The growing epidemic of illegal Drug use in China

February 4, 2015

There is a price that comes with living in a so-called “free” world with human rights that extend to every citizen — even hard-core criminals.

Besides violent crime and human trafficking (slavery), one of those challenges is the illegal drug trade.

For instance, in the United States, The DEA reports that Mexican drug cartels are making a bigger push to organize their black market activities in the United States, Europe and neighboring Latin American countries.

In fact, the US Justice Department reported, “The illegal drug market in the United States is one of the most profitable in the world.”

What about China? Between 1950 – 1976, China had little crime and had eliminated illegal drug use.  Under Mao, the drug traffickers were executed and addicts either rehabilitated or shot. Those who survived fled to Hong Kong, Macao, Europe and the United States. But after Mao’s death, that started to change.

Until the 1970s, China’s economy was managed by the communist government and was kept closed from other economies. Together with political reforms, China in the early 1980’s began to open its economy and signed a number of regional trade agreements.

Eventually China joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001. This meant that China could only engage in trade with the world following rules the CCP did not make. After China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), the service sector was considerably liberalized and foreign investment was allowed; restrictions on retail, wholesale and distribution ended. Banking, financial services, insurance and telecommunications were also opened up to foreign investment.

That’s when the illegal business of trafficking in illegal drugs returned to China with a vengeance.

Since the early 1980’s, due to China’s economic boom to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty, some parts of the country now battle social problems, including soaring rates of drug addiction. One of the worst affected areas is China’s southern province of Yunnan, the entry point for most heroin.

Yunnan’s border is easy to cross from the infamous Golden Triangle. In Yunnan, a fix of heroin costs about the same as a US chocolate bar.

To deal with this challenge, Chinese authorities send heroin addicts to a drug rehabilitation center at the provincial capital of Yunnan province, which is where the largest drug rehabilitation center in the world is located.

The heroin addicts spend two years in a strict rehabilitation program to help kick the habit. However, once released, many return to addiction.

The Atlantic.com reports that “The country’s economy has exploded over the past quarter-century. … Only 25 years ago, narcotics and illicit drug use were nearly unheard of. Today, Chinese society and government authorities are increasingly grappling with the explosion in drug use and drug addicts, as well as how to respond to the phenomenon. With more relaxed borders, increased wealth, and greater individual freedoms, drug addiction and its consequences threaten to become a permanent fixture within Chinese society.”

In 1992, there were less than 180,000 registered drug abusers in China. By 2014, that number had climbed to about 2.5 million.

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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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010″ Awards

 E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

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Liu Bolin is China’s Invisible Man

February 3, 2015

Liu Bolin’s photo art reminds me of Bev Doolittle’s paintings.  The name Bev Doolittle is synonymous with the word “camouflage art,” which is what Liu Bolin (Born 1973) is also known for except with photography.

From Shandong, China, Bolin—instead of painting on canvas—becomes the canvas, and the settings are photos of actual locations with him blending into the setting.

Oddity Central says, “Liu works on a single photo for up to 10 hours at a time, to make sure he gets it just right, but he achieves the right effect: sometimes passers-by don’t even realize he is there until he moves.”

Mike Krumboltz writing for Yahoo News Weekend Edition says of Liu Bolin, “Aside from looking cool, Bolin’s work does have a deeper meaning. Again, according to the Daily Mail, the living sculptures are ‘designed to show how we all can just disappear in today’s mass production world’.”

How is that different from prior to the industrial revolution and mass production? I’ll tell you.

Before the industrial revolution when most people were illiterate peasants and invisible, only emperors, kings and robber barons were well known. Today, many common people may gain a worldwide reputation due to the Internet as Liu Bolin has done.

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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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010″ Awards

 E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

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The Jade Culture of China

January 28, 2015

Cultures I know of that valued jade more than gold were the Aztecs, Incas, Mayans and Chinese.

In fact, China’s history with jade has been documented back more than 7,000 years, as Archaeologists have discovered jade objects dating from the early Neolithic period (about 5000 BC).


