The Power of Chinese Assimilation

August 27, 2014

Andrew Clark contributed a post to Politics Daily about China’s minorities and the autonomous regions they call home. As Clark points out, “Han Chinese make up 92 percent of the People’s Republic of China. The remaining 8 percent is made up of minority groups, mainly Tibetan, Zhuang, Uyghur, Mongolian, Miao, Manchu, and Hui (these are the major ethnic groups—China officially recognizes 56 minority populations).” Eight percent may not sound like much, but in China that represents more than 109 million people.

To put that in perspective, there are about 240 countries in the world but only eleven have populations of more than 100 million.

Clark concludes that “It remains to be seen whether the Chinese government can successfully assimilate these groups, or if consistent suppression of uprisings can force social tranquility.”

The Chinese map has inflated and deflated for more than two-thousand years. Some of these minorities have been in China longer than others. The Mongolians Clark visited, like the Tibetans and the Uyghur, are three who haven’t been inside China as long since they were conquered by the Qing Dynasty (the Manchu minority), who ruled China from 1644 – 1911.

Another minority ruled China for a brief time and that was the Mongols as the Yuan Dynasty (1277 – 1367). Both the rulers of the Qing and the Yuan were assimilated into the Han culture while they ruled China. That was primarily because they were heavily outnumbered by the Han Chinese.

Tibet broke from China in 1913 and stayed out until 1950 when Mao sent an army into Tibet, which has always been a difficult place for China to manage since sending armies there to enforce control was difficult. But today, a highway and a railroad make that journey easy. If those transportation routes are cut, there’s still air transportation. The travel distance between Tibet and Beijing is shorter than it was a century ago.

China is currently adding about 40 thousand more kilometers of rail throughout China and is extending its high-speed rail to reach every major city. This improved transportation system is also bringing about change and causing a Han migration that would have been unthinkable more than a century ago when most of China didn’t have electricity or roads.

For centuries, China ruled over these minorities without moving Han Chinese into their territories, but times have changed and the Han Chinese—like the Europeans in North America moving West—have been migrating into the autonomous regions for years, which may have more of an impact keeping these territories part of China than armies ever have. And if that doesn’t work, China still has the largest standing army in the world.

Clark also claimed, “the United States has seemingly countless ethnic and cultural minorities that are proud to call themselves American…”  While somewhat true, many of almost 2,500 American native tribes still  hold to their old ways and live on reservations proud to be Navaho or Sioux, Black Foot or Apache, maybe more so than being American.

If given a choice,  many of these North American tribes would jump at the chance to have their ancestral homes back. But the FBI keeps a tight watch over these American minorities, and the US Marines are always a phone call away.

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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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Discover a cast of foreigners out to sexually exploit the women of China

August 26, 2014

If God really thought sex was a mortal sin, why did He give young men so much testosterone? If you doubt, I suggest you visit Mayo Clinic.org to discover the facts. The Mayo Clinic says, “Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testicles. Testosterone helps maintain men’s sex drive and sperm production.”

Warning, if you are an uptight, born-again Puritan, this mostly erotic collection of short stories might offend you.

The stories in Isham Cook’s collection, The Exact Unknown, reveal men driven by the often oppressed and censured libido. These stories are not an author’s sex fantasy as some Puritanical minds might claim, because many of the characters in these stories don’t achieve their goal—bedding down Chinese beauties that are not as easy to seduce as some think.

This collection is set in modern China where women are considered equal to men and are experimenting with that freedom and their sexuality. In case you are unaware of it, bound feet women in China and concubines as the property of men—you know, legal sex slaves—was officially ended by Mao after his famous liberating ‘Women hold up half the sky’ speech.

I think the best story in this 5-star collection of testosterone driven characters was Good Teacher, Bad Teacher starting on page 103 of the paperback.  John Cobalt is from Los Angeles and he’s teaching English in Guangzhou, China to Chinese college students. “This strange six-foot-five American dressed in what struck his employers as pajamas … went barefoot both in class and out on the street. … If that wasn’t bad enough, some students complained to the department head they could make out Cobalt’s penis against the flimsy fabric of his pants, in its flaccid state to be sure, yet they considered this to be highly improper nonetheless.”

