Writing her way out of Poverty: Part 2 of 2

July 29, 2015

A few days after Ma Yan heard that her family could not afford to continue her education past fifth grade, Pierre Haski, the French journalist, visited her village.  After seeing the diaries, Haski promised that he would help her continue school then go to a university or even further than that.

Needless to say, after the publication of her diaries, Ma Yan continued on to middle school along with lots of attention from the media.

Ma Yan says that most of the media asked her about her experience at school, and she wanted to tell them what it was like so the world would hear of the other poor children that wanted to go to school longer.

Because of that media attention, the students at her elementary and middle schools received offers of help.

That outpouring of interest led to the founding of Children of Ningxia, but it closed its doors in 2013. Details about funding for this project may be found at Global Giving. Global Giving reports that they have helped 245 young people from Ningxia through this program and 34 already graduated.

China’s government also abolished school fees through ninth grade but many remote, rural families still struggle to pay for boarding fees.

As the Al Jazeera segment of Ma Yan’s Story ends, I thought of the billion people living in poverty around the world. Less than 10% of those people live in China and this story is only of a few of those people.

In fact, child poverty in the United States is among the worst in the developed world, and many American children who live in poverty also can’t afford to go to college. More than 15 million children in the US—22% of all children—live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. – NCCP

As for China, a survey conducted by Peking University and Beijing Normal University on young people in 18 counties in 2010 revealed that 4.9 percent of the respondents live in poverty. China has a population of 309 million under the age of 18, of which 60 percent live in rural areas. The survey findings suggest there are an estimated 9 million children living in poverty in rural China. – SOS Children’s Villages Canada

Curious to know what happened to Ma Yan all these years later, and what she was doing with her life, I used Google search but found nothing. I then found Pierre Haski’s Facebook page and left a question asking if he knew what had happened to Ma Yan in France. Last time I checked, I couldn’t find my question, and Haski has not replied.

Return to 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 lusty 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 Stock Market Roller-Coaster Tsunami in China

July 22, 2015

The Chinese are finding out what it’s like be Americans, who have suffered repeatedly from the roller-coaster of land speculation and the fluctuations of the stock-market in the U.S.

Wikipedia lists twenty-two stock market crashes in the United States since 1772—about one every ten years on average (the next one should arrive in about two years in 2017). Most of the names of these crashes begin with the word “Panic”, and Business Insider gives us “The Complete History of US Real Estate Bubbles Since 1800” revealing that the real estate market in the United Sates peaks and crashes about every 18 years. “The world’s worst downturns are always preceded by land speculation (the chasing of the economic rent) fueled by misguided credit creation courtesy of the banks.”

The Guardian in the UK says, “Real estate agents in Australia, Britain and Canada are bracing for a surge of new interest in their already hot property markets, with early signs that wealthy Chinese investors are seeking a safe haven from the turmoil in Shanghai’s stock markets.”

Should we warn wealthy Chinese that it might be a bad idea moving from the stock market to real estate—like leaping from the frying pan into a fire?

A Market Watch Op-Ed piece alleged, “China’s stock-market crash is just beginning.”

The Wall Street Journal, “China’s leaders are clearly freaked out about the (Chinese) stock market. Global investors need to wonder how nervous they should be, too.”

CNN Money reports, “China’s stock markets are suffering their worst crash since the global financial crisis.”

This is where it helps to pause and remember that the global financial crises started in the United States. “August 2007: The Landslide Begins: It became apparent in August 2007 that the financial market could not solve the subprime crisis on its own and the problems spread beyond the United States borders.” – investopedia.com

For China, where did this all start? To find out, let’s begin with Shanghai’s public schools.


This Al Jazeera English news segment aired June 23, 2007.

On December 9, 2010, a CNN Go Asia headline said, “Shanghai has the world’s smartest teens”.

If you heard the news of Shanghai students beating out 65 countries in student scholastic performance tests in three key categories of ability, the Al Jazeera English video embedded with this post may provide part of the answer of how that happened.

While many American students are applying makeup, drinking sodas, eating candy and French fries in class while texting friends and ignoring teachers let alone reading or doing homework, Al Jazeera reports of twelve year olds in Shenyang, China learning how to be stock brokers.

These students buy and sell and learn how to get the latest information on global stocks.

