China’s Gold Rush

August 8, 2013

The Imperial Color was yellow gold and the roofs of the Forbidden City were the same color. During imperial times, anyone wearing the imperial color, who did not belong to China’s ruling family, usually lost their heads.

Now, China is having a gold rush and holds more than a thousand tonnes of Gold as of June 2010, while gold demand from China’s middle class has grown 13 percent annually for the last five years.

As you can see from this Sky News video, Chinese are gobbling up gold as fast as they can regardless of the price.  To them, it is an investment and the Central Bank of China is quietly buying gold to build reserves. China is now the world’s largest producer of gold.

Frank Homes writing for Wall Street Pit, Global Market Insight, says China can’t get enough gold and state-controlled China National Gold Group signed an agreement with Kensington Mine in Alaska to buy more.

In fact, Pacific Money.com says, “China’s society is changing beyond all recognition. At the heart of the most sweeping social and economic transformation the world has seen is the rise of a powerful new largely middle-class population. In 2000, only 4% of China’s urban households were middle class; by 2012, that number skyrocketed to more than 66%.

Discover China’s Heart and Soul

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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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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


China’s Carbon Footprint Challenge

July 30, 2013

Bloomberg reported on China’s Datang Corp starting construction on a rooftop solar power plant in Jiangsu province as another step in China’s goals to cut carbon emssions. Plans are for this power plant to generate 6.2 gigawatt hours of power reducing the need for coal-powered generating plants.

This plant is not the only one under construction.  China is already the world’s leading producer of solar panels, and China is also building a 2,000-megawatt project in the Mongolian desert, which is planned for completion in 2019, and may be the largest solar power facility on the globe. Along with solar power, China plans to install 100 gigawatts of wind power by 2020. Source: World Changing

With the demand from China’s people to improve lifestyles, cutting back on carbon emissions is going to be a challenge as reported in China Juggles an Increase in Carbon Emissions and Renewable Energy Plans.

See Electricity is the Key

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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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How one Amazon reader review Misleads and what many in the West do not know about China

August 28, 2012

There is always two sides to every issue so it is time to hear both sides in the same post—again.

A one-star Amazon Reader review written by an Adnil Nevets of “The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village” by Dongping Han said, “The author’s credentials are indisputable. He grew up in China and has an intimate knowledge of Chinese history and Mao’s policies. But, his version of history does not agree with 99% of the (note: Western) academic community, and indeed, official Chinese history.”

Adnil says, “I would suggest that readers keep in mind that there were intelligent, well-educated, scientific and academic members of the Nazi party who were completely smitten with Hitler and defended him to their graves. Sometimes closeness to a historical event does not yield clarity of thought.”

Hmmm, when I checked, Adnil Nevets’ Review Ranking on Amazon was 10,356,111.

Here is my response at Adnil’s reader review.

Regardless of the negative aspects of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the Mao era, there is another side to China’s history—a positive one that is not all doom and gloom as Adnil infers.

In 1949, the average lifespan in China was age 35, more than 90% of Chinese lived in severe poverty, 80% were illiterate and China suffered from loss of life caused by famines in one or more provinces on an annual basis—deaths by starvation from famines have been documented going back annually for more than 2000 years.  For the first time in China’s history, deaths from famine have not happened in sixty of the sixty-three years that China has been ruled by the CCP.

During the Mao’s era, the average lifespan in years doubled, the population doubled, there was only one famine that caused deaths from starvation (1959-1961), but in the West Mao was blamed for that famine while Western authors and politicians ignore two thousand years of Chinese history, and people living in severe poverty have almost vanished (there are still many that live in poverty but it is not as severe as it was before 1949).

In fact, since 1976, literacy improved from 20% to more than 90% and China’s middle class grew from almost nothing to about 300-million people today with estimates that there may be 600-to-800 million middle-class Chinese by 2025.


The CCP is the only government in China’s LONG history to set goals and do something about poverty.

All of these improvements in lifestyle quality in China have been documented by the World Bank and other reputable international agencies,  although we seldom if ever hear about these positive changes in the Western media or in books written by so-called experts in Western Academia that focus only on the dark side of the CCP.


From 1982 to 2005 China succeeded in lifting over 600-million of its citizens out of grinding poverty.

How about if we focus on the dark-side of American democracy instead?

There was a bloody Civil War to end slavery (that has returned today but in a different form), the battle for women’s rights, poverty (more than 40-million Americans live in poverty), starvation in America exists, endless foreign wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc), and continued racism, etc.


News that should be covered more than it is in the United States

Is there anyone out there that cares about both sides of the truth supported with facts?

