Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 3/8

November 13, 2011

Before I reveal new evidence to cast doubt on the claims of Mao’s critics in the West, two more books blame Mao for the loss of life due to the famine that took place during The Great Leap Forward (GLF).

In Mao’s Great Famine (September 2010), Frank Dikotter claimed, “that as many as 45 million Chinese died from starvation, execution, and maltreatment under forced labor.”

Then, in Eating Bitterness (February 2011), two editors that compiled this book claimed that some “30 million peasants died of starvation and exhaustion during the GLF”.

I find it interesting how two editors claim the loss life was from starvation and exhaustion while another author claimed it was from starvation, execution, maltreatment and forced labor with a difference of 15 million deaths, which is a huge disparity.

In addition, In Henry Kissinger’s On China (pg 184), he says, “The Great Leap Forward’s production goals were exorbitant, and the prospect of dissent or failure so terrifyhing that local cadres took to falsifying their output figures and reporting inflated totals to Beijing.” Then Kissinger says this led to the deaths of over twenty million people from starvation–twenty-five (25) million less than Dikotter’s inflated claim. Other’s have estimated the loss of life closer to 15 million.


Famines throughout the Ages: 19th to 21st Century

It appears, that as the false accusations and the fraud grows, so does the emotional language.

There is a name for books of this sort, and it is “Yellow Journalism” where writers take advantage of popular opinions and without valid evidence spread lies and exaggerations as if they were the truth. I’m sure those authors laugh all the way to the bank too.

Before I continue, I want to mention that in 1949, the average life expectancy in China was 36 and in 1960, it was 36.3 years of age, as you shall eventually see from a reliable source. It has been estimated that it took at least a decade for the Chinese Communist Party to establish a political/governmental infrastructure in all or most of China, which means goals to develop the country and improve health were not in full swing until about 1959.

As for how many starved, theories abound and cover a wide spectrum and all the higher numbers of deaths are easily challenged as two Amazon reviewers of Dikotter’s flawed and biased book demonstrate with impressive facts.

From these two Amazon reviewers, I learned something new I did not consider in my post of China’s Great Famine (1959-1961) Fact of Fiction.

Continued on November 14, 2011 in Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Recommended reading on this topic for those who seek the unblemished truth: From the Monthly Review, Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward? by Joseph Ball

From Griffith University, Australia, Poverty, by David C. Schak, Associate Professor

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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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On Troy Parfitt’s “Why China Will Never Rule the World”

October 28, 2011

After discovering Troy Parfitt’s obviously biased romp through China by watching the ten-minute YouTube trailer for his theory of Why China Will Never Rule the World (a book released by Western Hemisphere Press August 23, 2011), I thought, “Why would China want to rule the world? Only fools want to rule the world. What most cultures/people want is to be left alone.”

All one has to do is look at what such goals did for Imperial Japan, Hitler’s Germany, the British Empire, which no longer exists as an empire, and the United States—a nation deep in debt and on the edge of financial ruin.

In addition, I thought it strange that a traditional publisher would support a book trailer that runs for more than ten minutes as if it were a mini documentary, when the Book Trailer Manual clearly says, “Please. Shorter is better. You want some absolutes? Okay, no longer than two minutes max.

Even Publishers Weekly touched on the subject of book trailers and provided several embedded examples ranging from 26 seconds to less than 2 minutes.

In addition, Claudia Jackson at Book Buzzer says, “A book trailer is just like a movie trailer, except that it is a ‘preview’ of your book.”  The sample book trailer Jackson provides runs one-minute-fifteen seconds of John Locke’s novel, “Wish List”, and for advice, she says, “Try and keep the trailer as short as possible. It’s not easy but you don’t want to lose your audience.

Curious about the publisher, I then Googled “Western Hemisphere Press” to discover what else they had published and ended up at the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, which is in the U.S. Department of State and says it is responsible for all of the affairs in South, Central and North America. The mandate of this office is to promote U.S. interests in the region by supporting democracy, trade, and sustainable economic development, etc.

One way to promote U.S. interests would be to support a book that denigrates China’s culture, institutions and people.

The second Google hit was Western Hemisphere Press, which leads to Troy Parfitt’s website for his book.  Google found no direct link to a Website for Western Hemisphere Press or any other book published by a company with that name.

