China’s love affair with fighting-singing Crickets

October 21, 2014

The first time I read about China’s singing crickets was in “Empress Orchid” by Anchee Min.  Retired concubines spent time carving gourds where these crickets lived to entertain empresses, emperors and princes.

Then I learned about China’s fighting critics from a comment left on this Blog, and there was a link included.

While writing this post, I Googled the subject. In Gardening4us.com, Catherine Dougherty tells us, “cricket culture in China dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 AD).”

She says, “It was during this time the crickets first became respected for their powerful ability to ‘sing’ and a cult formed to capture and cage them. And in the Sung Dynasty (960 – 1276 AD)… cricket fighting became popular.”

In TrueUp.net, Kim says, “The Chinese consider the cricket to be a metaphor for summer and courage…”

In addition, Pacific Pest Inc. says, “Crickets are popular pets and are considered good luck in some countries; in China, crickets are sometimes kept in cages, and various species of crickets are a part of people’s diets … and are considered delicacies of high cuisine in places like Mexico and China.” Soon, the United States may be added to this list—Exo, a U.S. company, is producing protein bars from cricket flower. Exo says, “After cleaning the crickets, we dry them to remove the moisture and mill them into fine flour. The result is slightly nutty tasting flour that is high in protein and micronutrients.”

Then from Home Made in China, we learn from Gogovivi, who is based in Qingdao, North China that, “Summer used to mean picking berries in the yard and making jam, canning green beans, going to the farmer’s market, BBQs, lawn mowing, hiking, swimming. Now my whole family looks forward to the arrival of singing crickets.”

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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.

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Gongbi Style Chinese Brush Painting

October 15, 2014

Chinese brush painting developed over a period of more than six thousand years.

Figure Painting developed beyond religious themes during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1127 AD), and landscape painting was established by the 4th century.

Another style is flower-and-bird painting, which became independent of other Chinese brush art around the 9th century, gradually developed into two different styles. Asia Art.net

One famous 20th century Chinese brush-painting artist was Chen Zhifo (1895 – 1963).

Chen was born into an educated family.  At 23, he went to Japan to learn patterns that later influenced his painting style.

Chen would become a renowned painter in the early 20th century.

His artistic career started in design, patterns and other arts. When he started Gongbi style flower-and-bird painting, he was almost 40, and he revived the declining tradition of Gongbi.

When Chen started painting, he usually sketched his subjects then went through many drafts modifying them before applying colors as he focused on the design of branches, leaves and birds to portray his subjects.

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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.

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What if UFOs visited China first and keep returning?

October 14, 2014

Compelling historical evidence suggests that China was visited by UFOs thousands of years ago and the visits continue to this day.

Open Minds says, “It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many fascinating accounts of flying machines, unexplained celestial observations and close encounters with strange beings can be found quite extensively in historical and literary works from China.”

For instance, ancient Chinese texts tell of long-lived rulers from the heavens, who flew in “fire-breathing dragons,” and I wrote about descriptions from Chinese history that sounded like UFOs in God, Ancient Astronauts and China’s Yellow Emperor.

A partner of the Huffington Post also reported UFO sightings in China, “four lantern-like objects forming a diamond shape … hovered over the city’s Shaping Park for over an hour … flights were diverted in Hangzhou, also in eastern China, after a mysterious object was seen hovering in the sky.”

In addition, in Tibet there is a book called the Kantyua, which means “the translated word of Buddha”. It tells of flying “pearls in the sky” and of transparent spheres carrying gods to visit man. Source: NetScientia.com

There’s also “The Chinese Roswell” by Hartwig Hausdorf, an author who spent years in China uncovering tell-tale traces of an alien mind which may have passed that way millennia ago.

Conservative state-run newspapers and television media often report UFO sightings, and China has a bimonthly UFO magazine devoted to UFO research, The Journal of UFO Research.

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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.

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What does a scorpion and a frog have to do with the blame-game focused on China, the public schools or Obama?

