jueves, 14 de abril de 2016

Israelites in Eastern Asia: China...3

In China there is also an account of the universal deluge that comes from the Nosu people. According the Nosus, God sends a messenger to warn three brothers that a flood was eminent. The youngest, Dum, was the only brother that listened. He built a wooden boat and about twenty days later the flood waters came. Dum was saved and the boat landed on the mountains of Tibet. He had three sons that repopulated the Earth. Amazingly, the Mandarin (Chinese language) character for boat is made up of three symbols; vessel, eight and people!


The Qiangs, in regards to their Israelite identity, have been known by different authors as Israelite Tibetans and as West China Jews. These authors knew of the Hebraic character & traits of the Qiangs. However they were not very knowledgeable about them, hence the names, or nicknames, given to them. Even people very knowledgeable about Judaism fall in the mistake of equaling Jews & Israelites, because the Jews maintained their religion, identity & were not lost, whereas the Israelites lost all of them. The point of no return between the two started as a succession strife, but ended up as a secession strife. For plainness sake, King Solomon was the last monarch of the United Kingdom of Israel. At his death there was a power struggle. Rehoboam was one of Solomon’s sons and after the strife became king of Judah in the south (1 Kings 11:43). Jeroboam was one of Solomon’s former officials, an Ephraimite, and the struggle made him king of Israel in the north (1 Kings 11:26). Thus one the once United Israel became two independent Hebrew States, the Kingdom of the North (Israel) & the Kingdom of the South (Judah). From then on the people of the North became known as Israelites, while the people of the South became known as Jews or Jewish. The northerners also became known as Ephraimites, or simply as Ephraim, for their main & leading tribe was Ephraim, one of Joseph's two descended tribes. Likewise the southerners became known as Jews, for Judah was their leading tribe, even though not all of them descended from the tribe of Judah. Eventually the Kingdom of the Israel was subjugated by the Assyrians & most of the Israelites were carried away captive losing their identity & whereabouts. The only ones left were a handful of Israelites from which the Samaritans would descend. A century later the the Jews got a similar fate when the Babylonians took them captive. Similar, but not equal fate, because they kept their Jewish identity and came back to rebuild their nation. The Kaifengians are correctly called Kaifeng Jews or Chinese Jews, because they descend from Jewish merchants. However the Qiangs shouldn't be called Tibetan Jews or West Chinese Jews, because they are descendants of Israelites from the northern kingdom. Therefore the Qiangs should be called West Chinese Israelites or Tibetan Israelites.


Map of the route that goes through Chiang lands. The Hebrew Chiangs call Abraham as Biran or Bilan. It's also remarkable that their only God is called Abachi, meaning the father of heaven, & it has a great written resemblance to the Hebrew Aba that means the same, father.


The Chinese have an ancient tradition for which, when old & ready to die, they like to bury their bones in their ancestral country. Likewise the Jews, at the end of their lives, have tried to be buried in the Land of Israel, & it was a yearning for millenia. This common Jewish-Chinese lore persuaded Maoist Chinese leadership to let the Jews from Shanghai go. Jews & Chinese resemble in honoring their ancestors & their ancestral lore. The ethnically Chinese independent state of Singapore, once decolonized, modeled its armed forces on Israel Defence Forces, creating a garrison state on the Israeli model, with a disciplined & motivated population. Goh Keng Swee, regarded by many as Singapore's main economic success achiever, said: there are two Asian countries that Singapore should emulate, Japan in the extreme East, & Israel in the extreme West.

Do We Find Any (Even Hazy) References In Non-Jewish Traditions About Jesus, A Promised Savior?

God prepared Jewish people throughout their history and moulded them according to His requirement so that they become ready for accepting His Savior for all the mankind. Even then, many of His chosen people failed to recognize Jesus as promised Savior.

Since Jesus was supposed to be the savior for all humanity, there is every possibility that God would want to reveal His plan of saving humanity, to other non Jewish people around the world. Hence it is likely that God would make aware other non-Jewish people also, for a need of a saviour for this world. So it is possible that such revelation did came to many other groups of people around the world, yet the same was most probably misinterpreted in the subset of their geographical as well as regional belief system.

One such instance that comes to my mind is close resemblance in some of the details, between Jesus and Krishna. The recording of these details was close to the period (century) of Prophet Isaiah, when very clear references to birth of Jesus were revealed.



While there is no evidence to back up the claim that this story of Krishna was of the events that had already happened, it is surely a shaded reference to Jesus who was to come somewhere in the future. It is highly possible that over the years, it was presumed by these groups of people, that whatever was revealed has already come to pass, because of their ignorance of God’s actual plan in that region of the world.

So are there any other such references in non-Jewish traditions where the manifestation Jesus Christ was prophesied?

Lew Wallace, the author of Ben Hur seemed to think so. He's got some tradition from each of the wise men, no idea where he came up with that though.

In his book, Eternity in Their Hearts, Don Richardson details what he calls " World Prepared for the Gospel", which is the title of the first section of the book.

People of the Lost Book

Chapter 2 is entitled "Peoples of the Lost Book", which details tribes that bemoan the fact that their ancestors had lost "the book" from God. Some of them looked forward to the day when this book would be restored.

People with Strange Customs

Chapter 3 is entitled "Peoples with Strange Customs", which details the customs of very remote tribes with strikingly similarities to things in the Bible.

In Don Richardson's own experience as a missionary to a remote tribe, he identifies the custom of the "Peace Child". When he presents Jesus as God's peace child, the tribe responds to the Gospel in a powerful way.

The Ancient Chinese

The ancient Chinese also have some interesting writings from Lao Tze and others. Prior to Mao Tse Tung, the emperor actually offered what was called the Border Sacrifice every year in the Temple of Heaven.
This closely resembles the offering of the Jewish High Priest once a year for the sins of the people.


The Chinese alphabet itself has some extraordinary parallels to Genesis 1-1 Interestingly enough, the word for righteousness is a combination of two other characters--the word for Lamb and the word for me. Righteousness is a lamb over/covering me.

Yunnan, Lost Israelite Land in China

Yonan is a place name in Perú. Younan means Greece in Arabic. Ionia was an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, also called Younan. Sometimes a whole country is called after a region like Holland, England... Even the name France at first was only applied to areas in northerm France, southwest Germany, Belgium.... After this explanation the point to make is that the Arabic term for Greece, being Younan, it would probably come from Ionia, a former Greek region's name in modern Turkey. Not by chance the modern Turkish name (logically taken from their Arabic coreligionists) is Younan too. Younan is also a common surname in Arabic. Yonan & Younan are Aramaic/Chaldo-Assyrian names for John. It's a Hebrew form of John. Comes from the Hebrew "yo and Hanan", meaning "God is merciful".

Yunan is an alternate name for Greece borrowed from the Greek name Ionia used in some Asian languages like the Arabic and Iranic languages.

Yunnan is a Chinese province with many non Chinese (Han exactly) ethnicities. Several of them are the Lost Israelites of the so called Golden Lost Book. So if Yunnan has Israelites, it could be logical that came from the Aramaic name Yonan. Perhaps the founders of the Yunan place names in Guandong province were from Yunnan.

Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with high elevations in the northwest and low elevations in the southeast. Most of the population lives in the eastern part of the province. In the west, the altitude can vary from the mountain peaks to river valleys as much as 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). Yunnan is rich in natural resources and has the largest diversity of plant life in China. Of the approximately 30,000 species of higher plants in China, Yunnan has perhaps 17,000 or more. Yunnan's reserves of aluminium, lead, zinc and tin are the largest in China, and there are also major reserves of copper and nickel.

The Han Empire first recorded diplomatic relations with the province at the end of the 2nd century BCE. It became the seat of a Tibeto-Burman-speaking kingdom of Nanzhao in the 8th century CE. Nanzhao was multi-ethnic, but the elite most likely spoke a northern dialect of Yi. The Mongols conquered the region in the 13th century, with local control exercised by warlords until the 1930s. As with other parts of China's southwest, Japanese occupation in the north during World War II forced a migration of majority Han people into the region. Ethnic minorities in Yunnan account for about 34 percent of its total population. Major ethnic groups include Yi, Bai, Hani, Zhuang, Dai and Miao.


The Chinese, as the Romans did, named any foreign people as Barbarians, even if that people was more advanced than them.

Were the Istaevones & Issedones a Related Group of Israelites?

Istvaeones (Low Franconian or Low Frankish)

Geographic distribution: Netherlands, northern Belgium, northern France, western Germany, Suriname, Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Namibia and South Africa.

Linguistic classification: Indo-European (Germanic [West Germanic {Istvaeones}]).

Proto-language: Old Frankish.

Subdivisions: Dutch, Limburgish, Low Rhenish, Zeelandic, Afrikaans.

The Istvaeones, also called Istaevones, Istriaones, Istriones, Sthraones, and Thracones, are mentioned as a Germanic tribal grouping in the writings of Tacitus and Pliny the Elder (~1st century AD). They categorized them as one of the nations of Germanic tribes descended from one of the sons of Mannus, a Germanic ancestor. The other two such peoples were the Ingvaeones and Irminones.

The Low Franconian languages, such as Dutch, are sometimes referred to as Istvaeonic languages because they are associated with a similar geographical area, although they appear only some centuries later than the reports of Tacitus and Pliny. (Whether or not the original Istvaeones of Tacitus and Pliny spoke a language ancestral to modern Istvaeonic is not certain, but it is possible. Some of the "Germanic" tribes living near the Rhine in that era may not even have spoken a Germanic language.)

Tacitus, in his Germania (chapter 2) writes: In their ancient songs, their only way of remembering or recording the past, they celebrate an earth-born god, Tuisco, and his son Mannus, as the origin of their race, as their founders. To Mannus they assign three sons, from whose names, they say, the coast tribes are called Ingævones; those of the interior, Herminones; all the rest, Istævones. Some, with the freedom of conjecture permitted by antiquity, assert that the god had several descendants, and the nation several appellations, as Marsi, Gambrivii, Suevi, Vandilii, and that these are genuine old names.

Pliny the Elder writes that there are five races of Germania, one of which is the Istævones, who live near the Rhine.

Jacob Grimm in the book Deutsche Mythologie argued that Iscaevones was the correct form, partly because it would connect the name to an ancestor figure in Norse mythology named Ask, and partly because in Nennius where the name Mannus is corrupted as Alanus, the ancestor of the Istaevones appears as Escio or Hisicion. There the sons of this figure are, fantastically, from Frankish tradition, Francus, Romanus, Alamanus, and Bruttus, the supposed ancestors of the Franks, Latins, Germans and Britons. This seems to reflect Frankish desire to connect the Franks with the people they ruled.

The name Tuisto is derived from a root connoting "two" or "double". It has been proposed that the name means "The Twin". Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. Mannus we understand to be another form of the name "Mannaseh". Amongst the three groups of Peoples we find the Istaeones. This name, it has been suggested (by "Tim" on Germanic-L), is mispelt and should actually by Iscaevones from the root "Isca" or "Ash" meaning the First Man. Its source could also be from the name Isaac. So too, we find in the Scythian Region numerous names applied to the Scythians such as Isak-Guli, Zohak, Saka, etc, all of which appellations derive from Isaac. The term "Saxon" also ultimately comes from Isaac.

ISSE´DONES

Eth. ISSE´DONES (Ἰσσηδόνες, Steph. B. sub voce in the Roman writers the usual form is “Essedones” ), a people living to the E. of the Argippaei, and the most remote of the tribes of Central Asia with whom the Hellenic colonies on the Euxine had any communication. The name is found as early as the Spartan Alcman, B.C. 671--631, who calls them “Assedones” (Fr. 94, ed. Welcker), and Hecataeus (Fr.168, ed. Klausen). A great movement among the nomad tribes of the N. had taken place in very remote times, following a direction from NE. to SW.; the Arimaspi had driven out the Issedones from the steppes over which they wandered, and they in turn drove out the Scythians, and the Scythians the Cimmerians.

Traces of these migrations were indicated in the poem of Aristeas of Proconnesus, a semimythical personage, whose pilgrimage to the land of the Issedones was strangely disfigured after his death by the fables of the Milesian colonists. (Hdt. 4.13.) The Issedones, according to Herodotus (4.26), have a custom, when any one loses his father, for the kinsfolk to kill a certain number of sheep, whose flesh they hash up together with that of the dead man, and make merry over it. This done, they peel and clean out his skull, which after it has been gilded becomes a kind of idol to which yearly sacrifices are offered. In all other respects they are a righteous people, submitting to the rule of women equally with that of men ; in other words, a civilised people.

Heeren (Asiat. Nat. vol. ii. p. 15, trans.), upon Dr. Leyden's authority (Asiat. Res. vol. ix. p. 202), illustrates this way of carrying out the duties of [p. 2.69] filial piety by the practice of the Battas of Sumatra. It may be remarked that a similar story is told of the Indian Padaei. (Hdt. 3.99.) Pomponius Mela (2.1.13) simply copies the statement of Herodotus, though he alters it so far as to assert that the Issedones used the skull as a drinking cup. The name occurs more than once in Pliny (4.26, 6.7, 19); and Ptolemy, who has a town ISSEDON in Serica (Ἰσσηδών, 6.16.7, 8.24.5), mentions in another place (8.24.3) the Scythian Issedon. (Comp. Steph. B. sub voce Amm. Marc. 23.6 § 66.

Von Humboldt (Asie Centrale, vol. i. pp. 390--412) has shown that, if the relief of the countries between the Don and the Irtysh be compared with the itinerary traced by Herodotus from the Thyssagetae to the Issedones, it will be seen that the Father of History was acquainted with the existence of vast plains separating the Ural and Altaï, chains which modern geographers have been in the habit of uniting by an imaginary range passing through the steppe of the Kirghiz. This route (Hdt. 4.23, 24) recognises the passage of the Ural from W. to E., and indicates another chain more to the E. and more elevated--that of the Altaï. These chains, it is true, are not designated by any special names, but Herodotus was not acquainted even in Europe with the names of the Alps and Rhipaean mountains; and a comparison of the order in which the peoples are arranged, as well as the relief and description of the country, shows that much definite information had been already attained. 

Advancing from the Palus Maeotis) which was supposed to be of far larger dimensions than it really is, in a central direction towards the NE., the first people found occupying the plains are the “Black-clothed” MELANCHLAENI then the BUDINI, THYSSAGETAE, the IURCAE (who have been falsely identified with the Turks), and finally, towards the E., a colony of Scythians, who had separated themselves from the “Royal Scythians” (perhaps to barter gold and skins). Here the plains end, and the ground becomes broken (λιγώδης καὶ τρηχέη), rising into mountains, at the foot of which are the ARGIPPAEI who have been identified from their long chins and flat noses with the Kalmucks or Mongolians by Niebuhr, Böckh, and others, to whom reference is made by Mr. Grote. (Hist. of Greece, vol. iii. p. 320.)

This identification has been disputed by Humboldt (comp. Cosmos, vol. i. p. 353 note, 440, vol. ii. p. 141 note, 202, trans.), who refers these tribes to the Finnish stock, assuming as a certain fact, on evidence which it is difficult to make out, that the Mongolians who lived around Lake Baikal did not move into Central Asia till the thirteenth century. Where the data are so few, for the language (the principle upon which the families of the human race are marked off) may be said to be unknown, ethnographic analogies become very hazardous, and the more so in the case of nomad tribes, the same under such wide differences of time and climate. But if there be considerable difficulty in making out the analogy of race, the local bearings of these tribes may be laid down with tolerable certainty.

The country up to the Argippaei was well known to the traders; a barrier of impassable mountains blocked up the way beyond. [HYPERBOREI] The position of the Issedones, according to the indications of the route, must be assigned to the E. of Ichim in the steppe of the central horde of the Kirghiz, and that of the Arimaspi on the N. declivity of the Altaï. The communication between the two peoples for the purpose of carrying on the gold trade was probably made through the plains at the NW. extremity of the Altaï, where the range juts out in the form of a huge promontory.

Issedones

The Issedones (Ἰσσηδόνες) were anancient people of Central Asia at the end of the trade route leading north-east from Scythia, described in the lost Arimaspeia of Aristeas,by Herodotus in his History (IV.16-25) and by Ptolemy in his Geography. Like the Massagetae to the west, the Issedones are described by Herodotus as similar to,yet distinct from the Scythians.

The exact location of their country in Central Asia is unknown. The Issedones are "placed by some in Western Siberia and by others in Chinese Turkestan," according to E. D. Phillips.

Herodotus, who allegedly got his information through both Greek and Scythian sources, describes them as living east of Scythia and north of the Massagetae, while the geographer Ptolemy (VI.16.7) appears to place the trading stations of Issedon Scythica and Issedon Serica in the Tarim Basin.

Some speculate that they are the people described in Chinese sources as the Wusun. J.D.P. Bolton places them further north-east, on the south-western slopes of the Altay mountains.

Another location of the land of the Issedones can be inferred from the account of Pausanias. According to what the Greek traveller was told at Delos in the second century CE, the Arimaspi were north of the Issedones, and the Scythians were south of them: “ At Prasiai [in Attika] is a temple of Apollo. Hither they say are sent the first-fruits of the Hyperboreans, and the Hyperboreans are said to hand them over to the Arimaspoi, the Arimaspoi to the Issedones, from these the Skythians bring them to Sinope, thence they are carried by Greeks to Prasiai, and the Athenians take them to Delos." - Pausanias 1.31.2

The Issedones were known to Greeks as early as the late seventh century BCE, for Stephanus Byzantinus reports that the poet Alcman mentioned "Essedones" and Herodotus reported that a legendary Greek of the same time, Aristeas son of Kaustrobios of Prokonnessos (or Cyzicus), had managed to penetrate the country of the Issedones and observe their customs first-hand. Ptolemy relates a similar story about a Syrian merchant.

The Byzantine scholiast John Tzetzes, who sites the Issedones generally "in Scythia", quotes some lines to the effect that the Issedones "exult in long flowing hair" and mentions the one-eyed men to the north.

According to Herodotus, the Issedones practiced ritual cannibalism of their elderly males, followed by a ritual feast at which the deceased patriarch's family ate his flesh, gilded his skull, and placed it in a position of honor much like a cult image. In addition, the Issedones were supposed to have kept their wives in common. This may indicate institutionalized polyandry) and a high status for women (Herodotus IV.26: "and their women have equal rights with the men"). Similar customs could be found until recently among many Tibetan tribes, leading some to speculate that the Issedones were of Tibetan extraction. However, the similarities with the Tibetans may be the result of proximity alone.

Cannibalism controversy

The archeologists E. M. Murphy and J. P. Mallory of the Queen's University of Belfast, have argued (Antiquity, 74 (2000):388-94) that Herodotus was mistaken in his interpretation of what he imagined to be cannibalism. Recently excavated sites in southern Siberia, such as the large cemetery at Aymyrlyg in Tuva containing more than 1,000 burials of the Scythian period, have revealed accumulations of bones often arranged in anatomical order. This indicates burials of semi-decomposed corpses or defleshed skeletons, sometimes associated with leather bags or cloth sacks. Marks on some bones show cut-marks of a nature indicative of defleshing, but most appear to suggest disarticulation of adult skeletons. Murphy and Mallory suggest that, since the Issedones were nomads living with cattle herds, they moved up the mountains in summer, but they wanted their dead to be buried at their winter camp; defleshing and dismemberment of the people who died in summer would have been more hygienic than allowing the corpses to decompose naturally in the summer heat. Burial of the dismembered remains would have taken place in fall after returning to winter camp, but before the ground was frozen completely. Such procedures of defleshing and dismemberment may have been mistaken for evidence of cannibalism by foreign onlookers.

Murphy and Mallory do not exclude the possibility that the flesh removed from the bodies was consumed. Archeologically these activities remain invisible. But they point out that elsewhere, Herodotus names another tribe (Androphagi) as the only group to eat human flesh.

On the other hand, Dr. Timothy Taylor

points out:

1. Herodotus reports that the so-called "Androphagoi" are the "only" people in the region to practice cannibalism. However, a distinction should be drawn between "aggressive gustatory cannibalism" (i.e., hunting humans for food) and the ritualized, reverential practices reported among the Issedones and Massagetae.

2. Scythian-type peoples were renowned embalmers and presumably would have no need for funerary defleshing to delay decomposition of the corpse.

3. Herodotus specifically describes the removal of the meat and mixing it with other foodstuffs to make a funerary stew.


Dr. Taylor concludes: "Inferring reverential funerary cannibalism in this case is thus the most academically cautious approach"

Buzi the Jewish Cohen in Solomon’s Temple was the First Buddha Mundi

It was in the 5th year of young King Jehoiachin, about the year of 605 BCE that Ezekiel, a young Judean, the son of a Jewish Kohen, Buzi, had just arrived in the land of the Chaldeans. He came as part of the exiles from the Southern Kingdom of Judah in the Land of Israel as part of the crème of the Jewish elite and intellectuals. These included also Prince Daniel, a descendant of King Hezekiah and also the three worthies, Hanani-yah, Misha-el and Azari-yah who became noble ministers of state in Nebuchadnezzar’s mighty kingdom.



There by the River Chebar, the Prophet Ezekiel was taken into vision, and there he beheld a most magnificent scene as the Divine Veil opened up in the heavens and there before him was the heavenly Merkabah, the divine chariot that carried the throne of the G-d of Israel. 

Ezekiel was surrounded with a stormy wind coming down from the north, and with it was a great cloud with flashing fire and a brilliance of unsurpassed beauty. The divine Chariot carried by four Chasmai, the four-winged angels that bore the heavenly “Merkabah” of the Divine came to rest nearby.

Here before the future Prophet Ezekiel was an amazing vision of the other dimensional world that penetrated the inter-dimensional veil as it came from the 7th dimension to our 3-dimensional world. Stunned and shaken with fright of what he was beholding, the young Cohen Ezekiel beheld the wondrous flying Merkabah, the flying chariot throne of G-d.



Then and only after then the Prophet Ezekiel was given a dramatic encounter with the spiritual world on the other side of the divine veil as the G-d of Israel spoke directly to Ezekiel as the young prophet’s sensory system was taken possession by the Power of the Almighty One of Israel. 

Ezekiel 2:1-10 – “Then He said to me, ‘Son of Man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.’  A spirit entered into me as He spoke to me and it stood me on my feet, and I heard that which was spoken to me. He said to me, ‘Son of Man, I send you to the Children of Israel, the rebellious nations (plural) that have rebelled against me; they and their fathers have defiantly sinned against Me to this very day: and the children are brazen-faced and hard hearted – I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus said the L-rd HaShem Elohim.

Now they, whether they will heed, whether they will refrain – for a rebellious house are they – they will know that a prophet has been among them…but you Son of Man, fear not them and fear not their words, though they are thorns and thistles to you, and among scorpions do you dwell, fear not their words and be not intimidated before them, though they are a rebellious house. …And you, Son of Man, heed that which I speak to you; be not rebellious like the rebellious house.

Open your mouth and eat that which I give you.’ Then I saw, and behold a hand was outstretched to me; and behold in it was a scroll of parchment. He spread it out before me; it was inscribed within and without and in it was inscribed lamentations, moaning and woe. Then he said to me, “Son of Man that which you find, eat; eat this scroll then go speak to the House of Israel!”

One of Ireland’s famous antiquarians and students of the Lost Ten Tribes of the House of Israel, the late Isabel Hill Elder of Northern Ireland, picked up this theme several decades ago and wrote about a special mission by Buzi the Kohen and his five disciples. Apparently along with his son, the Prophet Ezekiel who now was impelled by the command of the G-d of Israel to become an emissary of the Divine was now in headed into a special divine mission by the command of El Shaddai, to the Lost Ten Tribes of the House of Israel towards the east near the Caspian Sea and beyond in Tibet, Nepal and Northern India.