After looking through more than a hundred hits on Google, I thought—Is Troy Parfitt, Western Hemisphere Press and the U.S. State Department connected in some way.

After all, Parfitt’s biography on his website says he was born in 1972, graduated with a major in American history and a minor in Canadian political science from the University of New Brunswick and then became a certified ESL instructor, went to South Korea where he taught ESL for two years and then taught ten more years in Taipei.

Before returning home to Canada, he spent a few months as a Western tourist running around mainland China boosting his poor impressions of China.

I was reminded of a quote from Sterling Seagrave’s Dragon Lady of Dr. George Ernest Morrison, Peking correspondent of the Times of London. Sterling says, “As journalism’s first China watcher, Morrison was responsible for many of the slanders and half-truths of China that persist to this day.

Although I agree with Parfitt’s thesis that China will not rule the world (a safe assumption since no one has ruled the world and the odds are no one ever will), his reasoning and evidence to support this thesis are further examples of the “slanders and half-truths” Sterling Seagrave reveals in his well researched book of the life and legend of the last empress of China.

I also read many of the Amazon reader reviews of Parfitt’s book, which reinforced my opinion that this book is another example of what Henry Kissinger wrote in On China that “American exceptionalism is missionary. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its (so called superior Western Christian and political) values to every part of the world. China’s exceptionalism is cultural. China does not proselytize; it does not claim that its contemporary institutions are relevant outside China.”

In fact, with that one quote Kissinger did a better job explaining why China doesn’t want to rule the world than the 424 pages of Parfitt’s book.

Discover more from Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan and Ted Koppel

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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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America’s Misguided Missionary Obligation

October 12, 2011

Tom Carter, the author of China: Portrait of a People, sent me a link to a New York Times (NYT) piece, In India, Online Retailers Take a New Tack.

Carter did not suggest a subject for this post, but he did ask that I include the promotional video for his next book with whatever I wrote, and it “rather” fits the topic I decided to write about, which is that most of America may learn something from those Americans that “really” want to do business in China and India.

Besides, Carter’s photos of India are as stunning as those he took of China are.

Vikas Bajaj wrote the NYT’s piece, and we learn that Amazon is moving into India and whatever Amazon’s plans are for entering India’s consumer market, Amazon is not talking.

However, “while dozens of electronic commerce firms have recently sprung up to capitalize on India’s growing Internet use” Bajaj wrote, “they have a problem. Indians are not yet comfortable with shopping on the Web. Many of them remain unwilling to use credit cards online. So the Indian retailers have gone to great lengths to gain customers. Customers may pay in cash on delivery, and the company fields delivery squads to ensure shipments get to customers quickly.”

What we learn from this quote is that cultural differences influence how people shop but culture goes deeper than shopping habits, which is a fact that many Americans do not understand.

In addition, a Blog at Stanford.edu says, “Approximately half of Amazon.com’s revenue comes from outside the United States, according to the company’s Senior Vice President of International Retail, Diego Piacentini. This makes global strategy a key component to the company’s continued success,” and “Amazon aims to be the ‘most customer-centric company on the planet’.”

Then Matt Harvey, who wrote the post for the Stanford Blog, asked, “But what do you build, and how do you act, to make this mean something?”

The answer may come from Amazon’s Diego Piacentini when he said, “When Amazon began doing business in China in 2004, some of the company’s core values came into conflict with traditional business practice.” Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs was quoted in 2010 saying Amazon has competition in China with Taobao.com.

Taobao.com, the Chinese equivalent of eBay, generates estimated annual sales of close to $60 billion—about 75% of all online retail sales in China while, according to Goldman Sachs, Amazon had only $750 million in annual sales in China in 2009 with estimates that Amazon sales in China would increase to $1 billion in 2010. Amazon has a long way to go to catch up with Taobao.

The moral of this story is that Western retailers such as Amazon must learn to do business in other cultures such as China and/or India without attempting to change the people.

They must “start with the customer and work backwards”, which isn’t what most of America’s politicians and religious leaders are doing and the best quote that explains why comes from a Henry Kissinger quote  that I have used before. “American exceptionalism is missionary. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its values to every part of the world.”

From what I understand, two of the world’s greatest conquerors, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, knew the key to hold an empire together was not to change other cultures but to allow those cultures to remain unchanged, so why can’t the rest of the West learn from them?

