Understanding the importance of harmony in China

January 7, 2014

Most Chinese do not like anarchy—but who does except the libertarian anarchist.

The Chinese have had their fill of anarchy. Every time a dynasty collapsed, decades or centuries of anarchy would be ushered in and chaos ruled. For instance, when Mao died in 1976, Deng Xiaoping put a stop to the madness of the Cultural Revolution and ushered in an era of harmony and prosperity that continues to this day.

In fact, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism all place a heavy emphasis on harmony and because of this, harmony is probably the most cherished ideal in Chinese culture from the leader to the poorest peasant.

While some claim that Confucianism is promoted by the Chinese Communist Party as a way to maintain order, these same critics often miss the Taoist message of living in harmony with the Tao. The term Tao means “way”, “path” or “principle” and may also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. 

Taoism in general tends to emphasize wu-wie—action through non-action—and the Three Treasures: compassion, moderation, and humility. In addition, Buddhism, for instance, has six rules of harmony taught by the Buddha to his followers in order to bring about unity and harmony.

And that explains why most Chinese—even today—do not like talking about the “white elephant” in the family or country to strangers.

With that in mind, it should not be surprising that when Google was complaining about being hacked by China’s government and refused to censor their search engine in China (eventually they did so they could keep doing business there), many Chinese turned to Baidu, which operates China’s most popular Internet search engine.

Because of Google’s behavior in 2010, Baidu now controls 65.74% [up more than 20% from 2010] of China’s search engine market compared to Google’s 3% share. Source: Search Engine Watch.com

It would seem that Google became the “white elephant” in the room by complaining publicly. It is also a mistake to think that because China cracks down on the few democracy advocates who speak out publicly criticizing the CCP, that most Chinese citizens support these advocates who often end up living in the United States after China kicks them out. The truth is that most Chinese probably think these outspoken few are fools.

In China, instead of shouting “give me liberty or death”, most Chinese would say, “Give me harmony and life,” because of several thousand years of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism that are all much older and maybe much wiser than Christianity or Islam.

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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


Making the Hajj from China: Part 2/2

May 28, 2013

Another devout Chinese Muslim in Xian is proudly transcribing the Quran into Chinese using traditional Chinese brush calligraphy. He says it took him over a year to transcribe the entire Quran this way. Now he is working on a second copy.

He has also taught his son and his grandsons how to write with the Chinese brush wanting to pass down this tradition to the next generation.

His son says that every generation should try their best to transcribe the Quran with the Chinese brush, as it is also a good way to reinforce our faith.

The original copy of the Quran in this family is over four hundred years old, a priceless relic transcribed by the Chinese imams. There are only a few remaining copies left in the world.

Jia Wen Yi, a Hajj pilgrim, says the trip to Mecca is important to him and his wife, an elderly couple. They have done a lot of preparation for the hajj. Mr. Jia goes into detail about the planning.

Going on the hajj for Yi and his wife, Jia Wang Yi, has been a dream for over two decades as they saved to have enough money.

Mr. and Mrs. Jia will be part of a group of 250 pilgrims leaving for the hajj from the city of Xian. It was a matter of saving most of their lives until they could afford the trip.

Since these Muslims are considered a minority in China, they are not restricted by the one-child policy, as you would see in the video when the family and friends gather to say goodbye before Mr. and Mrs. Jia leave on the long journey to Mecca.

There is no direct flight from Xian to Mecca, so the pilgrims will take a train to Beijing where they will board a flight to Saudi Arabia.

Whenever pilgrims leave Xian to go on the hajj to Mecca, thousands of Chinese Muslims show up at the railway station to say goodbye. This is the first time Mr. and Mrs. Jia have left China. They have never been apart from their family before.

Return to Making the Hajj from China: 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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Making the Hajj from China: Part 1/2

May 27, 2013

This two-part post may come as a surprise to many in the West that think there is no religious freedom in China.

In fact, China handles religious freedom similar to how Singapore does, and Singapore is seldom if ever criticized in the Western media for this practice.