In an article, titled, “Buddha the Israelite” we are introduced to an amazing sequel that came no doubt from the Vision of HaShem’s Chariot of a mission they were now impelled to accomplish under the mandate of the Divine.  This gives us some fascinating insight as to what happened after Ezekiel’s heavenly encounter with the Divine One of Israel by the River Chebar as he beheld the heavenly Merkabah landing right in front of him:

Isabel Hill Elder – “‘Buzi, the Aaronite, with the prophetic eye’, saw disaster rapidly approaching for the unfaithful House of Judah, and a like punishment to that which had overtaken the House of Israel one hundred years earlier, when the King of Assyria had carried them captive in the reign of Hoshea and placed them in “the cities of the Medes” (II Kings XVII). During a revolt in Assyria the Israelite captives made their escape and, for the most part, turned south-east to the shores of the Caspian Sea.

These tidings having reached Buzi his missionary spirit was aroused to go forth to these escaped captives, his kinsfolk. Taking with him five disciples, probably trained in the schools of the prophets, Buzi came to these outcast Israelites with a message of hope and forgiveness; he would make a supreme effort to turn them from idolatry to the worship of the one true God.

As he journeyed towards their camping places his name Buzi became Buddha; this change is easily understood when we realize that in the Semitic languages the "Z" and "D" sounds are related, e.g., in Hebrew Zahab and Dahab both mean "gold" and so Buddha would be a natural alternative for Buzi. It is then as Buddha that we first hear of Buzi, the father of Ezekiel, between Media and the Caspian Sea and his followers as Budii.

It was from the region of Media that the "wise men" came to Bethlehem at the time of the birth of our Lord (Budh, in some oriental languages meaning “wise") who were probably descendants of some of these Israelites who had been taught by “Buzi the Wise.”  These escaped Israelites are mentioned by Herodotus (Book I, Chapter 1) as belonging to the nation formed by Deioces and as revolting from Assyria and asserting their independence not many years after Israel's deportation to Media in the reign of Hoshea. (II Kings, XVII 6).

Here amongst these Israelites Buzi (Budi) began his mission and in this region Buddhism was found in its most ancient form and which began to spread about 600 B.C., not as now professed and practiced nor even altogether as it was established in India under King Asoka 300 years after its first propagation. As Dr. Moore (“Lost Ten Tribes”) observes:

Dr. Moore – “It (Buddhism) has been corrupted by various pagan additions and has assumed shapes according to the various idolatries it has encountered till at length but little of the original remains in a pure form, e.g., the celibacy of priests is now universal, but according to its own records its founder married twice if not thrice and gave his disciples precepts as to the choice of a wife.”

The Israelitish character and origin of Buddhism is seen in many ways. It was a monotheistic reformation of the outcast tribes of Israel and its symbolism, that of the “Wheel” that were hundreds of years later placed on pillared posts on the top of Sanchi that correspond exactly with that described in I Kings VII 33 as in Solomon's temple. There is so close resemblance between Ezekiel's writings and the earliest Buddhist records and inscriptions as to prove that the prophet himself, the son of Buzi, had for his father the original Buddha.”


No doubt Ezekiel’s vision precipitated this extraordinary mission by his father, Buzi, the Aaronite Kohen with the “prophetic eye” who with five disciples and no doubt Ezekiel as commanded by HaShem went on a rescue mission to the Lost Ten Tribes to the east in the land of Media.


Kaifung Jews

Doctrines

The beliefs of the Kaifung Jews are consistent with those of mainstream Judaism: namely, the authority of the Torah, the belief in a Messiah who would establish the rule of God, a final judgement, and the special election of the people of Israel. However, certain practices reflected the influence of their Chinese context. Incense was burned in honor of both great biblical figures and Confucius, who was regarded by the Kaifung Jews as a great moral figure. On some Jewish holidays food sacrifices in the Chinese style were made.

History

It is uncertain when Jews first settled in China. Some scholars have dated the transmission of Judaism into China as early as the 6th century of the Christian era. The earliest existing evidence of a Jewish presence is a letter written in the 8th century in Persian Hebrew by a Jewish merchant in China. The 9th century was a turbulent period for outsiders in China. A rebellion in 878/9 in Canton led to the massacre of some 120,000 Jews, Christians, Muslims and other foreigners. This atrocity did not force the Jews out of China; they continued to trade with the Chinese and established a small Jewish community in Kaifung during the 9th and 10th centuries. The permanence of the Jewish presence was confirmed by the construction of a synagogue in Kaifung in 1163.



The Jews of Kaifung remained outside of mainstream Chinese society until the 15th century. In 1421 Jews were given permission to take the civil service examinations, which enabled some of them to acquire positions of importance within the government. In the 17th century Roman Catholic missionaries in China tried unsuccessfully to convert the Kaifung Jews to Christianity. The expulsion of the missionaries in 1766 created a situation of isolation and gradual decline of the Jewish community. In the 19th century the last rabbi died, Hebrew ceased to be taught and the synagogue fell into disrepair. Today there is no longer a Jewish presence in Kaifung, although it is estimated that some 400 to 500 people claim to have a Jewish ancestry.

Symbols

Too little is known about the Kaifung community to enable us to describe the place of Jewish symbolism within the life of the community. However, certain relics have been discovered from the Kaifung temple which shed light on the ritual life of the community. These include two large stone bowls for the purpose of ritual washing before worship and a wooden cylindrical case for the Torah.

Adherents

The Kaifung community has contemporary adherents.

Headquarters/Main Center Kaifung, northern Honan.

DETAILED HISTORY OF HARBIN

Early History

Harbin, China, is located 1500 miles inland in Heilongjiang Province, a region also referred to as Manchuria. The fundamental factor that explains Jewish settlement in Harbin is the city’s status as a railroad hub, constructed in 1898 by Czarist Russia on land leased from China. It is located at a point on the Sungari, or Songhua, River where the railroad intersects with extensive river traffic. Jews developed businesses ranging from the export of furs to maritime insurance to the management of hotels. They exchanged goods and services with their kinsman in European Russia, China, Japan, Korea, and America as well as with ethnic Russians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and native Siberian peoples.


By the end of the 19th century, Jews in Czarist Russia were desperate to escape the country’s poverty, pogroms and institutionalized anti-Semitism. Visas to America did not grow on trees, and Jews had trouble obtaining permits for any kind of travel, even within Russia. However, in a little known footnote to history, the Czar who plagued and reviled his Jewish subjects also offered them an out.
The Russian government in 1895 had leased a land concession from China to build the Chinese Eastern Railway across Manchuria as an extension of the cross-country Trans-Siberian line. Once the tracks were laid, the Czar was so eager to establish Russia’s economic hold along the route that he offered Jews a chance to live without restrictions if they moved to Manchuria. They could chose between small communities in the Manchurian outback or the larger settlement of Harbin, which means “place of drying fish nets” in Chinese. Originally a cluster of sleepy fishing villages at the confluence of the Songhua (known then by its Russian name, Sungari) and Heilong or Amur Rivers, Harbin had become the railroad’s administrative hub and was developing into a thriving frontier town.



The Czar’s offer had its drawbacks. Ukrainian Jews from the Pale of Settlement had to summon their courage, pack their possessions, turn their backs on all that was familiar and face several uncomfortable and uneasy weeks on the Trans-Siberian railroad to reach Harbin. Siberian Jews, just across the border from Manchuria, faced a shorter train trip but a similar plunge into the unknown. Harbin winters were bitterly cold, and in spring, gritty dust from Mongolia turned the skies yellow and covered every surface, animal, vegetable and mineral. In the early years, European-style amenities were few and far between, and Jewish institutions were nonexistent.

Despite these deterrents, waves of Russian pogroms provided Harbin with a steady supply of Jewish residents. Demobilized Jewish soldiers settled in Harbin at the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, and more Russian refugees, both Jewish and gentile, arrived during and after World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution.



Although desperation led many Jews to China, a large number new “Harbiners” also welcomed the opportunity to be pioneers in an uncharted land. The railroad brought prosperity and a need for all types of goods and services. Even better, local Chinese had no tradition of anti-Semitism. Word spread fast in the old countries: a Jew could live in Harbin without fear of persecution -- and make a nice living, too.

The railroad-engineering bureau moved to Harbin from Vladivostok in 1898 to begin construction. The first Jew, S.I. Bertsel, arrived in 1899. Shortly thereafter, the first Harbin “minyan” took place. By 1900, the town had 45 Jews, and by the end of 1902, Harbin had 300 Jews and more than 10 Jewish-owned shops.

Although figures vary, the Harbin Jewish population may have topped 20,000 at its peak in the 1920s. It is known that there were about 13,000 residents in 1931. The population then began a precipitous decline, especially after the eruption of Sino-Japanese hostilities in 1937. There were two major synagogues, the Main or “Old” Synagogue and the New Synagogue. The Jewish community also established a library, a Talmud Torah, an elementary and a secondary school, a cemetery, a women’s charitable organization, a soup kitchen, a home for the aged and a Jewish hospital, which treated both Jews and non-Jews.



Here Jews enjoyed residential permission plus an array of other economic and political rights unavailable in Czarist Russia. These fundamental rights remained when the Soviet Union acquired the railroad zone and when the Soviets, in turn, sold the zone to Japan in 1936.

Jews were furriers, bankers, bakers, shopkeepers, restaurateurs, teachers and people of letters and the arts. They owned coalmines, lumber mills, breweries and candy factories. The Jewish-owned Hotel Moderne boasted a restaurant, a cinema, a billiard room, a bar and a barbershop. Because of its ornate, European-inspired architecture, Harbin became known as the “Oriental St. Petersburg” and the “Paris of the Orient”. Its rich cultural life led to the nickname “City of Music.”

In addition to enjoying a “boom town” experience from an economic point of view, Jews helped turn Harbin from a cultural backwater into a sophisticated metropolis. Between 1918 and 1930, about 20 Jewish newspapers and periodicals were published in Harbin. All but one – the Yiddish Der Vayter Mizrekh (The Far East) - were in Russian. Russian was the lingua franca for Jews and gentiles alike, as well as for their Chinese employees and business associates. Modern Mandarin speakers in Harbin still use a number of Russian loan words, such as lie-ba for bread, from the Russian khleba.

Twelve Russian-language Jewish periodicals were published in Harbin, including Evreiskaya Zhizn’ (Jewish life) and Gadegel (the Cyrillic rendition of the Hebrew “ha-degel,” literally meaning “the flag” and having specific reference to the blue-and-white Zionist flag). The very freedoms that allowed those publications to flourish also enabled the left-leaning Yiddish-language newspaper Der Vayter Mizrekh (The Far East), edited by Meir Mendelevich Birman, to appear.

In the early twentieth century Moshe Levitin established a Hebrew, Yiddish and Russian publishing company. It brought out the Hebrew and Russian-language tractates of Harbin’s long-serving Rabbi Aharon Moshe Kisilev (1866-1949), who had embraced the pre-Herzlian religious Zionism of Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever while a student at the Volozhin Yeshiva.

Kisilev’s secular counterpart was Dr. Abram Yosifovich Kaufman (1886-1971). Unable to study medicine in Russia because of the quota system, both Kaufman and his wife matriculated in medicine in Switzerland. Kaufman then became a physician in Admiral Kolchak’s Siberian army. Kaufman then became Director of Harbin’s Jewish hospital. It was under the communal leadership of Kisilev and Kaufman that Harbin Jews became overwhelmingly Zionist.

The city hosted a variety of political movements ranging from the anti-Zionist Jewish Workers’ Bund of Lazar Epstein to the general Herzlian Zionism of Kaufman to the ultra-religiosity of the non-Zionist Agudat Israel. The Harbin Jewish Women’s Association, linked to the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), was established in 1922. Several Zionist youth organizations were active as well. The largest was Betar, which sponsored sports, scouting and other recreational activities as well as social action. Betar was the Hebrew abbreviation for Union of Trumpeldor, named for Joseph Trumpeldor, a Russian Jewish soldier who, on the way to a prison camp in Japan, passed through Harbin in 1905 and was killed in battle in Palestine in 1920.

Because Harbin was a Russian-speaking community, it also became the East Asian entry point for Vladimir Zev Jabotinsky’s Zionist Revisionist movement. Most Revisionist literature in the late 1920s was in Russian. Among the better-known Revisionists from Harbin were Israeli Herut Party leaders Eliahu Lankin and Ya’akov Liberman and the firebrand activist Judith Ben Eliezer, née Hasser. Arguably the most famous Revisionist family to come from Harbin was that of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (see below).

Even Harbin’s two major Jewish sports organizations reflected the community’s ideological richness and diversity: Maccabi for the General Zionists, and Betar for the Revisionists. These two groups would occasionally cooperate to combat the virulent anti-Semitism of the openly Fascist White Russian organizations which also thrived in Harbin’s relatively unrestricted political climate. There were shouting matches and occasional scuffles between these groups.

There was also a largely clandestine Communist Party in which some Jews were active, notably Lazar Epstein’s son Israel Epstein, who later becomes a member of the People’s Republic of China’s National People’s Consultative Congress, a largely advisory and ceremonial body. Approximately fifty Jewish communists from Harbin repatriated to the Soviet Union in the late nineteen twenties and in the period 1945-50.

Harbin also had a tiny community of Karaites, who were not formally recognized as Jews in Israel until the mid-twentieth century. Among the best-known Karaites were the tobacco merchants Eli Aaronovitch (1874-1936) and Abraham Aaronovitch (1877-1953) Lopato, originally from Trakai (Troki), Lithuania. There were forty-one Karaite graves in Harbin’s Foreign Catholic Union Cemetery before its demolition in the 1950s.

In spite of their energy, enthusiasm and organization, Harbin Jews couldn’t avoid the dark clouds coming their way. World War I and the Russian Revolution brought scores of anti-Bolshevik White Russians to Harbin, along with a virulent strain of anti-Semitism. Although anti-Semitism was never institutionalized in Harbin as it was in Russia, bullying of Jews by Russian hooligans became common.

The Harbin Russian Fascist Party was established in 1931, the same year the Japanese Army invaded Manchuria. Japanese troops occupied Harbin in 1932, and the city became part of the puppet state of Manchukuo. The Japanese immediately began expropriating private property and terrorizing the civilian population. They recruited spies among the locals and allowed Russian fascists to spearhead anti-Soviet and anti-Jewish campaigns. Foreigners as well as Chinese were kidnapped, tortured and often murdered by the occupying army and its collaborators. Kaufman, who headed the Harbin Jewish community before and during the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, was unable to offer ordinary citizens any recourse against these injustices.

Many of the incidents were muddied by double-dealing, with the Japanese using Russians gangsters and Chinese bandits as a front. One such case that occurred in 1933 was the kidnapping and murder of Simeon Kaspe, a brilliant young concert pianist and naturalized French citizen. Simeon was the son of Russian-born Joseph Kaspe, who owned the Hotel Moderne as well as a large jewelry store and a chain of theaters. When Joseph Kaspe refused to negotiate with the kidnappers, they sent him his son’s ears. Simeon was tortured for several months and eventually killed, while Japanese authorities ignored both the French consul’s protests and widespread international outrage.

Jews began fleeing Harbin and many Harbiners moved south to Shanghai, Tianjin and abroad after the Japanese took Manchuria in the early 1930s. Inspired in part by its strong Zionist history, many Harbin residents made “aliyah” to Palestine/Israel both before and after World War II.

After World War II By the end of World War II, only about 2,000 Harbin Jews were left to greet the city’s new authorities. The Soviet Army had taken over from the Japanese. Between 1945 and 1947, the Soviets arbitrarily arrested a number of Jews and “repatriated” them to Russian gulags, including Dr. Abram Kaufman and other communal leaders. Some Jews with Soviet passports repatriated to the Soviet Union immediately after World War Two.

After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Harbin became part of the People’s Republic of China. About 1,000 Jews left for the newly established State of Israel while others went to the United States, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Panama and Japan. In the case of Israel, Ya’akov Liberman organized a formal seaborne exodus, which he has described in his book My China. An association of former Jewish residents of China, the Igud Yotsei Sin, headquartered in Tel Aviv, was founded primarily by former Harbiners. It has branches in all of the aforementioned countries to which Harbin Jews immigrated and includes former residents of other cities in China as well.

By 1955, only 319 Jews were left to maintain community institutions. In 1982, the Harbin Jewish community consisted of one elderly resident, Anna Agre, who kept many of the communal archives under her bed. She died in 1985.

In recent years, the Chinese government has officially recognized the historic importance of the Harbin Jewish community in an effort to promote tourism and deepen economic ties with other countries, including Israel. Some of the remaining Jewish-built structures sport multilingual historic plaques. Both synagogues have been refurbished. The Main Synagogue is now a “no-star” hotel and guesthouse of the Harbin Railway Department.

The New Synagogue houses the Harbin Jewish History and Culture exhibition. It contains exhibits on three Jewish personalities: Albert Einstein; Harbin’s Israel Epstein; and Jacob Rosenfeld, a Jewish physician with Mao Zedong’s Eight Route Army, who subsequently went to Israel and is buried in Tel Aviv.

About 600 graves from the original Jewish cemetery in central Harbin were moved to an eastern part of the city in 1952. Former Harbiners and their descendents from around the world have visited Huangshan Jewish Cemetery, the largest in East Asia, to pay their respects.

Perhaps the most recent expression of Harbin’s Jewish diversity and vitality was the well-publicized, ongoing saga of the Harbin connections of the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert’s parents and grandparents reached Harbin from Samara, European Russia, at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. In the summer of 2004, when he was Israel’s vice premier and trade minister, Ehud Olmert “returned” to China with a delegation of Israeli businessmen. He and his brother, an agricultural attaché at the Israeli Embassy in Beijing, were much photographed reciting the Jewish prayer for the dead at their grandfather’s tomb. They set in motion the process of restoring the entire Jewish cemetery. Their visit inspired a subsequent visit of about one hundred Israelis of Harbin origin in 2005. This time the former residents held a gala reunion and historical conference their ancestral city.

The Harbin Jewish Research Center was founded in April 2000 by the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences. The Sino-Israel Research and Study Center, was established in 2002 at the Heilongjiang University, School of Western Studies, in Harbin, China. In 2002, an Israeli, Professor Dan Ben-Canaan, was proclaimed by the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences as the first Jew to settle in Harbin in the 21 st century. He teaches in the School of Western Studies of Heilongjiang University and is director of the Sino-Israel Research and Study Center there, which maintains extensive archives on Harbin Jewish history. The center also produces films and articles and disseminates information throughout China and abroad on the subject of the Harbin Jewish community. In 2003 the Sino-Israel Research and Study Center established formal relationship with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for exchanging Doctoral candidates who will conduct their research in Harbin.

Also in 2003, the history and culture of the Jews of Harbin was approved as a new branch of science at a provincial level. Its major research areas cover the following aspects: development and use of the relics and sites of Harbin, promoting the process of reform and the opening up of Heilongjiang and attracting foreign funds.

Former Harbiners and their descendents have put down roots in the U.S., Israel, Europe, Australia, Canada and other countries. Many of them have maintained a connection with each other across oceans and continents. They also have preserved a deep respect for the Chinese people, who welcomed Jews without prejudice and provided asylum during difficult times.

In an expression of the ties that bind former Harbin Jews to their ancestral home, Abram Kaufman’s son Theodor, who is president of both the Tel Aviv-based Association of Former Jewish Residents of China and the Israel-China Friendship Society, and Heilongjinang Academy of Social Sciences Professor Qu Wei, collaborated on a volume appropriately entitled “The Homesick Feeling of the Harbin Jews.” In a modern Jewish history replete with instances of butchering, pogroms, and Holocaust, the positive ties that bind Harbin Jews to their mother city are distinct and ongoing.

Becoming Stateless: Historical Experience and Its Reflection on the Concept of State Among the Lahu in Yunnan and Mainland Southeast Asian Massif

Kataoka Tatsuki

This paper aims to contribute to James Scott’s discussion of statelessness in “Zomia” by examining the realities of political autonomy and the concepts of state and king-ship of the Lahu. During the nineteenth century, “kings” appeared among the Lahu in parts of southwest Yunnan. Indeed, the Lahu enjoyed political autonomy under their own kings before these were eliminated in the process of modern state formation and border demarcation in China and Burma. Messianic movements emerged among the Lahu after they became stateless. These movements stressed the need to redeem the lost states and kings throughout the course of the Lahu’s modern history. In this respect, statelessness is not a timeless, quintessential attribute of the Lahu. Rather, they only became conscious of statelessness during the modern period.

What this demonstrates is that the Lahu have never been conscious anarchists who chose to avoid kings and states. They possess their own original con-cepts of state and kingship, even though these differ from our conventional under-standing, and the main theme of their historical experience and mythical accounts centers around their search for their own state and king.

I Introduction

James Scott’s recent work The Art of Not Being Governed (J. C. Scott 2009) is an excellent contribution to studies on the massif of mainland Southeast Asia and southwest China (“Zomia” in his terminology). Scott upholds that every aspect of social life of highlanders in this area can be seen as a conscious strategy to maintain distance from state power. He argues that their first priority was to avoid control from lowland states and that their social organization, shifting cultivation, illiteracy, and origin myths were designed to justify statelessness in order to meet their ultimate goal of anarchy. His argument is a part of the recent trend in this field to present a non-state-centered perspective. Studies of this sort have appeared as opportunities for fieldwork have increased since China, Vietnam, and Laos (partly) opened their doors to foreign scholars. Such studies have led to a re-evaluation of certain social dynamics that hitherto remained hidden from the modern state perspective.

James Scott’s book has made advances in this respect. The Lahu, a Tibeto-Burman speaking group, are distributed over a wide area that covers Upper Burma, northern Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, as well as their original land Yunnan. According to James Scott, they are one of the typically stateless peoples of “Zomia.” Indeed, their consciousness of being stateless is both an important motif in their origin myth and a main driving force behind a series of messianic movements. However, whether statelessness reflects their consciousness is questionable. In this paper, I will present an alternative interpretation of their historical consciousness. I first discuss the Lahu’s political autonomy in southwest Yunnan during the nineteenth century (Section II) and follow up by discussing arguments concerning the elimination of political autonomy in the course of China’s building of a modern nation-state (Section III).


Next I examine indigenous concepts of state and king, the origin myth that justifies stateless, as well as the messianic movements that search for “the lost book” of the Lahu (Section IV). Finally, in the concluding section, I present possibilities for viewing “Zomia” from an alternative perspective, which may open up ways of discussing the realities of states run by highlanders and their original concept of statehood.

II The “Lahu Age”

Emergence of the Lahu Autonomous Polities

After a long period of “missing links” in their ethno-history, the Lahu (then known as Luohei 猓黒 or Kucong 苦葱 in Chinese documents) emerged in Chinese official records of the Yongzheng 雍正 period. Qing officials promoted an image of the Luohei or Kucong as “unruly rebels,” and the “Luohei rebels” appeared again in the Jiaqing 嘉慶 period when they were accused of disobedience to the lowland Tay (Shan) cawfaa or military native officials (tusi 土司) owing allegiance to the Qing emperor.

Demographic, economic, and religious factors contributed to the appearance of the “rebels.”  The first factor to consider is the expansion of the Han migrant population in southwest Yunnan and Upper Burma during the eighteenth century. According to the Draft Comprehensive Gazetteer of Yunnan, the population of Yongchang 永昌府 and Shunning 順寧府 Prefectures, where the majority of the Lahu resided, increased from 166,962 in 1736 to 660,452 in 1830 due to the huge influx of Han migrants. Highlanders were thus exposed to Han cultural influence. The spread of Mahayana Buddhism over the Lahu hills is a typical example (discussed below). Rapid opening of mines in the Yunnan-Burma borderlands also attracted Han migrants. Reid summarizes the migration of Han Chinese miners:

[M]iners migrated in large numbers into Yunnan, where there were reported to be 500,000 miners by 1800. The desire for further mining sites was not halted by any notional boundary of Chinese imperial control.

The hills in the north of what are today Burma, Laos, and Vietnam held similar resources of copper, lead, iron, and silver as those of Yunnan. Chinese miners became far more numerous on all these frontiers in the eighteenth century, making deals as necessary with local or state power-holders.

