Friendship between Chinese, Jewish people reflected in exhibition

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The friendship between the Chinese and Jewish peoples, which boasts a history of more than 1,000 years, would be reflected in an exhibition of photos depicting relations between China and Israel, a leading Chinese historian told Xinhua Tuesday.

Pan Guang, head of the Center for Jewish Studies Shanghai, said the "Experience China in Israel" event in Tel Aviv, which ends on Oct. 25, would remind both Chinese and Jewish people of their shared experiences.

The research center was responsible for selecting photos for an exhibition focusing on friendly relationship between China and Israel, as part of the largest cultural exchange campaign China has held in Israel.

"Though the Chinese have been deeply influenced by Confucianism, and Jewish people believe in Judaism, the two share many similarities in terms of culture and values," Pan said.

"For example, both nations attach importance to the functions of family and education, and they both are diligent and good at fighting for their ways of life."

These similarities made it easier for the two nations to communicate with and understanding each other, said Pan, who received the Austrian Holocaust Memorial Award in October 2006 for his two decades of research on Jewish people living in Shanghai during the Second World War.

Jewish people arrived in China via the Silk Road in the Sixth Century. Some established a community in Kaifeng, in the central Henan Province.

The Kaifeng Jews have been assimilated into Chinese culture over more than 1,000 years and had always enjoyed the same rights as other ethnic and religious groups in the city, said Pan, who is also a member of the High-level Group of Alliance of Civilizations under the United Nations.

Shanghai accomodated about 30,000 Jewish refugees from the Nazi holocaust in World War Two, and thousands fled to other countries via Shanghai. The Japanese occupiers at the time restricted their residences to the Hongkou District, in northeastern Shanghai.

Pan said at least 40 documentaries about Jewish experiences in Shanghai during the Second World War had been shot and many books been published.

Jointly held by the State Council Information Office of China and Israeli Foreign Ministry, the "Experience China in Israel" event began Monday and is set to conclude at the end of this month.

It shows the development of China in education, economy, technology and contemporary culture.

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