One Student, Ding Chuan, was asked how his investment portfolio (a class assignment where the students don’t actually buy stocks) was doing, and he replied that last year his investments hit 10,000. Now, his portfolio is at 20,000. He wants to be a millionaire when he grows up.

Xiu Shu Jun, the headmistress for the school, says, “We decided to do it because we wanted to give the children a more realistic and practical financial education.”

I wonder if that realistic education includes the part where you lose all your money.

Tony Cheng, the Al Jazeera reporter, says, “It is ironic that the largest Communist nation in the world has become obsessed with this capitalist pastime.”

Cheng says, “Stock trading goes against about every principal Chairman Mao stood for, and he would be pretty horrified to learn that there are now more registered (stock) traders in China than there are members of the Communist Party.”

Mao’s statue in Shenyang is surrounded by banks. After all, Tony Cheng says, today to be rich in China is glorious.

I say, What Tony Cheng doesn’t tell us is when Deng Xiaoping came to power by arresting those that would have continued the Cultural Revolution, China’s central government repudiated revolutionary Maoism and launched a Chinese style of socialist-capitalism.

Meanwhile, outside of school where children are being indoctrinate into capitalistic tendencies, China’s citizens bought stocks hoping to get rich quick not realizing that this is the same as going to the casinos of Macau, Monte Carlo and Las Vegas and throwing all of your money on the roulette table.

It seems that the Chinese are learning the hard way that in a capitalist economy what goes up also comes down.

______________________________

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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Land Grabs and Murder

July 14, 2015

A friend and expatriate living in China sent me a link to a piece written by Gillian Wong for her New Witness accounts renew suspicions over Chinese village leader’s gruesome death.

Gillian Wong wrote, “The persisting suspicions about Qian’s death reflect a growing lack of trust in China’s government as rampant corruption and official abuse erode public confidence.”

The language Wong uses to place blame bothers me. What she writes assumes that China’s central government has total control over everything that happens in China, which it doesn’t. China is about the size of the United States with almost five times the population, and most police work and governing takes place at the local level as in the US.

In fact, China couldn’t have joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001 without having a legal system in place similar to most Western democracies, which means this issue of a rural village leader being murdered over a land grab has to be dealt with by China’s infant legal system guided by the laws of China and not the laws of another country like the United States.

And this means criminals often go free—for instance, like in the United States. If the evidence and witnesses do not exist, no one is punished. The old days of Chinese officials rounding up the accused and executing them without evidence and a proper trial are supposed to be over.

For example, in 1973, Al Pacino played the part of an honest real-life New York cop, Frank Serpico, who blew the whistle on corruption in the city police force only to have his comrades in police uniforms turn against him. Pacino’s film was based on a true story.

The US even has a witness protection program to protect the lives of innocent people from criminals that want to erase all evidence against them even if it means murdering witnesses

I’ve written about corruption in China before and what is being done about it. What the West considers corruption in China and all of Asia was a way of life for several thousand years. The old ways of doing things do not change instantly just because a foreign legal system and new laws are created.

To allow this new legal system to work, the slow wheels of justice must be allowed to turn and that doesn’t guarantee that justice will be served. If you believe China is doing nothing about crime and corruption, then I suggest you read What China’s Anti-Corruption Investigation Means For International Business from Forbes.

Another American movie, Walking Tall, was also based on the true story of honest Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser, who almost single-handily cleaned up his small town of crime and corruption, but at a horrible price, and he nearly lost his life as Serpico did.

No, I refuse to blame that rural village leader’s death on China’s central government, and I cannot expect Beijing to send in the teenage Red Guard goon squad, which doesn’t exist anymore, as Mao would have done during the Cultural Revolution to punish everyone accused of a crime, even innocent people, without evidence as defined by China’s new legal system.

Gillian Wong also says, “Qian’s death is the latest violent incident to touch a nerve among the Chinese public, angry over official corruption and abuse of power, including unfair seizure of farmers’ land for development…”

Wong’s statements make it sound as if the land belongs to the farmers. It doesn’t.

In fact, the land the farmers work belongs to the collective and the government but not individuals. In fact, even the title to urban homes individuals buy in cities clearly says that all the land belongs to the government. It’s more of a long-term lease.

How do you measure fair compensation of land that never legally belonged to the farmers in the first place?

