What would you be willing to do to Enhance your Beauty?

February 10, 2016

According to historical accounts, foot binding appeared in China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1276 AD).

The process of foot binding often started between the ages of four and seven. Feet were soaked in a blood and herb mixture. Toes were broken. Then the arch was broken. There was extreme pain since no pain relief was used. It is estimated that in a thousand years about two billion women went through the process.

Manchu women did not bind their feet, and the Manchu leaders of the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911 AD) attempted, but with little success, to stop foot binding among the mostly Han (the majority in China) women who continued the practice.

In 1928, the Nationalist government announced plans to do away with foot binding. This attempt to end foot binding met with mixed success. In rural areas, large feet were still considered unattractive and unacceptable and the practice of foot binding continued.

While working in China for National Geographic Magazine on a three part Marco Polo series, Michael Yamashita, a veteran photographer, went in search of women who had bound feet. He found them living in remote urban villages. Yamashita’s book Marco Polo: A Photographer’s Journey was published April 5, 2011.

Even in 19th century San Francisco, there were Chinese girls and women with bound feet. Source: Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco

In most of China, like all countries, social and sexual customs resist rapid change. For millions of women, the practice would continue until 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party came to power under Mao. That is when the popularity of foot binding to enhance a woman’s beauty—according to the men who wanted women to suffer for what they thought was beauty—ended.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Will the U.S. Cultural Revolution, based on Greed and Power, rival Mao’s in Suffering and Loss?

February 9, 2016

The difference between the current Cultural Revolution in the United States and Mao’s in China (1950 – 1976) is that this unique American Revolution is from the top down instead of the bottom up. In China the majority of the people supported the Chinese Communist Party against the Nationalist Party in a Civil War that raged for decades (1927 – 1950).

But in the United States, the revolution is being led by the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans: for instance, Bill Gates, two of the four Koch brothers, the Walton Walmart family, Rupert Murdock, Wall Street, Corporate America, Hedge Funds, recently Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who was recruited into the Gates Cabal, and a few other poorer billionaires, for instance Eli Broad in California, a billionaire who made his money in real estate and who is currently funding a campaign to take half the children in the public schools in Los Angeles and move them into private sector, autocratic, opaque, often fraudulent, for-profit corporate charter schools that are often worse than the public schools they replace, according to more than one study out of Stanford. “75 percent of charter schools showed either no significant difference or were significantly weaker than traditional schools.” – Desert News

During Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the end goal was to end capitalism and support socialism to reduce the suffering of the majority of China’s people who lived in extreme poverty. In America’s current Cultural Revolution launched by President Ronald Reagan with his failed trickle-down economic theory, the goal has been to privatize and/or weaken the government by eliminating the public sector: public education, health care,  public police, health care for veterans through the Veterans Administration (VA), the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Military, Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, etc.

The most recent incident of crimes against humanity in this U.S. Cultural Revolution that has been slowly gaining steam since Reagan are 10 Things They Won’t Tell You About the Flint Water Tragedy, but I Will by Michael Moore.

Moore starts with, “While the Children in Flint Were Given Poisoned Water to Drink, General Motors Was Given a Special Hookup to the Clean Water.” Click the link in the previous paragraph to read the details and to discover the other nine crimes.

The Washington Post reports, how do states support their public schools? Badly, a new 50-state report card shows. The highest grade was a C average (2.5 GPA), and only three states earned it: Iowa, Nebraska and Vermont.

Mother Jones says, It’s the Inequality, Stupid, and then explains what’s wrong with America in eleven charts. “A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now makes an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.” Click the link in this paragraph to discover the horrid but true details.

Global Research asks, The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery? “Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.”

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street.

When President Richard Nixon declared his war on drugs, the average prison population in the United States averaged for decades about 250,000 or less. Today that number is approaching 2.5 million, the largest prison population on the planet, and China is #2 with almost five times the total population.

This American Cultural Revolution that is being led by the wealthiest and most powerful Americans has also waged war against labor unions since the 1960s and as union membership rates declined, middle class incomes shrunk.

Union Membership shrinks along with middle class incomes

The Military Times reports that veterans are against “plans to replace VA health care with a voucher system, an idea backed by some Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.”

