A captivating story of Shanghai and China set in the early 20th century

April 8, 2014

Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones kept me reading late into the night until I finished the book in record time. It’s all there: love, intrigue, suspense, drama, music and history masterly woven through the story.

Thomas Greene is an African American classical pianist who is recruited by Lin Ming—the illegitimate son of the powerful leader of Shanghai’s Green Gang, Du Yue-Sheng—to leave the United States and lead a jazz band of fellow African-Americans in Shanghai. It’s in Shanghai where Thomas discovers a life that isn’t plagued by the poverty and the racial discrimination he knew in America, and he falls in love with the city and people with no intention of going home.

Thomas has a lusty affair with a beautiful Russian refugee and makes friends with Jews fleeing the madness of Hitler’s Germany. Then Thomas meets the woman who will fill his life with passion and love. Her name is Song Yuhua, but she is the property of Du Yeu-Sheng. Song’s father gave her to the gangster to pay off a gambling debt.

In addition, you’ll discover the story of the Chinese Schindler, who risked his life while working in Europe as a Chinese diplomat to save more Jews than the real Schindler did—there should be a film about his courage but at least we now have this novel.

You’ll also discover the efforts by both some Chinese and China’s Japanese invaders to protect the Jews who escaped to China. Hitler pressured both Chiang Kai-shek and Japan’s leaders to kill all the Jews in China, but they refused. Instead, they did something no other country on the earth—even the United States—did. Chinese leaders and Japan’s military leaders in China protected the Jews and offered them a safe haven during the horrors of World War II.

And I learned something new—that Chiang Kai-shek admired Adolf Hitler. This kicked my curiosity into high gear and I did some Google research to discover that Chiang Kai-shek and Hitler were friends who admired each other. The two first met in 1912. In 1913, they even rented a room together in Munich. After Japan invaded China, Chiang asked Hitler’s for help with the Japanese but he didn’t know that Hitler was already forming a military alliance with Japan. In fact, The Nationalist Chinese led by Chiang Kai-shek cooperated with the Nazis from the late 1920s until the late 1930s.

“Night in Shanghai” also makes it clear that the Chinese Communists under Mao were nationalists first and communists second. In my Google research I discovered that the communists proclaimed: “There is the ‘patriotism’ of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler, and there is our patriotism. Communists must resolutely oppose the ‘patriotism’ of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler.”

The first character we meet in the novel is Song Yuhua. Near the end of the story, as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is imminent, she must choose between her loyalty to the Chinese Communists and her love for Thomas Greene. You’ll have to read the book to discover her choice.

I received an advanced reading copy of this novel through Amazon Vine and this review is my own opinion of the novel.

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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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Importing Chinese Students to export American lifestyles

March 18, 2014

American Sinophobes—and there are many—probably won’t want to read this but millions of Chinese students from Communist China have attended American universities and colleges and earned degrees. In fact, according to PewGlobal.org, only 37% of Americans see China favorably.

But that hasn’t stopped some of China’s top leaders sending their children to attend universities in the West. For instance, the Daily Mail.co.uk reported that China’s new ‘first daughter’ attends Harvard under a pseudonym and is protected by Chinese officials 24-7.

Next time you visit USC, MIT, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford or UCLA, look around.  How many Chinese do you see?

PBS reported in November 2013, that “Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students are flocking to U.S. colleges and universities, helping drive the number of international students studying in America to record levels.”

This didn’t start recently and it isn’t free. In fact, it’s expensive for a foreign student to attend a college or university in the U.S.

Since the door out of China opened as early as 1980, more than a million Chinese students have graduated from U.S. colleges and returned to China, which may explain China’s Sexual Revolution in the late 1990s.

It might shock Americans to realize that most of the people in China that have the money to send their children to the US belong to the Communist Youth League or the Communist Party and few who earn a university degree in the US stay. The South China Morning Post reported, “For decades, the rate of return to China remained low as students with advanced degrees did not see opportunities for research at home. Last year, more than 272,000 Chinese returned after completing their education abroad, 86,700 more than in 2011; a 46 percent increase, according to the Ministry of Education.”

Many of these students return to mainland China influenced by what they learned in America.

Imagine, when China’s growth to become a modern nation is complete, the country might turn into a republic and/or democracy influenced by America’s “so-called” socialist, liberal institutions of higher education.

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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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Is China really responsible for all the lost jobs in the United States?

February 25, 2014

The reason for this post is because I left a comment for “Google robots, iPhone trackers—which sci-fi movie is coming true?” and a guy named Dave [I think it’s a guy] left a reply.

Dave pulled this quote from the comment I wrote: “If we don’t do something soon, the day will come when there are no jobs and no consumers because every job will be automated.” And Dave replied, “What? Have you any proof for this baseless assertion?”

Yes I do, Dave, and I’ll get to that, but first I want to deal with China getting the blame for jobs vanishing in the United States.

