Zheng Cao, who beat the odds and cheated death, is the Mezzo-Soprano from China

March 18, 2013

She describes herself as a girl from China who came to America with $45 and knowing two words of English, “Merry Christmas.”  Source: SFGate

When Zheng Cao burst onto the San Francisco Opera scene in 1995, she played Siebel in “Faust.” Since then, she’s performed in opera houses throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Today, an inspiration, the Shanghai-born Mezzo-soprano has defied the odds of surviving stage four lung cancer and a diagnoses that said she had six months to live.

When diagnosed, she received a death sentence. Months later, she would learn that the rigorous treatment plan had dramatically reduced the cancer threat.

“This is the most impressive response I’ve seen in my life,” Dr. Rosenbaum said.

Zheng Cao’s tumors either had decreased in size, were no longer visible or no longer considered active.

To learn more about Zhen Cao’s journey, visit her Blog at Caring Bridge.org.

Zheng Cao holds degrees from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Curtis Institute of Music.

While studying, she worked as a singer on the Holland American cruise line where she met Troy Donahue in 1991.

Donahue said, “We were very serious, very committed to each other. It’s the greatest relationship I’ve ever had in my life.” Source: Troy Donahue at encore4.net

Zheng Cao and Troy Donahue were engaged until his death in 2001. She turned 44 on June 9, 2010.

See China’s Got Talent Too

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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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No Way is Tibet a Democracy in Exile!

February 18, 2013

I read a misleading post at Global Voices that was titled China and Tibet: Democracy in Exile. My first thought was, “When was Tibet ever a Democracy?”

Let’s see, how did the United States become a Republic? The answer is simple: the American colonists rebelled against the British Empire and fought the American Revolution 1775 – 1783.  There was the Declaration of Independence and then there was the US Constitution followed by twenty-seven ratified amendments. The 27th Amendment was enacted on May 7, 1992, but was proposed September 25, 1789. It only took two-hundred and three years for approval. Wow!

Tibet does not have a similar history. The only thing that is similar is that some Tibetans took part in an uprising against the CCP, and they lost. The same thing could have happened in America from 1775 to 1783. If  the colonists had lost, a reluctant US might still be ruled by the UK.

In fact, it doesn’t matter what the Richard Geres of  the world say or want us to believe—Tibet has never been a republic or a democracy.

Here’s what the Global Voices author said in the first sentence, “Being a Tibetan in exile is a loss that manifests in many forms: the loss of homeland and natural rights fall within that.”

What were the natural rights that were lost?

Most Tibetans in exile (represented by about 1% of the total Tibetan population) gave up land and thousands of serfs who were treated no better than slaves. What was lost were positions of power and wealth.

Before 1950, when Mao’s Red army reoccupied Tibet for China, there had been no democracy or republic in Tibet – ever.

The following quotes show us what Tibet was like before 1950.

“Lamaism is the state religion of Tibet and its power in the Hermit Country is tremendous. Religion dominated every phase of life. … For instance, in a family of four sons, at least two, generally three, of them must be Lamas. Property and family prestige also naturally go with the Lamas to the monastery in which they are inmates.

“Keeping the common people or laymen, in ignorance is another means of maintaining the power of the Lamas. Nearly all of the laymen (serfs) are illiterate. Lamas are the only people who are taught to read and write.”  Source: October 1912 National Geographic Magazine, page 979.

I’m sure that under Lamaism, there was no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, and the people did not vote.  Need I saw more?

Between 1912—when those words appeared in National Geographic—and 1950, Tibet did not change, because it stayed the same as it had been for centuries. The only difference was that there was no Chinese governor in Tibet appointed by the Emperor and supported by Chinese troops.

What we have in Global Voices is clever manipulation to elicit support for the Tibetan separatist movement.

There’s nothing wrong with supporting a separatist movement. After all, there are at least eight known and active separatist movements in the United States: the Alaska Independence Party; Hawaiian sovereignty movement; Lakotah Oyate; Puerto Rico Independence Party; League of the South; Texas Secession Movement; Second Vermont Republic and the Cascadia Independence Movement.

In addition, Tibetans have the same odds to be free from China as Hawaiians and the Lakota Sioux have of being free of the United States.

It is a fact that a reluctant Tibet was ruled over by the Yuan (Mongol), Ming (Han) and Qing (Manchu) Dynasties from 1277 to 1913, when Great Britain convinced Tibet to break from China at the same time the Qing Dynasty was collapsing.

Discover Why Tibet?

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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 Seven Wonders of China: Part 5/5

February 15, 2013

To protect the Shibaozhai temple, the Chinese government had a six-hundred foot high, thirty-three foot thick dike built to protect it. When completed, the dike will surround the temple and cliff.

7. Forbidden City, Beijing

The Forbidden City is the largest, ancient palace in the world and is one of the most visited tourist sites on the planet. This palace covers more than 7 million square feet in central Beijing next to Tiananmen Square. That is the size of eighty football fields and the palace is surrounded by a moat.

In the early fourteen hundreds, the emperor moved the capital of China to Beijing to establish better control over the country. It took a million laborers and artists fourteen years to build. The Forbidden City has 9,999.5 rooms—as close as man can get to the palace of the gods, which is supposed to have ten-thousand rooms.

Before the Forbidden City became a tourist attraction, the penalty for sneaking inside was death usually by being beheaded. Once the empresses and concubines of the emperor moved into the Forbidden City, none were allowed to leave. Twenty-four emperors ruled China from inside the walls of this palace.

Return to the The Seven Wonders of China: Part 4 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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The Seven Wonders of China: Part 3/5

February 13, 2013

4. Leshan Buddha

Everything about this Buddha is BIG. More than a thousand years old, it took almost a century to carve the Leshan Buddha from the solid rock cliff. The Buddha looks out over a river and legend says the rugged, unpredictable river sunk many boats drowning people until the Buddha was carved from the cliff.

It is thought that the rocks cut from the cliff while the Buddha was being constructed tumbled into the river and calmed the currents. However, today, air pollution as in acid rain from industry is threatening the Buddha. Maintaining the Buddha has become a challenge. About two million people visit each year.

5.Mount Wudang

To the Chinese, Mt. Wudang is the first mountain under heaven. Ornate palaces may be found on the mountains slopes. Temples, pavilions and bridges are all designed to harmonize with the landscape. This mountain is also the home of Wudang Kung Fu. A martial art that is still active today after seven hundred years. In Chinese terms, Wudang is a small town of 20,000 people that is a fascinating mix of tradition and modernity.

Continued on February 14, 2013 in The Seven Wonders of China: Part 4 or return to 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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Shanghai Teahouse

June 20, 2012

This is where I enjoy shopping when in Shanghai.

It wasn’t crowded yet!

The Huxinting Teahouse has been around for awhile (several centuries–it was restored in 1784).  This pavilion was turned into the tea house in 1855. Nice place to stop and have a cup of tea.  Go early.  It gets crowded.


famous Shanghai tea house on the water

The area in Shanghai around the Huxinting Teahouse is a good place to shop. Many small shops. Do not pay asking price. Be willing to bargain.  Start low and meet in the middle. Don’t be too cheap either.

Shopping before it gets crowded.

The following video gives you a musical tour of the sights of Shanghai’s Old District including Yu Yuan Garden and Huxinting Tea House.

For more about Shanghai, also see:
Shanghai
Shanghai’s History & Culture
Shanghai Huangpu River Tour
Eating Gourmet in Shanghai
Chinese Pavilion, Shanghai World Expo

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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 edited and revised post first appeared on February 20, 2010 (Note: the author took the photos but did not produce the video)


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