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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Harlequin comes to China wielding Butterfly Swords

December 9, 2014

A review of Jeannie Lin’s Butterfly Swords
Guest Post by Tom Carter

Enter Jeannie Lin, Harlequin’s rising red-star of romance writing.  She isn’t the first author on Harlequin’s roster to set her books in China (that honor goes to Jade Lee and her infinite “Tigress” series).

However, Lin’s debut novel, Butterfly Swords, has been attracting a viral buzz louder than a summertime cicada not just for being the first Harlequin novel to NOT feature a man on the cover, but for using an Asian model as the cover girl, another Harlequin first.

The star of Butterfly Swords is a Chinese woman, yes.  But to give American readers something that they can relate to, the male love interest of Lin’s novel is not Chinese but a wandering whiteboy from the west.

Ryam is drifting around the Tang (618-906 AD) empire begging for food (this sounds exactly like my own travels across China!) when he spots a disguised female being attacked by a pack of marauding bandits.

The swordsman, who evokes images of bare-chested, fur underwear-wearing Thundarr the Barbarian from the eponymous 80’s cartoon, rescues her, then agrees to escort her home.

Little does Ryam know that young Ai Li is really a princess on the run from an arranged marriage to a dastardly warlord.  The two proceed on their journey together across the 7th-century frontier, getting in adventures and slowly but surely falling in love.

Pitting strength, courage and her fabulous butterfly swords against the forces of evil, Ai Li proves herself in the battlefield (“With Ai Li’s swords and determined spirit it was easy to forget that she was innocent”).

However, where the book has significant cultural crossover appeal is in author Jeannie Lin’s ability to keenly capture the multi-dimensional perspectives of both characters throughout their budding interracial relationship.

From Ryam’s course communicative abilities (“Where did you learn how to speak Chinese” Ai Li asks him, laughing. “You sound like you were taught in a brothel”) to his struggles with his inner-white demons as a big, bad bai gui (“It was so much easier to seduce a woman than talk to her”), the reader is introduced not to some empty-headed he-man but a complex male of the species who is genuinely torn between his biological needs and respecting Ai Li’s virtue.

“I don’t understand what she’s talking about half the time,” Ryam grumbles to himself. “Everything is about honor and duty.”  Surely even expats living in present-day P.R.C. can relate to this dilemma.

Ai Li, meanwhile, finds herself attracted not only to Ryam’s “musky scent” and “sleek muscles” (Harlequin prerequisites; don’t blame the authoress), but his sincerity (“There was nothing barbaric about him. His manner was direct and honest. It was her own countrymen she needed to be worried about.”).

The protagonist does find herself frustrated with “this swordsman with blue eyes and the storm of emotions that came with him,” but, true to life, Ai Li comes with her own personality flaws as well (“she was being irrational and she knew it”).

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Harlequin without passionate love scenes, something my fiancée missed in the heavily censored Chinese versions.

This Jeannie Lin does in the poetic prose of a Tang Dynasty-era pillow book yet with just enough creatively-provocative language to keep sex-numbed westerners interested (“Ryam slipped his fingers into her silken, heated flesh…her body went liquid and damp in welcome.”).  And thankfully without ever once resorting to the word “loin.”

Ryam proves himself to be an ideal lover for nubile Ai Li, “rough enough to make her breath catch, gentle enough to have her opening her knees,” though one can’t help but wonder how these two nomadic warriors can go so long without bathing nor brushing their teeth yet still manage to say things like “her mouth tasted just as sweet as he remembered.”

If only real life were as hygienic as a Harlequin novel.

One of the reasons why Harlequin is able to sell over 100 million units per year (the most profitable publishing company in the industry) is because every book is part of a series.

There are no individual Harlequin titles, which brilliantly leaves the reader yearning for more from the characters they have literally become so intimate with.  In this respect, Butterfly Swords concludes with a wide opening that screams sequel, but thankfully lacks the typical Harlequin-happy ending of matrimonial bliss.

