Corruption in Asia and the Power of the Peasant in China

April 29, 2014

Corruption is a fact-of-life in Asia, and China may be one of the few countries in Asia doing something about it.

The Corruption Perceptions Index of 2013 reveals most of Asia is “very” corrupt—the smaller number is better and 175 is the worst global ranking, and that infamy is shared between Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.

Of 177 countries ranked for corruption, Myanmar (Burma) was ranked 157; Iraq 171; Laos 140; Cambodia 160; Vietnam 116, and Indonesia 114.

Even India, the world’s largest democracy, was ranked 94. Singapore, by comparison, is 5th—one of the least corrupt countries in the world and it’s tied with Norway. The countries with the least corruption in the world were Denmark tied with New Zeeland. Third place goes to Finland and Sweden, another tie.

Thailand, another democracy, was ranked 102, but China—you know—the country that gets so much bad press in the United States for corruption, was ranked 80th—55% of the world’s countries were rated worse.

The power of the Chinese peasant demonstrated in this video may have something to do with China’s improved score as one of the least corrupt nations in East Asia. Few were better than China. South Korea was ranked 46 and Japan 18 which is better than the United States at 19.

It may come as a surprise to many Western critics but in rural China, democracy’s ballot box has been active at the village level since the mid-1980s. In fact, in 1997, The Independent reported that China’s rural peasants were discovering the power of the ballot box.

“Under Communist Party rule, village elections are the only example of one-person, one-vote democracy in China. Launched in the mid-eighties, they were originally introduced to replace the village communes that were dissolved after the Cultural Revolution.”

Few outside China have heard of China’s rural democracy. Nearly one million villages with 600 million Chienese hold elections and each time there is an election, the peasants learn more about democracy in action.

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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


Looking at Corruption: China vs. the United States

September 24, 2013

During National Library Week a few years ago, I attended the Golden Leaves event at Cal Poly Pomona’s University Library. Afterwards, I joined a conversation about China, and one American citizen who had never been to China mentioned the corruption in China and how flawed their legal system was. He was adamant that China had to change and become more democratic. He also said there were a lot of angry people in China who wanted change—how did he know that?

However, there are two sides to every story, and “While the true extent and cost of white-collar crime (in the United States) are unknown, it is estimated to cost the United States more than $300 billion annually, according to the FBI.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Wall Street corruption and greed in America that caused the 2007/08 global financial crises may have led to global losses of at least $15 Trillion.

In addition, a United Nations report says that by the end of 2009, the global increase in jobless persons was 27 million more than in 2007 before the financial crises hit—should we say, “Thank you, America?”

What about China?

The Economist’s View says, “For one thing, the Chinese trust their government more. According to a recent World Values Survey, 96.7 percent of Chinese expressed confidence in their government, compared to only 37.3 percent of Americans.

“Likewise, 83.5 percent of Chinese thought their country is run for all the people, rather than for a few big interest groups, whereas only 36.7 percent of Americans thought the same of their country. With this relatively higher trust, China’s government and enterprises are better able to enact and implement strict policies that promote saving and growth.”

I wonder if all the greed and corruption in China will ever threaten the global economy and cost millions of people jobs.

And what about corruption in India, the democracy next door to China? We seldom if ever hear anyone criticizing India for corruption. However, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranks India as more corrupt than China. In fact, there are 108 countries of 183 listed as more corrupt than China.

Why does the Western media focus so much attention on China when it comes to the topic of corruption while mostly ignoring the 108 countries worse than China? I mean, even Thailand—a staunch US ally—is more corrupt than China, and Mexico is worse than Thailand and India!

Discover China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

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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


The real “INFAMOUS” role model of scandals and corruption- Part 3/3

August 1, 2012

The top three scandals that come to mind, as I finish writing this post, is the Watergate Scandal, which involved President Nixon leading to his resignation, and the Iran Contra Scandal that involved President Reagan’s White House and last the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal with President Clinton.