Heritage.org says, “Those who attack China often do not examine real economic events: They do not measure actual failed businesses and actual job losses. Instead, they assume the U.S.–China trade deficit means that both production and production jobs are moving from the U.S. to China. … Imports do not cause unemployment; quite the opposite, they are a signal of prosperity and plentiful jobs.”

Cato.org supports what Heritage says: “In the quarter century between 1983 and 2007, as real GDP more than doubled and the real value of U.S. trade increased five-fold, the U.S. economy created 46 million net new jobs, or 1.84 million net new jobs per year.”

If what Heritiage.org and Cato.org says is true, then what’s causing lost jobs in the United States?

First, after the 2007-08 global financial crises caused by US Banks and Wall Street greed, trade between the United States and the world shrunk by 12 percent and six million jobs were lost—jobs that were not lost to China where jobs were also lost.

Did you know that the United States has the largest manufacturing sector in the world, and that China is only number two? (Greyhill.com)

I wouldn’t be surprised if you said no.

Just how large are US exports to the world? NPR.org reported: “In 2011, the U.S. exported goods and services worth $2.1 Trillion”—more than what China sold to the world by about $80 billion. “China exported goods worth an estimated $2.021 Trillion to the world [in 2012] and imported goods from other countries that added up to an estimated $1.78 Trillion.”

At this point you may be confused and ask, “How can the U.S. be the world’s leader in manufacturing when millions of jobs are being lost in that sector?”

Bright Hub Engineering.com offers one answer: “Robots have replaced a lot of activities formerly carried out by a human, with one robot replacing as many as ten workers.”

“In the last fifteen years, manufacturing in the United States has undergone a fundamental shift,” Arena Solutions.com reports. “As millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost to … automation, output has steadily continued to grow. And while U.S. manufacturing output has decreased by only 1% since 1990, manufacturing jobs have decreased by over 30% in the same time period.”

Losing manufacturing jobs is not only happening in the US. The Harvard Business Review.org says, “Manufacturing employment decline is a global phenomenon. As a Bloomberg story summarized: “Some 22 million manufacturing jobs were lost globally between 1995 and 2002 as industrial output soared 30 percent.”

Instead of bashing China, blame the real culprits for millions of lost jobs on robots and the greedy rich who are behind the decisions to replace humans with automation. If one robot can replace ten humans, that’s a lot of money saved leading to increased profits and wealth for the rich.

After all, Robots don’t need Social Security, medical care, retirement plans, paid sick leave or vacations—in fact, they don’t earn any money, even minimum wage with no benefits.

One way to stop this from happening is to pass laws that protect humans from losing jobs to automation.

Other choices are to stay in school and work harder to earn a better education leading to jobs that robots can’t replace any time soon—and stop blaming teachers for a student’s lack of interest, cooperation or laziness. The other choice is to end up working for poverty wages in the fast-food industry or retail stores like Wal-Mart—that is until those jobs are also replaced by robots.

And if you drive an 18 wheeler; work for UPS or FedEx, be warned, Google—for instance—is working hard to take driving cars and trucks away from humans and turn driving over to robots. Meanwhile, Amazon is working on another project to turn delivery of goods bought from its Website over to automated drones that will fly in and deliver what you buy.

Sounds cool until you realize that means an end to a human’s job.

Also discover STEEL (no, not steal) FROM CHINA

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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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Ai WeiWei is probably NEVER SORRY for anything he says or does: Part 2 of 2

February 5, 2014

Ai Weiwei also infers that it wasn’t the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed 5,335 children (Weiwei’s number because there has been no official death count of how many children died) but corruption in the CCP that led to shoddy construction, and every opinion Weiwei says in the film is reported as if it were a fact.

But the film leaves out many facts of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed 69,195 with 18,392 missing; 374,176 injured; left 5 million people homeless of the 15 million who lived in the area with no mention that many of the schools that collapsed were built in the late 1970s before even the United States had tougher earthquake building codes.

if seventeen percent of China’s population is age 14 or less, then about 2.6 million children must have lived in the area hit by the earthquake—those children who died then represent 0.2% of the total number of children and that was much less than the 0.46% that represents deaths compared to the total population of the area. Why did Weiwei [and the western media] ignore the fact that 99.8% of children under age 14 survived?

China’s government did report that more than 7,000 inadequately engineered schoolrooms collapsed in the earthquake, but China’s critics—including Weiwei—never mention that few buildings survive an 8.0 earthquake without damage, and that this earthquake was rated the 21st deadliest earthquake of all time.

And according to Structure.org, the number of collapsed or seriously damaged structures exceeded 25 million. I think it is safe to say that most of the buildings in that area were not adequately engineered to survive an earthquake of that magnitude, and the schools that collapsed represent 0.028% of the total number of buildings damaged. I wonder if any schools survived and—if so—when were they built?