Before 1949, most rural land belonged to a small number of wealthy landowners. In fact, the ancestors of the peasant farmers working the land today were tenant farmers that paid rent to the real landowners, who often abused the peasants.

After winning the Chinese civil war, Mao allowed the peasants to punish many of the original landowners and almost one million were found guilty and executed.

Correct me if you have other “facts”, but most of China’s rural farmers have worked the land free for about sixty years with no rent, no mortgage and no property tax.

As for murder, with a Western style legal system and no witnesses willing to step forward, there is no case. The main character of My Splendid Concubine wrote in one of his journals that in China the innocent were often punished along with the guilty while in England the criminals often went free and there was no justice for the victims. What does that mean for China now that it’s developing a Western style (capitalist) legal system?

Then there is the law of eminent domain. “The power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use. The (United States) Fifth Amendment provides that the government may only exercise this power if they provide just compensation to the property owners.”  – Cornell University Law School

What about China? – An Analysis of the Conflict in Chinese Property Law: Eminent Domain Powers versus Real Property Rights

______________________________

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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Why do Suicides in China get so much attention in the U.S. Media?

July 1, 2015

USA Today reported in May 2015: Desperate Chinese turn to mass suicide in protest. USA Today said, “For some in China, suicide is the ultimate form of protest.” In addition, The World of Chinese Magazine alleged that China has one of the highest suicide rates per capita in the world.

How can that be when the World Health Organization lists China’s suicides for both sexes at 7.8 per 100,000 — ranked #94 compared to 170 countries?  That means there were 93 countries with higher suicide rates, and the United States was one of them at #50.

Guyana was #1 with 44.2 suicides per 100,000, but USA Today didn’t run a story on that country. If they did, I didn’t find it through Google, but Google had no problem finding the one USA Today did on China.

To be fair, USA Today did report in 2014: 40,000 suicides annually, yet America simply shrugs, and said, “Americans are far more likely to kill themselves than each other. Homicides have fallen by half since 1991, but the U.S. suicide rate keeps climbing.”

What about comparing China to several other Western democracies?

  • France was ranked #47
  • Germany was #77
  • United Kingdom was #105
  • Canada was #70
  • Australia was # 63

What are the reasons why five out of six (including the U.S.) of these Western democracies had higher rates of suicide than China — too much freedom maybe? (Note: I didn’t check all the democracies on the list to see how many had lower or higher rates of suicide than China.)

I know of one Chinese man’s suicide first hand and an attempted suicide by a Japanese woman, and both took place in California.

When our daughter was nine, we were hiking along trails in the hills near our Southern California home. She rushed ahead of us on the winding path until we lost sight of her.

Then she ran back saying she saw a man hanging from a tree and he looked dead. My friend Neil and I hurried to the hanging tree. While Neil climbed into the tree to see if the man was alive, I called 911.

When the police arrived, they searched the dead man’s wallet and called his mother’s house. It turns out that he was an architect from Taiwan. We discovered that his Taiwanese company had gone bankrupt, and he saw himself as a failure. He was about age 40.

The second incident I read about in the Los Angeles Times a few years back was about a Japanese woman who had taken her young children to the end of Santa Monica pier and leaped into the ocean with them. Surfers managed to save her but all of her young children died.

Her reason for attempting suicide was that her husband, a Japanese executive working in the US, had an affair. When the Japanese wife discovered her husband was cheating on her, she thought she had failed as a wife, and the only way to erase the shame was to kill herself and her children.

Since she was a Japanese citizen, Japan requested that she be returned to Japan. The reason given was due to cultural differences.

And last but not least, Americans have also used suicide as a form of protest against their own government. For instance, in 1998, The New York Times reported that the I.R.S. settled a widow’s lawsuit over the suicide of her husband. “A woman who accused the Internal Revenue Service of driving her husband to suicide said today that the agency had agreed to settle her $1 million lawsuit by eliminating her tax debt of more than $400,000 and letting her keep her home.”

The man’s wife, a librarian, said, “”When they decided to take everything I had (after her husband killed himself), I decided to fight back against the most feared and loathsome agency in the United States.”

And in 2010, Daily Finance.com reported that “8% of those surveyed (in the United States) said they would be willing to commit suicide “as an aggressive form of protest” in order to be heard by Congress about their student loan plight.”

