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You Tai, Chinese Jew in China

You Tai, Chinese Jew

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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
3,000 Chinese, Mandarin Non-Religious 30.00 % 25.00 %   

You Tai, Chinese Jew in China

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In the 1990 census the government officially noted the You Tai, before classifying them as part of the Han Chinese nationality. The You Tai are already extinct as an ethnolinguistic people, but they do retain a common pride in their lost heritage. One visitor reported, "They were very curious about their origins, though physically and culturally they seemed indistinguishable from other Chinese." Most of the inhabitants of Kaifeng are aware of the existence of the You Tai and can direct visitors to the location where their synagogue used to stand.

Although now more of a historic novelty than a distinct people group, the You Tai have a rich and fascinating past. Jews have been in China since at least the ninth century AD. One scholar claims the You Tai migrated to China from Persia and Yemen 1,000 to 1,500 years ago. In the thirteenth century Marco Polo described Jews living in mixed communities with Nestorian Christians at various places along the Old Silk Road. When the Jesuits reached China in the sixteenth century they "found a colony of Jews in Kaifeng, but no Christians." Matteo Ricci established that there were 10 or 12 families of Israelites in Kaifeng - "all expert in the Hebrew language" - but discovered a much larger Jewish community in a place he refers to as Cequian at the capital of Hamcheu. Scholars have not been able to identify these places. The Jews in Kaifeng constructed a synagogue in 1163 which was destroyed by a flood in 1461. Kaifeng grew to a thriving population of 20,000 Jews and was known as the "Jerusalem of China." Another flood of the Yellow River in 1642 again destroyed the synagogue. In the seventeenth century there were a dozen Jewish communities throughout China and Tibet. They retained their religious practices as Jews right up to about 1850, when, "poverty stricken and isolated for centuries from any contact with other Jews, they demolished their own synagogue and sold the bricks."

The You Tai today have completely assimilated to the Han Chinese culture and have no distinct customs left.

After the final destruction of the synagogue in 1850, all practice of Judaism among the You Tai ceased. Scrolls of the Pentateuch (five Books of Moses), which had been carefully preserved for centuries, were sold to Christian missionaries in the late 1800s. Most You Tai are nonreligious, while a few families in Kaifeng have been converted to Islam by neighboring Hui communities.

There are some Christians today among the You Tai. A letter from the You Tai leaders in 1870 said in part, "Morning and night with tears in our eyes and with offerings of incense, we implore God that our religion may flourish again."

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Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Northeast
Persecution Rank:16 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Approximately 750 You Tai - or Chinese Jews - live scattered throughout several cities of eastern China. The majority, "200 to 300," are located in Kaifeng City in Henan Province.
(Source: Operation China, 2000)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: You Tai, Chinese Jew
People Name General: You Tai, Chinese Jew
Alternate People Names:
Chinese JewsJews
ROP3 Code: 114369
Joshua Project People ID: 18734
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 3,000
Population all Countries: 3,100
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Jews
People Cluster: Jews
People Name General: You Tai, Chinese Jew
Ethnic Code: CMT35
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Chinese, Mandarin (3,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): cmn    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Non-Religious
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity30.00 %(Evangelical: 25.00 %)
Ethnic Religions20.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam10.00 % 
Non-Religious40.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have a significant presence.
Least-Reached: No
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1864-1986
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1874-2018
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsOnline Audio Scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus film: view in Mandarin Chinese
Film / VideoLove letter to you from scripture
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoThe Hope Video
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
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GeneralGospel resources links
GeneralWalk with the Prophets and meet the Mess ...
GeneralZume Resources
GeneralZume Resources
GeneralZume Training
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app from Google Pla ...
Text / Printed MatterBible Gateway scripture
Text / Printed MatterBible: Chinese, Mandarin
Text / Printed MatterBible: Chinese, Mandarin
Text / Printed MatterBible: Chinese, Mandarin
Text / Printed MatterBible: Chinese, Mandarin
Text / Printed MatterBible: Comic Book Version
Text / Printed MatterBible: Comic Book Version
Text / Printed MatterCartoon Gospel tract
Text / Printed MatterChildren and youth resources
Text / Printed MatterChildren and youth resources
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterLiteracy primer for Chinese, Mandarin
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
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Data Notes
Data Sources

You Tai, Chinese Jew in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Jews     Asia, Northeast    
      You Tai, Chinese Jew China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            You Tai, Chinese Jew in China          
      Religion Language  
      Non-Religious     Chinese, Mandarin  
    All Religions                              

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