In addition, if you want to learn of political murders in the United States, I refer you to Wikipedia’s list of Assassinated American Politicians.  At the bottom of this list are links to United States federal judges killed in office and US Congress members killed or wounded in office.

Meanwhile, can we believe everything we read or hear from the media since conservative Republicans often let us know that the media in the US, especially when it reports on corruption and scandals of Republicans, is controlled by a liberal bias, and the GOP does not mention that it was Republican President Ronald Reagan that vetoed the Fairness Doctrine that would have required the media to balance its reporting by allowing both sides of an issue equal space/time to explain each respective point of view.

Then in 1991, another Republican President, George H. W. Bush, threatened another veto if Congress attempted to bring The Fairness Doctrine back.


You Can Buy and Sell Anything!

When the Fairness Doctrine was in place, citizen groups used it as a tool to expand speech and debate. For instance, it prevented stations from allowing only one side to be heard on ballot measures. Source: Common Dreams.org

What does this teach us about politics and honesty in the United States?

And last, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota reported on a comparison of false statements during political campaigns in the United States and said, “PolitiFact assigns ‘Pants on Fire’ or ‘False’ ratings to 39 percent of Republican statements compared to just 12 percent of Democrats since January 2010,” which may indicate that Republicans lie three times more than Democrats but both still make false statements.

In conclusion, if we follow the advice of Jesus Christ when he confronted the mob that was ready to stone a woman accused of adultery, then the United States as a nation with almost 247 million Christians does not have the right to condemn China as the cover of Time Magazine’s May 14, 2012 issue did with “The People’s Republic of Scandal – Murder. Lies. Corruption. Can China face the truth?

The real question should be, “Are most American’s capable of facing the truth and dealing with it?”

What do you think?

Return to The real “INFAMOUS” role model of scandals and corruption – 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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The real “INFAMOUS” role model of scandals and corruption- Part 1/3

July 30, 2012

When I saw the cover of Time Magazine’s May 14, 2012 issue, “The People’s Republic of Scandal—Murder. Lies. Corruption. Can China face the truth?“, I thought about the US, which often ignores and/or conveniently forgets the history of scandals at home while pointing fingers at other countries–China is often used as a scapegoat to divert Americans from the political corruption at home.

For example, a report by Steven P. Lanza at the University of Connecticut included a chart that shows “How States Rank in Political Corruption” with Virginia leading the pack with about 1,100 convictions between 1986-1995 and Vermont coming in last with almost zero convictions.

In fact, the reason most American’s do not read or hear about scandals and corruption in the United States as much as they should is because the media often ignores news that happens so often it is considered too common.  For example, murder and the number of people held in prisons in the United States compared to China.

According to the Tizona Group, “approximately 45 murders are committed each day in the U.S.”

When someone challenged that number in a comment, tizona replied that the FBI in 2006 (and provided a link) reported 17,034 murders and when that number was divided by 365 days, it was almost 47 murders a day.

Can you imagine more than 45 daily, front-page stories reporting nothing but murders in the United States?

In fact, The International Homicide Comparison says in the US that there are 4.8 murders for each 100,000 people, while China has 1.12 murders per 100,000 but Time Magazine doesn’t mention those facts in its cover story.

When we compare all of the Americas with East and Southeast Asia, the facts are not pretty. The Americas had 15.5 murders per 100,000 people while the number for all of East Asia is 3 per 100,000.  The Americas may have more freedom than people in East Asia but what good is that so-called freedom when your odds of being murdered are more than five times higher? Source: List of Countries by International Homicide rate

As for the number of people locked up, Daily Paul (Ron Paul’s site) reported that there were 2,019,234 prisoners in the United States, winning first place for the world, while China came in second with 1,549,000 prisoners but Ron Paul’s site did not mention the disparity in population—the US has about 300 million people to China’s 1.3 billion, which translated to 715 people in prison for each 100,000 for the US and China doesn’t even make the top ten.  In fact, China ranks #71 globally, while the US is still number ONE in a category that should say, “Shame on you. What are you doing wrong in that country, and should the world really hold the United States up as an example of anything except consumerism?