Discover Health Care During Mao’s Time

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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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Country Driving in China with Peter Hessler – Part 2/2

May 29, 2012

In the first 122 pages of Country Driving, Peter Hessler sets out to drive the entire length of the Great Wall in a rented Chinese made Jeep Cherokee and he achieves his goal. In this section, I learned that the Wall was successful most of the time and not the failure historians claim it was. Yes, in several thousand years, the wall failed a few times but it served its purpose and did protect China’s heartland for centuries. Hessler says that there is no archaeologist in the world that has studied the history of the Great Wall but wrote there are amateur experts (we meet a few in this section along with a unique view of rural China) that have proven through historical research that the wall did work.

In Part II, Hessler takes us into a small village a few hours drive outside Beijing where he rents a house and becomes accepted by the insular-rural village community making friends and becoming involved personally with local families. The man that becomes his closest contact and friend in the village eventually joins the CCP (there are only about 80 million members in China) and then uses this to his advantage as he continues to improve the quality of his family’s lifestyle.

In Part III, Hessler travels to the city of Winzhou in Southern China where he spends time developing relationships with factory bosses and workers.  In this section, the Chinese people he meets are open and friendly. Hessler sees a side of China that few witness and it is obvious that the factory workers are not victims because of low pay and long hours of work but see this new life as an opportunity.


Peter Hessler discussing his novel “Oracle Bones”

When I finished Hessler’s memoir, I walked away feeling as if I had experienced an in-depth taste of the dramatic changes that have taken place in China since Mao’s death in 1976. Since China’s critics mostly focus on the negative, which is the corruption and/or authoritarian one-party system, and never admit the good that the CCP has accomplished, most people would not understand what I discovered.  To understand what I mean, one must compare China before 1949 with today by reading such books as those written by Hessler and his wife.

Before 1949, more than 90% of the people in China lived in severe poverty, more than 80% were illiterate, the average lifespan was 35, few people owned land, and the risk of death from famine had been an annual threat for more than two thousand years. In fact, most rural Chinese were treated as if they were beasts of burden and not human.

Today, about 13% live in severe poverty and those people mostly live in remote, rugged, difficult to reach areas of China.  The lifespan is now about 73 years and Helen H. Wang writing for Forbes.com (February 2011) reported that China’s middle class is already larger than the entire population of the United States and is expected to reach 800 million in fifteen years (2026). In addition, no one has died of famine since 1959-1961.

I highly recommend Country Living for anyone that wants to learn more about today’s dramatically changing China from an unbiased perspective.

Return to Country Driving in China with Peter Hessler – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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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Country Driving in China with Peter Hessler – Part 1/2

May 28, 2012

Most books that I’ve read of China cover its history up to Mao’s death and after 1949, it is difficult to trust almost anything one reads in the West or in China, since most of this work is either biased and/or propagandized in the West or propaganda in China since the mass media is owned by the State.

However, I’m glad that I read Peter Hessler’s memoir of China, Country Driving. Rarely does Hessler intrude with his own Western bias (if there is one), which appears to make a slight appearance near the end. I suspect that his editor at Harper Collins suggested that he add it to the story, and he complied, because the few opinions he expresses near the conclusion of his memoir do not match the experiences that he shares with his readers in the rest of the book. In fact, while reading the book, I grew to trust Hessler’s perspective of today’s China.

It is obvious that Hessler honestly loves/respects China and its people and this infatuation runs throughout the memoir. He also carefully or unintentionally avoids mention of what he thinks about his own culture, which made me wonder if there is a lot he doesn’t respect about his homeland.

Maybe the reason why he continues to return to China is because of this infatuation with a culture that values family more than most Americans do.  In fact, in the memoir’s acknowledgements, I discovered that Hessler was married to Leslie T. Chang, which even my wife—a Chinese immigrant to the US, whose first book, a memoir of growing up during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year—didn’t know.


Leslie Chang discussing her novel “Factory Girls”

Hessler’s wife is the author of Factory Girls, which is also about today’s China. Chang is Chinese-American and a graduate of Harvard. She is also an accomplished journalist and was raised outside New York City by immigrant parents, who forced her to attend Saturday-morning Chinese school, which is so Chinese.

For example, our daughter speaks Mandarin fluently and she was born in Chicago and is a product of the US public schools but with an immigrant mother and an American step father (me), which may explain (in part) why she is completing her second year at Stanford currently majoring in biology instead of trying out for American Idol while waiting tables in a Hollywood coffee shop.

Both Peter and Leslie have published work that went on to be honored as New York Times Notable Books.

Anyway, back to Country Driving. Much of Hessler’s memoir was connected to projects he wrote at The New Yorker or National Geographic. The memoir is divided into three sections:  Book I, The Wall; Book II, The Village, and Book III, The Factory.