October 11, 2014

Originally posted on Lloyd Lofthouse:

I agree that when it comes to Obama’s Race to the Top and Common Core war on U.S. public education, he is a wrecking ball—with help from Bill Gates (net worth $76 billion), the two most infamous Koch brothers (net worth $41.9 billion each) and the Waltons (family net worth $152 billion), and a few other billionaire oligarchs—who want to give U.S. children to profit-hungry corporations and lower-paid, temporary and less-skilled teachers in addition to higher paid CEO’s and Charter school managers.

But, I can’t agree that China and/or Obama are the problem when it comes to the economy, unemployment or the loss of middle class jobs, because U.S. corporations have been earning record profits for years, and many of the lost middle class jobs have nothing to do with President Obama’s economic policies and everything to do with the same power hungry, greedy corporate capitalists who are drooling over…

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Going Underground in Guilin

October 8, 2014

In 2008, after checking into our Guilin hotel in Southeast China near Vietnam, we hired a taxi and visited Reed Flute Cave (Ludi Cave), which is in Northwest Guilin.

Photo by Lloyd Lofthouse

Reed Flute Cave was named during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) due to reeds (Ludi Cao) growing near the cave’s entrance, which are still used to make flutes.

Photo by Lloyd Lofthouse

There are historical stone ink inscriptions inside the cave dated to 792 AD.

Lucky Turtle Photo taken by Lloyd Lofthouse

Millions have walked these paved pathways. Reed Flute Cave has been an attraction for over a thousand years, and the modern tour lasts about an hour.

Photo by Lloyd Lofthouse

During Times of war, the local people would hide in the cave. One grotto, the Crystal Palace of the Dragon King, could hold a thousand people.

Photo by Lloyd Lofthouse

Crown Cave was the second underground attraction, but it was late and the next day we were on our way to the Li River.

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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.

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Steel—NOT steal—from China

October 7, 2014

I read a post on So Far From Heaven.com (a blog) about U.S. dependence on China for steel.

As usual, when I read a claim and/or complaint about China, I often research the issue to see if the complaint is valid.

What I discovered in this case was another lie—the type often generated and spread by Sinophobes, who fear or dislike China, its people, or its culture. Then again, these critics could be McCarthyites, who will publicize accusations of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence and/or the use of unfair investigatory or accusatory methods in order to suppress opposition.

So Far From Heaven’s post complained that the poor quality of tools in the United States was because of Chinese steel, which, I discovered, probably has nothing to do with steel produced in China, but more to do with capitalism/consumerism and planned obsolescence.

Britannica.com says of planned obsolescence that “This term was supposedly coined after World War II by American industrial designers and writers to indicate industry’s desire to produce consumer items that would be replaced.”

For example, if a U.S. company wants its tools to wear out within a specific time frame, the company’s designers and engineers are told to come up with products that will need to be replaced, which helps boosts profits when customers have to buy a replacement—that is called capitalism 101.

In addition, since most products manufactured in China for the U.S. market are ordered by American companies such as Wal-Mart, Apple, Home Depot and Lowe’s, the contracts often specify exactly how the product is to be manufactured, and the American side of the manufacturing equation decides the quality and life span of the product. If you want to learn more about this business practice, I suggest visiting the China Law Blog to discover how it works.

To discover if the U.S. depends on Chinese produced steel for manufacturing products sold to U.S. consumers, I spent some time Googling (another term is research) for facts—something Sinophobes and/or McCarthyites should do before spreading opinions that are false.

What I discovered about Chinese steel may surprise you.

From InfoPlease.com, I learned the U.S. produced about half of the world’s steel in 1945.

“After World War II,” InfoPlease.com said, “the U.S. steel industry faced increased competition from Japanese and European producers, who rebuilt and modernized their industries. Later, many Third World countries, such as Brazil, built their own steel industries, and large U.S. steelmakers faced increased competition from smaller, nonunion mills (“mini-mills”) that recycle scrap steel.” Did you notice that China or Communism wasn’t mentioned once in this paragraph?

CRS Report for the US Congress said, “China’s steel industry has grown significantly since the mid-1990s. China is now the world’s largest steelmaker and steel consumer. In 2009, China produced over 567 million tons of crude steel, nearly half of the world’s steel. That was 10 times the U.S. production.”

However, CRS reported, “The majority of Chinese steel has been used to meet domestic demand in China.”