Han mine owners maintained private armies and actively participated in local politics. The most prominent figures were Wu Shangxian 呉尚賢 of Maolong 茂隆 silver mine and Gong Li-yan 宮里雁 of Bolong (Bawdwin) 波龍 silver mine. The “Mian Kao 緬考” included in the Dian Xi of 1808 comments that these two mine owners were “most feared by surrounding barbarians” along the Yunnan-Burma borderlands during the eight-eenth century. Another silver mine, Munai 募乃, was located in the center of the Lahu hills in today’s Lancang County 瀾滄縣, and was also managed by Han Chinese.

At the same time, the Qing dynasty introduced gaitu guiliu 改土歸流 policies, direct administration by imperial officials to replace indirect rule by military native officials (tusi) in the eighteenth century. This was actively implemented on the east bank of the Mekong (Lancang) river during the Yongzheng period under the initiative of Ertai 鄂爾泰, the governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou. The abolition of Tay native military officials in Weiyuan 威遠 (present-day Jinggu 景谷) and Zhenyuan 鎭沅 during the 1720s was followed by a series of uprisings by displaced Tay former aristocrats in coalition with other highlanders including the Lahu. The influx of Han Chinese migrants and the growing pressure of Qing’s direct administration by the Qing created a “middle ground”, or a field of competition over political power and economic resources among the Han immigrants, lowland Tay, and surrounding highlanders in southwest Yunnan.

The second factor behind the emergence of the “Lahu rebels” was political unrest in Yunnan-upper mainland Southeast Asia during the eighteenth century. Mine owners, Han migrants, as well as local Tay cawfaa (Sën.Wii, Keng Tung, Mäng: Lëm 孟連, Sipsong Panna, Chiang Mai, etc.) actively participated in local politics along the Yunnan-Burma frontiers at the time of dynasty change in Burma and Siam.

The new Siamese dynasty, Thongburi-Bangkok, ousted Burmese troops from Chiang Mai and made a vassal state of it. The newly appointed Chiang Mai king, Kawila, mounted military expeditions to Keng Tung and Sipsong Panna to bring back war captives to repopulate the Chiang Mai valley. The recently founded Burmese Konbaung dynasty also quickly reverted to an expansionist policy that targeted the Tay Shan polities in the northeast. It led to a triangular struggle among Burmese troops, Tay polities, and the leaders of the Han Chinese immigrants.

All of this occurred in the aftermath of the 1766–69 Qing-Konbaung War. The Tay polities were the main battlefields in all of these conflicts. In the course of such political turmoil, Tay cawfaa sometimes fought each other and sometimes banded together in accordance with complex marriage alliances. The Tay polities split into small factions and their political prestige in the region was severely damaged.

Highlanders served at the frontline as spies, guides, or (un)reliable support forces for lowland cawfaa in inter-valley-state warfare. Their service strengthened the highlanders’ powers of negotiation with lowland polities. At the end of the eighteenth century, the Lahu, who had formerly been subjects of the Tay cawfaa of Mäng: Lëm, Mäng Mäng 猛 猛, etc., had already prepared to reject their suzerainty. The third factor was Buddhism. Reportedly some Kucong who revered a Theravada monk rebelled against Qing officials at Simao 思茅 during the early eighteenth century. However, it was Mahayana Buddhism that became dominant among the Lahu on the western bank of the Mekong. According to Chinese publications on the Lahu, Mahayana Buddhism was initially brought into the Lahu hills during the eighteenth century by a Han Chinese monk from Dali 大理. Before that, the Lahu were organized under a religio-political leadership in which village priests were responsible for village administration. Under the influence of Buddhism, this system was transformed into integrated multi-village units headed by a foye 佛爺 or monk.

The Lahu translated the Chinese term fo (fu) 佛, which literally means the Buddha (or Buddha images), as G'ui sha, meaning the supreme creator god. As Buddhism spread throughout the hills, the existing priest-centered village leadership was modified to worship foye as living Buddhas or man-gods. A Dafoye (Ta Fu Ye) 大佛爺, or senior foye, appointed junior monks in each village under his control. This multi-village theocracy inspired by Mahayana Buddhism enabled the Lahu to claim equal status with the Theravada Buddhist polities in the lowlands.

The Heyday of the “Lahu Age”

The people of Dong Zhu (Tong Chu)東主, where the Lahu Mahayana Buddhist tradition flourished in the nineteenth century, divide their history into two periods: the Lahu co-e (“Lahu Age”) and the Heh pa co-e (“Chinese Age”). The “Lahu Age” refers to the period up to the 1890s when their fu were active and enjoyed autonomy. The “Chinese Age” commenced with the introduction of direct administration by the Qing government in 1888.

Leading Lahu monks were known as fu jaw maw or “Buddha kings." The existence of such “kings” provides the basis for present-day Lahu claims that they once possessed their own king and state. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Sir J. George Scott (then superintendent of the Shan States) reported the existence of an independent Lahu kingdom governed by a living Buddha, which he named the “Nan Cha Tong Chu Kingdom” after the location names of prominent monasteries.

He wrote: “In the Nan Cha Tong Chu Kingdom of the La’hus there were thirty-six of these Fu and over them were set Ta Fu Ye or great Buddhas.” This kingdom was established by a mythical leader named Kyan Sit Fu, who “appeared mysteriously and ordered the construction of thirty-six Fu-fang or sacred (Buddhistic) houses.”

George Scott also noted that “when they were built he disappeared as suddenly as he came”. This mythical account matches the data from surveys conducted by the Communist government of China during the 1950s. Chinese government reports mention that the Lahu were once governed by a coalition of monks and monasteries called “36 zun fo 三十六尊佛 (respectful Buddhas)” (“Minzu Wenti Wuzhong Congshu,” Yunnansheng Bianji Weiyuanhui 1982. The coalition of monasteries was also known as the wu fo 五佛 (five Buddhas).

The exact composition of the wu fo varies according to ethnographical authors, but most of them agree that Nan Zha (Nan Cha) 南柵 and Dong Zhu (Tong Chu) were central figures. The first “Buddha king” to appear in Chinese historical sources is Tong Jin 銅金 (Buddhist name) or Zhang Fuguo 張輔國 (lay name), who was supposed to be the first Nan Zha Fo 南柵佛 (Nan Zha Buddha), in other words, the founder of the Nan Zha monastery. He was the son of a Han immigrant living in Mäng: Lem, who taught martial arts and propagated Mahayana Buddhism in the Lahu hills. He became notorious when he successfully instigated a Lahu rebellion against the lowland Tay polities of Mäng Mäng and Mäng: Lëm in 1799. This rebellion was eventually suppressed by Qing military intervention, though Tong Jin himself was released on the grounds that he was a monk with no political aspirations. Tong Jin and his Lahu followers renewed hostilities against the Tay valley states in 1803 when they refused to pay tribute to the cawfaa of Mäng: Lëm. The governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou sent officials to mediate the dispute between the Lahu and the cawfaa. Qing officials finally settled the issue by obliging Tong Jin to return to secular life and by giving him a rank and title as a native official under the jurisdiction of Mäng: Lëm, responsible for collecting tax on behalf of the cawfaa.

The Lahu Cultural History relates that the Dong Zhu monastery was destroyed in 1874 during the Panthay rebellion. However it seems that Dong Zhu recovered quickly. During the 1880s, Dong Zhu Da Fofang 東主大佛房 (Dong Zhu Great Monastery) was listed among the “tucheng 土城 (native fortifications)” by Cen Yuying 岑毓英, the incumbent governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou.

Li Tongming (Mäng Hka Fu/Meng Ka Fo) 李通明, the husband of San Fo Zu’s daughter, succeeded to the position of Mäng Hka Fu (Meng Ka Fo or Ximeng Fo) when his father-in-law San Fo Zu died in 1888.

                                       Jinding Si temple, evening. Emei Shan, Sichuan

This indicates that both monks San Fo Zu and Li Tongming were married. The fact that this apparent violation of the Buddhist precept did not undermine their religious charisma reflects some degree of transformation of original Buddhism, (in ancient Jewish times marriage was highly encouraged, almost to the point of being compulsory; if the Lahus were Israelites, as it is said of the peoples of the Lost Golden Book dwelling between the Chinese provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan & in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam...).

Monk Tong Jin married, and his sons and grandsons became Lahu.

Further over, as seen above, sounds like marriage is a condition to become Lahu. Why? They were fellow Israelites of the Lost Gold Book after all.

At the turn of the century, Li Tongming was the sole remaining “Buddha king” in the Yunnan-Burma borderlands. Li Tongming appears in J. G. Scott’s Gazetteer of Upper Burma and the Shan States as the Ta Fu Ye of Mäng Hka who inherited the tradition of the Nan Cha Tong Chu Kingdom. He observes that “[t]he name Ta Fu Ye and the sacred character of its bearer, as has been said, suggest the Lamas of Tibet, or rather the Dalai Lama, for the ordinary Lama is nothing more than a Buddhist monk”.

However, this tradition did not last long. After Li Tongming’s death in 1901, Ca sheh 扎謝 served as regent to Li’s young son. Promoted from the position of a private servant in the Li family, Ca sheh had never been ordained as a monk and, naturally enough, had not received a Buddhist education. Reportedly the tradition of Buddhism in Ximeng (Mäng Hka) declined during his period. Ca bo taiye 扎布太爺 was a contemporary of San Fo Zu. After an apprenticeship in Nan Zha, he established a monastery in his village Meng Nuo 勐糯 and served as the abbot or foye. His prestige grew as the number of his followers swelled.

He then returned to secular life to marry the daughter of a village headman and ruled 16 subordinate villages. The headmen of the villages under his control paid tribute to him annually. He had formed alliances with San Fo Zu and Nan Zha Fo, and together they were known as the “san fo 三佛” (three Buddha [kings]) in the late nineteenth century. Wei Xiang 魏相, a founder of Man Da Fu 蠻大佛, was also listed as one of the five wu fo of the Lahu even though he was a Wa.

Wei Xiang received training from Nan Zha Fo before he went to Dali for further Buddhist education. Returning to Man Da, he established a monastery and, by virtue of his position as the Ta Fu Ye, had 20 subordinate abbots and 360 lesser monks under his jurisdiction. The Newly Compiled Comprehensive Gazetteer of Yunnan (Xincan Yunnan Tongzhi) commented that he was one of the three outstanding leaders of southwest Yunnan during the nineteenth century, the other two being the Wa Gourd King Huluwang ( 葫蘆王) and the cawfaa of Mäng: Lëm. The emergence of the authority of Man Da Fu among the local Lahu and Wa made them reject submission to Shang Yun 上允, a vassal Tay state of Mäng: Lëm. Apart from the “Buddha kings” mentioned above, there were more secular native leaders active in the Lahu hills during the later half of the nineteenth century.

The Newly Compiled Comprehensive Gazetteer of Yunnan (Xincan Yunnan Tongzhi) mentioned the emergence of a galaxy of native forces in the Lahu hills during the Guangxu 光緒 period (1875–1909). This group comprised Zhang Dengfa 張登發 (Zhang taiye 張太爺), the son of a Han migrant; Shi Zhaolong 石朝龍, Shi Zhaofeng 石朝鳳, Shi Tingzi 石廷子, Li Zhilong 李芝—all of whom were immigrants from Weiyuan 威遠 on the east bank of the Mekong; and Li Zhaolong 李朝龍, a migrant from Pu’er 普洱. Later Zhang Dengfa became the target of a military expedition by the Qing army, while the other emerging native leaders were given titles as military native officials by the Qing government. Zhang Dengfa succeeded his father Zhang Bingquan 張秉權, who established himself as a semi-independent ruler of Shang Gaixin 上改心 (today’s Shuangjiang County). Zhang Bingquan is reported to have been the son of Zhang Fuguo (Tong Jin). Ensconced in the Shang Gaixin hills, Zhang Bingquan and Zhang Dengfa rejected the overlordship of the cawfaa of Mäng Mäng and continuously occupied villages from the territories of Mäng Mäng and other surrounding Tay valley states. They established a centralized hierarchy of administration with the jaw maw at the top. The jaw maw divided his territory into tax-collecting zones and appointed a changye 掌爺 to supervise each village cluster. Zhang’s hill dynasty over-whelmed the Mäng Mäng cawfaa and encroached on his territory despite repeated warn-ings from Qing officials in 1883–84.

Among other native leaders of the Guangxu period, Li Zhilong and the Shi brothers (Zhaolong and Zhaofeng) are credited in the Draft of the Continued Comprehensive Gazetteer of Yunnan with rendering military assistance to the Qing during the Panthay rebellion. This corresponds to the fact that Simao (a reminder of Simeon's tribe? Simao is Simon or Simeon in Portuguese) was recovered by Qing troops in 1865 with military assistance from local reinforcements from the Lahu hill. They may have been serving as pro-Qing militia even before being granted official titles as native military officials.

III Decline of the “Lahu Age” and the Aftermath

Collapse of Autonomy

The period of flourishing semi-independent “Buddha kings” and other secular leaders came to a close at the end of the nineteenth century during the course of the transforma-tion of the Qing Empire into a modern state. The sudden elimination of the kingdom of Burma in 1885 and the British annexation of Upper Burma in the following year caused serious problems for Qing officials. They had to defend Yunnan from the British, but nobody knew exactly where Yunnan ended and Upper Burma began. Tay (Shan) valley states lay between China and Burma, and the question of sovereignty over these states was an extremely complex one. Some of these states were vassal states of Burma, others were ruled by military native officials (tusi) appointed by China, and some states paid tribute to both. As a result, the British claimed territorial rights over some of the Tay military native officials in Yunnan.

Indeed, in the demarcation of the territory of British Burma, the British set extreme eastern limits to Burma’s tributary states and “claimed the following eastern tributary states as falling within Ava’s domains and having paid tribute to her: Hsenwi (Sën.Wii), Kokang, Kungma (Mäng: Küng), Monglem (Mäng: Lëm), Kenghung and the Lahu hills between the last two” (Saimong 1965, 275).


Ethnic map portraying the Lahus inside the white Star of David in dark shaded green.

Thus, for the Qing it was of vital importance to prove that the valley states in question were in fact “Chinese” local administrative units. Here lay another serious problem. The administrative power of Tay cawfaas was confined to the small valleys scattered throughout southwest Yunnan, and their sovereignty over the hills surrounding such valleys was at most nominal. Indeed, as we have seen, some of the Lahu leaders were even hostile to the valley cawfaas. In short, the system of indirect administration in which native officials ruled over feudal territory on behalf of the Qing court had failed. The Qing policy of securing sovereignty over territory on the Yunnan-Burma frontier was to encroach on the domains of weakened Tay valley states and grant native official (tusi) titles to nominally subordinate upland leaders. This policy was originally intended to target the Kachin (Jingpo), but was also applied to the Lahu. Pro-Qing figures among the Xia Gaixin (present-day Lancang) Lahu such as Li Zhilong, Shi Zhaolong, Shi Zhaofeng, etc., were given titles of lower rank such as native lieutenants (tuqianzong 土千總), native second lieutenants (tubazong 土把總), native second captains (tushoubei 土守備), and native brigade vice-commanders (tudusi 土都司), in 1886 (Fang 1987, 882).

This measure was aimed at isolating Zhang Dengfa, who was most hostile to Qing authority. In the following year, Cen Yuying, the governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou, sent troops to attack the stronghold of Zhang Dengfa, with newly appointed Lahu native officials assisting in the operation. The Qing army eventually killed Zhang Dengfa and occupied his territory. After the completion of this operation, the Qing established Zhenbian sub-prefecture (ting) 鎭邊直隷廰 as an organ to administer directly the new territory in the Lahu hills in 1888. In a report of the victory of the military expedition submitted to the emperor, the governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou, Cen Yuying, summarized the political development of the Lahu hills throughout the nineteenth century very simply as “endless rebellion (lushi panluan 屢世叛亂).”

This reveals a huge gap between the statements by Qing officials and Lahu perceptions of themselves. From the viewpoint of Qing officials, the “Lahu Age,” in which the Lahu resisted submission to the Qing, was simply a rebellion against a legitimate state power. The forces of the five “Buddha kings” (wu fo) led by Dong Zhu and Mäng Hka con-tinued to resist surrendering to the Zhenbian sub-prefecture. San Fo Zu of Mäng Hka died in 1888, the same year as the Qing started to directly administer the Lahu hills. Three years later, the forces of the “barbarians of the five monasteries (Wu Fofang Yi 五佛房夷)” attacked the Zhenbian army.

Since this movement was centered around Dong Zhu and Mäng Hka, Qing troops destroyed the Dong Zhu Fofang. Meanwhile Li Tongming sur-rendered to the Qing and was appointed as the Ximeng tumu 西盟土目, a low-ranking native official. The entire Lahu hills in Yunnan then came under the control of the Qing and thus ended the “Lahu Age.”

However, the Lahu polities should not be understood in the modern sense of international relations, which are based on the notion of sovereign states. The Lahu polities were nominally under the suzerainty of the Tay valley states; hence, they were vassals from the official viewpoint of Chinese emperors and Burmese kings. In addition, some Lahu “Buddha kings” were subordinate to the Wa chiefs as well. The Was are also Israelites of the Lost Golden Book. Ca bo taiye is reported to have refused to pay tax to a neighboring Wa chief and to have established an alliance with the Wa on equal terms. This indicates that the Lahu in that area paid tax to the Wa and therefore were subordinate to them before the time of Ca bo. San Fo Zu (and his successor Li Tongming) conquered Mäng Hka (Ximeng) and ruled over the Wa living there. However, San Fo Zu and Li Tongming’s “kingdom” still remained subordinate to a neighboring Wa chief named Sung Ramang, paying annual tribute to him.

This is an important point for understanding the local concepts of state and kingship, which are different from present-day notions of modern nation states (discussed below). Zhenbian sub-prefecture was proof that the Lahu hills were under Qing administration, so the British abandoned the annexation of Zhenbian as well as Mäng: Lëm and Sipsong Panna. Finally both Qing China and British India agreed on the demarcation of the Yunnan-Burma border in 1894, with the exception of some parts of the Wa area.

The transformation of the pre-modern regional order into a world governed by the principles of modern international relations eliminated any possibility of the Lahu surviving with their own country. Nonetheless, their concept of state and kingship persisted and was expressed in the repeated religious movements and rebellions that arose thereafter.

Emerging Messianic Movements

Studies on Lahu religious history agree that the messianic movements, which started at the end of the nineteenth century, originated from a prophecy by San Fo Zu. According to Gordon Young, the prophetic tradition can be traced to a message that San Fo Zu left on his deathbed in 1888 in which he instructed the Lahu to “burn the beeswax candles and joss-sticks, that the day might soon come when the Lahu people will receive their enlightenment from God". When day get the knowledge that are part of the Chosen People of Israel?

The British government sent a series of delegations to Mäng: Lëm, Sipsong Panna, and Mäng Hka (Ximeng) to ask for their submission (Saimong 1965, 200–288; Mitton 1936, 187–189). 31) Mäng Hka (Ximeng) was included in these unsettled areas. For details of border demarcation, and debates between China and British India over the legal status of Mäng: Lëm and Sipsong Panna.

Paul Lewis, a Baptist missionary and anthropologist, argues that San Fo Zu was also the founder of Lahu millenarianism: “Messianic movements among Lahus in Burma have been going on for many years. The Lahus say it really started with Sha fu cu, and the power has been handed down from one to the other”.

Indeed, the unsuccessful rebellion of the “barbarians of the five monasteries” against Zhenbian sub-prefecture in 1891, in which San Fo Zu’s son-in-law played a central role in the alliance with the Dong Zhu Fo, was a direct result of this prophecy. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the longing for a messiah became wide-spread among the Lahu in Yunnan and even among those in the Shan States, Burma. Antisdel, another Baptist missionary at Keng Tung, wrote of such enthusiasm. The Lahu there widely believed that:

God, Himself, was to appear and reinstate them supernaturally. A false leader has here and there appeared claiming to be God and urging the people to abandon the “old” and take up the “new,” to obey him and when the time comes he would “manifest” himself and exert his supernatural powers, when all manner of blessings—chiefly temporal—should be heaped upon the people with no effort on their part; they would rule over their present oppressors, sickness and, of course, death, would be no more. Several of these false prophets have had a considerable following. In Judaism there have been several false messianic prophets too. This is the Donmeh's origin.

Prophetic uprisings by the Lahu arose continuously in Yunnan, the Shan States, and eventually in Thailand. In 1903, a group of the Lahu of Mäng Mäng (Shuangjiang) led by “yaoren “ 妖人” (a miraculous person) and “xianren “ 仙人” (probably an immortal, unworldly person) revolted against the cawfaa of Mäng Mäng, but was suppressed by Qing forces. The great love for freedom that the Lahu have resembles a bit that of the Jewish Zealots at Massada. During the rebellion, the people gathered at a Fo-fang (monastery) for New Year dancing, and “magical water” was distributed by the leaders before the uprising. Two years later, The News (a monthly journal of the American Baptists) reported that among the Lahu of Keng Tung, “one man claims to be a messianic king, that he is to give immortality to all, and that there will be no more wars”. In 1918, the Lahu brothers Li Long 李龍 and Li Hu 李虎 of Yunnan instigated their brethren to rise up against usurious practices and government officials. One Lahu leader, who joined the insurrection after visiting Dong Zhu and other Fo-fang, then claimed to be God. The people revolted with the slogan “Our lord has appeared!” This rebellion spread all over the Lahu hills in Yunnan before being suppressed by Yunnan provincial troops. Messianic movements have also arisen among the Lahu in Burma and Thailand. Lewis described one instance as follows:

In 1934 the Lahu “prophet” named Ma heh G’ui sha raised an army to fight the British. The latest leader of significance to Lahus in Thailand is Maw na pa, or sometimes called Paw ku lon, living just across the border from Thailand. In 1958 he sent word that no Lahu was to live any further south in Thailand than Fang. Those who would come up to live in Burma, he said, would have “everlasting food and drink,” and thus many villages went up there. Many of them have become discouraged and returned to Thailand.

Another example is that of Maw na to bo, or Maw na pa, who was one of the warlords in the ethnic insurgency in Burma. He purportedly established his army by collecting money from ordination ceremonies for religious specialists under his rule, and proclaimed his territory a Lahu mvuh mi (state). His claim attracted the Lahu in Burma, who were under strong pressure from the government army, Shan separatist armies, and Burmese Communist Party guerrillas, as well as his brethren who suffered oppression under the military rule of the ex-KMT troops in the hills of northern Thailand. Till today the Lahus’ quest for a new charismatic leader has not ended.

Once a powerful man with mysterious power appears, rumors spread across national boundaries immediately. A good example is Khruba Bunchum, a Thai charismatic monk living near the Golden Triangle (Thai-Lao-Burmese border).

His Lahu followers consider him to be a reincarnation of San Fo Zu and Maw na to bo. All these cases indicate that the messianic movements of the Lahu should be viewed as a reaction to serious deprivations suffered after the demise of the “Lahu Age” and incorporation into modern nation states, rather than as an everlasting essential feature of highlanders’ identity.

IV The Making of “Statelessness”

State and Kingship The Lahus’ claim that they once had kings and countries of their own actually has some grounds. If so, what are the indigenous concepts that correspond to to the notion of coun-try (or state) and king? The Lahu words mvuh mi and jaw maw refer to “country” and “king” respectively. Lewis, in his Lahu-English-Thai Dictionary, defines mvuh mi as “a country, a nation”.

However, this term sometimes denotes territories other than modern nation states. For example, Lancang Lahu Autonomous County in present-day Yunnan is called Lancang Lahu Mvuh mi. The Shan States within Burma and the Wa substate in the Shan States are called Pi chaw (Shan) Mvuh mi and A va (Wa) Mvuh mi respectively. Village clusters can also be called mvuh mi.

