The link between the politics behind the Nobel Peace Prize and the so-called democracy movement in Hong Kong

November 18, 2014

First, according to the Democracy Index, in 2012, there were only 25 full democracies in the world while there were 51 authoritarian regimes. There were also 54 flawed democracies and 37 hybrid regimes. The Democracy Index is compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are United Nations member states.

With the so-called democracy demonstrations taking place in Hong Kong—a former colony of the British Empire that was never a democracy by any definition—I want to make a link between those demonstrations and the Nobel Peace Prize.

Back in 2010, the media in democratic countries sounded the charge against China when Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Western media splashed the news on the Internet, across the front pages of newspapers and repeatedly reported it on TV and radio.

For example, The Huffington Post reported, “Imprisoned Chinese democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo on Friday won the Nobel Peace Prize, an award that drew furious condemnation from the authoritarian government and calls from world leaders including President Barack Obama for Liu’s quick release.”

I’m sure that Liu Xiaobo believes in his mission as many in the West do, but I have to agree with America’s Founding Fathers. For instance President John Adams (1735 – 1826), the second president of the U.S., who said, “That the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority is demonstrated by every page of the history of the whole world,” and “Democracy … while it lasts is more bloody than either [aristocracy or monarchy]. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

What about China soon after Mao’s death when Deng Xiaoping launched China’s economic capitalist revolution, and in 1982, China wrote the first draft of a constitution designed to build an authoritarian republic—not a democracy?

Since then, China has been moving slowly down a road toward a more representative republic that fits China’s culture, which might never accept Western democracy activists like Liu Xiaobo. I wonder what America’s Founding Fathers would have done with Liu Xiaobo—probably ignored him as most Americans would, but we might find an answer with how the U.S. deals with treason.

“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” 18 U.S. Code 2381 – Treason

What about China’s Constitution? After all, China does have a Constitution of its own.

For instance, there is Article 35: Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.

But there are also Articles 51, 52, 53 and 54:

Article 51: Citizens of the People’s Republic of China, in exercising their freedoms and rights, may not infringe upon the interests of the State, of society or of the collective, or upon the lawful freedoms and rights of other citizens.

Article 52: It is the duty of citizens of the People’s Republic of China to safeguard the unification of the country and the unity of all its nationalities.

Article 53: Citizens of the People’s Republic of China must abide by the Constitution and other laws, keep State secrets, protect public property, observe labour discipline and public order and respect social ethics.

Article 54: It is the duty of citizens of the People’s Republic of China to safeguard the security, honour and interests of the motherland; they must not commit acts detrimental to the security, honour and interests of the motherland.

Nobel Prizes are awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which has been accused of having a political agenda. They have also been accused of Euro-centrism.

For the 2010 Nobel Prizes, there were five committee members, one man and four women—all white and old. Click the link and see for yourself.

In conclusion, I want to point out a few facts about China and its government that you probably will never hear from the mainstream Western media—especially in the United States.

Never before in China’s history has any government made an attempt to improve the lifestyles and welfare of its people. The World Bank reports that the CCP has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty—90 percent of global poverty reduction in the last 30 years. Poverty in 1981 was 85 percent. In 2008, the World Bank reported it was 13 percent, lower than the poverty rate in the United States where poverty is increasing.

For more than two thousand years, China was known as the land of famines. In fact, Imperial records reveal that China had famines annually in one or more provinces, but under the CCP, the only famine was in 1958-1960—and the Western media has crucified the CCP repeatedly because of this famine and has never mentioned China’s annual history of  famines.

In 1949, when the CCP came to power, average life expectancy in China was age 35. Today it is 75. When Mao died, only 20 percent of Chinese were literate. Today, literacy is 95.1 percent.

If China is ruled by a brutal authoritarian government with a dictator—which isn’t true because its president may only serve two, five-year terms and the president’s power is limited—explain why an average of more than 50 million Chinese travel the world annually as tourists (more than any other country) and why many Chinese are free to go to college in the United States, and other countries, as foreign students.

Did you know that Xi Jinping, China current president, sent his daughter to college in the United States? In addition, in 2011, China send the most foreign students—194,029—to the USA, up 23% from the previous year.

There are more than 2,000 McDonald’s restaurants in China. KFC has more than 4,600. Pizza Hut has more than 1,200.  Walmart has been in China for 18 years and has about 90,000 employees. Starbucks is also in China and plans to have 1,500 stores by 2015.

