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THE JEWISH PRESS IN CHINA / עתונות יהודית בסין

מאיה כהן and Maya Cohen
Kesher / קשר
No. 5 (מאי 1989), pp. 61-69
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23890954
Page Count: 9
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Abstract

העתונות היהודית בסין היא פרק צנוע במסכת החשובה של העתונות היהודית בעולם. עצם קיומה של קהילה יהודית בארץ רחוקה ומנותקת כסין מתקבל כמו קוריוז בנוסח "הפיל והשאלה היהודית". אלא, שמעבר לממד הפיקנטי שבפרק הזה — עובדה היא שהיתה שם קהילה יהודית קטנה ומאורגנת, ועובדה היא שהקהילה הזאת תיפקדה ברוחם של קיבוצים יהודים גדולים וידועים ממנה, על כל המוסדות והכלים החברתיים והארגוניים, והוצאת עתונים בכלל זה. The history of Jewish settlement in China is ancient although not continuous. It began during the Second Temple period, which coincided with the Han Dynasty in China (206 BCE-220 CE). At the beginning of the 20th century, there were two distinct Jewish communities in China. One was English-speaking, based in Shanghai, comprising Jews from Iraq, Persia and India. The other was Russian, based in Harbin and Tientsin, and sought to create a "little Russia" there. Research shows that in the community of 20,000-30,000 Jews, at least 36 Jewish newspapers were published during 1904-39, in English, Russian and German, with one in Yiddish. Significantly, not one was published in Chinese, which testifies to the insularity of the Jewish communities there. Theirs was not a Chinese Jewish press, but rather a Jewish press which, by historical circumstance, was located in China. It did not, in fact, have any impact at all on the immense country in which it functioned. Yet for the Jewish community, this press meant far more than simply a means of communication and information. It was an essential link to the Jewish world, including the Zionist movement, for this culturally and socially isolated island. In the late 1940s almost all the Jews left China, most of them for Israel, and the Jewish newspapers ceased publication.

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