Regardless of the issue of sovereignty, the term mvuh mi can be used to denote almost all geographical territories; however, while it is true that mvuh mi does refer to a country or state, it should be noted that it has a wider range of meaning than these English terms. Jaw maw appears as a translation for “lord” and “ruler” in Lewis’ dictionary.

Heads of state, monarchs, and presidents are all referred to as jaw maw. Like mvuh mi, the term jaw maw also carries a much broader meaning than the simple notion of conventional kings of independent states.

Literally, the term means “heaven (mvuh) and earth (mi).”

There is evidence that even bandit leaders can be enthroned as kings in the people’s memory. Ca na 扎那, a bandit leader on the east bank of the Mekong who fought against direct administration by the Qing at the end of the eighteenth century, was posthumously given the title of “Lahu King (Luohei Wang ( 猓黒王)”. In the tradition of messianic movements after San Fo Zu (that is after the end of the “Lahu Age”), we still come across many kings or jaw maw in early twentieth-century accounts. In 1904 a mass conversion to Christianity occurred in Keng Tung when the arrival of a Christian missionary was interpreted as a fulfillment of San Fo Zu’s prophecy (see below). The American Baptist missionary was granted the “Squatter Sovereignty right to the territory” by the Lahu.

Although the Lahu term for the English translation “Squatter Sovereignty” was unfortunately not given in the missionary correspondence, it is quite likely that the term originally used was jaw maw. At the same time as the mass conversion in Keng Tung, the appearance of another “messianic king” was reported. The slogan of the 1918 rebellion in Yunnan, “Our lord has appeared (Women de zhuzi chulaile 我們的主子出來了)!”, is no doubt a direct translation of jaw maw. Later, in Burma in the 1970s, a Lahu man-god Maw na G’ui sha (Maw na pa, Maw na to bo) was reported to have been called jaw maw by his followers. What these cases demonstrate is that the Lahu have never been conscious anarchists who chose to avoid kings and states. On the contrary, their subjective history abounds in stories of kings. They have had concepts of state and kingship of their own, and such notions are by no means alien to them. Indeed, in the broadest sense of the terms, sometimes they actually ran states and had kings of their own in the past.

The Lahu Myths of Statelessness Reconsidered

The fact that the subjective history of the Lahu overflows with stories of kings may seem inconsistent with another subjective history that focuses on their statelessness. Like other highlanders of Southeast Asia, the origin myth of the Lahu contains very rich texts that rationalize their statelessness. However, this manifestation of statelessness requires close scrutiny. Let us start by looking at this myth. It relates that the god created heaven and earth and then created humans beside the lake of Naw sheh Naw law (or Naw law Naw sheh). The god gave the Lahu a seal of office to rule the world and other ethnic groups became servants of the Lahu. The envious Tay (Shan) sent a beautiful servant girl to tempt the Lahu jaw maw with her costume and gestures. The jaw maw accidentally touched her breast and, as plotted, the Tay servant girl cried out and asked for the god’s seal as compensation. Because she would accept nothing else, the Lahu jaw maw finally gave it to her. From that time onwards the Lahu lost their title and became subjects and servants of the Tay. According to the Lahu origin myth, the Lahu formerly ruled the entire world from their capital at Beijing/Nanjing (This interpretation contradicts an implicit assumption among Chinese ethnologists that these terms do not refer to Beijing and Nanjing but to old place names in Qinghai (Beiji 北基 and Nanji 南基). However, given their claim that the Lahu were once rulers of China, it would be meaningless if their capital were located in small villages in isolated Qing-hai. It is most plausible that such views constitute a kind of “political decision” designed to minimize ethnic conflict in contemporary China. Ma also makes similar criticisms of this unrealistic political discourse that pinpoints Qinghai as the Lahu homeland). These cities were surrounded by walls. The Han Chinese were one of the subject ethnic groups ruled by Lahu jaw maw. At that time, the Lahu, armed with crossbows, possessed the strongest army. The Chinese had never been able to defeat them in battle, so they played a trick on the Lahu women. Attracted by the sound of Jew’s harps, the Lahu women gave all the triggers of the crossbows to the Chinese while their husbands were away farming and hunting. Thus fully armed, the Chinese soldiers attacked the city. The Lahu men tried to fight back but found that their crossbows could not work. After losing the war, the Lahu left the capital city and took to the forest in search of a new country. They chased the tracks of a deer and eventually found a new place beside the lake of Naw sheh Naw law. They lived in harmony in the country of Naw sheh Naw law.

Later, however, two groups among the Lahu quarrelled over the distribution of game. This quarrel divided the Lahu and 99 dissatisfied families left the country and moved south. The remaining 33 families tried to pursue the 99 families but could not catch up with them. Giving up the chase, the 33 families settled in a new country, Mvuh meh Mi meh. (the divine & biblical  numbers 12, 3 & 7 show up often among the Lahus)

The Han Chinese attacked Mvuh meh Mi meh. Eventually the Lahu lost their new country and were forced to move further south. Some of them founded the Sha K’ai Shi country, but it was eliminated by Chinese troops when the British colonized Burma. Since then there have been no more Lahu jaw maw. At first sight, these narratives seem to relate the prehistory of the Lahu. However, in reality, it is likely that these myths reflect the relatively recent political situation after the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Humans were first created at Naw sheh Naw law; later they also founded Naw sheh Naw law as a new country after having lost the war with the Chinese at Beijing/Nanjing. One possible interpretation is that the passages concerning Beijing/Nanjing area were later interpolated to the original version so that Naw sheh Naw law could be mentioned in the myth as a new country.

The claim that Beijing/Nanjing was once the capital of the Lahu makes no sense until the incorporation of the Lahu hills into Chinese territory after the 1880–90s. Since the Lahu originally regarded themselves as non-subjects of the Chinese empire, there should have been no need for them to assert sovereignty over the Chinese capital. Second, the concept of superior rulers granting seals of office to local chiefs as proof of their investiture reflects a formality associated with the Chinese empire’s appointment of native officials (tusi). Chinese dynasties always issued seals of office to local indigenous leaders whom they appointed to administrate areas that the dynasty was incapable of ruling directly in pre-modern China. The Tay cawfaa of Mäng: Lam 猛朗 (present-day Lancang Ba 瀾滄壩) where the Lahu live was incorporated into the native official system of the Qing dynasty during the late eighteenth century. The legend of the “lost seal” could be an imitation of administrative changes in the early modern period.

                                                     Qiongzhu Temple Kunming Yunnan

Third, in the former Lahu country, Mvuh meh Mi meh (present-day Lincang), direct administration by Qing dynasty was introduced during the middle of the eighteenth cen-tury, after which many Han Chinese migrated to southwest Yunnan (see above). Without the presence of Han immigrants, Han Chinese would never have been portrayed in the myth as rivals who threatened Lahu political autonomy. It is possible that the “loss of Mvuh meh Mi meh” corresponded to changes in the ethnoscape during the eighteenth century. Consideration of these issues leads us to an alternative interpretation of the myths. According to their own accounts, the Lahu started to rationalize their notions of stateless-ness in relation to the Tay valley states and the Chinese bureaucracy no earlier than the eighteenth century. Their concepts of state, sovereignty, and power seem to have been inspired by the influx of migrant Han Chinese in the early modern period.

Consciousness of “statelessness” itself emerged after the Lahu came under the administration of the Chinese state. Statelessness as an active ideology for the articulation of ethnic consciousness cannot predate the formation of a modern state with demarcated border-lines. If our understanding is correct, the Lahu were made stateless by the modern state itself.

“The Lost Book” and Political Power

If statelessness is not a timeless, quintessential attribute of the  Lahu, then James Scott’s argumentument that their narratives of illiteracy served as “weapons of the weak ” to avoid the state also becomes questionable. He argues that illiteracy (or “non-literacy” as he terms it) and myths of “the lost book” of the “Zomia” highlanders reflected a conscious strategy to keep their distance from lowland states. Rulers granting seals of office to local indigenous leaders whom they appointed to administrate areas that the dynasty was incapable of ruling directly in pre-modern regional order into a world governed by the prin) 1904 ciples of modern international relations eliminated any possibility of the Lahu.)

However, the Lahu case offers possibilities for a different interpretation of the myths. The Lahu myth relates that the creator god once summoned representatives from all ethnic groups to receive books of his teachings. He gave the Lahu delegation rice cakes on which his teachings were inscribed. However, on their way home, the Lahu got hungry and ate all the rice cakes (rice cakes in Japan are known as mochi; mochi is made in the same way as matza, unleavened bread, the Hebrew passover bread, because if you use rice as the ingredient instead of wheat flour, it would be the Japanese mochi; the consonantal sounds [the ones that really count in Semitic languages] are pretty much the same; moreover, the fact that the Lahus' story stresses the rice cake [made with rice, since wheat it's non-existant or little spread in eastern Asia, while rice is very abundant.] & that the cake is given by the divinity reinforces even more the suspicion for which this bread would be the matza that God gave to the ancient Israelites. More so if we take into account that eating that rice bread is like having God's word in their hearts, because matza & other ritual meals (when eaten) had the very purpose to make the Israelites remember God's word too.

                                                                    Jewish matza

That is why the Lahu, unlike the Tay and the Han Chinese who did not lose their books, do not possess their own writings. Some Lahu interpreted the myth to mean that they did not need to learn how to write. “Because the Lahu people had eaten God’s rice cakes, they have God’s word in their hearts. Just as the Lahu said then, even though they do not have writing, to this day God’s customs and words are in their hearts”. In this interpretation, the Lahu are congenitally literate while the Tay and Chinese acquire literacy only through learning. Here the hierarchical order of literacy-illiteracy between valley dwellers and highlanders is reversed. Highlanders can use the myth of “the lost book” as an antithesis to the established authority of lowland states. However, in another interpretation, the myth of “the lost book” provides a strong basis for messianic prophecy. Antisdel reported:

There is a prophecy among the Lahoos (Lahu) that their brethren of the ninety-nine families will some day return to them and when they do will bring the written precepts of God which the Lahoos once had. Tradition says God wrote his precepts on rice cakes and gave them to the people, but they became very hungry and ate the rice cakes. The Akhas and Was (Karens also) have similar traditions except that the writings were on buffalo skins, but when the people were hungry these were cooked and eaten.

They, as well as the Lahoos, expect a return of lost brethren (the other Lost Israelites), who will not only bring back the lost writings, but will restore them to political supremacy.

As founder of the Lahu messianic movements, San Fo Zu is thought to have been the man who uttered the prophecy mentioned above. According to the history of the Lahu Christian church, San Fo Zu is reported to have made the following prediction:

[W]hen the time is fulfilled, God will search for us and will enter our homes. There is a sign and when it appears, we will know that God is coming. The sign is that white people on white horses will bring us the Scripture of God. (Saw Aung Din and Sowards 1963, 409)

The Lahu church historian Yo han refers to this prophecy in his version of Lahu church history. His version offers the terms “chaw hpu” and “mvuh hpu (white book)” as the Lahu translation of “white people” and “the Scripture of God” (Yo han 1976, 5). Here the term hpu (white) is an adjective that stresses sacredness, so it is questionable whether “white men” and “white book” originally denoted Westerners and the Bible. When the American Baptist missionary William M. Young started his evangelical work in Keng Tung in 1901, the Lahu regarded him as the “white man” of the prophecy who was bringing God’s precepts (“white book”) back to them. His arrival started a mass conversion movement in 1904 in Keng Tung, and the movement soon spread across the border into China at an increasingly fast pace. William Young noted that the belief in “the lost book” underlay the enthusiasm for the messianic movement at that time: “[t]he belief seems well-nigh universal among them that the foreigner would bring them the knowledge of the true God, and there is an intense longing on the part of many for such a revelation”. The word “foreigner” here was most probably a translation (somewhat exaggerated) of the Lahu term for white people—chaw hpu — . William Young was originally trained for missionary work amongst the Tay (Shan).

He was fluent in the Tay (Shan) language and, quite naturally, he knew no Lahu. In missionary correspondences he repeatedly complained that he had some difficulty in communicating with the Lahu, for every time he received delegations of the Lahu he had to find somebody who could translate his Tay into Lahu. Of course, “the white books” that he brought were not written in Lahu but Tay translations of gospels and tracts. Christian missionaries developed romanized Lahu script for Bible translation later. In 1907, Tilbe, a Baptist missionary, invented a romanization system for Lahu, which was used in some pamphlets, catechism, and hymns. Later, in 1932, Po Tun and Telford completed a translation of the New Testament. The invention of a romanization system and the translation of the Bible into Lahu started only after the mass conversions of 1904. Therefore the Lahu could not have had a writing system during the initial period of mass conversion.

Nicholas Tapp (1989) generalized that messianic mass conversion to Christianity was inspired by the widely shared myth of “the lost book” among the highlanders (Miao, Karen, etc.) of mainland Southeast Asia, and hypothesized that conversions were motivated by a “desire for literacy.” Literacy in this context refers to translations of the Bible and other texts written in scripts of their own languages. However, his hypothesis can not be sustained when we consider the fact that in each case, mass conversion occurred before the translation of the Bible. Actually, the Bibles distributed by the missionaries were not written in the languages of the highlanders, but in the scripts of dominant lowlanders—Chinese for the Miao and Burmese for the Karen. Nevertheless, these Bibles were regarded as evidence that the prophecies concerning the return of “the lost book” had been fulfilled. The Lahu case was by no means an exception. The Bible that they received was not written in Lahu but in the Tay language. What then was the real motivation behind their desire to redeem “the lost book”? William Young mentions some interesting attitudes that the Lahu displayed toward written texts.

In a correspondence dated November 5, 1904, he wrote of Lahu “teachers (or travelling evangelists)”:

These Muhso (Lahu) teachers have a wonderful influence over the people. They cannot read, they carry certain papers covered with Heiroglyphic marks that they do not understand the meaning of themselves. I think it quite probable that some of their head teachers in China could interpret these peculiar papers and give some meaning to everything.

Apparently “teacher” in this context denotes prophets of the cult of San Fo Zu’s messianic movement. It is quite probable that the term “Hieroglyphic” refers to Chinese characters. These illiterate religious specialists carried mysterious texts written in the language of another ethnic group around with them (The first Miao and Karen scripts were developed by the missionaries in 1917 and 1832 respectively. In both cases the conversion movements preceded the invention of the scripts.). These texts seem to have been highly valued even though the owners could not read them. In another correspondence William Young commented:

The Muhso tradition regarding the lost Book and their longing for the Foreigner to bring them the true Law makes it possible for us to use tracts and Gospels to great advantage even where the people cannot read. Many Muhso believe that their language was a written language. Some claim that there are books still extant. They brought me a book some time ago that they hoped might be such a book but it turned out to be a Chinese book on Astrology and evil spirit worship . . . .

Again, “foreigner” in his context corresponds to the “white people (chaw hpu)” mentioned in the original prophecy. He goes on to say:

We send out tracts and Gospels to the Villagers and they receive them at once as the fulfillment of their traditions. I have sent out hundreds of Gospels and some thousands of tracts. It is somewhat amusing to see a group coming in 15 or 20 days journey and unfold a tract or Gospel that has been guarded with scrupulous care. Wherever they receive those tracts and Gospels they are anxious to come to us at once. The literature has reached far over into China. Wherever they have received the literature it gives us a sort of “Squatter sovereignty right to the territory.”

William Young clearly stated that the tracts and gospels in Tay were not read by the receivers. Rather, written scriptures themselves were revered as objects of worship, and the receivers of such texts treated them as if they were some kind of amulet.

As already noted above, “squatter sovereignty” could be a translation of jaw maw or king. This demonstrates that the Lahu conceived of the texts as objectifications of super natural power, and that they regarded people with such power as entitled to be invested as kings. Messianic movements to redeem “the lost book” are not an anarchist’s antithesis to the state but a unique manifestation of state and power, especially charismatic kingship. In other words, we can interpret Lahu mythical accounts as articulating a deep-felt longing to possess their own state and king, rather than indicating a desire to reject them.

V Conclusion

As documented by Qing officials in the early nineteenth century, the Lahu were once notorious for their refusal to submit to imperial rule. This does not, however, mean that they enjoyed complete freedom from state control. Their struggle since the eighteenth century shows their efforts to establish their own state, and indeed they sometimes succeeded in their endeavors. Nonetheless, their polities or states were ultimately eliminated and incorporated into modern nation states with demarcated borderlines. In this sense, the Lahu became stateless and conscious of the loss of their own state only after the process of modern state formation began. Actually the Lahu had formulated their unique concepts of state and kingship over the course of their history. These concepts have not been considered seriously by scholars because they are so radically different from conventional understanding of state and kingship.

Invisibility of Lahu states and kings in previous academic works is due to our inability to identify them, rather than because the Lahu rejected such notions themselves. Ironically James Scott’s argument, which is clearly on the side of anti-state anarchism, echoes the assessment by Cen Yuying, the late nineteenth-century governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou.

Both men view the history of the Lahu as one of “endless rebellion,” and both fail to recognize the concept of state and kingship that underpinned “rebellions” by highlanders. The Lahu oral tradition has extremely rich texts that justify their statelessness. The lost kings, the lost countries, and “the lost book” are different versions of the same theme. Nevertheless, what these narratives stress is that in the past, the Lahu owned their states, and that by no means do they negate the notion of a state or want to avoid living in their own state.

“The lost book” narrated in their messianic movements has been interpreted as a manifestation of their anarchist tendencies. On the contrary, the reality of their behavior at the time of the mass conversions clearly demonstrates their original concept of, and longing for, an ideal king. At first glance the history of the Lahu seems to be that of a typically stateless people in the James Scott’s sense of the term. However, a close reading of the narrative of their history and mythical accounts leads us to quite a different conclusion:

what is really missing is an adequate framework for the understanding of their indigenous concepts of state, kingship, and power. The Lahu appear to be an essentially stateless people simply because our conceptual tools for the comprehension of the “inside view” of marginalized ethnic groups are far from adequate at present.

In his argument on early state formation in Southeast Asia, Wolters (1982, 12–14) criticizes the tendency of previous scholars to overlook small-scale native state formation because of a bias toward Western or Chinese state models. Unfortunately, however, he omits the mainland Southeast Asian massif from his hypothesis.

Although J. Scott has exaggerated the statelessness of the “Zomia” people in his book, I agree with some points in his argument, namely that: 1) “Zomia” peoples’ religious belief and mythical accounts reflect the theodicy of their history of deprivation; and 2) the ultimate goal of millenarianism of the “Zomia” people could be the total negation of any form of state-like social hierarchy, rather than their own state-building.

The "Land's End"

The Israelites in exile, both those of the Northern Kingdom as well as those of Judah, dwelled for centuries in territories under the same imperial sovereignty: Babylonian, Persian, 

Macedonian/Seleucian, Ashkanian (Parthian), Sassanian. These empires extended their dominion over Central Asia and the northwest of the Indian Sub-continent. From their original settlements, many Israelites followed the most natural route in those times in search for a better future: the Silk Road, that led them to the east, reaching lands as far as the Chinese shores of the Pacific Ocean.

The earliest Israelite migrations along the Silk Road began after the fall of Nineveh and before the fall of Yerushalaym under Nebukhadnetzar, during the short transition period in which the Neo-Babylonian Empire consolidated. This is the origin of Bukharian Jews, that kept their Jewish identity along history, and are in some way related to most Hebrew communities in Asia. Other Israelites in the same period may have gone even farther.

There is an apocryphal book ascribed to Ezra that, even if it is not part of the Scriptures and we cannot fully rely on it, contains an interesting statement that might have any historical background, perhaps transmitted by oral tradition: it declares that the Northern Tribes exiled by Assyrians decided to emigrate to a distant land never yet inhabited by man, and there at last to be obedient to their laws, which in their own country they had failed to keep. Their journey took a year and a half, and reached the land called "Arzareth". This land name does not exist, but there are some possible interpretations: the Hebrew words "eretz ahereth" (arz-ah'r'th) , meaning "the other land", or also "eretz aherith" (arz-ah'rith), meaning "the land's end" or "the most far away land". Such land might be China, or even Japan.

Also the Scriptures mention where many Israelites are to be found:

"Behold, these shall come from far away, and see, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim."

- Yeshayahu 49:12

The "land of Sinim" in Hebrew is no other than China!

When did Israelites arrive in China is still not possible to determine with certainty. We know that a relevant number of the descendants of the exiled Israelites wandered progressively eastwards, and that there was an active trade in those times between China and the west. To assert that Jews played no part whatsoever in this ongoing commerce appears unfounded. Therefore, it is feasible that many of them moved to settle in the outposts that flourished along the interconnecting caravan trails, as well as in way stops and coastal cities. Among the many possible Jewish settlements in China, a certain one is the ancient capital, Kaifeng. 

Jewish merchants and their families from the west arrived and settled in Kaifeng finding acceptance of their customs and freedom from persecution. Thus started one of the most remarkable stories of a Jewish community that existed isolated from any outside Jewish contact. Completely unknown to the western world, the Jews of Kaifeng maintained a Synagogue, mikveh, kept kasruth and practised berith milah for nearly one millennium. Many natural catastrophes destroyed the city and after several rebuilding, the Synagogue fell into ruin after the last flooding in the 19th century c.e. There were no more Rabbis and the community became progressively assimilated. To this day, several hundred residents of the old Chinese capital continue to think of themselves as descendants of the House of Israel. They hold firm to this belief despite the fact that their features are indistinguishable from those of their neighbours, they have had no Rabbi for about two centuries, no Synagogue or other communal organization for several generations, and remember virtually nothing of the faith and traditions of their ancestors. Until today, the street on which many of them now live is named "The Way of the People that Teaches the Scriptures"; quite an unusual name for a small street in the middle of China. Today if in Kaifeng there are people who "do not eat pork", just because their families never did. This might be the proof that they really are descended from the Jews of Kaifeng...

There is also a people in the region of Szechwan whom the Chinese call Chiang or Chiang-Min. Their ancestral monotheism has been one of their most remarkable characteristics; they worship the "Father of Heaven", Whom in times of distress they call "Yawei" (HaShem).

According to the Chiang tradition, they descend from twelve sons of Avraham, and their ancestors arrived in China from the west after a three years and three months journey. The Chiang have some ceremonies similar to those performed by the Kohanim in ancient Israel, and their own priests follow some Levitic rules: 

* Before the offering of sacrifices, they are required to wash themselves as well as their white garments.
* The priests cannot be unmarried.
* Their altars are built with stones that must not be cut by any metal tool.
* Sacrificial animals must be washed and purified in a special place for that event.
* The elders and priests lay their hands on the head of the sacrifice which is to be slaughtered and offer their prayers.
* The main part of the service is performed at night.
* The Chiang tribe still practises the sprinkling of blood on the doorpost as protection of the house.

They have other rituals and ceremonies, some of them include a white scroll or parchment, perhaps in remembrance of their ancient Torah.

Another people whose history has been for a long time developed in China are the Shinlung. According to their own tradition, they descend from some families of the Tribe of Menasheh settled in Bactria that wandered across Central Asia, China, Vietnam and other countries, until they reached their present land in Eastern India, by the border with Myanmar. The Shinlung intermarried with the Chinese and look Chinese, but they are conscious of their Israelite ancestry.

Indeed, their connection to the Jewish people is real:
* They have an ancient oral tradition regarding the Patriarchs Avraham, Moriah (an apparent reference to Yitzhak, who was close to be slaughtered on Mount Moriah), and Yakov. There is also a song written by their ancestors that accompanied them throughout their migrations, about Passover and the crossing of the Red Sea. The Shinlung remember also their father Menasheh in their songs.
* They used to perform berith milah with cutting stones in accordance with the Scriptures. Because of difficult times, this practice was replaced by blessing the child in a special ceremony on his 8th day of life. Now they are fulfilling the berith milah commandment again.
* The Shinlung priests wore a tunic with a breastplate, an embroidered coat fastened with a belt, and a crown. 
* They have as well a sacrificial ceremony on an altar that recalls that of the Jewish Temple. In this ceremony, their priests utter the Name "Y'wa" (HaShem), and mention also the Mounts Sinai, Moriah and Zion.

