China's Ministry of Industry in recent weeks published statistics on the growing kosher industry in the country. The bottom line: There has been a “kosher revolution” in China, with more kosher products produced for domestic use and export than ever. According to the report, the amount of kosher production rose 60% in 2012, compared to the year before.
Much of the food being produced is exported to markets around the world – including Israel, which is a big customer of fish, canned vegetables, and other grocery items “made in China.” But some of that production is also being used domestically – not for the miniscule Jewish population of China, but for the Chinese themselves.
As China opens itself up to the West, it has come into contact with cultures from around the world – including Jewish culture, and its attendant kosher food. The Chinese attitude to Jews and Judaism is positive, and kosher food is seen, as it is by many in the West, as being healthier. Hence, there is a local demand for kosher food.
Many factories in China now produce kosher food, and many of those are under the supervision of the Admor M'Shatz, Rabbi David Moskowitz, who runs the SKS Mehadrin supervision service. “In general, the Chinese look upon the Jews with admiration and even amazement,” he said. “Jews are seen as smart and rich, and the Chinese are interested in all aspects of Jewish life. For example, there are over 20 books in Chinese that tell readers how to educate their children using 'the Jewish method,' which implies that they will learn to be healthy, wealthy and wise. This has also increased interest in kosher food,” he said, with many Chinese believing that kosher food is healthier."
Rabbi Moskowitz said that the “Jewish quality of life” was rising in China, and that there were more places than ever where visitors could get kosher food – and that the day would soon come that keeping kosher in China would be as easy as it is in the U.S. or Europe.