The Common Ground between China and Israel

June 7, 2017

The Jews and the Chinese have four things in common: loyalty to family, a high respect for education, a willingness to work long hours for low pay, and a canny acumen for business. Because of these similarities, the Chinese have even been called the Jews of Asia.

The Jews have a long history with China. In China: A New Promised Land, by R. E. Prindle in an interview with David Grossman, Israel’s leading novelist talks about the Jews moving to China.

When a father goes to work in China, he works for his family; not himself. After the children grow up, they must care for their parents; not the other way around like the United States.  In the U.S., many parents tell their children to do whatever they want and be anything they want. Most children follow that advice even if it means getting a degree to become an artist or skipping college to chase dreams of acting, singing, or sports fame while attending parties or visiting theme parks like Disneyland because mom and dad said, “We want you to be happy and to have fun.”

It’s different for many Jews and Chinese. Working hard and earning an education are important to both cultures.  A close friend and his wife, both Jewish, took out a loan on their home so their son could become a doctor and their daughter a lawyer. They bought a condominium near the university their children attended for an investment and a place to live for their children while in college. Both the mother and father were public school teachers, and they did not earn much, which shows that Jewish parents, like the Chinese, are willing to sacrifice for their children in ways many American parents would find unacceptable in the age of credit cards and instant gratification.

This willingness to sacrifice for the family and nation may have been the reason the Jews won the Six-Day War against overwhelming odds. Although the Chinese have the same values and are willing to make the same sacrifices for family, they did not know how to fight like the Jews. Something the surviving Jews must have learned due to Nazi atrocities.

After a tour of combat in Vietnam, I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California in 1967. Between June 5 – 10, six months after I returned from Vietnam, Israel fought the Six-Day War defeating several Islamic nations that had twice the troops Israel had, more combat aircraft and many more tanks.

It was Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Kuwait, Tunisia, Sudan and the PLO against Israel.

Israel’s had a total of 264,000 troops with only 100,000 deployed. The Islamic nations had a total of 547,000 troops with 240,000 deployed. Israel had 800 tanks to Islam’s 2,504, and 300 combat aircraft to Islam’s 957.

After Israel’s victory, I said, “We should let Israel fight the Vietnam War for us.  At least Israel’s leaders know how to fight.” The other Marines agreed.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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The Role of Religion

March 26, 2011

While reading Religion flourishes in political and historical titles by Henry L. Carrigan Jr. in ForeWord magazine, I thought of China’s history with religion, and saw no comparison as to how religion has influenced beliefs and politics in the West.

Carrigan wrote a seamless piece mentioning fourteen titles that deal with atheists and religion in America. After reading the piece, it’s obvious why Western religion plays such an important role in US politics.

However, in China, religion has never had a role and probably never will. In fact, religion never had an impact on China until after the First Opium War early in the 19th century. The result was the Taiping Rebellion led by a converted Christian known as God’s Chinese son.

More than twenty million died due to God’s Chinese son. Imagine how that influenced opinions regarding Christianity in China. The first major contact with a Western religion ends in bloodshed and much suffering.

The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt took place around 1504 to 1254 BC about the time of the Shang Dynasty (1783 – 1123 BC). A few Jews (not enough to establish the religion in China and have a lasting impact) would reach China almost twenty-four hundred years later.

In 312 AD, Constantine adopted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, and he did it for political reasons.

Next came the rise of Islam after Mohammad proclaimed the message of believing in one God about 610 AD.

Freedom of religion in America wouldn’t be guaranteed until July 4, 1776.

The evolution of religion in the West spans thousands of years, yet China’s Western critics expect the Chinese to accept these religions and allow them to have an important role in Chinese culture almost overnight.

Carrigan writes, “Over the past decade, most polls have consistently found that 95 percent of Americans say they believe in God…”

However, more than a billion Chinese do not belong to any organized religion. It is estimated that the number of Christians in China number 40 to 100 million depending on whom you believe. If the high number is correct, that’s still less than ten percent of the population compared to America’s 95%.

In fact, religion in China has mostly been family-oriented for thousands of years.

Some scholars doubt the use of the term “religion” in reference to Buddhism and Taoism, and suggest “cultural practices” or “thought systems” as more appropriate.