The Shinlung tribe has the highest literacy rate of any national group in India, and at present most of them are following intensive Torah studies and are applying for Aliyah, having adopted as their official denomination "B'ney Menasheh" instead of Shinlung.



After having traced the Israelites' way along the Silk Road through Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Myanmar, China, we might consider the possibility that they went further east, namely to Japan. Of course, to reach Japan is not so easy, since it requires crossing the sea. However, this should have not been a major problem for the Israelites. It is proven that they were familiar with sailing since King Shlomoh's times, when his fleet carried on a fluent trade with Yemen, Africa, India and perhaps other lands. This happened before Japan's early history began to be recorded.

Anyway, the hypothesis that Hebrews actually reached Japan in ancient times would lack any support if there were not some elements in Japanese history, culture and tradition that suggest that they may indeed be among the early population of that land. Of course, it is plainly clear that present-day Japanese people are not to be considered of Hebrew origin if not in a very small amount. Israelites may well have been an original stock that was overwhelmingly outnumbered by many other migratory flows from different origins, yet, having left some important influence as to witness their presence in early Japanese history.

Scholars acknowledge that the Japanese language, culture and religion are very different from those of the Chinese or the Korean, and that the original stock of the Japanese people descends from a tribe of the area of Babylon that came to Japan. Successive migrations of peoples from continental Asia have progressively re-shaped the ethnic features that resulted in the modern Japanese.

Some astonishing coincidences exist between the ancient Northern Kingdom of Israel and the early Japanese history, legends and myths:

* The Japanese had in ancient times the lunar calendar (now replaced by the solar one), and before the 12th century c.e. they had the tradition of eating porridge with seven bitter herbs on the 15th day of the first month, beginning a period of prayer for good harvest for the New Year. This recalls the Israelites that celebrate the Passover eating with bitter herbs on the 15th day of the first month.
* There is as well a Japanese festival held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the old lunar calendar. On this day, the Japanese often build a booth, gather together there with family and offer harvest of the season. 

In this chapter we have briefly considered the Hebrew Diaspora in Asia and the traces left by Israelites within different peoples. Now a question arises: How far to the east did they go? May Israelites have crossed also from Siberia to Alaska, and give origin to some people or else get mixed with other tribes in the American Continent? 

Nosu People

The Nosu are a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group of China. Though classified by the Chinese government as a subgroup of the Yi, their languages are not typically intelligible with other Yi languages and the Nosu identify themselves as a separate people from other Yi subgroups. Most Nosu live in the mountains of northern Yunnan and southwest Sichuan where they labor as farmers and practice ethnic religions.

Peoples within this cluster: Nosu, Butuo; Nosu, Mangbu; Nosu, Shengzha; Nosu, Shuixi; Nosu, Tianba; Nosu, Xiaoliangshan; Nosu, Yinuo

Population: 3,372,000


Nosu is a district in Mamasa Regency, West Sulawesi, Indonesia. As of the 2010 census the population of Nosu was 4,276. Perhaps a group of Nosus founded it. It wouldn't be the first connection of Israelites of the Lost Gold Book to Insulindia. 

The Lolos or Yis are not known to have been part of peoples who lost a book (therefore they're not Israelites), but nowadays the Nosu people are considered in theory as part of them. The Nosu are enough people & have a marked personality. So they should be assertive enough to demand the Chinese government their own nationality & autonomy separated from the Yi-Lolo.

The Yi or Lolo people are an ethnic group in China, Vietnam, and Thailand. Numbering 8 million, they are the seventh largest of the 55 ethnic minority groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. They live primarily in rural areas of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi, usually in mountainous regions. As of 1999, there were 3,300 "Lô Lô" people living in Hà Giang, Cao Bằng, and Lào Cai provinces in northeastern Vietnam.

They speak Loloish languages, Sino-Tibetan languages closely related to Burmese. To be more specific the Nosus' main language is the Nuosu language.
Some scholars believe that the Yi are descended from the ancient Qiang people of today's western China, who are also said to be the ancestors of the Tibetan, Naxi and Qiang peoples. They migrated from southeastern Tibet through Sichuan and into the Yunnan Province, where their largest populations can be found today.

They practice a form of animism, led by a shaman priest known as the Bimaw. They still retain a few ancient religious texts written in their unique pictographic script. Their religion also contains many elements of Daoism and Buddhism.

Many of the Yi in Liangshan and northwestern Yunnan practiced a complicated form of slavery. People were split into the Nuohuo or Black Yi (nobles), Qunuo or White Yi (commoners), and slaves. White Yi were free and could own property and slaves but were in a way tied to a lord. Other ethnic groups were held as slaves.

Northern Yi is the largest with some two million speakers, and is the basis of the literary language. There are also ethnically Yi languages of Vietnam which use the Yi script, such as Mantsi.


                                                                   Chinese Israelite languages

Many Yi in Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi know Standard Chinese, and code-switching between Yi and Chinese is common.

After someone dies they sacrifice a pig or sheep at the doorway to maintain relationship with the deceased spirit. This tradition sounds as a deformation (including the pigs forbade by Torah) of the sacrifice made by the Children of Israel in Egypt. After performing it, they painted their door's frame with the sacrifice's blood, in order to maintain the destroyer angel away.

The Yi believe that bad spirits cause illness, poor harvests and other misfortunes and inhabit all material things. At death the soul remains to watch the grave. This also sounds like corrupted Hebrew traditions, but instead of spirits causing those troubles, they would come as a consequence of breaking the Ten Commandments. Regarding burying, Judaism traditionally disapproves of cremation (it was the traditional means of disposing the dead in the neighboring Bronze Age cultures). The Chinese were one of the few pagan peoples that traditionally buried their deceased. Perhaps this costum was taken from their neighboring Israelites (Nosus, Qiangs, Jingpos...). After all in ancient times there was not Islam or Christianity, so the Israelite tradition of burying corpses was even stranger. Judaism has also disapproved of preservation of the dead by means of embalming and mummifying, a practice of the ancient Egyptians. Save the monotheistic religions, the general trend in the world is & it was to cremate.

It's noteworthy that while most Yi practice shamanism, the Nosu have more than one hereditary and ordained priests. As this (& many others) Bible passage put it "It shall be for the priests who are sanctified of the sons of Zadok, who have kept My charge, who did not go astray when the sons of Israel went astray as the Levites went astray. (Ezekiel 48:11) So, unlike the rest of the Yi-Lolo people, the Nosu priesthood had to be (& still is) hereditary, subdivided in offices & ordained like in ancient Israel.


                                            Tribe of Levi & its typical hand symbol

Nosu, Yinuo in China

Yinuo Nosu is a distinct language within the larger Nosu group in southern China. The Nosu are officially considered part of the Yi nationality. There are numerous subgroups and clans among the Nosu. One study reports "24 nationalities of Black Nosu Yi in the Liang Shan." The Yinuo Nosu should not be confused with the Jino ethnic group of southern Yunnan Province whose name is also sometimes spelled Yinuo.


The Yinuo Nosu took slaves and fought against the Chinese authorities and other Nosu groups for centuries, until they were disarmed and the slave system was abolished by the Communists when the PLA arrived in 1956. Still today, the Yinuo Nosu remain an aggressive and fierce people. People still today are very much aware of which caste they are from, and marriages between the castes, still in 21st century, are rather an exception although there are a few among the more educated people.

Because of the distinctive style of dress formerly worn by the Yinuo Nosu, the region they inhabit is generally known as the "broad-legged trousers region." In the past, the striking characteristic of men's garments was the broad bottoms of the trouser legs. The men no longer wear these in daily life. Sometimes there are culture festivals where traditional costumes are worn. The women's traditional dress, however, is still very much in use and can be seen on the streets every day. Women also like to wear wide pleated skirts. The number of pleats sometimes comes to more than one hundred. Girls wear multicolored headscarfs made of black cloth. Married women increase the layers of their headscarfs. After having a baby, they wear leaf-shaped bonnets.

Religion The various branches of the Nosu have a detailed legend of a great flood. They say there were once three brothers. "Because the eldest was undisciplined, God sent a messenger to the sons to warn them of the flood. The oldest wanted to kill the messenger. The second son bound the messenger and asked him questions. The third politely asked him why the flood was coming. The youngest son, named Dum, built a boat out of wood in 20 days. Twenty days later the rains came. It rained seven (divine Biblical number) days and nights and flooded the whole earth. The two older sons died. The boat landed in the snowy mountains of Tibet. Dum had three sons who populated the whole earth."

Despite this and other similarities with Biblical stories, few Yinuo Nosu have ever heard the gospel. Intimidating mountains, rugged terrain, and cultural and linguistic barriers have prevented the gospel from spreading to the Yinuo Nosu. Today there are only a few hundred known Catholics among them.

Population in China 659,000 World Population 659,000

Alternate Names I-no, Yinuo, Yinuo Yi


Location in Country Chinese scholar Shi Songshan listed a 1989 population of 400,000 Yinuo Nosu people, living in remote northern areas of the Daliangshan (Big Cold Mountains) in southern Sichuan Province. The main concentration of Yinuo Nosu live in Meigu, Mabian, Leibo, and Ebian counties, and in parts of Ganluo County. Smaller numbers of Yinuo Nosu live in Yuexi, Zhaojue, and Jinyang counties of Sichuan; and in Yongshan and Qiaojia counties of northeast Yunnan.

Nosu, Shuixi in China

This group calls itself Nosu. The loconym Shuixi has been added to distinguish them from the several other groups in southern China who call themselves Nosu, but who speak different languages from the Shuixi Nosu.

The Shuixi Nosu have migrated farther northeast than any other Yi group in southern China. Their migrations occurred as they fled Chinese military aggression.

Customs Until 1949 many of the Shuixi Nosu owned large estates. In the early 1900s, Samuel Clarke reported they were "as big as an English county, and all the people on the estate are their tenants. The lairds are all of them Black Nosu, and the White Nosu are their slaves or serfs. These lairds are nearly all related to one another, as they constantly intermarry for the sake of joining and enlarging their estates. A Nosu heiress is always pestered and sometimes actually besieged by suitors. A laird always marries the daughter of some other laird, as there is but a limited number of them, this constant intermarriage has doubtless contributed to the decadence of the race and to the frequency of lunacy among them. They may, and often do, have Chinese and Miao women as concubines. ... The lairds are glad to have the Miao as tenants; the rent they pay is mostly in kind, and not by any means high. As a matter of fact, the tenants, for the sake of mutual protection, group themselves in hamlets and villages. Besides the nominal rent they pay, the laird has the right to make levies on them on special occasions, such as funerals, weddings, and when he has litigation in the Chinese courts."


The Shuixi Nosu have many gods and deities who, they feel, need to be frequently appeased in order to bring peace and prosperity to their communities.

Today there are about 5,000 Shuixi Nosu Christians in China, mostly in the Dafang and Nayong counties of Guizhou Province. Many Shuixi Nosu have heard the gospel from the A-Hmao and Gha-Mu - two Miao groups who live intermingled with the Shuixi Nosu. On 2 July 1910, the famous missionary Samuel Pollard recorded in his diary: "Today I saw a miracle. At this lonely place of Ssu-fangching the Church was full of Nosu, and at their request Chang-yo-han was preaching to them. The proud Nosu listening to one of their Miao serfs."

World Population 302,000

Alternate Names Bijie Yi, Black Nosu, Dafang Yi, Qi (this name may have come from one Qi, a famous Chinese emperor, an emperor who is thought to have been Israelite.
People Group Nosu, Shuixi (Nor-soo, Shway-shee)oy


Hongfu Temple, Guiyang, Guizhou. The two lions play the the role of powerful guardians, the angel very same as the two angels at the Israelite Tabernacle's gate-curtain. Moreover, lions are not present in eastern Asia, but were present in the ancient Middle East.

Approximately 230,000 Shuixi Nosu live in the mountains of southern China. The majority are found in northern Guizhou Province, especially Bijie, Qianxi, Jinsha, Dafang, Zhijin, Nayong, and Qingzhen counties. An additional 20,900 Shuixi Nosu live in Zhenxiong County of Yunnan Province, while a small number spill across the border into Gulin County of Sichuan Province.

Nosu, Shengzha in China




                                                        David anointed as king

The continuous defeats of the great Chinese nation by the Nosu nation was like the continuous defeats of the great Arab nations by the little Israeli nation or Goliath's defeat by David. In other words: God's Battle-Axe against the Nations. (Jeremiah 51:20) 

Population 1,311,000


The name Nosu means "black people." Many early travelers who came into contact with the Nosu remarked on the beauty and Caucasian features (because of white Israelite ancestors) of the Nosu women. One described them as "a black branch of the Caucasian race." The Daliangshan area has a great level of ethnic complexity. A 1983 official government report seems to lament "44 Nosu subgroups with different self designations and obscure dialects." Another publication written by Chinese scholars mentions "more than 100 patriarchal clans in the Daliangshan alone, ... independent of each other and with their own area of jurisdiction."


Nosu history is one of violence and interclan warfare. For centuries the Nosu raided villages and took slaves, forcing them to do manual labor. One missionary noted, "In retaliation for the taking of slaves, it was not uncommon in the 1940s to see Chinese soldiers walking through city streets carrying on their backs large baskets filled with Nosu heads, still dripping with blood." The Nosu region, in 1956, was the last part of China to come under Communist rule. In the violent clashes ten Chinese troops were killed for every Nosu, earning the Nosu the nickname, "Iron Peas." Since the collapse of the slave system, the class structure among the Nosu has weakened. Today even the former Bai Yi slaves "tease and mock [the Nosu] ... who are mockingly called princes and princesses."

Early literature on the Nosu called them Lolo, in reference to the small basket they carried around with them which supposedly contained the souls of their dead ancestors.

The Shengzha Nosu believe in Mo'm Apu, a supreme creator spirit who controls the universe. His son, Gee Nyo, gives rain, prosperity, and happiness. Apu is a word very similar to the Semitic words Abba, Abu, Av... Moreover, as seen above, he's a father & a Supreme creator.

Christianity Mission work among the Shengzha Nosu began in the late 1800s, but resulted in few conversions. In the mid-1940s China Inland Mission worker James Broomhall tried to mobilize Yi Christians from Yunnan to evangelize the Nosu, but they could not adjust to the differences in language and culture. After more than a century of labor and prayer, a breakthrough occurred in 1996 when Nosu leaders of the Mentu Hui cult heard and believed the gospel. They publicly renounced the cult and by mid-1997 had led 12,000 Shengzha Nosu to faith in Christ.

Alternate Names Black Yi, Daliangshan Nosu, Hei Yi, Lolo, Manchia, Mantzu, Naso, North Lolo, Northern Yi, Nosu, Nuosu, Shengcha Yi, Shengzha, Shengzha Yi, Sichuan Yi.

Location in Country More than one million speakers of Shengzha Nosu live in southern Sichuan Province. Their primary locations are in Xide, Yuexi, Zhaojue, Ganluo, and Jinyang counties. Other significant communities are in Puge, Leibo, Xichang, Dechang, Mianning, Yanyuan, and Yanbian counties; while small numbers can be found in Muli, Shimian (this place name might have been given their ancestor Shimon or Simeon; Simeon, with Levi, was the most violent of all of Judah's sons; there are toponyms & nouns that might imply the presence of Simeonites among the not distant Karens, another Israelite group, who some of them are considered to have migrated to Indonesia, a country where other Shimonite sounding names are found), Jiulong, and Luding counties. A few Shengzha Nosu spill over into northeast Yunnan and into southeastern areas of Tibet.

Nosu, Mangbu in China

Population 85,000


Although they have been officially included under the Yi nationality by the Chinese authorities, the Mangbu Nosu possess their own ethnicity, history, and language. This group calls itself Nosu (Black People). Mangbu is the name of a town in Zhenxiong County which is the geographic center of the Mangbu Nosu. One source states that "Mangbu is an ancient tribal name."

In the past, the Mangbu Nosu were one of six powerful tribes who ruled over the region. This alliance rejected Chinese rule of the area, which resulted in centuries of conflict and war between the Nosu and the various Chinese armies that were sent to subdue them. Today, the Mangbu Nosu long for their former glory, but they realize they have no chance of overpowering the Chinese. They view themselves as a defeated people.

Customs Hatred between the Nosu and the Chinese fighters reached such a fever pitch that both sides resorted to cannibalism. Missionary Samuel Pollard, writing in the early 1900s, stated, "A sort of cannibalism is practiced in this area by both Chinese and Nosu. After a fight the warriors who are killed on either side are opened and their hearts removed, perhaps also their tongues, and these are cooked and eaten. It is supposed to be a way of inheriting the courage and valor of the deceased."

Religion Polytheism is the stronghold of the Mangbu Nosu. As a result, fewer Mangbu Nosu have believed in Christ than among other Yi groups in the area. Pollard recorded a sample of the resistance he experienced in 1905: "We crossed the sides of a big mountain ... and finally arrived at the fort of a Nosu landlord called Lohchig. He received us kindly and we stayed there the night, but he is a very unusual local baron. He told us straight he would rather lose his head than become a Christian. He refused all gifts of books, disputed all we said and denied all our attempts to win him over. He stuck up strongly for his religion and defended the worship of idols with great zest."

Christianity Although most Mangbu Nosu have refused to consider the gospel, there are about 1,000 believers among them, especially in Hezhang County of Guizhou. Villages there are often divided along religious lines, with Christians forced to live in separate communities.

Alternate Names Baiyi, Black Yi, Hei Yi, Mangbu Yi, Mang-pu Yi, Nuosu, White Yi

Location in Country More than 65,000 Mangbu Nosu live in the northeastern part of Yunnan Province and in the adjoining areas of Hezhang County in Guizhou Province. The majority of Mangbu Nosu (48,800) live in the southern and central areas of Zhenxiong County in the Zhaotong Prefecture of Yunnan Province. More than 2,000 also live in the mountains of Weixin County.

Nosu, Butuo in China

Population 270,000


The Butuo Nosu are a distinct language group within the larger Nosu ethnicity. The Nosu, in turn, have been officially counted as part of the Yi nationality by Chinese authorities. The Butuo Nosu share very little in common with other Yi groups in Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi, except for some legends and general cultural traits. In many locations the Butuo Nosu live alongside the Suodi.

The Butuo Nosu originally lived farther north of their present location. Speaking of a neighboring area in northern Yunnan Province, one historian notes, "Between 1796 and 1821, the Chinese extended their influence. At times when the Chinese were weak, the [Nosu] expanded out of Daliangshan: for example in 1802, 1814, 1838-39, and from 1875 to 1892. By 1907, the Nosu controlled most areas, with the Chinese fortified in the towns. During the troubled times of the early Republic, the number of Chinese troops was reduced in the area, and the Nosu consequently became more troublesome: in 1919, they invaded Zhaojue, in 1920 they burned Xining, and in 1937 they killed the magistrate of Leibo."

The Butuo Nosu pride themselves on being tough, residual, and aggressive people. Their homes and villages are constructed with high fences, a sign of their violent and murderous past.

The Butuo Nosu practice a complex form of polytheism. They fear and appease numerous mountain deities and spirits of war, harvests, and rivers, among others. They tie these beliefs in with deep reverence for their ancestors.

The Butuo Nosu are a large, unreached people group. There are a few hundred Catholics among them, mostly elderly people who meet in Chinese-language churches. It is not known if the recent turning to Christ by 12,000 Nosu farther north has impacted the Butuo Nosu. Nosu audio tapes and the Jesus film are not understood by most Butuo Nosu.

Alternate Names Boo Yi, Butuo Yi, East-Lower-Northern Yi 

Location in Country According to Professor James Matisoff, who heads up the Department of Tibeto-Burman Linguistic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, there are "about 200,000 speakers" of the Butuo Nosu language in southern Sichuan Province. Their name comes from their primary location, Butuo County. Others are found across parts of Puge, Ningnan, Huidong, and Huili counties. The Butuo Nosu live at the southern end of the Daliangshan (Big Cold Mountains).

Nosu, Tianba in China

Population 3,274,000

The clothing and ethnic identity of the Tianba Nosu is similar to the Yinuo Nosu, but the two groups speak different languages and mutual communication is difficult. The Tianba Nosu are part of the Yi nationality.

Violent conflict, intertribal and interclan warfare, and the taking of slaves were commonplace among the various branches of the Nosu until recently. When preparing for war, clear rules were followed by the Tianba Nosu. These included "sending out a wooden tablet calling on all members of the clan, its tenants, serfs, and slaves to assemble; each family would assent by making a mark on the tablet;
tallying the marks would indicate how large a fighting force might be expected. War costumes were extremely colorful: some wore hats of woven bamboo covered with white cloth, thin woolen felts and yellow satin, with animal hair that would wave in the wind; they would carefully prepare their hair, interweaving it with a strip of cloth and tying it into a horn just above the forehead; some would cap this with a sheep horn wrapped in colorful silk and red pompons. ... The Nosu would run forward, shout out their names, and challenge their enemies to fight. The War songs were equally aweinspiring: 'We are the famous Black Nosu! We are the tigers who eat up human flesh! We are the butchers who skin people alive! We are the supermen!'"

The Tianba Nosu have been influenced by Chinese culture more than the other Nosu groups in Sichuan, although they still retain their traditional dress and most of their ceremonies and customs.
The religious world of the Tianba Nosu is a complicated mixture of polytheism, animism, and ancestor worship. Because of Chinese influence, elements of Buddhism and Daoism are also present.
There are no known Christian believers among the Tianba Nosu today. Catholic Father Baptistin Biron worked at Mabian, on the edge of the Tianba Nosu, in the early 1930s. "All seemed to be in place and orderly, with every necessary precaution taken. But then a few Nosu, controlled by another chief, possibly irked that Biron had not come to live in his territory, argued with the priest and killed him..."

Alternate Names Tianba, Tianba Yi, T'ien-pa Yi

More than 80,000 speakers of the Tianba Nosu language live in southern Sichuan Province. The Tianba Nosu are the northernmost Yi group in China. They live at the northern end of the Daliangshan Mountains, primarily in Ganluo, Yuexi, and Ebian counties. Smaller numbers of Tianba Nosu live in Hanyuan County. Their territory stops at the central Sichuan plain where the population is completely Han Chinese.

Nosu, Xiaoliangshan in China

Population 3,274,000


The Xiaoliangshan Nosu are ethnolinguistically related to the Shengzha Nosu in southern Sichuan. Most still call themselves Nosu, and their women's dress and large headdress are similar to what Shengzha Nosu women wear. Xiaoliangshan means "smaller cold mountains" - the primary habitation of this group. The Nosu in Sichuan live in the Daliangshan (Greater Cold Mountains). There may be several subgroups among the Xiaoliangshan Nosu.

History The Xiaoliangshan Nosu came from the Daliangshan in Sichuan at various stages of their history. The first migration began in the sixth century. Large numbers migrated after the defeat of Yang in 1730. Others followed after Chinese raids in 1802, 1814 and 1839. The Xiaoliangshan Nosu continued the practice of slavery that was the hallmark of their lives in the Daliangshan. After Communism, 10,000 slaves were liberated from Xiaoliangshan Nosu villages in Ninglang between October 1956 and March 1958.

Customs Prior to 1949 the Xiaoliangshan Nosu practiced a system of slavery. "Even today, Xiaoliangshan Nosu society is a very complex system of castes, tribes and clans. In northwest Yunnan there were four classes of Nosu -Nuo, Tunuo, Gajia, and Gaxi. The Nuo were the highest caste of landlord and slaveowner. The second tier of the caste system, the Tunuo, made up 54.5% of the Nosu population. The final two classes, Gajia and Gaxi, were 43% of the total Nosu population. The Nuo held sway in the daily affairs of the Tunuo and had absolute power over the lives of the Gajia and Gaxi - frequently taking them as slaves. In 1957 80% of the Nuo were slave owners. The remnants of these class tensions are still an undercurrent in Nosu society today."