The United States was once proud to have an all-volunteer army but that isn’t true anymore. Foreign Policy.com reveals The New Unknown Soldiers of Afghanistan and Iraq and asks, “Did you know that private contractors in Afghanistan outnumber U.S. troops three to one?”

“Indeed, since 9/11, private contractors have been deployed at roughly the same — or even higher — rates as U.S. troops in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is hard to detail, because the U.S. military has never adequately tracked contractor personnel deployed in support of overseas operations, according to various Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports. (To give one highly disturbing anecdote demonstrating this, while in September 2011 the GAO found that the military could not reliably determine the number of contractor personnel that had been killed or wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, over the same time period, the Pentagon had accurately been tracking the number of combat dogs killed in both countries.)”

What happens when for-profit corporations take over fighting America’s wars, and who do you think will end up doing the fighting?

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Does water reveal how a country takes care of its citizens – China versus India

February 3, 2016

This post explores which country is doing a better job of supplying water to its people—China or India.  When you finish reading and watching the two videos, you decide which country you would rather live in if you had to make a choice between them.

Is freedom of expression and of religion more important than water—what would be your answer if you had to make a choice?

The choices of world religions are many. According to Religious Tolerance.org, “There are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world.”

One of the most common complains outside China is that its citizens do not have the abstract freedom of expression and all of those religions to choose from, because China only offers seven approved religions to choose from and freedom of public political expression is severely limited.

The National Geographic special issue, “Water, Our Thirsty World” (April 2007) compared the world’s largest democracy, India, with China. In “The Big Melt” by Brook Larmer, we see a convincing reason why China’s mix of socialism and capitalism may be the world’s answer to avoid future calamities. Where Western style democracies fail to act due to partisanship, special interests, religious beliefs and political agendas, China’s government, ruled by engineers and scientists, appears to be planning decades ahead.

The claims of Tibetan separatists—the 1% that lives in voluntary exile in India—and their supporters that China rules over Tibet with an iron fist also appears to be wrong when Larmer visits a family of Tibetan nomads. He writes, “There is no sign of human life on the 14,000 foot high prairie that seems to extend to the end of the world.” Larmer sees “the NOMADS’ tent as a pinprick of white against a canvas of brown.”

We meet Ba O, a Tibetan nomad. In Ba O’s tent, “there is a small Buddhist Shrine: a red prayer wheel and a couple of smudged Tibetan texts…” A few years earlier, Ba O had several hundred sheep and the grass was plentiful. Now the Tibetan nomad has about a hundred left and fears this way of life is ending.

Ba O says, “This is the way we’ve always done things. And we don’t want that to change.”

But no matter what Ba O wants, change is coming, and there is nothing he can do to stop it. The change is not from China’s government. It is coming from global warming. Because of drought, the Tibetan grasslands are dying and a way of life that has existed for thousands of years may be dying too.

To insure that the Tibetan nomads will have a place to live, China’s government has been building resettlement villages. The “solid built” houses are subsidized. When the Tibetan nomads can no longer survive on the open Tibetan prairie, it is the nomad’s choice to move into the new villages. The government does not force them to give up their old way of life. Nature does that.

Along with the house comes a small annual stipend for each family so they can eat as they find another way to earn a living. The home Larmer visited in one of these resettlement villages had a Buddhist shrine and a free satellite dish for a TV and maybe an Internet connection. In addition, the one child policy does not apply to the Tibetan people since they are a minority in China.

To make sure there will continue to be water to drink, China is planning to build 59 reservoirs in Tibet to capture and save glacial runoff.

In India, by comparison, the young wife of a fortuneteller spends hours each day searching for water. She lives with her husband and five children in Delhi, India‘s capital. There are fights over water. In a nearby slum, a teenage boy was beaten to death for cutting into a water line. The demand for water in Delhi exceeds the supply by more than 300 million gallons a day.

Here are a few other factors that reveal how a country treats its citizens.

