In the eyes of most Chinese, Jewish people are considered "smart," "rich" and "good at making money." Bookstores in China offer a variety of self-help books titled, "How to make money like Jews," and "The secret of Jews' global success."
Until recently, the notion that Jews and money were inseparable carried no anti-Semitic undertone in the country, but a relatively new book called "Currency Wars" threatens to change all that.
The book's author, Song Hongbing, claims that behind world-changing events like the battle of Waterloo, Adolf Hitler's rise to power, President Kennedy's assassination, and the deep recession in Asia during the 1990s stood an intricate conspiracy aimed at increasing Jews' wealth and influence.
Song, a Chinese computer engineer and history buff who resides in the United States, writes that almost every defining historical moment has been instigated by Jewish bankers, and mainly the Rothschild family, which Song says dominates the global banking system, including the US Federal Reserve System.
'important publication' or 'nonsense'?
Song's book was published in China about a year and-a-half ago, and initially sold an insignificant number of copies. But in recent months the global crisis has turned the book into a hit. Estimates put sales of "Currency War" well over a million, not including hundreds of thousands of illegal copies that can also be downloaded off the net.
Responses among readers vary; online discussions about the book reveal that many are convinced this is the most important publication ever written, as it "exposes the truth behind global economy." However, others claim that this is "nonsense" and say that Song, who has never studied economics, simply pieced together a theory made up of several delusional conspiracy theories published on the internet.
Song's publishers, a subsidiary of a state-owned publishing house, boast the fact that the book has been read by all leading financial executives in the country, as well as state leaders.
Song himself has become a local celebrity in China, and is often invited to lecture at financial conventions and is interviewed on TV as a famous financial analyst.