A combination of polytheism, animism, and ancestor worship dominates the religious life of the Xiaoliangshan Nosu.

There are only a few Xiaoliangshan Nosu believers scattered over a widespread area. They are often in mixed congregations with Han Chinese or Bai believers. Few Xiaoliangshan Nosu have ever heard the gospel. Samuel Zwemer once asked, "Does it really matter how many die or how much money we spend on opening closed doors, and in occupying different fields, if we really believe that missions is warfare and that the King's glory is at stake?" The widespread geographic area of the Xiaoliangshan Nosu has hindered efforts to see a strong church planted in their midst.

Alternate Names Black Yi, Green Yi, Hei Yi, Lalaw, Lawlaw, Nisupo, Nosupo, Nuosu, Xiaoliangshan Nosu, Xiaoliangshan Yi, Yi, Xiaoliangshan

Location in Country More than 439,000 people belonging to the Xiaoliangshan Nosu group inhabit twelve widespread counties in the northwest and northeastern parts of Yunnan Province, including Lijiang, Dali, Zhongdian, Deqen, Weixi, Huaping, Yongsheng, Ninglang, and Yuanmou. In some locations the Xiaoliangshan Nosu live alongside the Bai, Naxi, Pumi, and Tibetans. The Xiaoliangshan Nosu also spill across into areas of southern Sichuan Province.

Was the Chinese Qin Dynasty Israelite?

If the Japanese Hata Clan are Israelites, and the Bnei Manashe from Burma are Israelites then I believe the Qin Dynasty Kings are also Israelites. Because they are related. Chinese history mentioned they are from the west. They all have the common chinese word Qin 秦.

Eshan is a Chinese county were the Hani Israelites live. There's a Nigerian tribe with this name. Eshan is an Esauite or Edomite sounding name. The presence of Esauites is documented in parts of southern Nigeria & in Japan. Perhaps the Israelites that stayed in China until they crossed the sea, had an Edomite group among them that stayed in China with the other remaining Israelites. These Edomites might have named Eshan.

Chinese Israelites of the Lost Gold Book: Qiangs, Nosu, Miaos...

Torrance first saw the Ch’iang in 1918. In 1920 he wrote his first article about them: “a number of tribes who are little known to the outside world. These are the great Rong with their five states, the wild Goloks, the sleek Sifan, the cross-bred Bolotsze, the thieving Hehshui people, the warlike Nosu or Lolos and the sturdy Ch’iang.”

There was a missionary in Kweichow (Guizhow) who believed he had found some old Hebrew practices among the Nosu and he also cited another one who claimed to have found among the Miao an ancient song which described the Flood, the building of the Tower of Babel and the ensuing confusion of tongues and then went on to state their racial origin.”


                                                         Semitic looking Qiang man

The Chinese didn't make good analysis in describing their neighboring peoples. At times they denominated all their neighbors as Qiang, while other times they called them all Xianbei. They did not describe very much their neighbors' looks, nor their culture or language spoken. During the Han Dynasty most of the Peoples on the steppe were labeled as Xiongnu.

Obviously, the Xianbei, Qiang, Di and Jin have been there always in any way; they have only been regarded as Xiongnu because it was the dominant ethnic group.

The Dwarfs Were From China

When the Danes were living in their old home in Central Asia, the Middle Earth, they had contact with some of the many ancestors of the modern Chinese. They called them the dwarfs.

                                            The Dwarf Gimli from the Lord of the Rings.

The ancient Scandinavian poem "The Voelve's prophecy" lists the names of the dwarfs: "Nyi and Nidi, Nordri and Sudri, Austr and Vestri, Alfiofr, Dvalin, Bivorr, Bavorr, Bomburr, Nori, An and Anarr, Ai, Miodvitnir" and so on, in total 63 names of individual persons, peoples, groups, we don't know.

The modern Chinese are undoubtedly descendants of some original Chinese, who lived around the Yellow River thousands of years ago.

Every year representatives for the Chinese race from all over the world meet at a monument in Shanxi to celebrate their common ancestor, "The Yellow Emperor", the presumed ancestor of all Chinese.




                                                                  A Russian dwarf.

Perhaps we should consider building a monument for the god, Odin, somewhere near the city of Odense, which bears his name. Then the global representatives for the white race also had a place to meet and honor our common ancestors.

But besides the Yellow Emperor the modern chinese are certainly also descendants of countless original ethnic peoples and tribes all over China. Some of these tribes were strong and powerful built, and some were more short of stature.

                      The god Odin with the spear Gungner- painting of Georg von Rosen 1886.

Numerous original peoples, Xianbei, Qiang and many others, which names by now are all forgotten, have abandoned their own language in favor of Chinese, in admiration of the emperor's glory and the Chinese culture. Modern Chinese are descendants after all these people, just in the same way as Europeans are descendants from countless original tribes.

For thousands of years, the Chinese called their Japanese neighbors for the dwarfs, because they were somewhat shorter in stature than themselves. This was just the way you expressed it yourself in this part of the world.

Representatives from all over China, Taiwan and chinese societies and chinatowns from all over the World have met in Shaanxi to honor the ancestor of the chinese race, The Yellow Emperor.

When the Danes, also known as the Aseirs, lived in Central Asia; they lived nearby one of the many original Chinese people. Precisely in these regions, people were not very tall. They were the dwarves, who are mentioned in the Scandinavian sagas.

The dwarfs lived in the soil and in the rocks, as the old Scandinavian myths tell us.

It was also, what some of the ancient ancestors of the Chinese did. In the provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi many people lived in rock caves far up in history. Poor people still live in caves, that is houses, where the inside parts have been cut into the cliff.

One of our Chinese friends comes from the province of Shaanxi. She told, that her grandmother lived in a house digged out down into in the ground. A ramp is leading down into a three to four meters deep hole, and then the rooms has been dug out horizontally.

Both types of accommodation are said to be very comfortable both winter and summer, they always keep a convenient temperature.

                                                           Thor's hammer -Mjolnir.

During the history the Chinese have been suppliers of art and crafts to their neighbours. It has always been one of the traditional roles of the Empire. So was also their relationship to the Aesirs. All the Aesir's valuable things were made by the dwarfs, Thor's hammer, "Mjolnir", the magic ring, "Draupner", Freja's necklace, " Bringisamen ", Frej's ship "Skidbladner", Odin's spear, "Gungner", Sif's golden hair, the chain, which tied up the Fenris Wolf, and other magical and unique things, which belonged to the Aesirs.


                 The Aesirs tie up the Fenris Wolf with the thin chain supplied by the dwarfes.

In general, the relation between the Aesirs and the Dwarfs seemed to have been fairly amicable. In the Scandinavian myths Thor was often away from Asgaard to combat the Jotuns. We never hear about, that he had gone to fight dwarfs.

Once Thor had been away for years for war campaigns against the Jotuns, a marriage between the learned dwarf Alvis and Thor's daughter was agreed. However, he happened to come home in time to have it thwarted. About this is told in the poem, "Alvis-mal".

The Chinese call themselves their country for "Zhong Guo", written with the ping ying alphabet. It means the "Middle Area" or the "Middle Land".

In fact it means "Mid-gaard" (Midle Earth), which also was the name for the home of the humans in the Scandinavian mythology.

A Danish person would describe the sound "Zhong Guo", as something like "Djung Gjaard". The first part "Zhong" means "Middle" or "Center". The second part seems to be a common word for Scandinavian and Chinese meaning "area" or "-land". In Scandinavian languages "gaard" means an area defined by some borders. A "gaard" can an area limited to all sides by walls or buildings, or it can mean the well-defined area, which belongs to a farmer. In the Scandinavian mythology it means "-land" or other well-defined geographic area.

In modern chinese the term "Guo" is used as "-land", like in "De-Guo" and "Ying-Gou", which means Germany and "England".

Traditionally ethnic Chinese name themselves as "Hua Xia", it means the descendants of Hua, who was the ancient Yellow Emperor. Only during the late Qing Dynasty, it became more common to use the term "Zhong-Guo" as the name for the national identity.

The Aesir's myth about the creation of the world is very similar to the Chinese creation myth.

                                                  The chinese original giant Pan Ku.

The Chinese tell, that in the beginning everything was chaos. But when the two opposing forces, Ying and Yang, met each other, they created the original giant, Pan Ku.

With his own body Pan Ku created the World. His head became a mountain, his breathing became the clouds and his voice became the thunder. His skin became the plains, his hair became the trees, his bones became the metals and his veins became the rivers. From the insects, which clambered on his body, men were created.

The Aesirs myth tells us, that in the beginning there was a huge nothing called, "Ginnunga-gap". But when the ice and the cold from the northern Niflheim met with their opponents, the heat and the fire from the southern Muspelheim, then dew was formed in the middle of Ginnungagap, and in this mild climate the original giant, Hrymer, was created.

The Aesirs, Odin, Vile and Ve, killed Hrymer, and out of his body they created the World.

Of the jotun-flesh of Hrymer Earth was created and of wound and sweat the sea; Mountains of the bones, bushes of the hair. The sky of the skull (Edda)

His blood became the rivers and the sea, his meat became the land and his bones became the rocks and the mountains. From the maggots, which lived in his meat, the Dwarfs were created. It was obvious, because it was well known, that the Dwarfs lived in caves in the soil, which really was the meat of the giant. Furthermore the Chinese themselves had told, that they were created from some creep, which clambered around on the original giant.

          Thor is on fishing together with Udgaardsloke and he gets the Midgaard-worm on the hook.

The Chinese dragons lived at the bottom of the lakes. The first and biggest dragon lived on the bottom of the great ocean.


                                Dragon from the Nine Dragon Wall in the Forbidden City

The Midgaard-worm was the largest dragon in Scandinavian mythology. It lived also on the bottom of the sea. In Asgaard, the original home of the Aesirs, it must have lived in one of the big lakes of Central Asia. Later on it moved with the Aesirs to the ocean.

The Chinese Emperor's name of honor was "The Great Dragon", or "The Great Worm". The Emperor's throne was the Dragon Throne. His subordinates, the Chinese, was the Great Worms children, it means that they obeyed the Great Dragon in the same way as children obey their father.
In the old days the Chinese emperor was greeted with three times shouting: "Long live the emperor". The Danes have the same habit, when we celebrate somebody, but over time rationalized to: "Long live " and then 3 times "hurray".

                                      Chinese thunder god with a hammer with a short handle.

In Zhaoqing in southern China, half way between Guangzhou and the border with the neighboring Guangxi province is an exhibition park named "Seven Star Lake".

                 Thor - the Scandinavian thunder god with Mjolnir - a hammer with a short handle.

Here is a cave with 108 mythological figures, small statues, from ancient China; all made by the locals for entertainment and education.

These figures include a thunder god, "Da Lai Gong Gong", which means "Grandpa Thunder". He is armed with a hammer with a short handle, with which he produces the thunder. We recognize him as the Scandinavian thunder god Thor, or at least one of his close colleagues.

Some of the ancient Chinese peoples must really have been quite small.

In the classic novel, "Three kingdoms", one of the Shu king's advisors is described: "A man of majestic appearance, well over 6 span high".

A "span" (chi) is slightly less than 10 inches (am.) Six "chi" represents a "bu" and 300 bu is a "li", which is abouts one-third of a mile (am.) (from the notes to "The Three Kingdoms", page 545). Then, a "majestic man" was about 1.5 meters tall.

                                                      The chinese province of sichuan.

The kingdom of "Shu" was located roughly in the modern province of Sichuan.

From Sichuan comes also the myth about the god "Erlang". The stories about Erlang have some themes in common with Beowulf's journey to Danish court and his killing of monster Grendel on the bottom of the lake, as well as with the fairytale about the Seven Dwarfs and the weapon of the roman god Neptune.

The King of Qin appointed Li Bing to governor of Sichuan. The new governor organized the construction of an extensive system of dams and canals in order to improve farming and prevent flooding.

His second son, "Erlang", helped him to build the advanced irrigation system, which today still exists.
However, by this time, before the system was built, the area was frequently hit by flooding.

Erlang was ordered to determine the cause of the disasters and prevent them. From spring to winter, he made a number of difficult travels, but he did not succeed in finding, what he sought. One day, when he was travelling deep in the mountains, he met a tiger. Erlang killed it immediately and cut off its head. In the same moment came seven hunters, who were amazed by the sight of Erlang's braveness. They knew about Erlangen difficult task, and therefore they asked him, if they could become his followers. Erlang accepted their friendship.

Once Erlang and his seven friends and followers approached a straw thatched hut by the riverside, they heard someone cry. It showed up to be an old woman, who wept because her youngest grandson had been taken away to be sacrificed to the river god, an evil dragon.

Erlang and his friends sneaked into the river god's temple and hid behind a statue. When the dragon arrived, they stormed forward with their weapons. The dragon turned around and jumped into the river. Erlang and his friends pursued it to the bottom of the river. There they caught the evil dragon and chained it to a rock. Then the floodings stopped.

Another story about Erlang tells, that a man named Zhao Yu of the emperor was given the task of fighting a vicious river dragon. With his double-edged sword in hand, he jumped into the river. There he killed the dragon. The river water turned red with its blood. When he emerged to the surface, he held his double-edged sword in his right hand and the chopped head of the dragon in his left. The whole people kneeled in reverence.

They raised a temple to his honour called "The god of Erlang of Guankou". When the rivers make flooding, the God can still be seen riding a white horse in the mist over the streaming water.

A third story of Erlang and his seven friends and followers says, that they were seven holy men from the coal mountain. Because they helped a tyrant with his evil deeds, they were all killed by Nezha and Yang Jian. According to "The Cronicle of Chengdu Prefecture" all the seven were hunters and friends of Erlang. It is also said, that they had a very distinctive appearance, and they also were called "The seven monsters." All these give som associations to the story about "Snow-white and the seven dwarfes".
The god Erlang.

People in Sichuan are not very tall of stature, especially they were not in the past. They are said to be not lazy and rather smart. Deng Xiao Ping was from Sichuan. He was not very tall of stature.

                                                   The Erwang Temple in Guanxian in Sichuan.

The name Erlang means: "second son". The god Erlang has an edged weapon which gives associations to the Roman god Neptune. He has a third eye on his forhead, which is an Indo-European feature.

In ancient times stood the statues of Erlang's seven friends and followers in the Er-wang Temple in Guanxian of Sichuan. This temple, however, has been destroyed and rebuilt many times during the history, and their statues may no longer exist.

Er-wang means "Two Kings". It's called such because both Erlang and his father over time got the status of kings. However, many call it the Temple of Erlang.

Refugees from the Plains in Europe and China

It is so with the central parts of the world's continents, that they gradually become still more dry and desert-like.
                       The sea people attacked Egypt around 1200 BC -Egyptian stone carving.

Thousands of years ago, there were lakes and rivers on locations in the Sahara dessert, where no one can survive today. Rock Paintings show pictures of deer and humans. Each year, the desert is expanding to the south and north.

Central Asia was greener in the distant past, than it is today. Ruins of the lost cities in the current Chinese province of Xin Jiang can today be found far out in the Taklamakan desert, where not a blade of green grass can be eyed for miles.

This climatic deterioration may have progressed mainly gradually, but also sometimes more dramatically.

Some years have brought drought disasters, which may have forced exposed people to leave their ancient land.
                                   Stone carving representing giraffe in the desert of Niger.

On the African continent the Bantus migrated from their original homeland, around roughly the northern Cameroon, as the desert expanded. They populated most of Africa.

                           Ruined city in the desert near Turfan in the chinese province Xin Jiang.

On the Eurasian plains many of the Indo-European peoples chose to go for a future elsewhere on the continent, as the climate deteriorated. One by one they arrived in Europe or China.

About 100 AC a people landed on the shores of the eastern coast of the Danish island of Funen. They were beaten in battle, probably by the local Heruls, and their equipment and weapons were sacrificed to the victor's gods by being immersed in the holy lake, Vimose. It must have been such an Indo-European people from the heart of Eurasia, who had chosen to seek their fortune elsewhere.

Nobody knows the name of the defeated people; they may never have been registered in the history. After the defeat, the survivors possibly continued to Norway. There are made findings, which resemble those from Vimose.

Among their equipment was a small comb using a cross with antique hooks, a symbol of Central Asia, a very old symbol, possibly a symbol of the sun. The ancient Swastika still has a Buddhist significance in Asia, it symbolizes the eternal alternation between death and reborn. The picture shows a similar comb from Nydam.

In the Taklamakan Desert of the modern Chinese province of Xin Jiang swastika motifs also have been found, that are assumed to be of Indo-European origin.


Left: Comb from the Nydam Boat 200 - 400 AC with carved swastika. Mid: The - Budha found in the Oseberg Ship in Norway 200 - 400 AC. Right: Svastika motif found in the Taklamakan desert in Central Asia.

About 300 to 450 AC the climatic situation on the great plains of Eurasia for one reason or another may had become particularly bad. The plains must have become almost uninhabitable. Refugees streamed across the border into north China and into the Roman Empire in Europe. A people named Sava in the present southern Afghanistan and Iran went to India.

Left: Budha med svastika i et tempel i en kinesisk landsby nær Dalian. Mid: Gandhara Buddha found in an iron age grave from Helgø in Sweden. Right: Myklebostad Buddha from viking age found at Myklebostad in Norway.

HH Lamb writes in his "Climate History and the Modern World": "Through the centuries, in Roman times from about 150 BC to 300 AC or a few decades later, camel caravans traveled along the great Silk Road through Asia to trade in luxury goods from China. But from the fourth century AC, as we know from the changes in water levels in the Caspian Sea and studies of irregularities in rivers, lakes and abandoned cities in Sinkiang and Central Asia, drought developed to such an extent that it stopped the traffic on that route. Other serious stages of this drought occurred between 300 AC and 800 AC, and especially around these dates as it can be seen from the old coastlines and ancient port structures near the big lakes, which indicates a very low water levels in the Caspian Sea around these times."

Just About 300 AC China had problems with refugees from the plains. "The five Hu" people from the north, Xiong Nu, Xianbei, Di, Qiang and Jie, sought refuge in the Middle Empire behind the Great Wall. The mandarins ordered them to return to their homelands, they answered back with force and created their own migration states.

This began the period in Chinese history known as "The Sixteen States". (About 300 AC to 400 AC)

                                         In the year 410 AC king Alaric and his Visigoths

In the same way as the migration peoples of Europe admired the Roman Empire and the Emperor, so admired the newly arrived peoples in China the Emperor and the Chinese culture. They named their new states after famous dynasties from the past, the Kingdom of Han, the Kingdom of Qin, the Kingdom of Xia and so on. The newcomers quickly learned Chinese culture and language. Their noble and royal families married into Chinese families.


                                                      Xiong Nu - the Huns - attack China.

It is noted in the history that in the year of 317 AC millions of northern Chinese migrated to south China, allegedly because of the invasion from the plains. A new Jin Dynasty was proclaimed in Nanjing. Entire clans of northern Chinese fled to the south, along with 60 to 70 percent of the nobility. Complete Daoist monasteries moved to the south with all the monks and religious leaders. 
In Europe the Ostro-Goths and the Visi-Goths left their old land on the Eurasian plains and aimed for a new land and a new life in Western Europe. The Vandals began the migration time by crossing the frozen river Rhine on New Year's Eve 406 AC.


                                         Peoples migration states in China about 400 AC.

Parts of the Xiong Nu people chose to find their way from Asia along the Silk Road to Europe. In Europe they were called by their real name, as they called themselves, "the Huns".

                                        Peoples migration states in Europe in 476 AC.

Also the Indo-European peoples left their old land on the Eurasian plains and sought a new future in the west. They were among other names called "Alans" and "White Huns". Also some Indo-European peoples sought refuge and survival to the East, in China.

H. H. Lamb skriver in "Climate History and the Modern World", page 150: "These extreme winters are usually, as the progress in the disastrous wet years in the 580's (AC) in Europe, considered as isolated events, so therefore there is not considered development any significantly colder climatic regime at any time during the millennium, we look at. Recent studies in the Alps, especially by Ruthlisberger and Schneebeli from Geographical Institute at Zurich University and in Norway and northern Sweden by Vibjørn Karlen, suggest that this view needs revision. Carbon 14 analysis of the end moraines of the ancient glaciers in the bottom of the valley of Val de Bagneres in southwestern Switzerland, reveal the locations that were reached by the glaciers, as they came down from the heights before and after 600-700 AC and perhaps again as late as 850 AC, as it is recorded as the well known "Little Ice Age" period between 1550 and 1850 AC.

Density of growth rings in larch trees at Zermat in the Alps - from Climate History and the Modern World by H. H. Lamb.

These glaciers cut clearly an ancient Roman route across the mountains from Italy, which passes down through this valley. Further, studies of growth rings on larch trees that grew near the upper tree line near Zermatt indicate, what appears to be a gradual building up heat in the century of 300 (AC) followed by a fairly sharp variation between 400 and 415 AC and a significant cold period thereafter. Therefore, if this dating is dependable, the Roman administration was facing further difficulties in addition to the growing threat from the barbaric migrations at the time, when the Western empire collapsed."

The very fact that the Vandals crossed the frozen Rhine in 406 AC, suggests that it has been a very cold period. I do not recall, that the Rhine has been frozen in recent years. Perhaps the problem on the Plains was as in Mongolia and Siberia in the winter of 2001, large amounts of snow, and freezing temperatures down to minus 40 or more. It was too cold for the cattle, which died in large numbers.

Ruins of the kingdom of Loulan at the shore of the now vanished salty lake Lop Nor in the Taklamakan desert of Chinese Xin Jiang.

The Asian ancestors of the modern Danes were also such an Indo-European people among many, who in the beginning of the first millennium chose to seek new land in Europe.

Our ancient poem, "Ragnarok", says: "Tell about Ragnarok - about that great news are to bring up. The first is, that the Fimbul Winter is coming. Then the snow will be drifting from all sides. There will be a lot of frost and biting winds. The sun does not work. There will be three such winters after each other without summers in between." It sounds, as if our ancestors had experience of that such thing can happen.

The Indo-Europeans were not driven away from the great plains by new and tougher peoples. The Mongols, the Turks, the Kirgizs and the Manchus first showed up from the big Siberian freezer more than hundred years after the beginning of the time of the big migrations. At that time the climate there again had eased, and the Eurasian plains were green, empty and inviting.

When the Turkish peoples took possession of the practically uninhabitated plains in the years of 500-600 AC, they were met with very little resistance, and therefore they could populate the plains in a very short span of years.

                                                  Ellsworth Huntington -1876-1947.

Ellsworth Huntington (1876 -1947) was professor in geography in the American Yale University. He took part in several expeditions to Central Asia and Palestine.


                                                              Growth rings in tree trunk.

His main work is the book "The Pulse of Asia", where he wrote: "The relapse of Europe in the Dark Ages - was apparently due to a rapid change of climate in Asia and probably all over the world, - a change which caused vast areas which were habitable at the time of Christ to become uninhabitable a few centuries later. The barbarian inhabitants were forced to migrate, and their migrations were the dominant factor in the history of the known world for centuries.

We in present time shall do well to ascertain whether we are facing the problems, which the Romans did.

The data, which I obtained in Central Asia - confirm the surmise of the historians. There is a strong reason to believe that during the last two thousand years there has been a widespread and pronounced tendency toward aridity.
                          Result of ice-core drilling from the Greenland ice cap - Camp Century.

In dryer regions the extent of land available for pasturage and cultivation has been seriously curtailed; and the habitability of the country has decreased. -After a period of rapidly decreasing rainfall and rising temperature during the early centuries of the Christian era, there is evidence of a slight reversal, and of a tendency toward more abundant rainfall and lower temperature during the Middle Ages.

In relatively dry regions increasing aridity is a dire calamity, giving rise to famine and distress. These in turn are causes of wars and migrations, which engender the fall of dynasties and empires, the rise of new nations, and the growth of new civilizations."