However, all those facts aside, in the next two posts, let’s examine what I found researching political scandals and corruption of one kind or another between the American Democratic and Republican Parties.

Continued July 31, 2012 in The real “INFAMOUS” role model of scandals and corruption – 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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Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth

December 30, 2011

The cover for The Economist of October 2 – 8, 2010, placed a bet on India in an economic race with China.

The Economist wants India to win this race, because India is a democracy as is the U.S., but what isn’t mentioned is that China is evolving into a republic closer to the original republic that the United States was in 1776 with a Chinese twist, which is what Dr. Sun Yat-sen wanted.

Some claim China is ruled be a dictator today but that is not true. China is a republic that is guided by the word of law, which is the essence of a Republic.  In 1982, China wrote a new Constitution that spelled out the law and China’s schoolchildren are taught what these laws mean and how to live with them. However, the Chinese Constitution is not the same as the one in the US, so the laws are different.

I opened The Economist magazine and read the two pieces the cover was about. One was India’s surprising economic miracle and the second piece was A bumpier but freer road.

On page 11, I read, “many observers think China has done a better job than India of curbing corruption…”

On page 77, a Western banker was quoted saying, “It’s much easier to deal with the well-understood ‘organization chart’ of China Inc than the freewheeling chaos of India.”

Corruption exists in every country and Transparency International attempts to define and identify what global corruption looks like. Comparing China and India, we discover that while India’s corruption appears to be getting worse, corruption in China is improving due to the evolution of its new legal system.

In fact, in the past 3 years, the perception of corruption in India was 74%, [in the United States that perception was 72%], while in China it was only 46%.

In addition, the BBC reported recently, “Widespread corruption in India costs billions of dollars and threatens to derail the country’s growth…”

After I read both pieces in The Economist comparing China with India, it was obvious that India would never beat China economically without controlling its corruption, shrinking severe poverty and increasing literacy. Overall, the latest World Bank data shows that India’s poverty rate is 27.5% [330 million people], based on India’s current poverty line of $1.03 per person per day and an illiteracy rate of almost 26% [312 million people].

In comparison, literacy in China is more than 94% and the World Bank says in 2004, people in China living in poverty represented 2.8% of the population.

There are more reasons The Economist is wrong about India winning this economic race just because it is a democracy. One reason is that America’s Founding Fathers hated democracy and had a good reason.

Live Journal goes into detail on this topic. Live Journal says, “It would be an understatement to say that the (U.S.) Founding Fathers hated democracy. They warned against it vehemently and relentlessly. They equated it–properly–with mob rule.”

 

The Founders of the US, who hated democracy, built a free country [a republic]. Our [meaning many Americans] ignorance of history, which has led to a love of democracy, is causing the US to surrender its freedoms at an alarming rate.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866 – 1925), known as the father of modern China [by both China and Taiwan], said he wanted to model China’s government after America but by combining Western thought with Chinese tradition.

When he said this, it was 1910, and America, by definition, was still a republic. Once you read the two pieces in The Economist, you may understand why India’s democracy cannot beat China’s growing republic.

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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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 This revised and edited post first appeared October 13, 2010.


The two faces of Confucius – Part 5/5

December 24, 2011

Troy Parfitt, the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas says the Analects of Confucius represents only stone-age logic and dictums posing as wisdom that support tyranny. He says the Confucian concept of piety is virtually identical in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau.

However, Mr. Parfitt does not mention that Confucian philosophy is also practiced in democratic republics such as South Korea, Japan and the Philippians. In fact, people in all of East Asia practice different aspects of Confucian philosophy.

A hallmark of Confucius’ thought is his emphasis on education and study. He disparaged those who have faith in natural understanding or intuition and argued that the only real understanding of a subject comes from long and careful study.

Thus, under Confucianism, teachers and scholars were regarded, like oldest males and fathers, as unquestioned authorities [unless they lose the trust of the people by not doing their job].