Today, the United States is in third place for steel production while Japan is the second largest producer of steel. Source: Index Mundi.com

Here’s the surprise—the United States steel industry exports steel to China. For example, in 2004, the U.S. exported 8 million tons of steel to China up from 5 million tons in 2000 and by 2010, China was buying $34.5 billion in steel from countries such as the U.S., Australia, and Brazil to meet its domestic needs.

I wonder what the Chinese were doing with the U.S. steel being exported to China. Is it possible that products made in China to be sold in the U.S. were being produced using steel made in the U.S.?

In fact, John Surma, president and CEO of US Steel Corp, said, “China generally has been good for our industry.”

Meanwhile, we learn from Qingfeng Zhang writing for Perspectives that the United States produces approximately 80% of its domestic steel demand.

In addition, the US imports finished steel products from a large number of countries. The EU has been the biggest exporter with about five-million tons shipped to the United States in 2001. Canada is the second largest exporter shipping four-million tons, followed by South Korea (2 million tons), Japan (1.8 million tons) and Mexico (1.5 million tons).

China does import steel to the U.S.  The US Department of Commerce reported, “U.S. imports from China represent a total of 4.9 percent of all U.S. steel imports.” In 2010, steel imports to the U.S. totaled 23.9 million tons while America produced nearly 88.5 million tons of steel between January and December 2010. China’s share of steel imports to the U.S. would have been 1.17 million tons, or about 1 percent of that 112.4 million tons of domestic plus imported steel.

You tell me, does the U.S. depend on China for steel to meet domestic demand?

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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.

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Hong Kong’s short history with Democracy—the facts will not set you free

October 4, 2014

It’s arguable that the history of democracy in Hong Kong is so short, it never existed.

China never willingly leased Hong Kong to the British Empire in 1842. Instead, China lost Hong Kong during the Opium Wars, and later leased adjacent terrorists to the British under duress when, in 1860, at the end of the Second Opium War, the UK gained a perpetual lease over the Kowloon Peninsula, which is the mainland Chinese area just across the strait from Hong Kong Island. This agreement was part of the Convention of Beijing that ended that conflict

In 1898, the British and Chinese governments signed the Second Convention of Peking, which included a 99-year lease agreement for the islands surrounding Hong Kong, called the “New Territories.”

On December 19, 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, in which Britain agreed to return not only the New Territories but also Kowloon and Hong Kong itself when the lease term expired on July 1, 1997. China promised to implement a “One Country, Two Systems” regime, under which for fifty years Hong Kong citizens could continue to practice capitalism and political freedoms forbidden on the mainland.

However, for almost all of its history under British rule, executive power in Hong Kong has been concentrated in the hands of the colony governor, a position appointed by the British crown without any democratic input from Hong Kong citizens. The introduction of elected representatives determined by local elections, even limited to the role of “advisory councils,” did not begin until after the 1984 agreements by the British to hand Hong Kong over to China.

In conclusion, democracy in Hong Kong did not exist under British rule, but the British felt it would be acceptable once Hong Kong was returned to China.

But that history hasn’t stopped media critics in the United States from bashing China for the recent student-led unrest in Hong Kong that has been dubbed the “Umbrella Revolution”.

Now, I want to return to the title of this post. It should have said: “The non-existent History of Democracy in Hong Kong”, because Hong Kong has never been a democracy.

Is it possible that the so-called Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong is a deliberate diversion from another truth?

Critics in the United States should be aware of the long history of America’s support for brutal dictators and authoritarian governments, before claiming that the United States supports democracy anywhere.

The previous video is a bit out of date but it still supports the idea that we should never accept what anyone says or claims.  Instead, we should pay attention to what they have done and what they are still doing, and the United States has the biggest private-sector weapons industry in the world.

In addition, Global Issues reports: “Heavy militarization of a region increases the risk of oppression on local people. Consequently reactions and uprisings from those oppressed may also be violent. The Middle East is a current example, while Latin America is an example from previous decades, where in both cases, democracies or popular regimes have (or had) been overthrown with foreign assistance, and replaced with corrupt dictators or monarchs. Oppression (often violent) and authoritarianism rule has resulted. Sometimes this also itself results in terrorist reactions that lash out at other innocent people.”

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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.

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