Why do you think the U.S. media pays so much attention to suicides in China while ignoring so many other great suicide stories in other countries like the U.S.?

______________________________

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 lusty 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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The Return of Technological Innovation to China

June 30, 2015

Last year, a friend from China who works in China’s investment banking industry in Shanghai came for a visit. She earned her MBA in the UK, and speaks fluent English. While in California, she decided to see how efficient America’s Amazon.com was compared to China’s Alibaba, and when it took more than a week for the average order to arrive from Amazon, she declared Alibaba the winner, because when she ordered a product in Shanghai through Alibaba in the morning, it was delivered to her front door that same afternoon and without the use of drones.

The rest of this post is mostly about Zhongguancun, China’s Silicon Valley, which is located in Beijing’s Haidian District and was first developed in the late 1990s.

Here are a few pictures of the concrete, glass and steel canyons of Zhongguancun taken by Steve Hsu, a professor of physics at the University of Oregon.

Recently I have read several times on Blogs and in Op-Ed pieces in the Western media that China doesn’t have a chance to match California’s Silicon Valley, because China lacks freedom.

This is simplistic and flawed thinking.

The Chinese have every economic freedom that many Americans have and the few that they don’t have are not economic in nature—for instance, freedom of religion and limited political expression. It isn’t as if these few limits to freedom are a secret since they are part of China’s Constitution, which is taught in the public schools. In China, the people are free to follow five officially sanctioned religions: Catholicism, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam. In comparison the U.S. has about 313 religions and denominations to choose from.

Other than that, since money and freedom are linked, the growing Chinese middle class has as much freedom to live the same consumer lifestyle as many Americans do, but in the United States poverty is on the rise and with poverty comes less freedom unless you include hunger and being homeless as an example of freedom.

For instance, in 1985, the poverty rate in the U.S was 14% (33.3 million of 237.9 million people), and today (2015) Stanford.edu reports that the mean poverty rate in the U.S. is 15.13% (48.5 million of 321 million people). How does that compare to China? In 1985, the poverty headcount rate in China was 30.7% (317 million of 1 billion people).  Today, the CIA reports it’s 6.1% (about 79.3 million of 1.3 billion people).

In addition, if democracy is so precious, why do so many Americans not vote? A 2010 survey by the California Voter Foundation found that 51 percent of nonvoters (in the U.S.) grew up in families that did not often discuss political issues and candidates. Does that mean in the U.S., we are also free to give our freedom away?

Where is the evidence that total freedom of religion and/or political expression is necessary for entrepreneurial innovation? Good luck, because you won’t find that evidence, but in the next few paragraphs you will find evidence that shows that total freedom of religious choice and political expression are not necessary to prosper and innovate.

“Shenzhen has never hidden its ambition to be China’s answer to Silicon Valley. Last year (2014), the city saw more than 64 billion yuan (HK$80.46 billion) invested in research and development, accounting for 4 per cent of GDP, only matched by South Korea and Israel.” – South China Morning Post


This 2008 video takes us to a lab in Tsinghua University in Beijing where students are discussing solar technology.

Ye Yuming, an award-winning student at Tsinghua University said, “China lags behind other countries in the solar power industry. The solar PV will help us improve and break the monopoly held by foreign businesses. The solar PV has great market potential, especially in China. The market size is huge.”

What Ye Yuming said in 2008 was true, but two years later, China became the world’s largest solar power manufacturer.

Bloomberg Business reports, “Along with the new companies, China is also experiencing a surge in technological innovation. The country had more than 660,000 effective invention patents last year, up 12 percent from a year earlier …”

And The Wall Street Journal says, “Increasingly, China’s own technology companies are challenging market leaders and setting trends in telecommunications, mobile devices and online services.”

In conclusion, British scientist, historian and sinologist Joseph Needham proved with his Science and Civilisation in China Series that China led the world in technological innovations for about 1,500 years until the 16th century. Then the West led the world in innovation. Is that about to change again?

______________________________

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 lusty 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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a democracy in name only – a bumbling empire for sure

June 17, 2015

The China Mirage, supported by overwhelming factual evidence that was willingly suppressed or ignored for decades, clearly reveals that America is not the peace loving democracy that most Americans think it is.

