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How a Jewish doctor helped form backbone of revolutionary China’s medical system

Rosenfeld isn’t the only one of his kind — more than a handful of Jews played roles the rise in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and are largely neglected by history.

“[M]any of the foreigners who went to China and worked with either the CCP or the left wing of the [Chinese Nationalist Party] were Jewish,” says Grunfeld.

Most of the other Jews who joined the CCP were literary types, such as the journalist Israel Epstein, the interpreter Sidney Rittenberg, and the translator Sidney Shapiro, among at least a half dozen others like them.

Collectively they helped the outside world understand the CCP and the new PRC government after the civil war ended.


Epstein edited the magazine “China Reconstructs,” which became “China Today.” Rittenberg interpreted into English Mao’s messages to US President Harry Truman and later worked as an English language interpreter for Xinhua News Agency. Shapiro translated major Chinese literary works of revolutionary-era China such as Ba Jin’s “The Family” for Western audiences. He also served as a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Council.

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