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Album on Life of Jews in Northeast China Published

A huge album on life of Jews who have lived in the northernmost Chinese city Harbin over the past century was published Thursday in Beijing.

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.

(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2003)

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