The reality is that the U.S. is a global empire that took its first step toward World War II in the Pacific on July 8, 1853, when Commodore Matthew Perry commanded a U.S. Navy squadron that sailed into Tokyo harbor. Perry—under orders from President Millard Fillmore—demanded a treaty permitting trade and the opening of Japanese ports to U.S. merchant ships. The reluctant Japanese leaders, who wanted to be left alone, were not given a choice if they wanted to avoid the same invasions China had suffered mainly at the hands of the British and French during the Opium Wars.

After being forced to open its doors to Western trade so American corporations could profit—to protect itself in the future—Japan industrialized and built a powerful and ruthless modern military.

The second step toward war in the Pacific took place about fifty years later when President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt started to meddle in Asia’s affairs. The book reveals that Teddy urged Japan to invade Korea leading eventually to Japan’s invasion of China, because Teddy was obsessed with the Japanese and felt strongly that Japan’s role should be to protect Asia from being colonized by the European colonial powers even if it meant Japan’s military would dominate all of Asia.

The third step toward war in the Pacific would be the bumbling, ignorant, secretive, back-stabbing, dysfunctional and manipulative administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt—with help from the powerful and wealthy lying Christian China Lobby that based its thinking on a faulty premise that the Chinese loved democracy and wanted to become a Christian country just like the United States.

The powerful China Lobby’s ignorant and severely flawed agenda would cause the deaths of more than 25 million civilians (mostly Chinese) and 6 million troops (mostly Chinese) in addition to the bombed out devastation of Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan.

Following World War II and the Korean Conflict, the same ignorant and arrogant thinking led to the Vietnam War where U.S. troops fought for almost 20 years, and the United States dropped more bombs on Southeast Asia than it did in all of World War II.

Readers will discover that Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life Magazines, who was called the most influential private citizen in America at the time, was a perfect example of how anyone who has too much power and wealth can create their own reality based on lies that often evaporate later leaving future generations to deal with the damage caused by these fools.

Today, Henry Luce had been replaced by other ignorant, arrogant, wealthy and powerful fools, and they go by the names of, for instance, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Koch brothers, and the Walton family. I think if we looked at history closely we would discover that the rich and powerful have often meddled with the lives of others and then either die or refuse to admit they were wrong.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that protects the media from government intervention and meddling does not mean the media is balanced and honest. In fact—most of the time—the opposite is true. The so-called free U.S. media is often a propaganda machine that churns out fictions masquerading as truth—mostly owned and controlled by six corporations and at the top six powerful dictatorial oligarchs just like Henry Luce.

To be clear, those media corporations might be doing business in a democracy, but they are not democracies, and they have the power to fool and manipulate the people, the U.S Congress and even the President of the United States.

______________________________

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 lusty 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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Nixon Opens the Door to China—Part 3 of 3

June 11, 2015

While in China, President Nixon gave a speech in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

This was the first time a U.S. president had visited the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and China was considered one of America’s greatest enemies.

While in China, Nixon would meet with Zhou Enlai, who was the first Premier of the PRC. Zhou Enlai (along with Deng Xiaoping) played an important role in the future development of the Chinese economy and restructuring Chinese society leading to today’s China.

In fact, Zhou Enlai not only avoided the purges of high-level Chinese Communist Party officials during the Cultural Revolution, but he also attempted to contain the damage caused by the teenage Red Guard and to protect others from them. This made him very popular with the people near the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Zhou Enlai supported peaceful coexistence with the West.  He would die eight months before Mao.

It is ironic that one of the main reasons Richard Nixon became the vice-president of President Eisenhower was due to his strong anti-communist stance.

If you listen to Nixon’s speech in Beijing carefully, you will hear how he managed to slip in a veiled criticism of the fact that the media was free to report what they wanted in the US.

Nixon says of his visit to the Great Wall, “As I walked along the Wall, I saw the sacrifices that went into building it. I saw what is showed about the determination of the Chinese people to retain their independence throughout their long history. I thought about the fact that the Wall tells us that China has a great history and that the people who built this wonder of the world also have a great future.”

I wonder if Nixon realized how true his statement was.

Is it possible that Nixon’s trip to China provided Deng Xiaoping the support needed to reject revolutionary Maoism and launch China’s capitalist revolution a few years later?

Return to Part 2 or start with Part 1

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______________________________

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 lusty 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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