Intel has research and manufacturing facilities in Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

In 2012, 54 percent of urban Chinese were middle class and another 14 percent were upper middle class.

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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 Long History with Burma/Myanmar: Part 3 of 3

November 13, 2014

Enough said about The Economist, Christianity and differences between dictatorships, democracies and republics, and back to the long history between China and Burma/Myanmar, which started during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.).

Due to deposits of jade in Burma/Myanmar and that region, Chinese merchants have been involved in mining and trade there for more than two thousand years.

Then during the Qing Dynasty, there were four major invasions (1765-1769) of Burma by China’s Manchu leaders. In 1784, the long struggle between Burma and China ended and regular trade started up again.

In November 1885, Sir Robert Hart favored a proposal that China, as Burma’s overlord, stand aside and allow the British Empire to pursue her own course there provided that Britain allow Burma to continue her decennial tribute (once every ten years) missions to China. Source: The I. G. In Peking, Letters of Robert Hart, Chinese Maritime Customs 1868-1907, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, page 614, 1975.

Instead, the British Empire made Burma a province of India in 1886.

Since independence from the British Empire, Burma has generally been impartial to world affairs but was one of the first countries to recognize Israel and the People’s Republic of China.

Territories such as the autonomous regions of Tibet, Xinjiang and countries like North Korea, Manchuria, Mongolia, Burma, Vietnam and others along China’s long borders were considered vassal states by some Chinese dynasties, and these vassal states often sent lavish gifts and delegations to China’s emperors on a regular schedule.

Return to Part 2 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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China’s Long History with Burma/Myanmar: Part 2 of 3

November 12, 2014

What does the Beijing based unnamed critic writing for The Economist expect—that China adopt America’s evangelical, neo-conservative/neo-liberal role to spread “democracy” and “Christianity” to the world through nation building?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the critic writing in The Economist suggest that he or she expects China to spread “democracy” to countries like Burma and North Korea, which are by definition dictatorships, which the U.S. has a long history of supporting. See Cold War Origins of the CIA Holocaust to learn more.

If you haven’t read this opinion piece in The Economist, I suggest you do before going on to Part 3. Did you know that at the same time that the United States sells or gives weapons to dictatorships and authoritarian governments, it also has programs through the U.S. State Department to support religious freedom in many of the same countries?

For instance, Saudi Arabia, a country that prohibits any religion other than Islam and has a long history of human rights violations (Human Rights Watch World Report 2013) . On October 20, 2010, the US State Department notified Congress of its intention to make the biggest arms sale in American history—an estimated $60.5 billion purchase by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The IAGS says this about Saudi Arabia: “Much has been reported about the complex system of terrorist financing and the money trail facilitating the September 11 terror attacks. Individuals and charities from the Persian Gulf—mainly from Saudi Arabia—appear to be the most important source of funding for terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda.”

Continued on November 13, 2014 in Part 3 or return to 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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China’s Long History with Burma/Myanmar: Part 1 of 3

November 11, 2014

The Economist (September 9, 2010) published a critical piece about China’s relationship with MyanmarWelcome, Neighbor – China hosts another tinpot dictator from next door

“Tinpot dictator” are the two key words in the title of this opinion piece, as if the United States or the UK has never hosted and/or supported “tinpot” dictators.

A well-written criticism of the U.S. government from Sri Lanka sets the record straight.

“I wish the spokesman of the (U.S.) State Department … would explain how Washington’s concern for democracy in Sri Lanka squares with US support for repressive regimes such as the one in Uzbekistan or the autocratic rule in Saudi Arabia, both countries in which the U.S. has military facilities.

“In post-World War II period, Washington has militarily propped up such dictators including several in South Korea, Ferdinand Marcos who was ousted by the Filipino people, Indonesia’s Suharto also thrown out by the people, Vietnam’s Dinh Diem, various military governments in Thailand, Singapore’s autocrat Lee Kwan Yew, the military dictators in Pakistan from Ayub Khan to Pervez Musharraf, all of them from our part of the world…” The Ugly Americans Once More (Lankaweb, Sri Lanaka’s first Social Media website)

The Economist only mentions a half century of history between China and Burma/Myanmar, yet, China’s history with Burma and then Myanmar goes back about two thousand years.

The opinion piece also does not mention that China, since 1982, has not been into nation building as the U.S. has since 9/11, when President G.W. Bush launched wars against Iraq and Afghanistan with threats to Iran and North Korea.