China – Population 1.357 billion (2013) with one political party

  • 27.24% or 369.6 million live on less than $3.10 a day
  • illiteracy = 3.6% or 48.8 million
  • life expectancy = 75 today. It was 35 in 1949.
  • According to worldhunger.org, “Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia, and especially, East Asia, with the major improvement occurring in China.”
  • Transparency.org ranks China #27 on the bribe payers index.

The Bribe Payers Index ranks the world’s wealthiest and most economically influential countries according to the likelihood of their firms to bribe abroad, and the United States is ranked #10.

India – Population 1.252 billion (2013) with six national political parties and 49 state parties

  • 58.1% or 727.4 million live on less than $3.10 a day
  • illiteracy = 27.9% or 338 million
  • life expectancy = 66 today. It was 36 in 1949.
  • According to bhookh.com, “Over 7000 Indians die of hunger every day.”
  • Transparency.org list ranks India #19 on its bribe payers index.

Patrick Henry (1736 – 1799), one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, is credited with saying “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

What happens to the pursuit of life, liberty, freedom of expression—the right to publicly complain about the government but nothing changes anyway—and the exploration of spiritual beliefs when there isn’t enough food to eat or safe water to drink?

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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The India-China Connection

February 2, 2016

There is an obsession in the West that India, since it is labeled a democracy, is the country to counter China’s economic and military growth in Asia.

The thinking has been, “If the United States and India can together rediscover and revive the Indian military’s expeditionary tradition, they will have a solid basis for strategic cooperation not only between themselves but also with the rest of the world’s democracies.” For instance, in A Himalayan rivalry, The Economist focused on the 1962 conflict between India and China saying, “Memoires of a war between India and China are still vivid in the Tawang valley.”

But memoires aren’t everything. There is also knowledge, economics and culture, and, compared to India, China is not the same country it was in 1962, because unlike India, China’s one party political system allows for quick decisions that often benefit the country and the people.

Another important factor to remember is that China is a collectivist culture just like India, and according to healthypsych.com “Culture influences behavior.”

​“Collectivism is the political theory that people should be interdependent on others and all conform to the same ideas and worship the goals of group than that of the individual. It’s a broad term that expands to many different topics and politics. Collectivists believe in order to form the more common good that the people should be united as a whole live their lives for the community, nation, or society.”  – Science Leadership Academy

Due to these facts, China and India have more in common than India and the United States.

Another factor is that China and India both have ancient civilizations more than 5,000 years old, and they are next-door neighbors that are also linked by economics—both are members of BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The Institute of Development Studies says, “Globally and politically, the influence of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and since 2011, South Africa – is rapidly increasing. They have been engaged in official and non-official development cooperation for decades, but their role as development actors has only recently been acknowledged by the development community.”

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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China’s Ancient Capital: Part 5 of 5

January 30, 2016

During the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1643 AD), China attempted to isolate itself from the world by rebuilding the Great Wall and a string of impregnable fortresses to protect China’s heartland from Mongol invasion.

One of those fortresses was a new military city built near the ruins of Tang Chang’an, and the Ming named this city “Western Peace”—which in Chinese/Mandarin is “Xi’an”.

Xi’an was one-sixth the size of Tang Chang’an, but nearly six hundred years later, its walls are still standing.

Charles Higham said these walls are the most extraordinary, largest, best-preserved set of defensive walls in the world.

The last segment of Neville Gishford’s Discovery Channel documentary introduced Zheng Canyang, the engineer responsible for preserving Xi’an’s walls, and Zheng explains how the walls would have been defended.

History records that when the walls of this third city faced its first attack, they stood firm, but the attack did not come during the Ming or Qing Dynasties. The attack came five hundred years later from April to November 1926.


Xi’an’s six hundred year old city wall today

As China bled from the Civil War between warlords, the CCP and the KMT, a powerful Chinese general by the name of Liu Zhenhua attacked Xi’an with a large army and modern artillery.

However, the 20th century artillery rounds only dented the walls, and after months, Xi’an’s walls still stood and Liu Zhenhua’s army retreated.

The siege was part of an anti-Guominjun campaign lasting from late 1925 to early 1927, which raged across North China and had nothing to do with the civil war between CCP and KMT, explaining why this military campaign received no coverage in the popular media or academic circles.

