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September 27, 2016 6:14 am
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Chinese Government Cracks Down on Practices of Small Jewish Community

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Young Chinese men from the Jewish community of Kaifeng pray with Tefillin. Credit: YouTube screenshot.

Young Chinese men from the Jewish community of Kaifeng pray with Tefillin. Credit: YouTube screenshot.

JNS.org — The Chinese government has been cracking down on the religious practices of a small Jewish community whose ancestors settled in a central Chinese city over 1,000 years ago, according to The New York Times.

Some 100 to 200 individuals in the town of Kaifeng — out of 1,000 total who claim Jewish ancestry — remain actively observant, and they have been targeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government campaign to squash non-licensed religions.

According to the report, the government has shut down organizations that helped to rebuild the Jewish community, prohibited gatherings for Passover and other Jewish holidays, closed Hebrew and Judaism classes and removed Jewish historical signs and objects from public spaces.

“The whole policy is very tight now,” Guo Yan, 35, a tour guide who runs a small museum on Kaifeng’s Jewish past, told the Times. “China is sensitive about foreign activities and interference.”

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No arrests have been made and the Jewish community can still gather in small groups to pray, but they are closely monitored by the government.

The approved state religions in Communist China are limited to Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Taoism.

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