In fact, the philosophy of Confucianism is not blind obedience. It is earned obedience. In addition, due to the value placed on eduction and merit, those in positions of power usually earned his or her position through hard work and merit and not popularity as in most liberal democracies.


Religion and Spirituality in Singapore

The face of Confucianism that pertains to tyranny is the political propaganda that governments in East Asia have used for centuries in futile attempts to convince the people to blindly obey.  The only countries this has worked well in so far are Japan and North Korea.

Yet, Japan, with its Confucian dictums that puts loyalty before filial piety became a parliamentary republic and one of its most innovative corporations, Toyota, is the number one global auto manufacturer with GM running second place. If we were to accept Parfitt’s opinion that Confucianism supports tyranny and not innovation, there is no way that Toyota could have been as successful as it has been.

If anyone doubts the power of Confucian loyalty and obedience in Japan, this is what Rutgers University has to say on the subject, “In modern Japanese society one is loyal to one’s immediate group, the “company”, the family, etc., just as previously the emperor, the shogun, or other lords commanded total obedience.”

What Parfitt doesn’t seem to understand is that in the family and in the village, Confucian social philosophy largely revolves around the concept ofren, “compassion” or “loving others” and not on blind obedience to the government.

Subjecting oneself to ritual does not, however, mean suppressing one’s desires but instead learning how to reconcile one’s own desires with the needs of one’s family and community.

If the political face of Confucianism was successful and crippled innovation as Mr. Parfitt preached in our debate, then China would have never invented silk, paper, the printing press, gunpowder, multi-stage rockets, the compass and so much more—centuries before these innovations reached the West.

Instead, the face of Confucianism with the most influence comes through the family—not the government—and in the family, the people learn the meaning behind the Mandate of Heaven and the value of a merit based education.

Return to The two-faces of Confucius – Part 4 or start with Part 1

______________

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 two faces of Confucius – Part 4/5

December 23, 2011

When comparing the practice of Confucianism in China to Japan, a report by Wai-ming Ng at the Chinese University in Hong Kong says, “The relationship between loyalty and filial piety, two fundamental virtues in Confucianism, has been a subject of concern among Confucian scholars in East Asia for many centuries.

“Many modern Japanese scholars believe that the main difference between Japanese Confucianism and Chinese Confucianism rests with their preference between loyalty and filial piety, suggesting that Japanese Confucianism puts  loyalty [to the government] before filial piety, whereas Chinese Confucianism prefers filial piety [in the family] to loyalty [of the government].”

That difference may be explained by China’s concept of the Mandate of Heaven, which says that heaven would bless the authority of a just ruler, as defined by the Five Confucian Relationships, but would be displeased with a despotic ruler and would withdraw its mandate, leading to the overthrow of that ruler. The Chinese people, of course, would be heaven’s hammer, which does not sound very obedient.

However, in Japan, the Mandate of Heaven is not practiced the same as in China. While the Chinese may protest and rebel, the Japanese tend to shy away from this behavior.

In The Coming China, Joseph King Goodrich says, “Obedience in China is a word that connotates far more than it does in Japan. It means obedience to the emperor, to the parent, to the family and to the government, although the Japanese have the reputation of being singularly marked with this trait.”


Confucianism = ritual, etiquette and being kind to one another

In China, the difference lies in the mandate to rule, which means that leaders do not tax the people unjustly. They make sure people have sufficient food and live in an orderly and peaceful society.

Confucian political philosophy is also rooted in the belief that a ruler should learn self-discipline, should govern his subjects by his own example, and should treat them with love and concern.

By providing these things, Confucius believed leaders would earn the confidence, trust and obedience of the people. By not providing these things, China’s leaders would lose the trust and obedience of the people.

One element of Confucianism that runs strong throughout East Asia is that Confucianism regards government and education as inseparable. Without a good education, it is considered impossible to find leaders who possess the virtues to run a government.

Confucius asked, “What has one who is not able to govern himself, to do with governing others?”

Continued on December 18, 2011 in The two-faces of Confucius – Part 5 or return to Part 3

______________

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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