The U.S. Department of State says that Singapore’s government has broad powers to limit citizens’ rights and handicap political opposition, which it uses. One of those restrictions is a limited freedom of religion.

However, the Constitution for the Republic of Singapore offers the same fundamental liberties China and the US does, which includes freedom of speech, assembly and association and freedom of religion.

For example, Singapore bans the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Unification Church by making public meetings illegal. The Falun Gong has also had problems in Singapore.

China, on the other hand, recognizes five religions — Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism but has banned certain new religious movements that are considered cults. China does not recognize cults as religions.

In the video embedded with this post, Al Jazeera follows Chinese Muslims as they prepare to undertake the hajj pilgrimage.

The ancient city of Xian in Shaanxi province is home to about 60,000 ethnic Chinese Muslims.

Xian claims it has a Muslim history going back more than thirteen hundred years when Islam was first introduced to China in 650 AD.

In fact, the oldest mosque in China was built in 685-762 AD in Xian during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty.

Chinese Imam Ma Yi Ping speaks both Chinese and Arabic. He studied at the Islamic University of Medina and has made the hajj several times. He was taught to be a devout Muslim by his parents during Mao’s time when the mosques in China were closed.

Despite the persecutions that took place during the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976), Islam survived in China.

Ma Yi Ping says that after Mao and the Gang of Four were gone and China opened for trade with the world, he did not have to study the Quran in secret anymore.

Since the 15th century, Xian Muslims have been going to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

In the past, during the ancient days of the Silk Road, these journeys started and ended in Xian’s Muslim quarter. Today is no different.

Continued on May 28, 2013 in Making the Hajj from China: 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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Taoism and Religion in Communist China – Part 3/3

March 29, 2012

Until Communism arrived, religion and the state were often closely linked. In the imperial era, the emperor was regarded as divine; political institutions were believed to be part of the cosmic order; and Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism were incorporated in different ways into political systems and social organizations.

U.S. History.org says, “Taoism and Confucianism have lived together in China for well over 2,000 years. Confucianism deals with social matters, while Taoism concerns itself with the search for meaning. They share common beliefs about man, society, and the universe, although these notions were around long before either philosophy.”

During the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976), the teenage Red Guard did not discriminate against particular religions — they were against them all. They ripped crosses from church steeples, forced Catholic priests into labor camps, tortured Buddhist monks in Tibet and turned Muslim schools into pig slaughterhouses. Taoists, Buddhists and Confucians were singled out as vestiges of the Old China and forced to change or else…

However, under Deng Xiaoping, in 1978, the ban on religious teaching was lifted. In fact, since the mid-1980s there has been a massive program to rebuild Buddhist and Taoist temples.

Then in December 2004, China’s government in Beijing announced new rules that guaranteed religious beliefs as a human right.

According to an article in The People’s Daily: “As China has more than 100 million people believing in religion, so the protection of religious freedom is important in safeguarding people’s interests and respecting and protecting human rights.”

In March 2005, religion was enshrined in China as a basic right of all citizens. Even so, worship outside designated religion remains forbidden. Source: Facts and Details – Religion in China

There are five religions recognized by the state, namely Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. There are also a few Jewish Synagogues: two in Beijing, two in Shanghai, and five in Hong Kong.

Return to Taoism – Part 2 or start with 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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Taoism – Part 1/3

March 27, 2012

“Those who know do not say; those who say do not know.” -Lao-tzu

I am no expert on Taoism.  I have a copy of Tao Te Ching and have read it in addition to a few pieces about it, but I was raised as a Christian in a Christian culture.  For this reason, Jean Delumeau, the narrator of the video and an honorary professor of the College de France, will tell you something about this religion.

Delumeau says by the time Buddhism arrived in China in the first century AD, Confucianism and Taoism had been widespread for several centuries.

Taoism was the popular religion of China while Confucianism was the official state religion of the Han Dynasty. In fact, the bureaucracy practiced Confucianism at work and turned to Taoist spiritual practices after work.

Even though Taoism and Buddhism have fundamental differences, Taoism helped spread Buddhism. While Taoism seeks the salvation of the individual, Buddhism seeks an escape from the cycle of personal existence.