The newest enemy to Xi’an’s ancient walls comes from modernization and the millions of inhabitants of the city. As the water table below the city is sucked dry from so many people, this has caused the earth to sink, which is pulling down the walls, and engineers and scientists are working to discover ways to save them.

This link to Xi’an will take you to the photo page on my Website for our trip there in 2008.

Return to Part 4 or start with Part 1

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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China’s Ancient Capital: Part 4 of 5

January 29, 2016

Although Christianity and Islam were both introduced to China during the Tang Dynasty, Buddhism has deeper roots in the culture since it first arrived in China from India about 200 BC.

Christianity arrived in China more than eight centuries after Buddhism and only a decade before Islam when a Nestorian monk named Aluoben entered the ancient capital city of Tang Chang’an in 635 AD.

In addition, in 629 AD, the Buddhist monk Xuanzang left Chang’an against the emperor’s orders to travel the world in search of enlightenment. He went west toward India along the Silk Road with a goal to find original Buddhist scriptures.  He traveled 10,000 miles over three of the highest mountain ranges in Asia and was gone 16 years.

When Xuanzang returned in 645 AD, he had 1,300 scrolls of Buddhist Sutras, and requested the building of a pagoda, which became the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda—nearly 65 meters tall (more than 213 feet).  It was made of rammed earth, and the pagoda would collapse more than once and be rebuilt.  No one knows exactly how the Tang Dynasty engineers managed to build a structure that tall of rammed earth.

Neville Gishford’s Discovery Channel documentary revealed the answer to a mystery when a hidden crypt beneath the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was discovered using ground based radar. When The Tang Dynasty collapsed due to rebellion, the city was destroyed, but the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was left untouched.

Gishford revealed that even though Tang Chang’an was destroyed, the city was copied throughout Asia and one city in Japan, Kyoto (formally the imperial capital of Japan – 794 to 1869 AD), was a scaled replica of Tang Chang’an.

In fact, in 1974, the modern city of Xi’an and Kyoto formally established a sister-city relationship.

However, this was not the end of Chang’an. It would be rebuilt a third time but with a different name, Xi’an.  In 1368, nearly five hundred years after the fall of the Tang Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1643 AD) would rebuild the Great Wall in addition to the third city called Xi’an as a defense against the Mongols that had conquered and ruled China during the Yuan Dynasty (1277 – 1367 AD).

Continued on January 30, 2016 in Part 5 or Return to Part 3

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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China’s Ancient Capital: Part 3 of 5

January 28, 2016

From the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC) to the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD), 62 emperors ruled China from Qin Xianyang and Han Chang’an. The China Daily reported that there are about 500 burial mounds where the remains of emperors and aristocrats rest.

The largest tombs mark the resting place of Emperors Qin Shi Huangdi (259 – 210 BC), Tang Gaozong (628 – 683 AD), and his wife Empress Tang Wu Zetian (624 – 705 AD).

Map of China showing location of Chang'an

When I mentioned Neville Gishford’s documentary, China’s Most Honourable City, in Part 2, Chang’an was the capital of the Tang Dynasty with a population of over a million — six times the size of ancient Rome.

The Daming Palace, where the Tang Emperors ruled China, was 800 years older and nearly five times larger than Beijing’s Forbidden City, and this huge palace was built in one year.

However, it wasn’t the Daming Palace that made Chang’an powerful. Long before Manhattan, Hong Kong, Paris and Dubai, Chang’an was where the world came to shop.

Over a thousand years ago, the wealth of the West poured into China and arrived at Chang’an over the Silk Road.

But wealth wasn’t the only thing China gained. Major religions also arrived in China at this time.

Islam was barely a century old when Silk Road traders brought this religion to Chang’an. In another post, A Road to the Hajj from China, I wrote, “The ancient city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province is home to about 60,000 ethnic Chinese Muslims.”

Chang’an and Xi’an have a Muslim history going back thirteen hundred years when Islam was first introduced to China in 650 AD.

In fact, the oldest mosque in China was built in 685-762 AD in Chang’an during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty.

Continued on January 29, 2016 in Part 4 or Return to Part 2

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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