A huge album on life of Jews who have lived in the northernmost
Chinese city Harbin over the past century was published Thursday in
The album with more than 400 precious pictures, published by the
Social Sciences Documents Publishing House, records the history and
life of Jewish people in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang
Province that borders Russia.
According to Qu Wei, director of the Heilongjiang Academy of
Social Sciences, over 20,000 Jews lived in the city in the early
1920s and gradually established a comprehensive social system
there. Historians held that the city was the largest political,
economic and cultural center for Jewish people in East Asia between
the late 19th century and mid-20th century.
China has long endeavored to protect Jewish cultural relics. Old
Jewish schools, streets and houses are kept untouched or have been
renovated in the city or elsewhere in the country.
European Jews first entered China via a business route in the
11th century and many of them settled down in the former capital of
Kaifeng in central China's Henan
Province. At the beginning of last century, some 60,000 Russian
Jews came to northeast China to help construct railway networks.
They soon became the operators of China's first banks, shops and
cinemas in Harbin.
The album includes six parts to tell the Harbin-based Jews'
life, the life of their descendants and their relations with
Chinese people in the past and in today.
(People's Daily October 24, 2003)