To discover how Cobalt ends up with a devout and loyal following of Chinese college graduates, who are mostly female, you’ll have to buy the book.

My second best choice would be The Curious Benefits of Neurosis starting on page 130 in the paperback that’s about a sex addict who sets out one night to visit as many massage parlors as possible—with some surprising results.

I must warn you though that there are a few well-written stories in this collection that have nothing to do with the out-of-control libidos of foreigners hoping to exploit the women of China.

The author sent me a complementary paperback copy of this book for my honest opinion that I’m sure modern, born-again Puritans will not approve of.

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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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Dragon Boat Festivals of the World

August 20, 2014

When I was at the 6th Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration in San Francisco, I learned that Dragon Boat races take place in San Francisco Bay.  I stopped at the Dragon Boat booth and was told there would be more than a hundred boats competing in the Dragon Boat Festival from Treasure Island in San Francisco on September 25-16, 2010. This year (2104), this SF festival will be held September 20 & 21.

In China, The Dragon Boat Festival is held on the fifth day of the fifth moon. The Legends Behind the Dragon Boat Festival says that the festival celebrates and honors Ch’u Yuan, (343-278 BC), who drowned himself in the Mi Lo River during the fourth century BC during the Chou Dynasty to protest government corruption.  There is some controversy over the real reason but this is the most popular one.

It is said that people rushed onto the river in boats to find Ch’u Yuan’s body but failed.  Today, the festival is a day where boat races are held throughout the Chinese-speaking world wherever significant numbers of Chinese live.


Morgan Stanley Dragon Boat HK Final Race 2013

Today, Dragon Boat Festivals are no longer exclusive to China: for instance, they are held all over the world: San Francisco, Boston, Oakland, Colorado’s Sloan Lake, Washington D.C., several festivals in the U.K., Victoria B.C. in Canada, Schwerin in Germany, South Africa, etc.

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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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Climbing the Dragon’s Back in Southeast China

August 5, 2014

The Dragon Back Rice Terraces are located in Guangxi Province in southeast China near Vietnam.  The nearest city is Guilin, which is close to the Li River.

When we arrived, there was two-legged transportation for anyone who wasn’t strong or healthy enough to climb to the top.

There are fifty-six minorities in China and this is an autonomous region where the Zhuan minority lives— the largest minority in China with more than sixteen million people. The ancient Zhuang culture has been traced back more than two thousand years.

Halfway to the top, we passed this woman cleaning rice.

We arrived in the autumn and the rice had been harvested. The terraces were turning brown. For lunch, we ate in the village.  The terraced rice was cooked in segments of bamboo over an open fire.

At the top, we looked toward the far mountains—a foggy blue outline.

On the way down, we noticed an entrepreneur making money by letting tourists dress in minority costumes and take pictures.


Video from Oregon Lifestyles

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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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The Importance of FACE to the Chinese

July 29, 2014

No, this is not about how a person looks or Botox or face-lifting creams or hairstyles, or tanning salons, or the desire to have a rounder, paler moon face—the standard of beauty to most Chinese.

What I am writing about in this post is the meaning and importance of face to most Chinese

In China, if you do something considered disgraceful, like getting divorced, that may be considered a loss of face for everyone in the family—not just for the individual.

Lin Yutang wrote in My Country and My People, “It is easier to give an example of Chinese ‘face’ than to define it.

Lin Yutang said, “The ‘face’ is psychological and not physiological.  Interesting as the Chinese physiological face is, the psychological ‘face’ makes a still more fascinating study.  It is not a face that can be washed or shaved, but a ‘face’ that can be ‘granted’ and ‘lost’ and ‘fought for’ and ‘presented as a gift’.”

For instance, when our daughter was a pre-teen, we went on weekend hikes in the hills behind our home. The end of the hike led to a large park across the street from the La Puente Mall. On one fateful day, when she was nine or ten, she was the first to discover a dead man. She came running back with a shocked look to tell us about what she had seen.

It turned out the dead man was an architect from Taiwan and his company had gone broke. His loss of face for failing had driven him to take an extension cord from his mother’s house, find a suitable tree in an isolated portion of that park, and hang himself.

He was dead when we reached him.

The meaning of face may vary between Chinese. It depends on the balance between Confucianism and Daoism along with factors like Buddhism or belief in the Christian, Islamic or Jewish God.