However, certain practices of Taoism and Buddhism are similar, which are meditation, fasting, and breathing techniques.

The word “Tao” means both the order and totality of the universe and the pathway or road that allows the individual to enter into the rhythm of the world through a negation of self.

Two opposing but complementary forces of reality are fused in the Tao — Yin, which is passive, cold and feminine and Yang, which is active, hot and masculine.

The moon and the sun are the manifestations of Yin and Yang and all change is a result of these two dynamic forces such as day and night, the seasons, and life and death.

These two principals alternate in the five phases of a cycle, which are represented by water, fire, wood, metal and earth serving to define the five cardinal points, which are north, south, east, west and the center.

A contemporary of Confucius, Lao Tzu’s teachings were compiled in the fifth century BC into a collection called the Tao Te Ching or Dao De Jing, which have had a great influence on Chinese thought and medicine.

One example says, “The wise man does not seek to be known as a wise man but of his own free will remains in obscurity. Those who seek much knowledge enrich themselves daily. Those who seek Tao become poorer each day. Eventually, they become so poor they are incapable of action. Without action, nothing can be achieved.”

Continued on February 26, 2012 in Taoism – 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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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on December 5, 2010


A Coup in China? A Jasmine Spring?

March 26, 2012

Do a Google search on “News of a coup in China” and you may end up with as many hits as I had, which was more than 110,000,000 when I was researching the topic of this post.  Amazing!

I suspect this viral Internet topic has to do with dreams of democracy sweeping the world leading to global peace and prosperity for eternity, but that ain’t going to happen anytime soon.

The last time there was this much Internet excitement over revolutions was in December 2010 when the Arab Spring swept across the Middle East and North Africa toppling governments, but at what price.

In November 2011, US News and World Report said that 3,500 had died in Syria (and the fighting isn’t over yet), 250 in Yemen, a 100 in Bahrain, 30,000 in Libya, 900 in Egypt, and 300 in Tunisia.  In addition many more were injured/wounded.

Al Jazeera reported almost 11 months after the Arab uprising that “freedom is not free, and there are now some clear financial costs emerging,” and the cost has reached a grand total of $55.84 billion. (Source: International Monetary Fund)

However, as the Arab Spring blossomed and spread, in America and the West there was a sense of euphoria that democracy was sweeping the globe and would arrive in China, which did not materialize as life went on as usual in the Middle Kingdom.

Then, as if prayers had been answered, on March 19, 2012, there were rumors of a coup in China and the Blogosphere and the media exploded with speculation.

If anything happened in China on March 19, it was probably a political protest by supporters of Bo Xilai, who was yanked from his position of power that week, and Bo Xilai is and was not a democracy advocate.

In fact, what he advocated was closer to a return to the era of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Bo Xilai was also a populist figure and the last time China had a populist figure that was equal parts showman and strongman, his name was Mao Zedong, and he ruled China for twenty-six years and is infamously known in the West for his political purges, the failure of The Great Leap Forward and his closing act, The Cultural Revolution.

Hannah Beech of Global Spin, a blog about the world, its people and its politics, says, “Last May, I said on my blog that Bo Xilai wanted to become Mao Zedong,” Yang told me after Bo’s dismissal. “But he failed because in today’s China there is no need for a Mao.”


In the video, China analyst Jennifer Richmond dispels rumors of a recent coup attempt in Beijing and explores the intensifying political and economic reform debate happening in China ahead of its 2012 leadership transition.

Then the BBC reported, “Damaging coup rumours ricochet across China. Have you heard? There’s been a coup in China! Tanks have been spotted on the streets of Beijing and other cities! Shots were fired near the Communist Party’s leadership compound!

“OK,” the BBC says, “before you get too agitated, there is no coup. To be more exact, as far as we know there has been no attempted coup.

“To be completely correct we should say we do not know what’s going on. The fact is there is no evidence of a coup. But it is a subject that has obsessed many in China (and outside of China) this week.