Continued on November 12, 2014 with 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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Halloween in the United States versus The Hungry Ghost Festival in China, and the money to be made

October 31, 2014

The closest celebration in China to Halloween in the United States is The Hungry Ghost Festival, which is celebrated the 14th or 15th night of the 7th lunar month in July or August.

The Ghost Festival, also known as The Hungry Ghost Festival, is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday celebrated by Chinese in many countries, in which ghosts and/or spirits of deceased ancestors come from the lower realm and/or hell to visit the living.

Buddhists from China and Taoists claim that the Ghost Festival originated with the canonical scriptures of Buddhism, but many of the visible aspects of the ceremonies originate from Chinese folk religion, and other local folk traditions (see Stephen Teiser’s 1988 book, The Ghost Festival in Medieval China).

In America, most children wear costumes and go door to door collecting free candy.  In China, food is offered to dead ancestors, joss paper is burned and scriptures are chanted.

Chinese Culture.net says the Hungry Ghost Festival is “Celebrated mostly in South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and especially in Singapore and Malaysia… It is believed by many Chinese that during this month, the gates of hell are opened to let out the hungry ghosts who then want food.

By comparison, History.com says, “Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.”

I found it interesting that the dead linked both America’s Halloween and The Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival—at least historically.

As a child, I loved wearing a costume on Halloween and going out “trick-or-treating” at night to return home with a heavy bag (usually a pillowcase) filled with candy.

I still remember how much my stomach hurt and how terrible I felt after gorging myself on all that free candy.

Today, due to the epidemic of diabetes and overweight or obese children in the United States, I do not celebrate Halloween and do not give candy to children. The last time I gave treats to children on Halloween, I handed out small boxes of raisins (sweet dried grapes) instead of candy, and one mother called me cheap.

But Science Daily.com comes to my defense with: “Teenagers who consume a lot of added sugars in soft drinks and foods may have poor cholesterol profiles—which may possibly lead to heart disease in adulthood, according to first-of-its-kind research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.”

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported, “Teenagers and young adults consume more sugar drinks than other age groups and have been linked to poor diet quality, weight gain, obesity, and, in adults and children, type 2 diabetes.”

Then the Mayo Clinic said, “Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes. But type 2 diabetes in children is on the rise, fueled largely by the obesity epidemic,” and the American Diabetes Association says, “25.8 million children and adults in the US have diabetes while 79 million have prediabetes.

“Due to excessive sugar consumption, the risk of diabetes may lead to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disease, and/or amputation of feet and legs.”


Americans are Addicted to Sugars

To be fair, I can’t leave out the for-profit candy and costume industry in the U.S. that salivates when Halloween arrives. For instance, Forbes reported that consumers spent $1.96 billion on decorations, $360 million on greeting cards, $2.08 billion on candy and $2.6 billion on costumes. Consider that next time you go out shopping for Halloween candy, you’re helping make the rich wealthier at the cost of your child’s health.

In fact, Americans should learn something from the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival. Do not feed sugary candy to children.  Instead, give the sugar to the dead and eat an apple—because there’s a lot of truth to the old saying that if you eat an apple a day, it will help keep the doctor away. And if you doubt that, then I suggest you read this post on Science Daily.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217210549.htm

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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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Infamous Angel Island—the Ellis Island of America’s West Coast

October 22, 2014

There is a poem on the Statue of Liberty that ends with “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was America’s west coast Ellis Island, but those famous last lines on the Statue of Liberty Poem did not apply to the Chinese and other Asians.

From 1919 to 1940, mostly Asian immigrants entered the US through Angel Island.

After 1940, the immigration station on Angel Island was forgotten until a California Park Ranger, Alexander Weiss, discovered the stories carved in the walls.

He thought that there were stories here as if there were ghosts waiting to be heard.

Over half of the Angel Island immigrants came from China and Japan and most of the carvings on the walls were poems written in Chinese.

A former detainee, Dale Ching, went through the station in 1937 when he was sixteen.  Even though Dale’s father was born in the United States, he still had to go through the immigration station.

While the East Coast’s Ellis Island welcomed immigrants, Angel Island’s story was one of sadness and suffering.

Most European immigrants who went through Ellis Island stayed a few hours, but immigrants on Angel Island were kept locked up under armed guard with barbed-wire fences surrounding the buildings and some people stayed for days, weeks, months and years.

