China, a country with no history of anti-Semitism, has an increasing interest in Jewish matters. A groundbreaking project took place in August 2005. A teacher-training seminar on the Holocaust, organised in conjunction with the Holocaust and Anti-Racism Education Department, was held in Nanjing, in eastern China, where 300,000 people were massacred by the Japanese army in 1937.
The event brought together 60 to 80 university lecturers, graduate students and museum curators, and focussed on how the Holocaust is studied in the West and how it can be taught. Jewish scholars of the Holocaust discussed these issues with Chinese scholars who are experts on the Nanjing Massacre or in Jewish Studies and the Holocaust. An examination of the issues linking the Nanjing massacre and the Holocaust is of key importance to Prof. Xu-Xing, Professor of Jewish Studies at Nanjing University, who first organised a seminar on the Holocaust in 1993 in his city's Hall of Massacre. The 2005 seminar also examined the potential for introducing Holocaust studies throughout China - at present there is no facility in the Chinese high-school curriculum for the teaching of Holocaust studies.
After the success of the 2005 seminar, a second seminar took place in Kaifeng in 2006. A third successful seminar took place in Shanghai, in July 2007, with further seminars in Yunnan in July 2008 and in July 2009 in Kunming.
Annual seminars have continued to take place in different centre's in China the latest one being held in Xi'an (home of the Terracotta Army) and planning for the 2012 seminar is already in hand.
Since 2010 the China seminars have been jointly funded by the 'Claims Conference' (The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany) and the LJCC.
Through its contributions to leading institutions that have expertise in Holocaust education, the Claims Conference also seeks to help ensure that future generations learn of the Holocaust hence its crucial role in the China Programme today.