Throughout the book there is a common theme: the independence and individuality of most Chinese and the failure of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda, which is there but often ignored by most of the people unless they can use the CCP to their own advantage.  That doesn’t mean the propaganda has no influence but the people seldom let it get in their way as they work to improve the quality of their lives.

In fact, it becomes clear in Hessler’s memoir that there are three Chinas: there is rural China, urban China and the Chinese Communist Party and many shades of gray among them.

Continued on May 29, 2012 in Country Driving in China with Peter Hessler – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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 Power of e-bikes and Public Debate in China

April 16, 2012

If you have been led to believe that the Chinese people do not have a voice in China, think again. It may not be a voice expressing political opinions, but it is a voice.

One example of the power of those voices happened December 2009 and had to do with electric bikes. When new regulations threatened to restrict the use of e-bikes and ban them from public roads, opposition from the e-bike industry and bike riders stopped the regulations in their tracks.

Tim Snaith said, “I’m not surprised that Chinese riders are up in arms. A huge amount of the population rely on electric bikes on a daily basis in a way that UK riders don’t.”  Source: Bike Radar.com

Adrienne Mong of NBC News said, “The news triggered a heated debate that was played out all over the Chinese-language media and on the Internet. Eventually, the government backed down, and it’s been left up to industry groups to figure out new guidelines.” Source: Gr-r-r-r! Why I hate China’s e-bikes

When we visit China, we mostly walk (long distances), take taxis or use the subways, but I have admired the electric bikes that crowd China’s streets.

However, don’t count on us changing how we get around when in China, since many of the drivers in China drive crazy. The crowded urban streets behave more like an NFL game in the Super Bowl. I’ve often observed that red lights at intersection are ignored and crossing any street and sometimes even using sidewalks is risky and the only thing lower in the food chain than an electric bike are pedestrians risking lives as they cross streets even legally in a crosswalk.

That e-bike debate sounds similar to America where public debates often have an impact on government policy since the majority rules. Well, in theory the majority rules, since in America the majority is often ignored while we constantly hear from loud minorities such as the Tea Party or Occupy Movement, PETA, or the Million Woman March, which has only a few thousand members.

It also doesn’t help that about half of eligible voters in the U.S. seldom or never vote and the U.S. president is not elected by the popular vote but by a few hundred loyal party members (Republican and/or Democratic) in the Electoral College.

However, back in China, more than two years after the e-bike protest, Tea Leaf Nation reported on February 23, 2012 about a weibo Blog that was deleted by Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging platform, but what was deleted was soon restored thanks to widespread outrage and threats that the majority of Chinese would switch to Twitter and Facebook.

In addition, the Reuters Institute ran a piece about the power of the Chinese netizen and how microblogging is changing Chinese journalism. Zhou Kangliang, a Chinese journalist, concludes that “as Chinese online microblogging services grow and traditional journalism grows with them, it is learning from lessons and experience…”

In fact, The Washington Post reported, “In a country where most media are controlled by the state, information is heavily censored and free-flowing opinions are sharply constricted, Chinese have turned to a new platform to openly exchange unfettered news and views: microblogs, similar to Twitter.”

Xie Gengyun, a professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University, recently completed a report on microblogging and said weibo is the most popular choice for trustworthy information, ahead of newspapers, online forums and blogs.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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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Note: This edited and revised post first appeared on April 29, 2010


The Controversy, Complexity and Reality behind China’s One-Child Policy

October 3, 2011

Louise Watt of the Associated Press writes of China’s wealthy wanting to leave China, and once again demonstrates the West’s ignorance of the one-child policy.

Pub Med Central provides a better history of the one-child policy.

“In 1979, the one-child family policy was developed and implemented in response to concerns about the social and economic consequences of continued rapid population growth,” Pub Med said, and, “implementation was more successful in urban areas than rural areas.”

Pub Med says, “It was hoped that third and higher order births could be eliminated and that about 30% of couples might agree to forgo a second child… In some of the largest and most advanced cities like Shanghai, sizeable proportions of couples already chose to have only one child (regardless of the law).

“As a result, it was not long before 90 percent of couples in urban areas were (easily) persuaded to restrict their families to a single child.”

However, Pub Med says, in rural areas of China the opposite happened, and 90 percent of women with one child went on to have a second (regardless of the law) and there wasn’t much the Communist Party could do to stop them.

AP’s Louise Watt writes, “Under China’s one-child policy in place for the last three decades to control population growth, couples can be penalized for having more than one child. In Beijing, the penalty is a one-off fee 3-10 times the city’s average income, a maximum of 250,000 yuan ($40,000).”