Discover The Importance of Guanxi to Chinese Civilization

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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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Education in the Real World – Part 1/2

September 5, 2011

Many Americans live in a fantasy world, as you will learn, which may explain why fantasies and animated movies for children often earn so much money at the box office in the United States while more realistic films of a literary nature earn little.

When Henry Kissinger wrote, “American exceptionalism is missionary. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its values to every part of the world,” he may not have realized that spreading these idealistic values applies within the US too, from whichever group has enough political power to make it happen.

Two of these values are how to raise and educate children as if all children are equal and there should be no obstacles to success. The only parallel comparison I can make is that what has happened in America since the 1960s, is similar to what happened in China during the Cultural Revolution but without the slogans.

However, like China during the Cultural Revolution, teachers in the US may face denunciation but for different reasons. At least in China, that insanity ended in 1976.

In the US, this led to a public education system that now teaches most children as if they will all go to college, find happiness and succeed equally.

This American Cultural Revolution also spawned the self-esteem movement in parenting and education, which still raises and teaches the average American child to believe what she dreams will come true (even if she doesn’t work for it).

Due to this wide spread belief among many Americans, a law was passed by President G. W. Bush in 2001 called the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which mandated that America’s Public schools had to be successful with all  students from every walk of life and ethnicity by 2014 or be considered a failure.

NCLB did not require students to study or parents to support teachers or education. The penalties for failure are severe and were designed to only fall on the shoulders of America’s public school teachers.

If a teacher was not successful teaching every child from every walk of life that was enrolled in his class, he could lose his teaching job and see the school where he taught closed even if he succeeded with more than half of his students.

Many factors may cause a child not to cooperate with his teachers or learn in school. When we consider the impact of poverty, hunger, health, safety, environment, lifestyle, and broken families on children, not every child is equal.

When it comes to school, if a child’s mind is occupied by other, more pressing priorities such as hunger or safety, education often takes a back seat to survival, which is a fact that many in the United States refuse to accept.

However, when we study the education systems of other countries such as China, it seems that these real life issues ignored in the United States are treated as a reality of life.

Continued on September 6, 2011 in Education in the Real World – Part 2

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This edited and revised post originally appeared on August 8, 2011, at Crazy Normal as Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 4

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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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The flaw behind “Don’t Do as I Do – Do As I Say”

August 29, 2011

Dictionary.com explains this self-deprecating phrase, which means you are conscious of your own shortcomings, with, “Don’t imitate my behavior but obey my instructions.”

The reason I am writing this post is because of Faithful Monuments, a piece I read in the May 2011 Smithsonian Magazine, which has nothing to do with China.

However, there is a connection to China with the “Do As I Say” phrase.

In Smithsonian, Jamie Katz quotes Shirley Macagni, a 79-year-old retired dairy rancher and great-grandmother of seven, who is also an elder of the Salinan tribe that inhabited California’s Central Coast for thousands of years.

Macagni feels, “It is unfair to judge 18th century attitudes and actions by contemporary standards,” and says, “They (the Spanish) didn’t deliberately say they’re going to destroy people…”

Macagni is referring to the Spanish conquest that brought Western civilization and/or Spanish cultural values including the Church to the Americas forging an empire in blood for gold.

John Selden’s phrase, “Don’t do as I do. Do as I say,” may be applied, with some revisions, to China. “It is unfair to judge Chinese attitudes and actions by contemporary Western Standards.”

In fact, Western and American civilization may also be judged by the standards of other cultures such as China.

Consider that contemporary Western standards underwent a drastic metamorphosis starting with the Industrial Revolution. This change altered how parents raised children, resulted in child labor laws, the building of national education systems, the rise of labor unions, and the liberation of women, etc.

Then the West decided to import these new values to the rest of the world even if the rest of the world was not ready or did not want them.

Henry Kissinger touches on this Western/American behavior in On China, where he says, “American exceptionalism is cultural. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its values to every part of the world.” In a CNN interview, he said, “So how to conduct ourselves in such a world – it’s a huge test for us… It’s a big challenge.”

In 1970, sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler published Future Shock and defined the term as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies and what happens when there is too much change in too short a period.

Toffler argued that these sort of drastic changes overwhelmed people leaving them disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation”. He said, “The majority of social problems were symptoms of this future shock.”

