Will the U.S. Fast Food’s invasion of China rival the damage of the Opium Wars?

June 25, 2014

I remember one night when we ate in a small Shanghai restaurant and at the next table, this overweight kid, maybe ten, said in a shrill voice, “I hate vegetables. Where’s the meat. I demand more meat.” Then he pounded the table with both fists while his face screwed up in a rage. His mother had an embarrassed look on her face but didn’t say a word.

The Opium Wars in the 19th century forced China to open its doors to foreign drug dealers (English, French, American, etc.).

But China has welcomed U.S. fast food with open arms leading to China’s obesity invasion. In 2005, it was predicted that 200 million Chinese would be obese within 10 years. With one year to go, China Daily.com reported that a survey of more than 43,000 adults found that more than 11 percent age 20 to 39 are obese, an increase of two percent since the last survey in 2010.

Now, 11% doesn’t sound like much but there are more than 1.36 billion Chinese and 11% equals 140.6 million. In 2006, NBCNews.com reported that number was 60 million, and according to the World Health Organization rates of obesity are below 5% in rural China but greater than 20% in areas of urban China were the fast food culture has conquered taste buds.

  • McDonalds has more than 1,800+ locations in China.
  • KFC has more than 4,563 in 900+ cities.
  • Pizza Hut with more than 1,000 in 300+ cities.
  • Starbucks has more than 1,000 stores, and China is its second largest market outside of the United States with plans to have 1,500 stores in more than 50 cities by the end of 2015.

China’s bulging middle class has fallen in love with the Western fast food diet and couch potato lifestyle.

Those hit worst with the expanding waistline are the pampered single-child generation. A 2012 study in Obesity Reviews Journal compared the risk of chronic disease in China to other countries, including the U.S. The researchers found that approximately 12 percent of Chinese children and adolescents aged seven to 18 were overweight and about 1.7 million children under 18 suffered from diabetes. Additionally, the rate of diabetes among Chinese adolescents aged 12 to 18 was about four times that of American teenagers.

It doesn’t help that in the Chinese culture fat children are seen as healthy, and this might also be contributing to China’s love affair with U.S. fast food and the alarming growth rate of obesity.

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

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves.

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Risking all for the myth of Gold Mountain

May 20, 2014

Poverty causes people to take risks in an effort to improve the quality of life, and China still has millions of poor people, but not by U.S. standards where many who live in poverty often drive cars and have TVs but still don’t have enough to buy food or pay rent.

However, contrary to a belief caused by malicious rumors in the West, the Communist Party is not responsible for causing poverty in China and has been working hard since the early 1980s to end it.

The Guardian.co.uk says, “The report, by authors from the China Institute for Reform and Development and other think tanks, describes the nation’s (China) progress over the past 30 years of reform as a miracle in the history of poverty reduction.”

It wasn’t always this way. For instance, in 1949, most of the Chinese still lived in an environment similar to Europe’s middle ages, and even today, to escape poverty, some Chinese will immigrate illegally to the US, and the reason so many do this is because there is a myth in China that America and/or Canada are “Gold Mountain”.

There is also a documentary called Golden Venture about the US immigration crises, but “The first major waves of Chinese immigrants came to the U.S. after hearing of the “Golden Mountain” or “Gum Sana” during California’s Gold Rush in 1848.”

What these desperate Chinese didn’t know is that The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality in the United States reports: “The official poverty rate increased from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 15 percent in 2012 (more than 47 million total), and the child poverty rate increased from 18 percent in 2007 to 21.8 percent in 2012 (more than 16 million).”

What does the United Nations say of China? “Both national and international indicators show that China has already achieved the goal of halving the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015 set by the UN as one of eight Millennium Development Goals.  Remaining poverty is however becoming increasingly difficult to address, as the rural poor are now concentrated in remote regions with difficult natural conditions.”

In addition, Global Issues says, “China also accounts for nearly all the world’s reduction in poverty. Excluding China, (global) poverty fell only by around 10%” while poverty increased in the United States.

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

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Comparing Economic Growth: China versus India

May 13, 2014

Chris Devonshire-Ellis wrote a convincing piece at China Briefing back in October 2010 that India‘s economic growth would speed past China in the near future.  It seems that many in the West are convinced that democracies are superior to countries ruled by authoritarian governments.

Chris said, “It (India’s) growth rate could overtake China’s by 2013… Some economists think India will grow faster than any other large country over the next 25 years.”

However, several years later, we discover that Chris was wrong. In February 2014, the BBC reported, “India’s economy growth slower than expected.” During the four years starting with 2010 through 2013, China’s GDP grew from $4.99 Trillion to $8.23 Trillion compared to India’s growth from $1.365 Trillion in 2010 to $1.8417 Trillion by the end of 2013.

The foundation of this prediction was based on India being a democracy “where entrepreneurs are all furiously doing their own thing” while China is a culture of secrecy and censorship. Chris mentions a few of China’s other flaws too, which China is working to overcome.

What Chris doesn’t mention is the fact that economic development in India follows socialist policies including state-ownership of many sectors—something China learned long ago doesn’t work, and then there’s the difference in poverty and illiteracy between India and China.