Generally, the percentage of people in China that call themselves religious is the lowest in the world compared to America, which is probably the highest number.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Jewish Visitors to China

January 25, 2011

A friend sent me a link to a New York Times Freakonomics Opinion Page where Stephen J. Dubner lifted a paragraph from Newsweek of Jewish visitors to China hearing that they are “very smart, very clever and very good at business” from Chinese they meet.

Is this an example of a stereotype, the truth or a mix of both?

As I often do, I found the comments more interesting than the post.  However, this time, I found the comments (with a few exceptions) of a higher quality than most.

Here are a few examples of comments following the Freakonomics post: Eric M. Jones says, “Basically a smart Jewish kid is supported, appreciate and encouraged to persevere.”


Brief History of Kaifeng Jews

Note—Many Chinese also support and encourage their children to work hard and not give up. Both Jews and Chinese tend to respect earning an education more so than the other racial groups.

Drill Baby says, “The Jews are a Diaspora, and though they have not grown their own empire, (they) have had secondary and behind the scenes roles in just about every modern world movement. If China ascends to a world power it would be exceptional in that it has NO Jewish roots, advisers, or talent.”

Note—I suspect Drill Baby would be surprised to learn that Jews have been in China more than a thousand years. During the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD), Jews arrived in China and the emperor offered them a home in Kaifeng, the capital of the time. The Tang emperor encouraged the Jews to build a synagogue there, which they did.

Diego.CMS says, “Chinese also like the concept that Jewish people are also hard workers and have money. The Chinese are trying to get better and why not copy the good things from other cultures, specially the Jews?”

D says, “Is there any group with an avg IQ above 100 that isn’t clever, smart, and good at business? It ain’t the Talmud. It’s IQ.”

Note—You may be surprised to learn from Living With Evolution or Dying Without It by K. D. Koratsky that “D” may be correct.

Koratsky’s Racial Group IQ Comparisons (page 575) show European Jews with the highest average IQ at about 110 with Asians close behind at 105.  Caucasians, Hispanics (Latinos) and African-Americans have lower average IQs.

Learn of Jews in Modern China

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The State of Religion in Today’s China

December 19, 2010

The U.S. Department of State reports that China is officially atheist (and has been for thousands of years). However, Taoist, Buddhist, Christian and Muslims are allowed to worship in China and these religions have a significant role in the lives of many Chinese.

A February 2007 survey conducted by East China Normal University and reported in China’s state-run media concluded that 31.4% of Chinese citizens ages 16 and over are religious believers.

While the Chinese constitution affirms “freedom of religious belief,” the Chinese Government places restrictions on religious practice outside officially recognized organizations. The five state-sanctioned “patriotic religious associations” are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism.

Singapore, another nation in Asia, has similar restrictions.

Historically, China has not been accepting of cults, and there is a difference between a religion and a cult.

Princeton.edu says, cult members are “followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.”

All one has to do is study China’s history to understand the Middle Kingdom’s sensitivity toward cults and political activists. China’s struggle with pagan cults reaches back almost a thousand years. Source: The Millennium Cult

There are no official statistics confirming the number of Taoists in China.


Fascinating discussion of how Chinese culture interacts with religions.

Official figures indicate there are 20 million Muslims, 20 million Protestants, and 5.3 million Catholics; unofficial estimates are much higher.

According to About Chinese Culture.com, there are more than 85,000 sites for religious activities, some 300,000 clergy and over 3,000 religious organizations throughout China. In addition, there are 74 religious schools and colleges run by religious organizations for training clerical personnel.

Buddhism, the most popular religion in China with about a 100 million followers, has a 2,000-year history in the Middle Kingdom and there are about 13,000 Buddhist temples.

Taoism, native to China, has a history of more than 1,700 years with over 1,500 temples.

Islam, which was introduced into China in the seventh century has more than 30,000 mosques.

At present, China has about 4,600 Catholic churches and meetinghouses.

Protestantism first arrived in China in the early 19th century. Today there are more than 12,000 churches and 25,000 meeting places.

Although Judaism is not listed as one of the officially recognized religions in China, there are Jewish synagogues in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Jews first settled in Kaifeng, Henan Province in 960 AD after arriving along the Silk Road. The Jews were welcomed by the Imperial government, which encouraged them to retain their cultural identity by building the Kaifeng synagogue, which was finished in 1163 AD.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.