Avid readers of Jewlicious already know about Chinese fascination with the Jews, centered mostly around notions of our legendary Jewish business acumen. The Chinese for Jews or Jewish people is 犹太人 (YO TAI REN) which means literally, “people of abundance.” All over China, folks are buying books authored by charlatans that offer to share our secret to amassing great wealth. Silly as this all sounds, we may very well be at the cusp of the next manifestation of this stupid trend.

See, the Chinese are already renting white guys – basically to sit at the front of the office or to be around during meetings and negotiations. Why? because it makes the company seem sophisticated. And what’s better than just a regular white guy? A blogger at Foreign Policy shares the following email he received from a contact in Beijing:

I hope all is going well with you. The reason I’m contacting you is because today I had a meeting with a contact of mine (deleted) who asked me for some assistance in finding people for some part-time work in Beijing. Essentially they are in the business of (deleted.) They are looking for some Americans to act as assistants in meetings with potential investors, and essentially act as the “white face” to give some more credibility to the project. He said it would need assistance for about 3-4 meetings per month, maybe more, maybe less – it all depends on how the business goes. Of course this will be a paid job, but I have not discussed any payment amount or payment terms so you would have to negotiate that yourself… The first requirement of the job is that you must be an advanced Mandarin Chinese speaker, since the meetings will all be with Chinese people. Also men only, no females. The other requirement is that you must have some sort of background that Chinese people typically value. My contact is (deleted) and is slightly obsessed with Jewish people and thinks they are the smartest, so he naturally prefers this person to be Jewish. If he can’t get someone Jewish, he would also like someone who went to a famous university — Harvard, Yale, etc. Besides those 2 qualifications, I’m sure he’d be happy with someone who has some sort of connection to someone famous or important, or maybe someone who is really tall and handsome. Basically any characteristic that Chinese people are impressed by – he is looking for in this person. Of course it wouldn’t hurt if this person was good-looking, well-dressed, etc. – I think you can get it. (deleted).

What do we learn from this? Well, it should be clear by now that soon we’ll all be working for the Chinese. Should you ever want to move to China to seek your fortune, make sure to add to your resumé the fact that you’re Jewish, because in China, being Jewish is the equivalent of a degree from Harvard or Yale. Or being handsome. Or having famous / influential friends. And of course, women need not apply. Sorry ladies.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • CK,
    With all due respect, you’re stretching it a bit with the Chinese translation. “Yo” in the third tone means “have” or “possess”, and “tai” in the fourth tone means “excess,” so I can see where you drew the conclusion that “Yo-tai ren (zhen)” would mean “people with too much” or “people of abundance”… but first of all, the word for Jewish people is “Yo-tai-ren (zhen)” with “Yo” in the second tone, and according to both Wikipedia and several reliable sources from the mainland, “Yo-tai” is the Chinese pronunciation of “Yehuda.” “Yo-tai ren” translates literally to “Judaic people,” it has nothing to do with abundance or wealth.
    Granted, although there’s an extensive and fascinating (albeit little-known) history of Jews in China, the stereotypes you mentioned above DO currently exist, unfortunately… keep in mind though that there’s a lot of misperceptions not only about Jews but also people of color and other Westerners, which I suppose is not that surprising when you consider China was closed off from other cultures/countries/influences until pretty recently. Also, as the Jews in China obviously don’t share the same history of being persecuted as their European counterparts, most people agree that the perception of Jews as overwhelmingly financially successful is based more on media stereotypes than on anti-Semitism.
    Not saying that Chinese (or anyone, for that matter) are completely free of anti-Semitism or Jewish stereotypes, I just don’t think it’s quite as pervasive as people tend to portray it.

    • Sheela – you can always disagree with me. In fact I encourage it! My Chinese skills are, shall we say, pretty much non-existent. I thank you sincerely for your clarifications – though you can see how someone could make such an honest mistake, right? I wasn’t seeking to cast aspersions on our future Chinese overlords. I have great respect for the Chinese and their fetishization of the Jews just shows that they have great taste in uh… objects of fetish. OK I better shut up now before someone comes over and harvests my kidney…

    • sheela is correct that 犹太人 doesn’t mean people of abundance.

      人 (rén) means “person” or people.
      太 (tài) means “too (much)” or ‘very” or “extremely.”

      Both of these characters are extremely common in modern Chinese and are basic first-year vocabulary for foreign learners.

      犹 (yóu) is far less common, though. It technically means “still” or “yet” but is mainly used in transliterating foreign terms where its meaning is irrelevant. So the “犹太” in 犹太人 is indeed a loose transliteration of Judah or Yehuda as sheela said, and doesn’t really have any meaning other than “Jewish.”

      犹太人 (yóu tài rén) = Jewish person (or Jew)
      犹太教 (yóu tài jiào) = Jewish teaching/religion (or Judaism).

      Other uses of 犹 include:

      * 犹他 (yóu tā) = Utah (a straight transliteration)
      * 犹太祭司 (yóu tài jì sÄ«) = Judas Priest (a mix of transliteration of Judas and literal translation of “priest”)

      Also note that although the technical pinyin romanization of 犹 is “yóu,” it is pronounced like the English “yo” and not the English “you” or “ewe.”

      -The Mandarin Pedant (who once took a Chinese class with the author of the original blog post)

  • Hey CK!

    Interesting article. How do I get in on this? Do you have a contact? I would love to see China!


    • That’s a good question Aaron. If you’re hell bent on going to China, I can certainly hook you up with some contacts there. I would suggest taking whatever job you can get and once there just start networking your way into something better/more lucrative. We’re Jews after all. We’re clever about things like that! Just let me know…

  • CK –

    Thanks for the prompt reply! I am indeed interested! It sounds like quite the adventure. Can you do me a mitzvah and email me? It’s aaronftruax @ gmail.

    Thanks in advance – I really do appreciate it!

  • I’m a Chinese born and raised in the USA, and I have US citizenship. I am also circumcised.

    Can I just say that I am a Kaifeng Jew that came from somewhere else? After all, Kaifeng Jews look like Chinese people.

  • ??
    what am i not getting from this article?Or isit just the busenissmentality that was the point here??
    what a waste of reading i must say 🙁

  • Will Israel become someday China's 'Disneyland'?
    Gawd Forbid
    But be careful where this is going, they STEAL everything, every single technology, and then make it their own through a complete negation of copyright. To the Chinese it's "Copyright, Shmoppyright!"
    They'll STEAL Israeli products then make it their own. Look what they've done to the U.S. already.

  • Other than the financial success of some stereotyped Jewish businessmen, as a native Chinese man I believe another minor reason of the modern Chinese people’s fascination with the “superior intelligence” of Jews is that the “Great Mentor” of their communist revolution, Karl Heinrich Marx, is also a Jew.

    And then you have the second most famous Jew in China: Albert Einstein, who most Chinese people believe was instrumental in facilitating the development of the atomic bombs, the ultimate weapon that brought the Empire of Japan to its knees in WWII — tips for those who don’t often watch Asian news: not every Chinese likes their Japanese neighbours.

    Although very few Chinese know what exactly Kosher food means, quite a lot of their young intellectuals are fascinated with the Judaic faith, which they hold as the fundamental reason why the Jewish people managed to keep their unique cultural identity through centuries of adversity. A wide-spread anxiety among some of these Chinese intellectuals is over the likelihood of their nation loosing its own identity in an age of “faith vacuum”, where people don’t know what to believe in after they are disillusioned with the Marxist communism ideology.