Ellsworth Huntington measured growth-rings on the big old trees in the U.S. national parks to find evidence for his theory of cyclical climate changes as key drivers of history.
                           Graph showing temperature in the Sargasso Sea as function of time.

Unfortunately, his results were not convincing related to the Migration Age and the Germanic peoples invasion of the Roman Empire around 400 AC.

However Greenland ice-core drillings seem to show a temperature minimum in the fifth century.
Also the temperature in the Sargasso Sea was very low in the years 400 to 500 AC.

A group of scientists has concluded that the surface temperature of the Farewell Lake, in Alaska during the Roman Warm Period (0-300 AC) was as high as today, but that it nevertheless fell steadily by a total of 3.5 degrees and reached a minimum in 600 AC.

                                  Cross section of stalactit from the Soreq Cave near Jerusalem.

Geologists from the University of Wisconsin have analyzed a stalactit from the Soreq Cave near Jerusalem and concluded that the climate was drier in the Eastern Mediterranean area between 100 AC and 700 AC, with marked decreases in rainfall around 100 AC and 400 AC.

But whatever the scientific climate data for the time of the migrations, then it cannot be that whole peoples break up with wives, children, domestic animals and all their belongings from their ancient land, without having very compelling reasons to do so.


Logically, it must have been a matter of life or death, otherwise sane people do not do such thing.

Similarities Between Danish and Chinese Language

It's called "mama" and "papa" both in China and Europe. It is a Chinese family costum to say it twice, so originally it was probably "ma" and "pa". The full word in modern chinese for father is something like "bar-pa".

The Danish word for father, "far", is very close to the Chinese "bar". It's also close to the Aramaic "bar".

In old Danish the word "mar" meant "horse". Hence comes the term "nightmare", "mare-ridt" in Danish. The village Martofte on the northern part of Funen is named after an enclosed fenced area, where there were horses. In Chinese "horse" is also called "ma" [ma'a].

"Jo", is a typical Danish affirmative word, which also has its match in the Chinese, "you" [jo'o]. It means something like "yes - there is", just as in Danish.

There are also basic grammatical similarities between Danish and Chinese languages.

In Danish we have a very convenient grammatical negation. We just need to put the "u-" before a word, and then the meaning of the word will be changed to its contrary. Just think about the words "u-hyggelig" (horrifying), "u-afbrudt" (uninterrupted), "u-afgjort" (undecided), "u-artig" (misbehaved), only to mention a few examples.

The Chinese language has a very similar negation. They just put "bu-" in front of a word, and thus the meaning becomes the opposite.

For example, "good" in Chinese is called "hao" [ha'uw], and bad is "bu-hao" [bu! -Ha'uw]; beautiful is "piao-liang" [pjaw! leang] and ugly is "bu-piao-liang [bu!-pjaw!-leang]; "yes" is "shi-de" [Shø-de] and "no" is "bu-shi" [bu!-shø] or simply "bu" [bu!], which are used in Danish as an scaring expression, ghosts are expected to say "buh".

Youtai, the Jews of China

Many Jewish communities were established in China in the Middle Ages. However, not all left evidence of their existence. The following are those known today: Kaifeng, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Yangzhou, and Ningxia.

The contemporary term for Jews in use among Chinese today is Youtairen (Chinese: 猶太人; pinyin: Yóutài Rén) in Mandarin Chinese. The term Youtai has a similar pronunciation to Yehudai, the Aramaic word for Jew, as well as Greek terms Jude or Judah.

It has been recorded that the Chinese historically called the Jews Tiao jin jiao (挑筋教), loosely, "the religion which removes the sinew," probably referring to the Jewish dietary prohibition against eating the sciatic nerve (from Genesis 32:32).

Jewish dietary law (kashruth), which forbids the eating of, among other foods, non-ruminant mammals, shellfish and reptiles, would have most likely caused Jewish communities to stand out from the surrounding mainstream Chinese population, as Chinese culture is typically very free in the range of items it deems suitable for food.

Jews have also been called the Blue-Hat Hui (Chinese: 藍帽回; pinyin: Lánmào Húi), in contrast to other populations of Hui people, who have identified with hats of other colors. The distinction between Muslim and Jewish Hui is not, and historically has not been, well recognised by the dominant Han population.

A modern translation of the "Kaifeng Steles" has shown the Jews referred to their synagogue as "The Pure and Truth", which is essentially the same as the term used in modern China to refer to Muslim mosques (清真寺).

According to an oral tradition dictated by Xu Xin, Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at Nanjing University, in his book Legends of the Chinese Jews of Kaifeng, the Kaifeng Jews called Judaism Yīcìlèyè jiào (一賜樂業教), lit. the religion of Israel. Yīcìlèyè is a transliteration and partial translation of "Israel". Xu Xin translates this phrase as "Chosen people, endowed by God, and contented with their lives and work".

Midgaard - Mummies in the Sand

In April 1991 the American "Discovery Magazine" published a series of images of mysterious mumier found in the sand of the desert of Taklamakan in the Tarim Basin in the Chinese province of Xin Jiang. They were dressed in clothes in bright colours. A baby had blue stones placed on the eyes.


                                                  The Chinese Province of Xin Jiang. 

A man with a big beard had deerskin boots. Women had high pointy "witch hats". It was the first time the West was made aware of the well-preserved mummies from the Taklamakan desert.

In this desert it never rains, and this is why these mummies are better preserved than the Egyptians. In her book, "The Mummies of Urumchi", Elizabeth Wayland Barber told about this groundbreaking discovery. Today there has been excavated hundreds of mummies in the Taklamakan Desert.

The oldest mummies are from 2000 BC. Until the year 0, all of them are of the "Caucasian" type, meaning sharp nose, deep eye sockets, light skin, bright or brown hair, and, on men, strong beard. That means, as Europeans are most. From year 0 and forward in time appear more and more Chinese, 

                                                         Tibetan and Turkish mummies.

One of the best known is the "Cherchen Man" found in Cherchen a few hundred kilometers west of Dun Huang. He was 2 meters tall, had light brown beard and carried white deerskin leather trousers with felt lining and wool trousers and jacket. He died, when he was 55 years in 1000 BC. There is something familiar with his face, he looks like a high school teacher, whom we know.

The most famous is the "beauty of Loulan", who died in 2000 BC. Her clothes were made of fur and wool, and on her feet she had fur moccasins with the hairy side out. On the head she had a woollen cap inserted with a big feather. There is some Indian style with her. She came from Loulan, a city that stood on the banks of the now vanished salt lake, Lop Nor.

French and Chinese archaeologists have excavated a settlement in the Taklamakan desert. The place is today called "Kjumbulak Kum" and it is located not far from former Khotan.

It is told in the Scandinavian mythology, that Loki was dark, because he was a descendent of the Jotuns. This means, that it was not quite normal to be dark. Thor was also special because of his red beard, so there have not been so many with red hair. The mummies which has been found in the desert have often "brown" hair and beard. Therefore one can assume, that the ancestors of the Danes of the Aesirs descent in general had "brown" hair and beard. The children could have been fair-haired as small ones as many children still are.

At least some Midgaard inhabitants have been quite high, as the Cherchen man and woman, respectively 2.0 m. and 1.9 m. But as the Aesirs mentioned their old enemy as "Jotuns", meaning "giants", one must believe, that the Aesirs themselves in general have not been excessively tall.


These mummies were found at Kjumbulak Kum & this is how this place looks today. It is located far out in the Taklamakan desert.

Two men, who bring gifts of money to a Buddhist monastery. Cave painting from Bezelik at Turfan, cave no. 20 from about 900 AC. Note the man on the right with blue eyes and red beard.
In ancient China was a strong tradition, that soldiers must be recruited from the nearby barbarian tribes. It was too dangerous to arm the Emperors own subjects. It was the same as in the Roman Empire in the West, particularly special functions like stone slingers, archers and cavalry were often recruited from some nearby barbarian tribes. Sitting on a horse in full gallop without stirrup, doing archery and other weapon exercises, must have been extremely difficult. Only men coming from a culture, where they start riding as kids, could have done this successfully.

It is also how, it must have been in Han Dynasty China. The cavalries, who sat on the back of the horses, who sweated blood, must in general have been recruited from the tribes on the plains. In China proper, there originally were no pasture opportunities for horses, and there has been no tradition for riding.

Maybe this was why, that Thor so often was absent from home fighting against the Jotuns. Together with other Danes of the Aesirs descent, he participated in the Han Dynasty war against Xiong-Nu, the Giants. Like Danish footballers win fame in foreign clubs, he perhaps won his eternal fame as a mercenary in foreign military.


The picture shows a mural from Qizil near Turfan from about 500 AC. It shows the donors of the cave decoration with bright hair and white skin colours. The faces have been damaged, probably by the local Muslims.

In the classical Chinese novel, "The Outlaws of the Marsh", some of the robber-chief, Song Jiang's men were killed by defenders throwing grindstones down frm the wall. ("Outlaws of the Marsh" IV, p. 1955). Desperate defenders of besieged cities seem to have used their grinding stones, as a last resort to throw down into the heads of the attackers.

We know from the ancient Scandinavian stories, that Thor was hit in the head by a piece of a grindstone. He could not get all the pieces out. The sorcerer, Groa, tried to get them out with her magic songs, but could not, because she was distracted by information about her missing husband. That is to say, Thor and his men must also have taken part in attacks on cities. We can imagine that it was at such an occasion; he got the grindstone in his head.

Before the peoples of Midgaard became Buddhist, I believe they worshipped "The Great White ruler in the West, "which may have been Odin.

A mural found near Kucha showing a warrior with big eyes. Excavated at Sampula cemetery, Lop, Xinjiang Uygur

                            Figure from Khotan -Tang Dynasty -Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

Kho-tan was a city state in present Xin Jiang north of the Kunlun Mountain Range along the southern branch of the silk road. It is now long time since buried in sand. In the early first millennium it was visited by the two Buddhist monks Fa-xian and Xuan-zang with a few hundred years in between.
Fa-xian visited the country around 400 AC. He told, that the people gathered in the streets to practice music. They were dressed in embroidered clothes, however some still used furs. He noted, that the King was a Westerner, and there were many Buddhist monasteries in the country.

Xuan-Zang, visited the city on his return from India about 650 AC. They were very friendly people, he told. They made their living from farming and animal husbandry. The khotan people valued music and dance highly. There were a large number of Buddhist monasteries in the country. The people were usually dressed in silk and other textiles; A few were still clad in wool and fur. Their writing characters were like the Indian characters, and their language differed from other languages.

The people's own myth told, that they came from the Indian city of Taxila. They were descendants of the men, who had blinded king Asoka's son Kunula, and therefore they had been displaced.

Kho-tan was one of the cities in the Tarim basin, which for long time maintained its independence. However in the 700-800 AC it was alternately dominated by the Chinese and the Tibetans.

Marco Polo visited the city between 1271 and 1275 AC. He told, that the people in the city "all worshipped Mothamet."

Today the city has long since been covered by sand. In modern times the surrounding area has been entirely populated by the Turkish Muslim Uighurs.Today, the town has long since been covered with sand.

To the left of a wall painting from a Buddhist temple at Miran excavated by Stein in 1914, showing an angel with big eyes and red lips.

The Japanese-Chinese Silk Road Expedition visited the remains of another city, Kucha, around 1980, at the northern branch of the Silk Road. On the Buddhist cave paintings they recognized current Japanese musical instruments, that were brought to Japan with the Buddhist. There were stringed instruments looking like lute and mandolin, panflutes and ordinary flutes.

The Buddhist monk Xuan-zang visited the town of Kucha on his way to India after holy scriptures about 650 AC. He wrote, that the music and dancing in Kucha surpassed all other nations.

Chinese Connection to the Dead Sea Scrolls?

The Dead Sea Scrolls, the crown jewels of biblical scholarship, have been guarded for 70 years. A scholarly elite emerged and took possession of the artifacts, keeping them hidden from scrutiny. Recently, that group has been challenged to bring the scrolls to the public for closer examination.  
Leo Gabow, the late president of the Sino-Judaic Institute in California, recalled in his institute's journal: "In July of 1983, a curious article appeared in the Israeli newspaper Maariv. ... 'A Jew Looking for Correspondents.' His name is Moshe Leah. He is 35 years old. ... He lives in Taiwan." In a correspondence with Leah that lasted over three years, Gabow learned that Leah's grandfather fled with his parents to Taiwan from Kaifeng, China, that he was Jewish on his mother's side and that he and his brother were given Jewish names.

                                          Moshe Leah with his ancestors' Jewish scrolls

His ancestors were deported to Babylon and stayed there despite the "King of Babylon defeating our enemy ... and allowing Jews to return to Israel (516 B.C.)." While most Jews went west and returned to Israel, some Jews, like Moshe Leah's ancestors, went east, where they later "came to the Orient for the deal of tea and ivory." Most importantly, Leah's mother owned two ancient Hebrew scrolls, including one scroll that Leah called "the Book of Geshayeher." Scholars would call it by another name: an Isaiah scroll, similar to the famed text found in the Qumran caves.

Strange Similarities Why was the scroll in China? Gabow contacted many scholars and sent photos of the Moshe Leah Scroll to help unravel the mystery. Many saw distinct similarities to the famed Dead Sea Scrolls. Michael Pollak, vice president of the Sino-Judaic Institute, author of five books and a leading expert on Chinese Jewry, was the first to make a breakthrough. "The lettering is Hebrew and is in Chinese calligraphic style," Pollak said, "especially the long, giraffe-like lamed." (The lamed is the Hebrew letter "L" - a style which is a signature feature of the Dead Sea Scrolls.) Rabbi Dr. Nathan Bernstein, of La Habra, Calif., not only found Aramaic words mixed with the Hebrew on the Moshe Leah Scroll, but was also the first to recognize the Book of Isaiah in the Leah scroll. Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Silver, curator of the Hebrew section of the British Library's department of Oriental manuscripts, confirmed what others had seen. "Anybody slightly acquainted with the Dead Sea Scrolls," he wrote, "will notice at a glance the overall similarity of the hand that wrote the Moshe Leah scrolls to that of certain documents of the Dead Sea caves, and anyone a little familiar with the Dead Sea texts will be struck by the resemblances in orthography."

Scroll Writing In Asia

The connection of the Dead Sea Scrolls to Asia is deeper than many have believed. Most prominently found in the scrolls was the Chinese character "ti," which meant "god, divine king, deceased king, emperor," according to Dr. Victor Mair, graduate chairman of Chinese at the University of Pennsylvania, in a 1991 Washington Post article. The appearance of "ti," which he dated between the second and ninth century A.D., has been confirmed by growing number of sinologists. Donald Leslie, an Australian sinologist and leading expert in Kaifeng Jewry, would confirm Mair's dating and present the possibility that it could be later. He wrote in 1992 that it is unlikely that Jews and the Chinese knew much, if anything, about each other's cultures before the time of Jesus. " The writer suggests that little was known of China in the West in the First Century.

Which, of course, is false. The Greeks opened up an "improved" Silk Road, and that had been operating for maybe 1300 years by the time Alexander went to Afghanistan and the Indus.

I would imagine Jews and other Levantines were among the very first people to take advantage of the Silk Road, and might even have made the long trek all the way to the silk boll ports in Japan.

Even further back in history, there's very good evidence that the same folks who invented Sumerian hieroglyphics (cuneiform writing) also invented a substantial chunk of Egyptian hieroglyphics and a really serious chunk of Chinese hieroglyphics and characters (which were added to a more widespread system best typified these days by the Shang Dynasty characters or American Plains Indian sign language).


                                                       Ancient Israelite with skin scroll

It's easy to believe the scroll in question was written over numerous times and kept pliable with all sorts of stuff.

Found it quite entertaining to see that practical, not just ceremonial maintenance, was performed even up to near modern times.

Not bad for a Jewish family with a long lineage and little contact with the remnant of the priestly caste or the scribes. Mair identified several Chinese characters on the scroll, and even more have been discovered since, including "tien," which means "sky, heaven or god."

Different & abundant type of data points at the ancient Israelites as having made transoceanic travels & at being in contact, as well as mixing with peoples, of nearly every human ethnicity or location. For example, Hebrew objects or remains have been found in areas like New Zealand or the USA. And they were from king Solomon's time.

A senior Dead Sea scholar acknowledges that Jewish law would probably not allow the red ink found in the texts. For texts that supposedly predate the birth of Christianity, the presence of colored inks is too hard to ignore. We shouldn't ignore that the Qumran texts were not written by regular Jews. They were Essenian Jews. 


                                                                 Jesus with Saducees

The main, if not the only thing they had in common with the Jewish Pharisees & Jewish Saducees was their ethnicity. The Essenes believed in God & the Commandments without following the Pharisees' strictures, so using ink in other color may not have been a problem necessarily. They were living away from society, yes, but that doesn't mean they were unaware of their fellow Israelites abroad.

What if Confucius was actually a sort of Jewish Rabbi gone native?

Origins & Evolution

On January 26, 1841, the British Navy planted a flag on Hong Kong Island. Until then, Hong Kong had been virtually an historical irrelevancy. The nearby mainland and surrounding islands hold some “digs” evincing inhabitants of various Chinese dynasties, such as the Ming, Song, and Han, and even the Neolithic period. But despite the extensive maritime activity of the Southern Song and early Ming, and the flood of coastal pirates coming out of Ashikaga Japan, “Fragrant Harbor” (the literal translation of “Hong Kong”) apparently had never developed into anything much more than a minor anchorage and careenage for fishermen and smugglers throughout the long course of Chinese imperial history. However, it did serve as a neutral point of contact with the outside world, and it is that aspect that held a potential subsequently realized for developing East-West relationships.

When the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842 added Hong Kong to Britain’s mercantile/colonial network, it became a staging point for trade with the treaty ports of the China coast. It evolved slowly during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and then exploded into a major entrepot with the post-World War II boom in East Asia, fueled further by the opening of the China trade in the late 1970s.

Jewry in Hong Kong followed a similar evolution. Jews were among the first settlers in the 1840s, and a Jewish community life began to develop from the mid-1850s. This early community consisted primarily of Baghdadi commercial pioneers whose families had migrated under the protecting wings of British imperial expansion from the Middle East, through India, and from there on to the China coast and Japan. The prime focus of their activities in Hong Kong was management of their commercial links (primarily in general trading) with the Chinese treaty ports.

These merchants of Baghdadi origin can be characterized as international family networks, with intermarriages almost as import as capital for the generation of business. Their paternalistic leaders assumed responsibility for organizing Jewish community life wherever they settled. In Hong Kong, this resulted in the establishment of a Jewish cemetery in 1858, and the construction of Hong Kong’s first and only synagogue building, Ohel Leah, in 1901-02.

                                                             Ohel Leah synagogue

As Jewish community leaders, they also donated both funds and land to the Jewish community in the form of a trust (dated April 13, 1903), which remains today a prime support for the maintenance of Jewish community property and religious activities.

While some European Jews, primarily from France, also settled in Hong Kong and established new specialty businesses such as retailing, the core of the community remained Baghdadi. Even as late as 1925, when the community’s first cantor was imported from Baghdad, the primarily language of the majority of the community was still Arabic.

Estimating the size of this community in its earlier stages is problematical because of the lack of adequate internal records. We know the names of the leading families–Sassoon, Kadoorie, Somech, Sopher, Gubbay, and others; but we do not know the numbers of relatives and family retainers who formed the backbone of their business infrastructure. While a 1914 publication describes Ohel Leah Synagogue as having “accommodation for about 500 persons,” a 1933 publication states the community consisted of between fifty and seventy-five families, and a 1936 publication puts the Jewish population at around one hundred persons.

In both 1937 and the immediate post-World War II period, influxes of Jewish refugees from the China mainland, primarily from Shanghai, placed a strain on the resources of the local Hong Kong Community. However, these were transient phenomena, and most of these refugees eventually moved on to such places a North America, Australia, and Israel within a relatively short time.

Economic Activities

Very little work has been done on specifically Jewish economic activities in Hong Kong. Of the early Baghdadi merchant houses, only the Sassoons seem to have been the subject of focused published study. Lord Kadoorie’s anecdotal memoir dated 1979 provides some personalized insights to the nature of Jewish commercial activities on the China coast and their familial links within the rubric of the British Empire during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, that these commercial pioneers helped build Hong Kong’s basic economic infrastructure is evinced by their part in establishing the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and their continuous membership on its board of directors during its early years.

The immense contribution of the Kadoorie family to the post-World War II economic success story of Hong Kong is documented in various publications. Their business activities concentrated in Hong Kong & Shanghai Hotels Ltd. (i.e., the Peninsula Group), China Light and Power Company (which is a major investor in the Daya Bay nuclear power facility), the Peak Tram Company, and others. Their many philanthropic activities have been geared primarily to bringing economic “self-help” education to the local Hong Kong Chinese population. In addition to the world-famous Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association Experimental and Extension Farm in Hong Kong, the Kadoories established schools and hospitals in Hong Kong, China, India, Nepal, and the Middle East.

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, local Baghdadi mercantile activities can be seen as part of an international network of family and ethnic ties that placed itself within different cultural environments, maintained a degree of cultural isolation and focused its commercial efforts on “niche” activities not readily accessible to the people of its various cultural environments…. However, because of increasing links with Hong Kong’s governing British bureaucracy, and positive responses to the challenges of Hong Kong’s changing regional economic role, local established Hewish economic activity gradually became part and parcel of the basic economic infrastructure of Hong Kong itself as a modern manufacturing and financial center.

The expansion of China trade after the signing of the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué, in which China and the United States announced their intention to work toward normalization of diplomatic relations, led to a large influx of American investment and businessmen. Hong Kong’s population began to include Jews involved in a much wider range of economic activities, as shown in the 1989 survey referred to above. Specifically, among the respondents, 24 percent stated they were involved in trading or retailing; 23 percent in service industries, for example, banking, finance, transportation, and insurance; 18 percent in various professions, such as law, education, medicine, and art; 14 percent in manufacturing; and 2 percent in government. Furthermore, 62.5 percent of the female respondents indicated being engaged in business or professional activities. Of those directly involved with China, 73.6 percent began that involvement after the Shanghai Communiqué was signed.”

Present Day

It was the post-World War II boom in Asian trade, and the opening of the China trade in particular, that led to a dramatic increase in Hong Kong’s Jewish population, as well as fundamental changes in the demographic and religious character of the community. In 1989, there were 384 voting members of Ohel Leah Synagogue/Jewish Recreation Club of Hong Kong, with some 80 children from these families registered in the community’s various educational and social programs. A 1989 questionnaire-survey of this membership, which achieved a 39 percent return, revealed a profile of nationality groupings as follows: 39 percent American, 27 percent British, 17 percent Israeli, and 17 percent other. Of these respondents, 71 percent indicated Ashkenazi identification.

This demographic change was reflected in Ohel Leah services, which had begun to follow the Ashkenazi form. Also in 1989, a small number of Syrian Jews established their own separate minyan (quorum for prayer services) and imported their own rabbi, and the Lubavitch Hasidic movement established a Chabad House and picked up a small following. In that same year, the United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong, the first organized Reform-Liberal group, was founded.

A recent (2002) estimate put the Jewish population of Hong Kong at around 6,000. There are four established congregations: the (Orthodox) Ohel Leah Synagogue, the Lubavitch Chabad, the (Reform/Liberal) United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong, and Shuva Israel. The new Jewish Community Center (JCC) that opened in 1995 holds recreational facilities, a kosher restaurant, and a professionally managed Judaica Library. It is the leading venue of Jewish activities in this city of nearly seven million population, mostly Chinese. There are two Jewish schools: Carmel Day School for children up to 8 years old, and Ezekiel Abraham School for older children. The JCC is also home to the Jewish Historical Society of Hong Kong, which established Hong Kong’s Judaica Library, and has published books & articles relevant to Sino-Judaic studies.