“Photographs of tanks and armoured cars on city streets were flying around Twitter and elsewhere,” the BBC report continued. “On closer inspection though, some of the pictures seemed to be old ones from rehearsals for military parades, others did not even seem to be of Beijing, as they claimed, but different Chinese cities.”

Then in another report covering this rumor, Shanghaiist.com said, “In other countries, you might see reporters offhandedly refer to their unnamed contacts inside the Prime Minister’s Office, or the White House, or whatever institution they’re covering. Even when I worked in famously enigmatic Russia, I had a few ‘Kremlin sources’ I could occasionally turn to.”

“Not in China,” Shanghaiist continued. “I know many of the foreign journalists based here, and more than a few of the Chinese ones. None have ever claimed to me, or their readers, that they have a contact inside, or even close to, the decision-making Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.”

Meanwhile, what about an update on the Arab Spring, the so-called democracy movement in North Africa and the Middle East that this post started with?

According to the “2012 Index of Economic Freedom”, Heritage.org said, “Corruption and Terrorism: Will They Undermine the Arab Spring?

Heritage.org says, “Any kind of political instability has important policy implications for development in general, and for sustainable economic growth in particular. The recent turmoil in the Middle East is no exception…”

The Heritage.org study by Nahid Kalbasi Anaraki, Ph.D. asked three questions:

  • Is terrorism more likely to appear under more corrupt regimes?
  • Is there a long-run relationship between a country’s level of economic freedom and terrorism?
  • What is the impact of terrorism on foreign direct investment (FDI) and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita?

Anaraki says, “The results point to a high risk that the hopes of the revolutionary movements will founder on the rocks of terrorism and corruption.”

For more on this, Professor Timur Kuran of the Cline Center for Democracy said, “A striking feature of these uprisings is the lack of an existing opposition or charismatic revolutionary leaders. These have been truly popular revolutions. While the popular character adds legitimacy to the ideals and aspirations of these uprisings, it may also prove a weakness on the path to actual democracy. Due to decades of severe oppression, the opposition forces in almost every transforming country in the region lack recognized leadership, partisan organization, and coherent political ideology. In fact, the only organized political force in this region comes from conservative Islamist groups. Meanwhile, the emergent transitional governments are being formed under the tutelage of defecting, formerly authoritarian elites and their militaries.”

In conclusion, an Arab Spring leading to democracy, a Jasmine Revolution in China, or any revolution by any other name does not guarantee an American and/or Western style democracy will emerge in time.  The only guarantee is that people in Western democracies will get excited and then soon forget they were excited as the next sensation appears, since attention spans and memories in the West are often short and opinionated.

In fact, to many in the West, the Arab Spring and rumors of a coup in China were entertainment, and the same people will soon switch to American Idol or another show such as America’s Next Top Model or maybe Survivor.

Note: Other posts and comments that focus on the 2012 transition of political power in China may be found at Breaking News – a Warning for the CCP from Premier Wen Jaibao and China’s Translation Sensation.

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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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Tracking a Cyber Bully’s Deceit and Propaganda through an IP Address

February 21, 2012

I find it difficult to believe that a disabled American vet calling himself Chicomaniac would be posting comments from a remote location in China’s poorest province. However, that’s where two comments from this second cyber-bully assault (in recent months) may have come from.

I deleted the two comments from the posts they were intended for and added them to the appropriate location on this Blog – where the first cyber-bully attack is posted.

In fact, if you compare Chicomaniac’s two comments with those from the first cyber-bully assault, you may recognize similarities in the writing style and use of language, which is why I have posted them as a comment on the same page under the heading of Another Cyber Bully. If you visit this page, you may scroll up to see the comments from the first assault. This second cyber bully may be a copy cat.

To discover a complete profile of the average cyber bully, I suggest visiting Bully Online.org – Stalking.