The park service wanted to tear the Angel Island buildings down but Weiss found supporters and they struggled to preserve this history.  They succeeded and the restoration project was challenging.

Alexander Weiss sums up the video saying we should know both the right and the wrong from U.S. history.

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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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Let’s take a close look at how many deadbeats there are in the United States living off welfare

October 13, 2014

If you live in China and you think the streets in America are paved in gold, take a close look at how many deadbeats there are in the United States living off welfare, and you might be surprised who the real welfare queens are.

First, a few numbers to get started: there are more than 316 million Americans and 150.8 million are between the ages of 18 to 65—the primary working years for adults. In 2013, 47.1 million Americans lived below the poverty level; 73.6 million were under the age of 18, and 44.6 million were age 65 or older.

Wow, and in September 2014, there were 146.6 million Americans who were working at paid jobs.

But, a few, far-right billionaire oligarchs—for instance, the Walton family and the Koch brothers, and the fools who swallow their propaganda—think that more people in the United States are on welfare and are deadbeats than those who are working and supporting them.

I think it is arguable and safe to say that it would be a misleading lie that the majority of the Americans who are not working are deadbeats on welfare. Only a fool could think that. Is it possible that there are only 4.2 million Americans—who could be deadbeats—between 18 and 65 who do not have a paying job—that’s only 1.328% of the total population? I bet most of those 4.2 million are probably disabled and can’t work or are a stay at home parent.

Did you know ABC reported that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world—more than the English, the French, the Germans or Norwegians and even, recently, more than the Japanese?

In addition, according to the OECD, in the United States 67% [that is almost 70%] of people aged 15 to 64 [the working class years] have a paid job. … And having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In the United States, 89% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, higher than the OECD average of 75%—and yet some billionaires, including Bill Gates [worth almost $80 billion], the Koch brothers and the Walton family, would have you believe that the public education system in the United States is failing and must be reformed.

20 Something Finance even says “The U.S. is the Most Overworked Developed Nation in the World.” And Business Insider says the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime—based on a 5 day 8 hour workweek with a two week vacation annually, that equals 45 years. I worked 45 years, starting at 15 and I retired at 60.  My retirement check comes from CalSTRS, and I paid 8% of my gross income into CalSTRS for the 30 years I was a classroom teacher.

But a Houston based billionaire, according to the Democratic Underground, is attacking public pensions with a goal to kill the guaranteed-benefit plans that are run by teacher retirement systems in every state. This billionaire’s name is John Arnold, who is worth $2.9 billion dollars. Arnold runs a Houston-based hedge fund, and before that he worked for Enron, and it is said that he earned $750 million for Enron the year it went out of business. Huh, how do you earn $750 million for a company that goes out of business the same year?

Contrary to the popular thinking of fools, Social Security is not a form of welfare because workers and employers pay into that program for their entire working life, and in 2013, there were 38 million retired workers—nine out of ten individuals age 65 or older—who collected an average monthly benefit of $1,294. There were 4.9 million dependents; 8.8 million disabled workers, who were paid an average of $1,145 a month, and 6.2 million survivors—survivors are young children and a surviving spouse who cares for the children.

What about food stamps—a real welfare program?

From Media Matters.org we learn that nearly half (47% or 23 million), who get food stamps, were under the age of 18, and another 8 percent (3.9 million) were 60 or older; 41% (more than 20 million) lived in a household with earnings from a job. These workers are known as the “working poor”, and the average household on food stamps received a monthly benefit of $287.

And, these so-called deadbeats—that a few billionaires and a lot of fools think outnumber working Americans—are allegedly robbing us blind while they sit around drinking beer, eating popcorn and watching TV or having sex 18-hours a day to make more babies so they can collect more food stamps. If you believe that, then you might want to look in a mirror to see a fool.

If these billionaires succeed, what will replace progressive era plans like CalSTRS, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and food stamps?

If we look back at history, we might discover the answer to that question. In 1900, before Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy and LBJ, ushered in the progressive era, 40-percent of Americans lived in poverty with only a 5% unemployment rate, and up until 1938, in some states, children could be sold as young as five to factories, coal mines and whorehouses. Imagine your five-year old child working as a prostitute, because boys and girls were sold into prostitution back then when the U.S. was ruled by capitalist Robber Barons.

Is this the America a few billionaires, with help from some fools, are fighting to get back?

By the way, did you watch the video that comes with this post? It really is an educational eye opener.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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