Some Historical Notes

1. Ohel Leah Synagogue, originally built in a Sephardic-colonial style by Sir Jacob Sassoon in 1901-1902, was restored and renovated in 1998. Its Aron ha Kodesh contains many Torah scrolls with Sephardic style encasings. Some of them were found on Cat Street, Hong Kong’s famous thieves’ market, in 1974, and are believed to have originated in the former and ancient Jewish community of Kaifeng in Henan Province, China.

2. The Hong Kong Jewish Cemetery was established by a small government land grant in 1858. Located in Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island, this land grant was expanded in 1904 by Sir Mathew Nathan (1862-1939), who served from 1904 to 1907 as Hong Kong’s only Jewish governor. Sir Mathew also served the community as Honorary President of Ohel Leah Synagogue while resident in Hong Kong. The main thoroughfare in Hong Kong’s Kowloon peninsula is called Nathan Road in his honor.

3. The most prominent Jew from Hong Kong is Lord Lawrence Kadoorie (1899-1993), who is recognized as the driving force behind Hong Kong’s phenomenal economic growth following World War II. Known as a visionary businessman, investor, hotelier, and entrepreneur, he was also recognized for his extensive philanthropic activities. He was the first person born in Hong Kong to be named to the British House of Lords, being honored with a CBE and named Baron Kadoorie of Kowloon and Westminster in 1981. He also received the Chev. Leg. Hon. from the French Government.

Israelites in Yunnan, China

Because the county seat was south of Mount Yun (云山), the county was named "Yunnan" - literally "south of Yun". This name resembles the Aramaic Yonan, though. The Chinese called these peoples barbarians, but this is a term applied very subjectively. Perhaps the most remarkable kingdoms of the area were the kingdom of Dian & the kingdom of Nanzhao. The kingdom of Nanzhao was composed of several tribes. These tribes were called Mengshe (蒙舍), Mengsui (蒙嶲), Langqiong (浪穹), Dengtan (邆賧), Shilang (施浪), and Yuexi (越析). Each tribe had its own kingdom, known as a zhao in an area under the control of the Tibetan Empire.

The tribes of Mengshe (蒙舍; Mengshe is a place located in the region of Guangdong, in the border with Fujian's region. Guangdong's capital [Guangzhou] is approximately 391 km / 243 mi. away from Mengshe [as the crow flies]. The distance from Mengshe to China's capital [Beijing] is approximately 1,767 km /1,098 mi [as the crow flies].; a group of Mengshe might have migrated there & named this place) & Mengsui (蒙嶲) sound like corrupted forms of Menasseh, one of the tribes of Israel. Not by chance this is the tribe from which the Kuki Israelites claim to come from.

Nanzhao 南詔 was a state in the region of modern Yunnan whose population consisted to the tribes of the Black Man (wuman 烏蠻) and the White Man (baiman 白蠻). It flourished between 649 and 902. At the end of the 6th century the largest tribes of the region around Lake Erhai were six Black Man tribes whose chieftains were called the "six kings" (liu zhao 六詔, zhao being a native word for "chieftain"). The six tribes were called Mengshe 蒙舍 (short: Meng 蒙), Mengsui 蒙嶲, Langqiong 浪穹, Dengtan 邆賧, Shilang 施浪, and Yuexi 越析. Adding up the chieftains of the Shihe 石和 and Shiqiao 石橋 (or Shibang 時傍 ans Yichuan Luoshi 矣川羅識) Chinese sources also speak of the "eight kings" (ba zhao 八詔). The southernmost of these tribes were the Mengshe whose rulers were therefore also called the "southern kings" (nanzhao 南詔). When the family Meng took over the rulership over all tribes of the region, this designation became the name of their kingdom.

Yunnan is the Chinese province of the Israelites of the Lost Golden Book: Hani, Lahu, Lisu, Wa, Kachin, Shan. Yonan & Younan are Aramaic forms of John & close phonetically to Yunnan. These olden tribes (Langqiong, Dengtan, Shilang and Yuexi) may have been these Israelites of the Lost Golden Book's ancestorsThat ancient tribe of Mengshe might have been a Chinese form of Menasheh, the Israelite tribe. The neighboring Chinkukis fom India & Myanmar claim to descend from that very tribe!! The said Chinkukis, the Karens... are part of the Israelites of the Lost Book of Gold. These Myanmaran & Indian Israelites have a traditions of having in China fighting the Chinese to end up losing their Golden Book & hiding in caves & then moving to their modern lands.


The Israelites of the Silk Road

The Assyrians did not settle the Israelites in one place, but scattered them in small populations all over the Middle East. About 70 years later, the kings of Persia granted Judah permission to return to the Land and rebuild what became known as the Second Jewish Temple. Only a remnant of their former population returned from Babylon. We should not necessarily look for a people of any particular color or socalled "race".



                                             The Ten Tribes taken captive to Assyria

We should not necessarily look for Jewishness or Jewish "customs" within prospective cultures because the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel no longer embraced Jewish customs during the period just before their exile, but instead they embraced lives of idolatry and pagan worship.


We find the descendants of them in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Myanmar (Burma), China and other countries, along the Silk Road. The Silk Road Extended 4,000 miles, and got its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade along it which began during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). Continued into China following the Wei River until they reach the central China, near Kaifeng. lives the Menashe (Shinlung) tribe which numbers between 1-2 million people. They call them themselves Lusi which means the Ten Tribes ("Lu" means tribes, and "si" means ten). They used to carry a sacred Torah scroll § Kept custom of circumcision. DNA Testing has yielded mixed results.

Chiang (Qiang or Chiang-Min) tribe

They live in China and have ancient Israeli customs. They believe in one God and have oral tradition that they came from far west. They say that their ancestor had 12 sons. They have customs of Passover, purification, levirate marriage, etc. as ancient Israelites.

Chiang Min people (from northwestern China) claim to be descendants of Abraham. They have a tradition that their forefather had 12 descendants. They believe in one God whom they call Abachi meaning the father of heaven, or Mabichu, the spirit of heaven, or also Tian, heaven. In times of trouble, they call God in the name of "Yawei", the same as Yahweh. 

Offering of animal sacrifices. Forbidden to worship statues or foreign gods.

Priests wear clean white clothes, special head turban and perform the sacrifices in a state of purity.

Kaifeng, China

It is known that there had been a large Jewish community since the time of B.C.E..
                                                 Bird's eye view of the synagogue of Kaifeng.

Kaifeng Jews (China) According to historical records, a Jewish community with a synagogue built in 1163 existed at Kaifeng from at least the Southern Song Dynasty until the late nineteenth century. A stone monument in the city suggests that they were there since at least 231 BC. Intermarried with the Chinese and look Chinese.



Persian Jews, especially the Bukharan Jews, claim descent from the Tribe of Ephraim. Persian Jews, also called Iranian Jews, are members of Jewish communities living in Iran and throughout the former greatest extents of the Persian Empire.

Yusufzai

They live in Afghanistan. Yusufzai means children of Joseph. They have customs of ancient Israelites.

Pathans

They live in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have the customs of circumcision on the 8th day, fringes of robe, Sabbath, Kashrut, Tefilin, etc.

Kashmiri people

In Kashmir they have the same land names as were in the ancient northern kingdom of Israel. They have the feast of Passover and the legend that they came from Israel.

Knanites

In India there are people called Knanites, which means people of Canaan. They speak Aramaic and use the Aramaic Bible. 

Shinlung tribe (Bnei Menashe)


In Myanmar (Burma) and India live Shinlung tribe, also called Menashe tribe. Menashe is Manasseh, and the Menashe tribe is said to be the descendants from the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. They have ancient Israeli customs. 

A History of the Jews in Shanghai

I Jews in Colonial Shanghai

One of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world, Shanghai in the late 19th and early 20th century was an international banking city and the gun-running capital of Asia, a center for trade in textiles and opium, an open port where law was subordinated to profit.

After the British navy defeated Chinese forces in the Opium War of 1842, two large sections of central Shanghai became autonomous foreign entities: the International Settlement dominated by British and American business interests and governed by the Shanghai Municipal Council, and the French Concession run by the French government through its Consul General.

The extraterritorial governments controlled police, customs, and judicial matters in the two settlements. Shanghai became a capitalist paradise. Western businessmen controlled downtown Shanghai, with its great banks, port facilities, hotels, and warehouses. The Shanghai Municipal Council (SMC) was elected by the tiny proportion of foreigners who owned substantial property. Extremes of wealth and poverty jostled in the crowded streets.

Some of the earliest British subjects in Shanghai were Jews who originated in the Middle East. A few of these Baghdadi families became enormously wealthy and joined the financial elite in Shanghai, including the Sassoons, Kadoories, and Hardoons. In the early 20 th century, poorer Baghdadi Jewish families fled from conscription in the Ottoman Turkish army. By the 1930s the Baghdadi community numbered nearly 1000. They congregated in the Ohel Rachel synagogue, built in 1920, and sent their children to the Shanghai Jewish School.

The other Jewish community in Shanghai had come from Russia, refugees from Tsarist anti-Semitism, and then from revolutionary upheaval and Stalinist terror. They were more numerous, numbering about 5000, but not as well off as the Baghdadi Jews. The Ohel Moishe synagogue, opened in 1907 in Hongkou, served this Ashkenazi community.

During the early 20th century, the Japanese became the largest foreign colony in the city. The Japanese military occupied Manchuria in 1931-1932, and then battled the Chinese army in Shanghai for several months in 1937, destroying large parts of the Hongkou district. Fighting continued until February 1938, by which time the Japanese were the dominant military power in Shanghai. They controlled customs, post, and telegraph, and they took over police powers in Hongkou, officially part of the International Settlement. They demanded more voice in the SMC and its police forces, but did nothing to challenge the extraterritorial privileges within the International Settlement.

II Refugees from the Nazis

During the first five years of Nazi persecution, from 1933 to 1938, about 130,000 of the 525,000 Jews living in Germany left the country. Through the end of 1937, however, only about 300 Jewish refugees had arrived in Shanghai. Michael Blumenthal, who later became Secretary of the Treasury under President Jimmy Carter, had this to say about the choices refugees faced:

It was sort of a hierarchy of things. If you went to the United States, that was a good thing. If you went to England that was a good thing. If you went to another European country, it was fine, to Holland, to France, all that was good. If you went to New Zealand and to Australia and then to Canada, that was good. There were countries that were considered to be okay. Brazil was okay, Argentina and Uruguay were okay, maybe Chile. There were countries that were considered to be not so okay, Paraguay and Bolivia, because they were considered to be primitive countries in which it was difficult to make a living, where a European wouldn’t be happy. Dominican Republic, Panama, certain Central American countries were considered to be semi-desperation countries you went to. And the worst place was Shanghai.

The level of desperation of German Jews was not yet great enough to overcome their disinterest in moving to China.

On 12 March, the German armed forces marched into Austria, and the Austrian population responded to this Anschluss with an orgy of violence against Jews, especially in Vienna. In June, the Evian Conference of 32 nations ended without taking any action to increase opportunities for Jews to emigrate. No nation welcomed Jewish refugees; anti-Semitism was a worldwide disease.

Then, on November 9 and 10, 1938, the so-called Kristallnacht, a carefully organized national pogrom attacked Jewish synagogues, businesses and people. Thirty thousand men were taken to Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald. With great difficulty family members discovered that a ticket out of the country could get their men out of concentration camp. The illusion that Jews could somehow manage to find an accommodation with the Nazis government was destroyed by the end of 1938. German Jews left the country in 1939 at four times the rate of the years before 1938. The combination of desperation to flee and the lack of desirable places to go suddenly made Shanghai an acceptable choice for thousands of Jews in the Third Reich.

Remarkably, a few foreign diplomats stationed in Europe offered extraordinary assistance in the face of their own government’s policies. Chinese Consul-General Ho Feng-Shan, stationed in Vienna since 1937, issued thousands of Chinese visas to Jews, who lined up at his office in 1938 and 1939. These documents were not needed to enter China, but were very useful in getting the Nazis to issue passports, in convincing third countries to allow entry, or in buying tickets out of Germany.


Since anti-Jewish violence was first applied by the Nazis on a broad basis in Austria during the Anschluss, Viennese Jews were the first to seek out Shanghai as a destination for mass flight. During 1938, perhaps 1500 refugees arrived in Shanghai, two-thirds of whom were Austrian. When the families of men arrested during Kristallnacht began to arrive in Shanghai in large numbers in early 1939, the proportion changed to more than two-thirds from Germany, in line with the relative sizes of the Jewish populations of Germany and Austria. By that time, the ships of the Italian Lloyd Triestino Line, along with ships from France, Holland, and Germany, were bringing over 1000 refugees a month into Shanghai.

The trip to Shanghai typically took four weeks. As the ships passed through the Suez Canal and stopped at the largest ports in southern Asia, local Jewish communities came out to greet and support the refugees with food and supplies. The British, on the other hand, worried that refugees would escape into their colonial outposts in Aden, India, or Singapore, and tried to keep them confined near the docks or even on the ship.

Those who went to Shanghai were ordinary Jews. The wealthy and famous had international connections which made getting visas and affidavits easier. Those who went to Shanghai that year typically had nobody to vouch for them in the US, were unable to bring significant financial resources out of the Third Reich, and had no especially desirable skills. They were families of salesmen, doctors and store owners. Nazi regulations forbade bringing most valuables out of the country and limited cash to 10 Marks or $4 per person. Shanghai was an exile of the little people, ordinary Jews.

Arrival in Shanghai was a shock. Loaded onto trucks like so much baggage, the refugees were driven across the Garden Bridge to a barracks financed by generous Baghdadi Jewish families. The hallmarks of European domestic life, privacy and cleanliness, were suddenly replaced by tropical heat, bedbugs, and shared toilets.

The various national and ethnic communities in Shanghai responded quite differently to the newly arrived refugees. The Baghdadi Jewish community created a relief committee headed by Paul Komor, the Honorary Consul General for Hungary, to greet the refugees, provide temporary housing, and integrate them into the Shanghai economy. The Sassoon and Kadoorie families used their wealth and influence to smooth the descent of these Europeans into refugee status. Many Russian Jews offered assistance, but on a less-organized, more individual basis.

The American, British, and French businessmen, who ran the international zones of settlement, had little sympathy for the plight of Jews in Europe. In December 1938, when only about 1500 Central European refugees had arrived, the SMC voted to prevent the arrival of any further Jewish refugees; the Japanese, who by then controlled the port, refused to comply.

The Japanese, allies of the Nazis, were much more accommodating. Believing that international Jewry possessed wide powers, government policy was designed not to antagonize Jews. When the SMC formally requested at the end of 1938 that the Japanese help to restrict Jewish arrivals, the Foreign Ministry told its representatives in Shanghai to reject this attitude.

But German and Japanese officials in Shanghai, like their western counterparts, began to complain about the economic impact of the growing Jewish refugee stream, as more than 1000 Jews arrived every month in 1939. In May and June, the Japanese Consul Ishiguro repeatedly complained that Jews were taking business away from Japanese in Shanghai, and asked what German reaction would be if the Japanese restricted Jewish entry.

When the Berlin government responded positively, the Japanese moved quickly to put restrictions into effect. On August 9, the Naval Landing Party, the highest Japanese military authority in Shanghai, sent a letter to the Jewish relief committee announcing that no further refugees would be admitted to Hongkou after August 21. The SMC followed on August 14 with a similar announcement that European refugees would no longer be permitted to enter the International Settlement.

The Shanghai door had been effectively closed for the hundreds of thousands of Jews remaining in the Third Reich. After August 21, 1939, about 1100 more refugees arrived on boats which were already underway or about to leave. The flow of 1000 per month dwindled immediately to a few hundred over the whole next year.

One more sizable group of eastern European Jews reached Shanghai. After the German and Soviet armies divided up Poland in 1939 and the Soviets began to move into the small Baltic countries, Jews in Lithuania discovered that the Japanese Consul, Chiune Sugihara, and the Dutch Consul, Jan Zwartendyk, were willing to issue visas for Japan and Curaçao.

Brandishing these papers, over 2000 Jews were able to cross the Soviet Union in 1940 and 1941 on the trans-Siberian Railroad, and land in Kobe, Japan. A substantial number of the Polish Jews were male yeshiva students, including the entire Mirrer Yeshiva.



Eventually they were sent to Shanghai and allowed to settle in Hongkou. The difference in attitude toward Jews between the Germans and the Japanese could not have been clearer. About 18,000 Jews had managed to get to Shanghai from Nazi-controlled Central and Eastern Europe.

Even after escape from Europe to Shanghai became impossible, the development of the war into a world-wide conflict continued to have a direct impact in the refugee community. At the same time that Japanese warplanes bombed American ships in Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Japanese military marched into the Western enclaves of Shanghai and took complete control of the city. The American and British businessmen who had enjoyed all the benefits of colonial domination lost their jobs and eventually their freedom. The Japanese set up internment camps for enemy aliens. Yet Jews from the Third Reich could continue their lives unimpeded, as long as they acknowledged Japanese dominance.

III Shanghai Exile

The 16,000 German-speaking refugees were soon sorted into three broad economic classes by the shock of expulsion from Europe and flight to China. Those who managed to bring a few dollars or some valuables to Shanghai could rent apartments in the International Settlement. For the early arrivals, it was still possible to find jobs or open businesses. A second group of families fell into poverty, squeezed into one room in Hongkou, and survived by selling their possessions and eating one meal a day provided by local Jewish relief organizations. A third group, about 2500, had nothing, and spent their Shanghai years in barracks rooms at the so-called Heime. These five complexes housed mainly men who were alone, but also many families, in huge common rooms. Most of the funding was provided by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and by local Baghdadi and Russian Jews.


Exile life in Shanghai brought out two powerful strands of refugee culture. Although many families had not put much energy into being Jewish in Europe, the Nazis forced them to consider their Jewish identity. Jews from all over the world, especially from Shanghai and from America, came directly to their aid. Jewish institutions and forms of self-governance were developed by refugees. As in Germany, the Jüdische Gemeinde (Jewish Community) was founded to include the whole spectrum of religious observance.

Within a few months of landing, the Austrian Jews created a café life on the streets of Hongkou. The few experienced theatrical professionals gathered over 200 artists around them, and organized dramatic ensembles and artistic societies. By late 1939, theater productions appeared monthly. 

Newspapers appeared, notably the Shanghai Jewish Chronicle published by Ossi Lewin.



Probably the most ambitious creation was the so-called Kadoorie School. When refugee children overwhelmed the existing Shanghai Jewish School in the International Settlement, the community was able to lease a vacant building in Hongkou from the SMC. In November 1939 the Shanghai Jewish Youth Association School began classes with financial support from the Baghdadi community, especially Sir Horace Kadoorie. About 600 students attended a mixture of religious and secular courses taught in English by refugees, modeled after Jewish schools in Germany. In January 1942 the Kadoorie School moved to a better site, a building which is fondly remembered by its former students.



Nazi emissaries constantly attempted to convince the Japanese to kill the thousands of Jews under their control. Wild schemes were proposed, such as putting all the Jews of Shanghai onto boats and then sinking them at sea. For reasons that have not yet been fully explained, on February 18, 1943, the Japanese authorities issued a Proclamation which forced all “stateless refugees” who had arrived after 1937 to live within less than a square mile in Hongkou. About 8,000 Central European refugees who lived outside of this district had to move within three months. The February Proclamation showed the ambivalent nature of the Japanese attitude toward the Jews so despised by their German allies: the word Jew was not mentioned in the Proclamation and the existing Baghdadi and Russian Jewish communities in Shanghai were not affected.

Beyond confinement, there was little anti-Semitic content in the creation of the Designated Area. Jewish religious services were unhindered and Japanese officials occasionally attended them, watched refugee soccer games and visited school classes. Most important, Jews in Hongkou were not physically brutalized. Jews could apply for passes to leave Hongkou, although Kanoh Ghoya, the Japanese gate-keeper for Jews seeking daily passes, was notorious for his outrageous and unpredictable behavior.

Germs were much more dangerous to refugees in Hongkou than the Japanese. Close physical contact, inadequate clothing, and an ever poorer diet made the refugees susceptible to dysentery, scarlet fever and tuberculosis. About 10% of the whole community died in Shanghai, mostly in the difficult years from 1943 to 1945.



The long-awaited end of the war in Europe brought little relief to refugee families in Asia. German surrender on 8 May was welcome, but it didn’t change Jewish lives in Shanghai. The Pacific war still dragged on, but the occasional appearance of American planes over Shanghai beginning in 1944 was greeted with cheers. On July 17, 1945, American planes accidentally dropped bombs on refugee houses run by the Russian Jewish relief organization in the Designated Area. The death of about 30 refugees was a unique tragedy during the years of Shanghai exile.

After the Japanese surrendered on August 15, the ghetto barriers disappeared and suddenly there was more food. The American military brought Army rations and CARE packages, and a way of life that seemed to promise freedom and equality. The US military hired about 1500 refugees in a wide variety of jobs at high pay.

Soon more direct relief arrived. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration brought immense quantities of basic foodstuffs and clothing. The Joint invested money to improve the Heime and opened a Jewish Community Center at the Kadoorie School. Sports competitions, Boy Scout troops, and theater and musical productions were revived and expanded.

But the inflation which had developed at the end of the war worsened in 1945-47 and then skyrocketed in 1948 and 1949. Even more worrisome was the civil war between the Communist Red Army and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government, which broke out once the Japanese were defeated.

IV The Dissolution of the Shanghai Jewish Community Nearly all refugee families wanted to leave Shanghai as soon as possible. Very few had been able to create a life they wanted to continue in China. Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government expressed hostile attitudes toward the Jewish refugee community, and Mao’s Communists were an unknown threat. All three Jewish communities began the search for new homes.

America was the most popular destination. Many refugees had tried to get into the United States before the war, and now even more had relatives there. The possibility of a Jewish state in Palestine attracted those refugees who were more committed to their Jewish identity, along with many from the Baghdadi and Russian communities. A minority of refugees among the older generation decided instead to go back to Germany or Austria.

One year after the war’s end, only about 600 refugees had succeeded in leaving for the United States, and about half of those were Polish Jews connected to the Mirrer Yeshiva. About the same number had succeeded in getting to Australia. Relatives were able to bring a few families to Canada and Latin America. The Western democracies maintained those restrictive immigration policies which had forced Jews to scatter all over the world. By January 1947 only one-fifth of the refugees had left.
The refugees’ struggle to convince the victorious Allies to allow them to leave Shanghai finally was rewarded in May 1947, when the Allies agreed to allow entry to Berlin and Vienna. Thus the first mass exodus from Shanghai was back to Germany and Austria, the voyage of the “Marine Lynx” to Naples with 650 refugees in July 1947.

Gradually the Western democracies recognized the needs of the Shanghai refugees. By the end of 1948 nearly 10,000 refugees had left Shanghai, with thousands still seeking a way out. About 1500 went to Germany and Austria, 6000 to the US, and 1000 to Australia, but a mere 150 to England and only 25 to Canada. A few hundred were able to enter Latin America, especially Bolivia and Chile.
As the British effort to keep control of its Mandate in Palestine faltered, prospects for travel to the Middle East improved. Although the nation of Israel was officially declared in May 1948, fighting between Jews and Arabs continued into 1949. Eventually in late 1948 and early 1949, a series of ships brought thousands of Russian and Baghdadi Jews and some Central European refugees to Israel.

The civil war in China heightened the desperation of those trying to get out. The Communists entered Shanghai triumphantly in May 1949, at which time about 2000 Central Europeans were left. The new government welcomed the contribution of skilled Europeans who were willing to stay, but in the long run it was no more hospitable to these remnants of colonialism than the Nationalists had been.




Gradually the few hundred remaining Jews died of illness or old age, or managed to leave. By the time that the Cultural Revolution began to wipe out all traces of foreign influence in 1966, the Jewish communities of Shanghai were just a memory.






Today, however, Shanghai is home to a thriving ex-pat Jewish community and municipal authorities have preserved a section of the Hongkou ghetto, dedicated a memorial marker, and restored the Ohel Moishe Synagoguge as a historical museum.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario