If China government isn’t a Monarchy or a Dictatorship, what is it? Part 4 of 4

December 13, 2014

Deng Xiaoping was China’s George Washington. What he did was what Dr. Sun Yat-sen wanted. China is a republic that combines Western thought with Chinese tradition.

However, the task to create China’s Republic fell to the Communist Party so China is a Socialist Republic with capitalist tendencies.

In China, Piety is important and advice from elders is often followed as if it is the law. Due to this, elder statesmen such as Jiang Zemin have great power in the government even after he no longer has a political title. After all, this is a Chinese tradition.

The Economist mentioned disagreements within the CCP among China’s leaders over what the country’s priorities should be—both on the economy and on political reform.

Whatever the final decisions will be, the consensus of the CCP will be guided by Chinese tradition and not Western thought.

The changes that “some” want to see take place in China will probably not arrive in a hurry if the wisdom of the I-Ching, The Book of Changes, is followed, which says change should come slowly.

In fact, China has proven it is a republic because none of China’s first four presidents are the sons of previous presidents and eventually death removes the elders. China’s presidents did not inherit that title due to heredity as kings do or the leader of North Korea 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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If China government isn’t a Monarchy or a Dictatorship, what is it? Part 3 of 4

December 12, 2014

Before we move on, let’s take a brief look at the Athenian democracy that was developed around the 5th century B.C. in the Greek city-state of Athens. Even though there is evidence that democratic forms of government existed before the 5th century, ancient Athens is generally believed to be the first democracy.

What did that democracy look like? Athens had a system of direct democracy, in which participating citizens voted directly on legislation and executive bills. But participation was not open to all residents: to vote, one had to be an adult, male citizen, and the number varied between 30,000 and 50,000 out of a total population of around 250,000 to 300,000—about 150,000 were slaves.

In comparison, the membership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is now 86.7 million—men make-up 77 percent of CP’s membership, while woman make up 23 percent—making the CCP the world’s largest political party representing more than 6 percent of China’s population, and slavery is illegal just like it is in the U.S.

In Part 2, I explained why China was not a monarchy or a dictatorship. In this post and in Part 4, I will show why China is becoming more like the republic Dr. Sun Yat-sen may have imagined by combining Western thought with Chinese traditions.

After Mao died, The Communist Party worked for several years to draft the 1982 Constitution, which included term limits of two five-year terms for elected government officials.

If you have read the Chinese Constitution carefully, it is obvious that the U.S. Constitution was used as a model. However, these two documents are not the same.

If the Party leadership is not happy with China’s president, he can be removed after one five-year term. There is even an article of impeachment in China’s Constitution.

China’s first president was Li Xiannian (1983 to 1988). He served one, five-year term, and then he stepped down.

From 1988 to 1993, Yang Shangkun would be China’s president for one five-year term. Deng Xiaoping (born 1904 – died 1997) was the Chairman of the Communist Party from 1983 to 1993, which was ten years—what China’s 1982 Constitution calls for, but Deng never served as the country’s president.

Due to how the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 was handled, President Yang had to step down at the end of his first, five-year term. The only other way to remove him would have been through impeachment.

In 1993, Jiang Zemin became President and Chairman of the Communist Party. Then in 2003, Hu Jintao became President and Chairman of the Party. His term ended in 2012 when Xi Jinping became president of China.

Continued in Part 4 on December 13, 2014 or return to 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.

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If China government isn’t a Monarchy or a Dictatorship, what is it? Part 2 of 4

December 11, 2014

The Economist implied in the October 23, 2010 issue of the magazine, that China is a monarchy.

However, China is not a monarchy as the Kim Dynasty in North Korea has become or a dictatorship-monarchy as many in the West think.

In North Korea, what started as a Socialist Dictatorship modeled on Maoism has become a Socialist Maoist Monarchy.

China, on the other hand, started as a Socialist Dictatorship under Mao (1949 to 1976) and is becoming a fledgling republic with Western critics looking for cockroaches and slugs under rocks.

In fact, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the father of China’s Republic, wrote that he wanted to model China’s government after America but by combining Western thought with Chinese tradition.

He didn’t say he wanted China to be a clone of America’s Republic.

America was still a Republic prior to World War II. The US wouldn’t become a full-fledged democracy until the 1960s.

Unfortunately, Dr. Sun died in 1925 before he could finish what he started.

It wouldn’t be until after Mao died in 1976, that the leaders of the Communist Party under Deng Xiaoping would start the long journey to implement Sun’s dream of a Republic against great pressure from Western democracies to copy them.

Continued in Part 3 on December 11, 2014 or start with 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.

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If China government isn’t a Monarchy or a Dictatorship, what is it? Part 1 of 4

December 10, 2014

Three times George Washington acted in a way that would insure the newly born US Republic would survive.

His first act was in 1782, when Colonel Lewis Nicola wrote a letter to Washington suggesting that Washington should set up a constitutional monarchy because of the inefficiency of the Continental Congress.

Washington was offended at such a suggestion and wrote to Nicola telling him to banish such thoughts from his mind. George Washington – Legends and Myths

His second act took place in 1783, when he stepped in and saved the republic by ending the Newburgh Conspiracy, a plot in the military to seize power and create a military dictatorship. Source: Early America

The third act was when Washington stepped down as President (1789 – 1797) and returned to his farm.

When King George III asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what Washington would do after winning independence, West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.”

“If he does that,” King George said, “he will be the greatest man in the world.” Cato Institute

The cover of The Economist for October 23, 2010—in the best tradition of biased and Yellow Journalism—SHOUTED: “The next emperor – Will Xi Jinping change China?”

As I read the feature article on page 13, I laughed when I saw, “Mr. Xi’s appointment was eerily similar to the recent anointment of Kim Jong-un in North Korea.”

The reason I saw humor in this absurd statement was that there is nothing similar. Kim Jong Un inherited his for-life position as Supreme Leader of North Korea. He is the son of Kim Jong-il, and the grandson of Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea.

In Part 2 of this series that will appear on December 11, 2014, I will explain the difference between China’s one-party authoritarian Republic, and why it isn’t a dictatorship or a monarchy.

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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 last days of Sun Yat-sen: Part 3 of 3

December 4, 2014

Later, it was discovered that the medical report of Sun’s condition was incomplete. Some of the samples and part of the report had been stolen and no one knows why.

During World War II, after the Japanese invaded China, Japanese troops occupied the hospital where Sun Yat-sen’s liver samples were kept.

Chinese representative requested the liver samples and the report be turned over to them.

Some of the liver samples were given to Dr. Tang Qiping, who worked at the Sino-Belgian Radium Institute in Shanghai.

Another man, Chu Minyi, forced Dr. Tang to give him those samples.

In 1946, Chu Minyi would go to prison as a traitor to China. He tried to use Sun Yat-sen’s liver samples to save himself. However, Chu was still executed by Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists.

Sun’s liver samples would be lost during the revolution between the Communists and Nationalists. Later, it would be discovered that the samples had been stolen again.

When the Nationalists launched their Northern Expedition to take China from the warlords, the warlord in Beijing, who met with Sun before his death, was their only ally.

When Sun died, his political advisor wrote, “If Dr. Sun Yat-sen had lived for a few years or even a few months longer, China’s situation would have changed completely.”

Soon after Sun’s death in 1925, the democratic government created by him after the 1911 revolution failed.

After a struggle, Chiang Kai-shek gained control of the Nationalists, and because he controlled the army. Chiang then gave orders to his troops to execute all the Communists starting the civil war that led to Mao’s famous Long March.

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This film is in Mandarin with no English subtitles.

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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 last days of Sun Yat-sen: Part 2 of 3

December 3, 2014

After arriving in Beijing, Sun Yat-sen saw a French doctor who gave him injections to help with his illness.

With his health getting worse, a nurse that worked at a German hospital was sent to his Beijing hotel to care for him.

His condition was so bad that at times he could not talk.

Since the Western medicine wasn’t improving his health, he was convinced by advisors to talk to an herbalist doctor, Ge Lianfu.

Sun Yat-sen told Ge Lianfu that he would give the Chinese medicine to the Western doctors to see if they could copy it.

Ge said he wasn’t sure if Chinese and Western medicine were interchangeable.

Since Sun was a trained Western doctor, he didn’t believe that Ge’s treatment was going to work. Ge Lianfu concluded that Sun had liver disease, but Sun didn’t trust the diagnosis.

While staying in the Beijing hotel, Sun was treated by doctors from the US, Germany, Russia and the Peking Union Medical College Hospital.  However, the treatments didn’t help, and his condition worsened.

The western doctors concluded that he needed exploratory surgery. After they cut him open, they discovered liver disease as Ge Lianfu had diagnosed without surgery.

In fact, Sun was in the final stages of liver cancer. At the time, Western medicine had no treatment to deal with a disease that he must have had for years.

In 1916, Sun had often suffered from abdominal pain and the Western doctors treated him as if he had stomach trouble.