When we take what Toffler says into account, we have an explanation for everything that has taken place in China over the last century since the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.  The shattering stress and disorientation of future shock (forced on China by the West) led to China’s Civil War and Mao’s Cultural Revolution, etc.

Of course, when an individual is culturally and historically illiterate, it may be difficult to face this challenge Kissinger talks of – especially when we consider what Chris Hedges writes in America the Illiterate.

Hedges says, “We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth.

“The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth,” which may explain why so many in America and the West suffer from Sinophobia, a hostility toward the Chinese, Chinese culture, history and/or government, and a stubborn unwillingness to listen to the facts/truth and attempt to understand them.

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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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Births and Deaths – Part 2/2

August 13, 2011

The answer to China’s future may be found in Henry Kissinger’s “On China“, when this elder statesman and advisor of many American presidents on foreign policy, wrote, “China does not claim that its contemporary institutions are relevant outside China.”

In fact, history shows the Chinese are willing to do business and trade goods with other countries, but has never demonstrated a desire to rule the world. Most of China’s wars (not rebellions) were fought to secure its borders and/or defend against invaders.

More evidence that points toward China’s future might be when China ruled the oceans during the Ming Dynasty at a time when China was the most technologically advanced nation on the planet and the emperor called its giant fleet home and decided not to colonize, conquer and/or exploit the rest of the earth through conquest as all of the other empires have done that are mentioned in this post, which could have included the Spanish Empire of the 16th to 19th centuries and  World War II’s Imperial Japan and Hitler’s Nazi Germany. (Discover China’s Ancient Armada)

Another sign of the decline of America and an opportunity for China to become the next global empire is the end of the U.S. Shuttle (space) program. Fox news says, China Aiming High in Space as U.S. Shuttle Program Winds Down.

This year, China plans to send a train car-sized module into orbit, which will be the first building block for a Chinese space station with a goal to put men on the moon sometimes after 2010 — the same year the International Space Station is scheduled to close.

The Fox piece says, “China is still far behind the U.S. in space technology and experience, but what it doesn’t lack is a plan or financial resources … One of the biggest advantages of their system is that they have five-year plans so they can develop well ahead,” said Peter Bond, consultant editor for Jane’s Space Systems and Industry. “They are taking a step-by-step approach, taking their time and gradually improving their capabilities. They are putting all the pieces together for a very capable, advanced space industry.”

The Chinese have a history of long term planning.  If you doubt that claim, look at China’s Great Wall and the Grand Canal — both took centuries to build and there is no other project built by man that compares.

Return to or start with Births and Deaths – 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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan and Ted Koppel – Part 3/3

July 11, 2011

NPR’s Neal Conan said the deaths from the Cultural Revolution were between 20 to 40 million, which demonstrated his ignorance since that many deaths took place earlier during The Great Leap Forward (1958 – 1960).

The Great Leap Forward was supposed to be a 5-year plan, but it was called off after just three tragic years. The period between 1958 and 1960 is known in China as the “Three Bitter Years”.

The loss of life during The Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) was about 2 (or more) million and many were suicides due to the denunciations and persecutions and the fact that society had been turned upside down. The Cultural Revolution deeply damaged the country economically and socially. Sociologist Daniel Chirot claims that around 100 million people suffered and at least one million people, and perhaps as many as 20 million, died in the Cultural Revolution but there is no way to prove this claim.

The deaths from the Great Leap Forward were mostly from starvation due to a famine, which may have been caused by a combination of Mao’s failed agricultural and industrialization policies and poor weather leading to crop failures and a famine. Since no one knows the exact number of deaths due to these blunders/weather, some have said 10 million while others have claimed 60 million. Most experts agree that the number was about 20 or 30 million.

What one believes about the results of The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution has to do with prejudices, or personal political opinions. One thing most can agree on is that this period of China’s history was a failure and a tragedy.

During the interview, no one asked or mentioned how the Communist Party led by Deng Xiaoping after Mao’s death in 1976, repudiated the Maoist Revolutionary thought that was responsible for the tragedy, and then opened China to world trade, joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) and launched the Chinese Capitalist Revolution leading to the economic miracle China has become today.

If you are interested in hearing the entire interview, visit Henry Kissinger appearing on NPR’s Talk of the Nation or read the transcript.

Return to Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


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