Face is one reason why Chinese tiger mothers ride their children hard to do well in school while telling everyone they know that their child is stupid and/or lazy and has no chance to succeed. In fact, Chinese mothers may often tell their children the same thing they tell family and friends. However, if the child is accepted to a prestigious university, that Chinese mother has now earned bragging rights and “gained much face” for the job she did as a mother

To get a better idea, I recommend reading Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club or watching the film.

Once, we had a house full of my wife’s Chinese friends over for dinner. After eating, the children gathered in our downstairs TV room to watch the The Joy Luck Club, and during one scene, when the Chinese mother was acting very Chinese, all the children looked at each other, nodded ‘yes’ and laughed ironically. Since my wife is Chinese, I knew why they reacted that way. They all had Chinese mothers.

Face is why the Chinese businessman will take great risks or take only a few risks and if given a chance may steal another person blind—that is if they believe they can get away with it. If they are caught and it’s against the law, that is a loss of face—and one possible reason for suicide.

Most Chinese men will wait until they are successful before they let others know. If they fail, it’s possible no one will hear about it beyond the family.

Face is why Chinese men often work twelve to sixteen hour days, seven days a week earning small but saving large. The Chinese will do without luxuries and save to pay for their child’s university education. Chinese women will work just as hard. Studies in today’s China show that the average family saves/spends a third of its income for a child’s education.

Regaining face may be one reason why Mao reoccupied Tibet for China in 1949. Look closely, and you may discover that even Taiwan claims Tibet for the same reason and why mainland China claims Taiwan.

Face may be why China’s mainland leaders get so angry over Taiwan. As long as Taiwan is not ruled by the mainland, it’s probably seen as a loss of face.

Face may by one reason why the Chinese want to walk on the moon, and then reach the other planets before anyone else. In China, the importance of face is universal to most of the population and different for each person.

Because of face, the Chinese are not strangers to risk taking. It’s probably the reason the Chinese invented paper, silk, the crossbow, the compass, the stirrup, developed a cure for scurvy, the printing press, gunpowder, and built multi-stage rockets centuries before anyone in the West did.

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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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China’s History of Moon Madness

July 27, 2014

This is the year of the Horse.  I was born in the year of the Rooster. To discover your year, use the Chinese Zodiac Sign Calculator.  Just feed in your date of birth.

China’s ancient calendar is based on a twelve-year lunar cycle. At one time, the Chinese calendar was confusing and complex. Buddhists have been given credit for simplifying it by replacing a complex system of numerical symbols with the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

There are several Chinese calendars, which are still in use today. Each has its own purpose. Farmers in rural China use one. There’s even a Chinese gender calendar to help conceive a boy or girl.

In addition to the lunar, numerical, astronomical, gender and agricultural calendars, each day also has a name from one of twenty-eight constellations, with a ruling spirit for the day.

In charting the sky, the Chinese divided the heavens into 28 constellations located along the Equator and the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun on the celestial sphere), each named after a star in the vicinity.

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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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Tomb Sweeping Day in China to honor the ancestors

July 23, 2014

Ancestor worship may well be the oldest, unorganized religion in China. For instance, take Tomb Sweeping Day. The practice that honors family ancestors started during the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC) and has been around for more than 2,500 years.

Tomb Sweeping Day is a one-day Chinese holiday where respect is shown to the ancestors. This holiday is celebrated in early April, and families have a reunion and visit their ancestors’ grave sites.

Before this tradition, the first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi had not unified China yet, and the country was divided into several nation states governed by hereditary rulers and worshiping ancestors was important in maintaining a link with the past.

Today, many Chinese homes and businesses have a shrine set up to honor the ancestors. This shrine may have the name of the ancestor carved into wood or rock or there is a photo. Food is often left on the table for the ancestors.

Respect for ancestors is also an important part of Confucianism and there is still an ancestor hall for Confucius (551-479 BC) in Chufu that is maintained by a direct descendant. Next time you are in a Chinese or Southeast Asian restaurant, look around and see if you can spot a shrine to the ancestors.

Confucianism and ancestor worship is not exclusive to China. After all, China was a regional super power in Asia for more than two thousand years and had a big influence over other cultures in the region.

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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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