Continued in Part 3 on December 4, 2014 or start with 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.

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Seeing “Mao’s Last Dancer” through a different lens

September 23, 2014

When I saw the film Mao’s Last Dancer—unlike most U.S. citizens—I went with two people who grew up in China and survived the Cultural Revolution.

As we left the theater, my Chinese friends made these comments. “Great movie. Well done. It shows what China went through. If American audiences don’t see this movie because the lead is Chinese, they don’t want to learn about China.”

The evidence seems to support this thinking because Mao’s Last Dancer only earned $4.8 million from the box office in the U.S. while earning almost $17.5 million in theaters outside the U.S.  Maybe the distributor had something to do with the results, because the film at its widest release was only in 137 theaters. In fact, we had to drive more than thirty miles to see it, because in the film’s first week, it was only in 33 theaters.

However, for the first showing of the day, it was a nice audience—several hundred at least.

Mao’s Last Dancer was a great but misleading title. When the dancer, Li Cunxin defected to the U.S. in 1981, Mao had been dead six years. How could he be Mao’s last dancer? In addition, there are ballet troupes all over China—even today—including Beijing where Li learned ballet.

The Huffington Post review said the movie was middlebrow and rises above the pack if only by a little.  The film critic was Marshall Fine, and I disagreed with him.

If Fine knew more about China’s history, he might understand why I disagree.

When Li was a child, China was in the middle of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, a form of national (or collective) madness that lasted about a decade and was ended by Deng Xiaoping after Mao’s death in 1976

Mao’s Last Dancer does a subtle but good job showing what rural life was like during the Cultural Revolution and afterward as attitudes started to change in China.

The movie also shows how tough the Chinese are when it comes to education. Working to gain an education is serious business in China—even today.  What you see while Li and the other children are learning ballet reveals the Chinese mindset.

The New York Times review was kinder but still off the mark.  Mike Hale, writing for the Times, said, “Mao’s Last Dancer is a story of a young and flexible Chinese man who comes to America, where he’s seduced by disco, creative freedom and a honey-haired Houston virgin–”

Can anyone blame young Li for being seduced by a glitzy party country build on debt while the early 1980’s China is a drab, colorless place just emerging from its shell? At the time, China’s metamorphosis was just beginning.

If Li had gone home to China and married the Chinese ballerina he was courting, today he would be living a lifestyle similar to what he saw in America. China has changed that much.

What took the U.S. more than a century to achieve, China accomplished in the thirty years since 1981. In fact, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a scene near the end showing one of China’s modern cities that compares to the Houston Li saw when he first arrived in the U.S.

Hall’s conclusion was wrong. Mao’s Last Dancer is not “strenuously brainless”.  If Hall knew more about China, he would understand why my two Chinese friends believed the movie was worth seeing for its story and its educational value.

It seems that the Amazon reviewers of the film for Mao’s Last Dancer might agree with me because 133 of the 170 reviews have 5-stars.  The average for the film was also 4.6 of 5. The book had 215 reviews for another average of 4.6 stars, and there were 156, 5-star reviews.

In the previous video, Li Cunxin mentions the poverty and hunger he knew as a child under Mao’s leadership of China.

However, while true, it would be misleading to think that conditions were better before Mao. Under Mao—even with the purges, the Great Famine (1959 – 1961) and the Cultural Revolution—the quality of life for the average Chinese improved steadily, if slowly, and the strongest evidence of that is life expectancy. Life expectancy was only 36.5 years in 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded, and the population was 400 million. In 1976, when Mao died, life expectancy had increased by 20 years to 56.5 with a population of 700 million. Today, life expectancy is 73.3 years with a population that is more than 1.3 billion.

In fact [China is known as the land of famines—Between 108 BC and 1911 AD, there were no fewer than 1,828 famines in China, or one nearly every year in one province or another. However, the famines varied greatly in severity.], throughout most of Chinese history the majority of Chinese have lived in poverty. As the hundreds of famines that have killed millions of Chinese attest, Chinese poverty has often been absolute, i.e., lacking the very material resources needed to sustain life and maintain health. … The PRC is the first Chinese government [in China’s long history] to attempt systematically to reduce both inequality and poverty. Griffith University, Australia. Poverty by David C. Schak

The Word Bank says, “Between 1981 and 2001, the proportion of population living in poverty in China fell from 53 percent to just eight percent.”

Be aware that China’s critics are always quick to cherry pick any facts that will make the PRC look bad without history or context.

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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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