On the Road of Jade

Experts of the Zhejiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology found a 6,000 year-old jade workshop in China. Inside the ruins, piles of stone slices and primitive tools were found along with twenty jade rings.

Xinhua reported that the ruins were located in Tonglu county in Zhejiang province.

In 12th century China, a treatise was written about the property of jade, which resulted in 100 volumes with 700 color illustrations.

Confucius believed jade was the symbol of intelligence, humanity, loyalty and truthfulness, and the Chinese have called it eternal, divine, the Stone of Heaven and Earth, and the stone of tranquility.


Chinese Jade Culture

Peter Luca wrote on the Health Properties of Jade in China on Suite101.com, and he said, “for centuries, imperial households and courts, ate jade, wore jade, sucked on jade and were buried with it.”

Luca says, “Scientific research has confirmed that the stone contains elements such as: Zinc, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Cobalt, Selenium, Chromium, Titanium, Lithium, Calcium and Sodium. A current line of thinking is that, wearing natural products for a long period of time can supplement the body’s diet in its requirement for these elements.”

Jade also absorbs the sun’s energy and lets it out at night.

The finest Jadeite comes from Myanmar while Nephrite (another type of jade) is found in China, Guatemala, New Zealand and Canada.

As you can see, we have barely scratched the surface of this stone.

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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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010″ Awards

 E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

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China’s curious link between Opium, Christians, Cults and Cannon balls

January 27, 2015

Organized religions and cults such as the Falun Gong have been in China for centuries, but have never played a major role in the culture until the 19th century when Christianity and opium was forced on China.

C.M. Cipolla, in Guns, Sales and Empires, wrote, “While Buddha came to China on white elephants, Christ was born on cannon balls” paid for by the profits to be made from opium. Cipolla obtained his first teaching post in economic history in Catania at the age of 27. In 1953, Cipolla left for the United States as a Fulbright fellow and in 1957 became a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Two years later he obtained a full professorship.

The treaties that ended the two Opium Wars—first Opium war (1839-1842) and second Opium War (1856-1860)—required that China’s emperor allow Christian missionaries free access to all of China to convert the heathens. The treaty also opened all of China to the opium trade. Christianity and Opium might seem a strange partnership but that’s the way it was.

Then there was the Taiping Rebellion led by Hong Xiuquan, God’s Chinese son and a Christian convert, who was responsible for 20 – 100 million deaths over a period of 14 years (1850 – 1864). Hong claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ, and millions of Chinese believed him, but the Taipings were against the opium trade and that led the Christian countries to support China’s emperor against the Christian Taipings proving that profits come before God.

Then in the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers, officially known as Fists of Righteous Harmony, roamed the countryside attacking Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Chinese converts.

Confucius and Lao-Tse have influenced the foundation of Chinese culture and morality, and these two along with Buddha offer more of a blended influence on Chinese culture than Christianity or Islam.

Thanks to Confucius, China’s mainstream culture understands the importance of people within the family and society more so than many other countries and cultures. This may explain why China is a powerhouse of industry today.

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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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010″ Awards

 E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

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To the Chinese these Americans were Heroes

January 21, 2015

It is ironic that in the 1940s we were fighting with the Chinese against the Japanese. Then in 1950, China and the US fought against each other in North Korea and Chinese advisers were sent to assist North Vietnam to fight the US in the 1960s.

Then, after Nixon arrived in China in the 1970s, we were friends again—sort of.

In February 2010, I had an instant message chat with Ian Carter, an Australian expatriate living in Southeast China, and learned from him that during World War II in 1944 an American B-24 Liberator bomber vanished without a trace in Southeast China.

Fifty-two years later in 1996, farmers discovered the bomber’s wreck and the remains of the ten-man crew on Mao’er Shan (Little Cat Mountain), Southern China’s highest peak . The name of the B-24 bomber was Tough Titi.

These Americans are considered heroes—click link to learn more about this story—to the Chinese, and the remains of the crew were returned to the United States for burial.

There’s a memorial stone near the crash site and Chinese tourists pay honor to these Americans by leaving flowers and other gifts.