Watt also tells us that among the 20,000 Chinese with at least 100 million yuan ($15 million) 27 percent have already left China and 47 percent are considering it, and they want to leave so they can have more children on the cheap and buy land that does not belong to the government.

These wealthy Chinese Louise Watt writes of may be surprised to discover that if the U.S. wants to build a school, park, freeway or shopping center, and your house is in the way, it will be bought and bulldozed.

The law for this is called Eminent Doman and 60 Minutes at CBS News reported on possible abuses of this in the United States in February 2009. Rebecca Leung of CBS News wrote, “But did you know the government can also seize your land for private use if they can prove that doing it will serve what’s called ‘the public good’?”

In addition, it would be interesting to discover if some or all of the wealthy Chinese claiming to have left China to have more children and buy a home left for other reasons they are not talking of.

In The Danger of False Truths, I mentioned that thousands of corrupt Chinese officials stole more than $120-billion U.S. and fled overseas—and the U.S. was a top destination.

If so, the real reason many of these “wealthy” Chinese left China may have been to avoid going to prison or being executed.

In addition to Eminent Domain, if an American cannot pay the annual property tax or income tax in the United States, the house will be lost to the government.  I estimate that the property tax I paid since I first owned a home in 1973 would have paid the penalty for a dozen extra children in China.

In fact, due to property tax, no one really owns their homes in America and everyone is just a tenant, and the U.S.  Government is the landlord. In China, they call it like it is, while in the US, most people believe in fairy tales.

I suggest you read what Foreclosure Warehouse.com has to say on this topic.

And if you were worth $15 million dollars and wanted a second or third child, $40,000 a child would not dent that fortune.  In addition, in China when someone buys a house for that 70-year lease, the property tax is paid only once at the time of the purchase and currently there is no law that says you have to pay any property tax again unless it is an investment property.

When these rich Chinese arrive in the US and buy a million dollar house, they will be paying property tax annually. Taxes on land and the buildings on it are the biggest source of revenue for local governments.

In California, for example, property tax for a million dollar house costs about $10,000 a year, and forty years of property tax would cost about a half million dollars, which is much more than $40,000 for the second child and another $40,000 for the third child.

Maybe Louisa Watt should have also mentioned that U.S. citizenship is for sale for foreign millionaires and the details may be found at All Voices.com, and most Americans could not afford this legal bribe (sorry, I meant deal).

In fact, there’s a lot about China’s one-child policy that Louise Watt isn’t revealing, and what she writes may have to do with America’s busy-body, do as I say morality, which interferes as often as possible in the domestic philosophies and affairs of other countries—something China does not do.

For decades, China’s one-child policy has been criticized in America and/or the West mostly by evangelical, fundamentalist Christians that represent one of American’s squeaky wheels with a political agenda to force their beliefs on others.

However, what these critics do not know may shock them, but I doubt if it will deter their misguided zeal.

In the September/October 2011 issue of Foreign Policy magazine, Phillip Longman wrote The World Will Be More Crowded With Old People, and said, “Another related megatrend is the rapid change in the size, structure, and nature of the family. In many countries such as Germany, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, the one-child family is now becoming the norm (without a law)… Today about one in five people in advanced Western countries, including the United States, remains childless.”

AP’s Louise Watt also doesn’t tell us the one-child policy does not apply to the hundred million people in China that belong to one of the fifty-six minorities or many of the Han Chinese living in rural China where most Chinese don’t pay property tax, rent or a mortgage payment since the land is owned collectively and may not be sold.

Since minorities in China are a small segment of the population, China’s government practices flexibility with the minority birth rate in order to keep minorities an important part of China’s culture.

For example, Tibetans may not live the feudal, nomadic lifestyle with the 35-year lifespan they once had under the Dalai Lama (the average lifespan in Tibet today is more than 60 without the Dalai Lama), which they had before Mao sent the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into Tibet in 1950.

Isn’t it horrible how the Tibetans were forced to give up that shorter average lifespan and feudal servitude?

However, as a minority, Tibetans may have as many children as they want and the penalty Louise Watt writes of does not exist for them.

We often hear of the Uighur Muslims since this minority has an Islamic separatist movement in the northwest near Afghanistan where the US is fighting a war against a similar insurgency, but the Uighurs are a minority so the one-child policy also does not apply them, and they are not the only Muslims in China.

The Hui are unique among the fifty-six officially recognized minorities of China in that Islam is their only unifying identity. They do not have a unique language as the other minorities do and often intermarry with Han Chinese.

