedly have cracked down on a Jewish revival in the city of Kaifeng.

The government has shut down Jewish organizations, prohibited residents identifying as Jewish from gathering for Jewish holidays and removed public identification of Jewish historical places on the city in central China, The New York Times reported over the weekend.

About 1,000 Kaifeng residents claim Jewish ancestry in a city population of 4.5 million, and about 100 to 200 have been active in Jewish religious and cultural activities, the Times reported.

Judaism is not one of China’s five state-licensed religions, which are Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Taoism.

So license it then. It sounds as though the Chinese Government would do well to review its policies and lighten up a bit. The world is watching.

The Jewish community in Kaifeng goes back to at least around 900 CE and a Jewish presence in China is attested still earlier. Background here and here and links. The New York Times article by Chris Buckley, mentioned above is here: Jewish and Chinese: Explaining a Shared Identity.

I wish that there were more good news in the stories I pass on about surviving ancient religious communities like the Kaifeng Jews and the Yazidis.