One familiar with Chinese culture can’t help but wonder, then, what kind of future Ai Li and Ryam actually have together: in reality, Ai Li would put on weight, cut her hair short and become a shrill nag; her parents and grandparents would all move into their cramped apartment, and a frustrated Ryam, now with beer-belly, would spend more and more time at card games and with karaoke parlor hostesses than at home.

But before the infuriating realties of interracial marriage set in, we hope Jeannie Lin has at least a few more of her trademark sword fights and steamy sensuality in store.

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Travel Photographer Tom Carter traveled for 2 years across the 33 provinces of China to show the diversity of Chinese people in  China: Portrait of a People, the most comprehensive photography book on modern China published by a single author.

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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.

Return to Part 2  or start with  Part 1

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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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The last days of Sun Yat-sen: Part 1 of 3

December 2, 2014

In October 1911, a revolution in China overthrew the Qing Dynasty and ended more than two-thousand years of imperial monarchy.

After the revolution, the Republic of China was founded but warlords still controlled much of China.

The leader of this revolution was Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), and he served as the first president of the Republic of China.

The Chinese Communist Party persuaded Sun that if his Nationalist Party formed an alliance with the Communists, Sun would gain support from China’s peasants and industrial workers to help end the anarchy in China. Time Asia

But, by 1924, Sun Yat-sen’s health was not good. He was so sick he had to turn command of the Nationalist navy and army over to Hu Hanmin, who would later be a rival with Chiang Kai-shek for control of the Nationalists (Kuomintang) in the late 1920s.

The reason that Sun Yat-sen gave command of the navy and army to Hu Hanmin was because he wanted to go to the Baiyun Mountains of Guangzhou to recover from his illness.

However, Sun Yat-sen was invited to Beijing instead—the reason was to meet the warlord that controlled Beijing.

At the time, The Nationalists only held power in Southern China.

When he arrived by train, about 20-thousand people met him at the station.

The warlord had invited Sun Yat-sen to Beijing to talk about how to end the chaos and anarchy that still raged throughout much of China.

Continued in Part 2 on December 3, 2014

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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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Who eats Turkey in China on America’s Thanksgiving Day?

November 27, 2014

Turkey is a fowl the Chinese seldom eat. However, eating duck and chicken is common. Duck is even considered a delicacy. In fact, the Unvegan says, “No trip to Beijing is complete without eating some Peking Duck.”

Since I am a vegan, I didn’t eat Peking Duck, but I watched my wife eat it at Quan Ju De (Peking Duck) in Beijing.

The Virtual Tourist says, “It is thought that Beijing roast duck, like the tradition of roast turkey in America and the UK, owes its origin to the roast goose that is still popular in Europe on festive occasions.”

Most Americans do not celebrate the Chinese New Year (the Spring Festival) and most Chinese do not celebrate Thanksgiving. After all, Thanksgiving is an American holiday that Canadians celebrate too but on the second Monday in October.


Thanksgiving in Beijing with Peking Duck

China.org says, “From 2001 to 2005, China imported 486,000 tons of turkey, with all of the whole turkeys and 90 percent of Turkey parts coming from the US…. Currently, 70 to 80 percent of the consumers are Westerners.”

I’m assuming that Westerners eating turkey in China are there working, as tourists or are expatriates living in the Middle Kingdom and can’t do without turkey on Thanksgiving in October or November.

If you are from North America in China during Thanksgiving, you have a choice between Peking Duck, which is easy to find, and turkey.

Go China says, “Just head to your local international grocery store (Jenny Lu’s in Beijing, Cityshop in Shanghai) and stock up on all the fixings: frozen Butterball turkeys, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie makings. But you better do it fast, there tends to be a run on these items so if you’re shopping on the last Thursday in November, you’ll be out of luck.”

And maybe I should have posted this before Thanksgiving day.
:o)

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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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