Chinese crackdown on Jewish practices in ancient community of Kaifeng


( The Chinese government has been cracking down on the small Jewish community whose ancestors settled in the central Chinese city Kaifeng over 1,000 years ago, according to The New York Times.

Young Chinese men from the Jewish community of Kaifeng pray with Tefillin. Credit: YouTube screenshot.

Only 100 to 200 Chinese Jews are active out of 1,000 claiming Jewish ancestry in Kaifeng and have been targeted by President Xi Jinping’s government campaign against non-licensed religions.

Organizations that have helped in rebuilding the Jewish community have been shut down, and the government has prohibited gatherings for Passover and other Jewish holidays, closed Hebrew and Judaism classes and removed Jewish historical signs and objects from public places.

Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Taoism are the only approved state religions in Communist China.

“The whole policy is very tight now,” Guo Yan, 35, a tour guide, who runs a small museum on Kaifeng’s Jewish past, told The Times. “China is sensitive about foreign activities and interference.”    

No arrests have been made and the Jewish community can still gather in small groups to pray, but they are closely monitored by the government.

Posted on September 26, 2016 .