India and China both became independent about the same time—China in 1949 and India in 1947 and due to Chairman Mao’s policies, China suffered horribly from 1949 to 1976 and progress was slow. Than Mao died and China changed dramatically.

India, on the other hand, has had more than 60 years to solve its problems and hasn’t made much progress primarily because it is a democracy often mired in political partisanship and corruption. India is actually rated more corrupt than China but we don’t hear much about that.

Let’s see what each has accomplished in reducing illiteracy and poverty.

The World Bank says, “That China’s record of poverty reduction and growth is enviable. Between 1981 and 2004 the fraction of the population consuming less than a dollar-a-day fell from 65% to 10% and more than half a billion people were lifted out of poverty.”

For India, the World Bank reports: “poverty remains a major challenge. According to the revised official poverty line, 37.2% of the population (about 410 million people remains poor, making India home to one-third of the World’s poor people.” UNICEF shows the poverty in India to be 42%.

World Bank studies also established the direct and functional relationship between literacy and productivity on the one hand and literacy and the overall quality of human life on the other.

India’s literacy rate was about 12% when the British left in 1947. Today, literacy is 68%.

When Mao died in 1976 after a decade of suffering through twenty-seven years of mostly wrong-headed reforms ending with the Cultural Revolution, less than 20% of the people were literate, but today literacy is more than 93% with a goal to reach 99% soon.

As for India succeeding, MeriNews.com says, “At a time when we (India) are poised on the threshold of becoming a superpower, the rampant malnutrition and prevalence of anemic children and women to the extent of 48 per cent of the population is a definitive indicator that we have failed as a democracy in ensuring the fundamental requirements of our citizens.”

It appears that China—with censorship, secrecy and its one party government with a capitalist, market, consumer driven economy—has done a much better job of taking care of its people. India, on the other hand, has six national political parties and 54 political parties at the state level. Considering that America has two national political parties that can’t agree on much of anything, it’s a wonder that India gets anything accomplished.

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

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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The History of Organized Crime in China: Part 5 of 5

May 10, 2014

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During one assassination attempt from one of his gangsters, Nicky Louie was shot in the head but managed to run to the police station to save himself.

He agreed to work with the police and the federal prosecutors.

However, to gain the government’s protection, he had to admit to his own crimes and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

This led to the end of the era of New York’s Chinatown Triads.

Today in the U.S., the Chinese Triads consist of an elusive array of constantly changing alliances among many small gangs scattered across the country.

The only bond between the gangs is the desire for making money. These Triads are involved in everything from human trafficking and gambling, to heroin smuggling.

For the first time, the Chinese American Triads are moving beyond the Chinese community and are willing to work with anyone as long as they make money.

FBI Unit Chief Kingman Wong says this makes the Triads in the U.S. a more significant threat to the safety of American citizens.

It’s not easy to define Chinese organized crime today. The Triads are difficult to penetrate.

The History Channel produced a documentary on Organized Crime in China. (click the previous link to see the entire video—about an hour)

Return to Part 4 or start with Part 1

View as Single Page

_______________

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

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

                                                                                     About iLook China              

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


The History of Organized Crime in China: Part 4 of 5

May 9, 2014

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In 1937, Japan invaded China. On August 14, the Japanese launched a fierce assault on Shanghai. Chinese refugees fled to the foreign concessions hoping to be safe.

Du Yue-sheng had his Green Gang fight alongside Nationalist troops against the Japanese.

Three months later, Shanghai fell and Du fled to Hong Kong, and the Triads would never be the same.

A month after the end of World War II, in 1945, Du returned to Shanghai.

Any respect and fear he’d earned before the war had been lost. The Shanghainese saw him as a coward for running away from the Japanese and booed him when he was seen on the streets.

When the Communists won in 1949, broken and unhealthy, Du fled to Hong Kong and died there in 1951 at 66. The Communist Revolution ended the Green Gang in Shanghai.


  Asian Crime Gangs in the US: 43:47 min.

The Chinese Communists didn’t destroy China’s criminal underworld. With hundreds of gangs operating in other countries, the leadership of the gangs left mainland China.

In time, New York’s Chinatown would become the center of the Chinese Triads in the US.

In 1977, on Mott St. in the heart of New York’s Chinatown, a war raged between the Chinese gangs. One Chinatown gang boss, Nicky Louie, became the most feared gangster in New York’s Chinatown.

Nicky arrived in New York’s Chinatown in the 1960s along with tens of thousands of other Chinese soon after Congress changed the Chinese Exclusion Act allowing more Chinese into the US.

Work was hard to come by, so young Chinese men organized street gangs modeled after the same gangs from China that the Communists had destroyed.

Nicky, ruthless and smart, quickly became the leader of a Triad gang called the Ghost Shadows.

Under Nicky’s leadership, the Ghost Shadows became more powerful and ruthless. However, Nicky wanted to control all of Chinatown. Success then made Nicky a target and he was shot many times but survived.

The History Channel produced a documentary on Organized Crime in China. (click the previous link to see the entire video—about an hour)

Continued in Part 5 on May 10, 2014 or return to Part 3

View as Single Page

_______________

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

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


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