In fact, many live outside the Hui autonomous region. Since the Hui are considered a minority, the one-child policy also does not apply to them.

The Chinese government says if it weren’t for the one-child policy, there would be another four-hundred million mouths to feed and provide shelter for. Instead of 1.3 billion people in China, there would be almost 2 billion—more than six times the population of the US, and China cannot grow crops on about 90% of its land.

France 24 International News reported another recent exception to China one-child policy for Shanghai.

Chinese law allows married couples in Shanghai that are both the only child of their parents to have two children even if they are Han Chinese.

To make sure these married couples are aware of this exception, China provides support from government run family planning centers that check on women’s health and inform them of their rights and responsibilities to have more than one child.

The Shanghai government encourages married couples eligible to have more than one child to do so, which, in Shanghai, means most married couples.

The Shanghai Family Planning Commission first promoted this policy in 2009. The reason for this campaign lies in Shanghai’s population demographics.

Because of the one-child policy, Shanghai has been particularly hard hit by an age disparity, and 22 percent of the citizens of Shanghai are over sixty and these numbers are expected to grow.

Xu Xihua, the director of Shanghai’s Aging Development Center says that by adjusting the one-child policy in Shanghai, this disparity in ages can be partially reduced and giving couples an opportunity to have two children is part of the plan.

However, the central government stresses it is not abandoning its family planning policies or its control over the number of births. Fear of overpopulation and potential famines remains high in a country that has a history of droughts, floods and famines, which is something the U.S. has not yet experienced in its brief history.

France 24 International News also reported how one Chinese couple wanted to have more than one child and the couple took advantage of loopholes in the one-child policy to have three.

The mother’s first child was a boy, and she was desperate to have a girl.

Since fines are less for a second child if delivered in a remote rural province, the couple moved south.

However, the mother discovered she was pregnant again soon after the birth of the second child, which was a girl, and the doctor told her that because of health reasons she couldn’t have an abortion.

And recently, authorities in China’s most populous province have asked Beijing to ease the one-child policy.

In addition, wealthy Chinese businessmen, television and movie stars often avoid the one-child policy since they have money to pay the fine Louise Watt writes of in her AP piece, and ten percent of rich Chinese have an average of three children and this practice is spreading among the upper-middle class. Since they stay in China, these wealthy Chinese avoid paying annual property tax in America.

Peng Xizhe, dean of social development and public policy at Fudan University, says “In the Maoist era everyone was controlled by his work unit. It’s over now. Many workers are independent. It becomes more and more difficult for the government to pressure people to having only one child.”

In fact, according to some experts, China will adopt a two-child policy in several years.

However, unexpected problems besides an aging population may have developed from the one-child policy, which is explained by a NPR All Things Considered report by Louisa Lim’s Lightning Divorces Strike China’s ME Generation.

Lim says Beijing has the highest divorce rate in China with 39 percent of all marriages ending in a split.

One Beijing woman, Cheng, tells Lim of her six-month marriage that ended as fast as it started. Cheng blamed the divorce on belonging to the generation of spoiled singletons (one-child), known as the post-1980’s generation.

Dr. Perry, a professor of economics and finance in the US, agrees that the upsurge in China’s divorce rate is because of the selfish and narcissistic generation of spoiled one-child children in China (have you already forgotten that many of these urban parents decided to have only one child before or in spite of the law).

But hold on, there may be another explanation why Beijing’s divorce rate is soaring. Eight years ago, a married couple needed permission from their work unit to divorce. Today, couples have the freedom to divorce in China without asking.

Although it may be difficult to link China’s changing divorce rate to the one-child policy, there is another outcome that cannot be denied.

China may have cut off a foot to save its stomach from starvation.

Studies predict that China will soon be short 24 million wives. It doesn’t matter that it is illegal in China to take a test for non-medical reasons that determines the sex of the fetus.

Since China’s culture traditionally prefers boys to girls, many parents go to underground private clinics to find out what the sex of the fetus is. If it is a girl, many terminate the pregnany with an illegal abortion.

The results is a growing shortage of women leading to illegal forced marriages and prostitution (sex slaves), which is a challenge for the police and courts to deal with.

After you learn more of the details of China’s one-child policy, you discover that it was a law without many teeth and didn’t deserve the criticism it received, which leads to the conclusion that the American and/or West’s reaction is due mostly to racist Sinophobia.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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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Note: Information that appears in this post first appeared on March 7, 2010 in One Child, on March 18, 2010 in The One-Child Tragedy, on November 5, 2010 in Exemptions in China’s one-child policy,  on November 28, 2010 in Reversing China’s one-child Policy, and on November 29, 2010 in Avoiding China’s one-child Policy.


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