To honor these heroes further, the Chinese recovered some of the bomber’s parts and used them as a centerpiece for a museum in Xing’an, about four hours from the crash site.

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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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010″ Awards

 E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
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Finding Clean Air in China

January 20, 2015

If asked to name cities in China, most people outside of China would probably say Shanghai and Beijing, but China has more than a hundred cities with populations over a million and some of them actually have clean air.

Mike Conklin, in a special to the Chicago Tribune, reveals a rare gem in Xiamen, China—a southeast port across the Taiwan Straits from Taiwan.

One of China’s top universities is located in Xiamen with about 30,000 students along with a half dozen other colleges.

Besides great beaches and “CLEAN AIR”, the population is environmentally conscious and prices are low.  A few years ago, the CCP planned to build a chemical plant in Xianmen.  But students took to the streets in peaceful protest and more than a million text messages were sent objecting to the chemical plant.

The central government changed its plans—meaning NO chemical plant was built in or near Xiamen.

_______________

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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010″ Awards

E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

 


What is it about the Asian Culture?

January 14, 2015

On Tuesday January 13, I briefly mentioned the 6th Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration that took place in San Francisco on May 15, 2010. This post continues with that event.

There were Chinese, Thai, Tibetans—and even the Falun Gong (using another name to disguise who they were)—a free Burma booth, and booths for Dragon Boat Races, and the Lion Dance.

I was there with President Margie Yee Webb of the Sacramento branch of the California Writers Club (CWC), Frances Kakugawa, and Teresa LeYung Ryan. That year, the CWC’s booth was in front of the San Francisco library.

Authors Frances Kakugawa and Teresa LyYung Ryan at the CWC booth

It’s estimated that 100,000 people attends this street celebration each year.

Many people stopped by our booth to talk about China and/or buy books. By noon, I went for a walk toward Little Saigon. Booths lined the street for blocks. It was obvious from what I saw that all of Asia’s cultures have been influenced by China one way or another.

Lion Dance booth

California Dragon Boat Races

The Chinese believe in lucky symbols and bamboo plays a part in that belief.  China was the super power in Asia for more than two thousand years. At one booth, I stopped to take a few photos of a Chinese band playing traditional Asian music.  All the instruments I’ve written on this Blog about were there.

The silk trade started in China and there was a booth with a woman creating tapestries from silk thread.

Even the Glamour and Grace of Miss Chinatown USA was represented.

It was a long and rewarding day that went by too fast, but it was a harmonious day.

Lloyd Lofthouse (me)

When I was still teaching (1975-2005), I learned that by the third generation, the children of most immigrants are assimilated by American culture.

If that is true, why is it that Asians—as an ethnic group—have the lowest incidence of STDs, the lowest unemployment rate, the lowest incidence of drug use and the lowest incidence of teen pregnancy?

In fact, American Asians, including Chinese, tend to graduate from high school with higher GPAs and complete college at rates more than any ethnic group—including White—in the United States. For instance, the Institute of Education Sciences reports that in 2011-12, 93% of Asian/Pacific Islanders; 85% of Whites; 76% of Hispanics and 68% of Blacks, graduated from high school on time.

In addition. The U.S. Census reports that 48.3% of Asian-Americans have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 29.7% for Whites, 16.3% for Blacks and 13.5% of Latinos.

Why is education more important to Asian Americans than the other ethnic groups? When I say important, I support that claim by the graduation rates and not by what someone might say. Saying an education is important to you and then you don’t graduate, reveals the truth.

I think the answer is simple, and I’ve talked about this before in other posts—the collective family culture with a strong belief in the importance of education and respect for teachers and elders, and the public schools where I taught for thirty years had a small percentage of Asian students. Most of them always earned higher grades and were concerned about any grade lower than an A. Even an A- minus might worry some Asian-American students. I also seldom had behavior problems from the Asian-American students I taught in the same classes where every racial group was represented.


Opening Ceremony of the 2014 San Francisco Asian Heritage Street Celebration

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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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010″ Awards

 E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


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