Bully Online says, “The stalker exhibits a familiar pattern of behaviour. Stalking often starts as a result of rejection; rejection rage and abandonment rage motivate the stalker to seek revenge through a predictable pattern of stalking behavior. The stalker, usually a loner and socially inept, becomes obsessed with their target and bombards them with messages, emails, gifts, or abuse. The stalking behaviour can last for years and the intensity of abuse increases over time. The abuse, initially consisting of psychological violence, often escalates and culminates in physical violence…

“The Vengeful stalker is the most dangerous type whose mission is to get even and/or take revenge. Mostly male, he has a grudge and he’s going to do something about it…”

Chicomaniac said, As a disabled vet I would like to add that the wrong guys made it out of ‘Nam and I hope when your time comes those who believe in America and what We stand for are allowed to have a chat with you.”

In an attempt to identify this cyber bully, I conducted several IP searches and traced the location to where those comments may have originated, and it turned out to be an organization that calls itself Xin Xin Ling located in northwest China.

The coordinates for the IP address were at Latitude 35 and Longitude 105 located near Lanzhou between Dingxi and Tianshui in the Ningxi Hui Autonomous Region northwest of Xian in a desolate region.

“This sparsely settled mostly desert region lies in the vast plain of the Yellow River in the north, which has been irrigated for centuries. Over the years, an extensive system of canals was built. Extensive land reclamation and irrigation projects have made increased cultivation possible.” Source: Wiki-Ningxia

Chicomaniac’s IP address was 118.194.218.153. The host, Yin Yin Ling, also used the same IP address, and I used My IP Test.com to trace the location.

To learn more about the people that live in the region, I did a bit of research and learned that the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region covers an area of 51,800 square kilometers.

Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region is the unique provincial Hui autonomous region in China, and it had a population of 6.1265 million in 2007, among which, about 1.5 million were from the Hui, Muslim ethnic group — therefore, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region is often called the “Province of Islam” and “Province of Muslims” by foreign travelers.

I learned that among the Hui, local activists have not called for complete separatism or absolute independence, but generally express concern over environmental degradation, which may explain the motivation behind the comment that mentioned Bosshard.

In addition, I traced Bosshard’s IP address [207.204.249.151] to California at an address off Oscedia Lane, Whitfield Ct., and George Ct. near Adam Roger’s Park in San Francisco at Latitude 37.7312 and Longitude -122.2836.  Bosshard’s host is Reliable Hosting.com. Bosshard may be a conservative, evangelical Christian that spent some time in China.

This is what I discovered about Chicomaniac.  He or she may live in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China and might be a Muslim. There may be a connection to one of the Islamic separatist movements in China and/or with a group that is concerned about environmental pollution.

I doubt if Chicomaniac is a disabled American veteran that fought in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.  However, maybe he or she is a disabled Chinese veteran that fought in Korea, Vietnam, India, Tibet or against Uyghur separatists in Xianjiang.

The reason I say this is that a disabled American veteran would have his or her medical care through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as I do, which is only available in the US and its territories but not in China. The VA provides patient care and federal benefits to veterans and their dependents.

Chicomaniac also said, ps Archie Bunker inc. just like they told you on the chinadaily forums, shorten your prolonged missives they do nothing but put us to sleep.”

I recall that the only person that said this was the first cyber bully , and he wrote it on this Blog.

I’ve never left a comment on the China Daily Forums. In fact, I cannot recall leaving any comments on any Blog forums in China.  In addition, Archie Bunker was a character in a TV sitcom that went on the air in 1971 and went off the air in 1983.

Archie was a complex character. Along with his overt bigotry and ignorance – he had a paranoid fear of Black Power; Communists, and the Mafia. He was also portrayed as hardworking, a loving father and husband — basically decent and, rather than being motivated by genuine malice (as cyber bullies are), was merely a product of the era and working-class environment in which he had been raised.

Most Americans at least 35 or older should have known these facts.

I suspect that Chicomaniac was born after Archie Bunker went off the air and/or may never have seen the show. He may also be disappointed that Bosshard’s comment appeared in the previous series of posts several times, which focused on global environmental soil and water pollution instead of specifically on China.

If you decide to compare the two cyber bullies, you may find them at Another Cyber Bully.

I wonder what members of Al-Qaeda say about the United States on Internet forums. I doubt that there is much of a difference between them and this Chicomaniac. After all, Al-Qaeda’s goals are to destroy anyone that does not agree with them using any means possible.

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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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