If you want a better perspective, I suggest reading The Christian Science Monitor that reported, “Earthquake engineers say that constructing a building to resist a quake of magnitude 7 or 8 is possible, but is often considered cost prohibitive” … and “Schools … are particularly vulnerable because they are often mid-sized buildings, smaller projects for contractors that are paid by [local] government bureaucracies. Two recent earthquakes in Indonesia and in Kashmir also resulted in a disproportionate [number of] student deaths.”

“Often school buildings suffer quite a bit,” said Amir Elnashnai, director of the Mid-America Earthquake Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In addition, why is it that China is condemned for the collapse of older concrete and brick buildings during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake when The Los Angeles Times reported in October 2013 that “More than 1,000 old concrete buildings in Los Angeles and hundreds more throughout the county may be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake, according to a Times analysis. By the most conservative estimate, as many as 50 of these buildings in the city alone would be destroyed, exposing thousands to injury or death.”

You may also be interested in reading what Sweet and Sour Socialism has to say about this controversial artist in “Detained: Ai WeiWei, Con Artist” by Yoichi Shimatsu [the 4th media]”

Simatsu is Japanese and is the former Editor of the Japan Times Weekly. Now, do you think Ai Weiwei is a hero and the documentary offers a balanced perspective of the issues discussed?

Return to Ai WeiWei is probably NEVER SORRY for anything he says or does: 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 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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Ai WeiWei is probably NEVER SORRY for anything he says or does: Part 1 of 2

February 4, 2014

My wife bought a DVD of Ai Weiwei NEVER SORRY, a documentary film by Allison Klayman that was well done but obviously produced with the intent to portray Ai Weiwei as a hero and Communist China as evil.

Ai Weiwei is an internationally acclaimed Chinese artist-activist who was selected as the designer of the Beijing Olympic Bird’s Nest, and he is also an outspoken critic of China’s Communist government.

The film won a Special Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; Best Storytelling in a Documentary at the 2012 Nantucket Film Festival; the NBR Award from the 2012 National Board of Review, USA; Festival Director’s Choice Award from the 2012 Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, and the Students’ Choice Award from The 2012 Hague Movies that Matter Festival.

But—before judging if Weiwei is a hero or the film deserves the awards—I suggest you read this post (and maybe some of the linked sources) then decide if this film deserves the praise.

 

Weiwei’s advocacy for democracy and more transparency in China has attracted much attention in the Western media but how popular is his movement? For instance, he only has 233,510 followers [that’s 0.000176% of the population of China] on his Mandarin Twitter page where he is very active with more than 100,000 Tweets posted. There is also a Free Ai WeiWei Blog on Twitter with about 500 followers. Then there is an English Twitter page with 28,767 followers.

Ai Weiwei lived in the United States [1981 – 1993] to study art but dropped out of school and made a living drawing street portraits and working odd jobs. The film also reveals he had a boy with a young mistress/concubine while still married to artist Lu Qing. If he had one affair and isn’t sorry about that, why not more affairs with other women?

Weiwei’s father was a high ranking Communist Party member before becoming a victim of the teenage Red Guard during Mao’s Cultural Revolution—there are clips in the documentary that show this—and the film mentions that his father attempted suicide a number of times because of the persecution [that was happening to millions of Chinese]. It’s obvious that this experience had an impact on who Weiwei is today and why he publicly criticizes the CCP.

I couldn’t help but question where all the money comes from that supports his lavish lifestyle. For instance, there was one exhibition in London where his art was a field of ceramic hand-painted sunflower seeds—100 million according to Weiwei. Celebrity NetWorth/BBC, reported that those seeds sold for $US 782,000—that’s 4.733 million Chinese Yuan Renminbi.

HyperAllergic.com reported: “Production for creating so many seeds was an intensive and meticulous process taking two years and 1,600 factory workers to complete; it seems that when artists use factory workers it is conceptually engaging, but when Apple does it it is infuriating, neither of which seem to hinder sales.”

In the film, one of Weiwei’s criticisms of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) focuses on one incident where he alleged he was beaten by a police officer in Chengdu while investigating the collapse of public schools in Sichuan province after the 8.0 earthquake in 2008.

I don’t question that Weiwei was attacked by one cop in Chengdu, but is that incident an indictment of the CCP? For instance, Copblock.org reports that in the United States from April 2009 to June 2010 there were 5,986 reports of misconduct by police officers recorded and 382 fatalities linked to misconduct leading to about $347.5 million in settlements and judgments. If the CCP is guilty of abuse from one cop, then so is the United States Congress and the President of the United States for misconduct of police in America.

And police brutality is not exclusive to the United States or China. If we check the 10 Most Brutal Police Forces on Earth, we discover that the United States was ranked #10 and China #9. Mexico earned the number one spot.

Continued on February 5, 2014 in Ai WeiWei is probably NEVER SORRY for anything he says or does: Part 2

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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.

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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