Speaking of Jews in China

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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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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