Speaking of Jews in China

| Wed Feb. 7, 2007 5:26 PM EST

China has a hot new class of business self-improvement books. One promises "The Eight Most Valuable Business Secrets of the Jewish" according to the Washington Post. Another tempts buyers with "The Legend of Jewish Wealth."

You'd think that the books would go on to offer Borat-style stereotypes of Jews. But they don't seem to. Yes, the wealthy Jew is itself a destructive stereotype, and the Chinese interest in Jews is a little creepy, to be sure. China, a country of 1.3 billion people, is home to just 10,000 Jews. A recent reality-style show filmed a Jewish couple in their home, interviewing them about what they ate and other fascinating topics.

But the Chinese seem to identify with Jews, or at least Jews as they imagine them, believing that both people share an entrepreneurial sprit, according to Zhou Guojian, deputy dean of the Center for Jewish Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

The books' authors, however, aren't Jewish, nor are they especially knowledgeable about Jews. In fact, when the Post reporters tried to track one down, they hit a wall. If this blogger's second-job as a writer of ESL materials to be sold in Korea is any guide, some poor blogger probably wrote the books only to have someone else's name slapped on them.

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