Macao Bringing in the Cash

June 12, 2012

In 1535, Portuguese traders obtained the rights to anchor ships in Macau’s harbors and to carry out trade.  Then in 1557, they established a permanent settlement there. Moreover, this Western love affair for Macau has not ended. Analysts reported that total public revenue for January 2012 rose by 21.5% when compared to the same month in 2011, and it is all thanks to gambling tax revenue. Source: Calvin Ayre.com

Since Macau was returned to China in 1999, it has overtaken Las Vegas to become the world’s biggest gambling mecca. Since 1999, Macau, along with Hong Kong, is one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China, and it is situated on the western side of the Pearl River Delta across from Hong-Kong.

The next building trend was to expand into a global entertainment and high-end shopping hub along with leisure activities leading to tourism with gambling leading the way.

However, gambling remains Macao’s main moneymaker. Almost every business depends on gambling to survive.

In addition to gambling and tourism, Macao includes some manufacturing, and the days of Chinese Triads having shooting wars for control of the streets have gone.

Instead, Macao has become a territory where Chinese democracy advocates may speak out without fear and become elected to Macao’s legislature.

The PRC has promised not to meddle in Macao’s politics. One thing is apparent— many in Macao want the economy to have diversity that does not depend on gambling alone. However, MGM Resorts International’s net profit doubled to HK$3.28 billion from HK$1.57 billion—boosted by strong growth in casino revenues, which tells us that gambling is still king in Macau. Source: The Wall Street Journal

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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 November 20, 2010


Are China’s Dissidents in Danger?

May 6, 2012

This week much of the Western media has been busy touting fears for the safety and future of China’s blind dissident Chen Guangcheng.

A Reuters report by Andrew Quinn and Chris Buckley fulfilled the China bashing and fear mongering of the week by reporting in the lead paragraph that Cheng “feared for his life just hours after leaving the U.S. Embassy under a deal that Washington had hoped would defuse the crises with Beijing.”

However, what are the odds that Chen should fear for his life for protesting China’s urban one-child rule and abortion policies?

To find out what might really happen to Chen and other dissidents in China, let’s examine what happened with a few high profile cases in the past and ignore the alleged language designed to paint China’s leaders/government in an evil light.

According to the record, none of China’s dissidents since 1976 have been executed and only one is serving a life sentence. In fact, if Chen ends up in the US, that is not uncommon.

For Example:

1. In 1989, Tan Baiqiao was arrested for spreading counterrevolutionary propaganda; inciting counterrevolutionary activities; defection to the enemy, and treason— but due to international pressure, Tan was released and reached the U.S. in 1992.

2. In 2002, Cai Lujun, a businessman and writer was arrested for “incitement to subversion and eventually sought political asylum in Taiwan in 2007.

3. In 1995, Wang Dan was sentenced to 11 years in prison but was released on medical parole to the US in 1998 and is currently living in Taiwan.

4. In 1998, Wang Youcai was sentenced to 11 years in prison for subversion but was released and exiled to the United States in 2004.

5. In 1979, Wei Jingsheng an electrician was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison for passing military secretes.  He was released from prison for medical reasons and deported to the US in 1997.

In fact, there are laws in most countries that support what China does with its political dissidents.

For example, in the United States Code, 18 U.S.C. & 2385, “Advocating overthrow of Government by force or violence”:

“Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

“Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

“Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—

“Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.”

In addition, on May 4, 2012, the New York Times got it right with this headline, For China, a Dissident in Exile Is One Less Headache Back Home

The NY Times says, “Based on past experience, China is often all too pleased to see its most nettlesome dissidents go into exile, where they almost invariably lose their ability to grab headlines in the West and to command widespread sympathy both in China and abroad.”

In fact, if you read the US law carefully, it may be illegal in America to advocate the overthrow of another country’s government—just read the first paragraph in bold print above.

Moreover, fifty-two countries are led by authoritarian governments ruling over more than a third of humanity, so if you have to live under an authoritarian government, which kind is best?  After all, everyone cannot live in Hong Kong, which is considered the freest economy in the world.  Hong Kong (part of China) is followed by Singapore, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. The U.S. ranks tenth of more than 150 nations.  China is ranked 138. Sources: The Freest Nations on Earth and Heritage.org

In addition, according to Foreign Policy magazine, Joshua E. Keating, “found that single-party states—think China and Vietnam—are the most responsive to citizens’ demands, providing a higher quality of governance… the Chinese Communist Party has not lasted through the use of force alone, but also by making popular investments in China’s infrastructure and social services,” which has reduced poverty from more than 80% in 1949 to less than 13% today and increased the average lifespan from 35 years of age in 1949 to more than 75 today.

Recommended — A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia

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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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April 21, 2012

Lloyd Lofthouse:

The air conditioning units we see on the outsides of buildings in China are much more energy efficient than the whole house units found mostly in the US. We live in the Bay Area near SF and our house has a whole house unit, which can be very expensive as it cools or heats the entire house while we spend most of our time in one room.
The units you see in China are ductless and while there may be one unit outside of the building, there will be a different ductless unit inside each room of the unit, which allows the residents to run only the one for the room they are in thus saving energy and keeping the electric bill/use down.

 

However, I agree with you that these units probably do warm the city by several degrees in the summer. Imagine, China has more than four times the number of people that the United States has with about the same amount of land to live on. If everyone in China had these ductless air conditioning units, I’m sure it does run up the heat at ground level. In the US, when a heat wave hits, the amount of energy demanded by all the whole house air conditioning units often causes brown outs/power losses as the electric grid crashes from the demand.

 

The man that installed the one ductless system we bought (for a separate granny bungalow on our property) said that it would use less than a third of the electricity demanded by our whole-house unit.

 

I wonder if that means in China, if everyone was using the ductless heating-cooling unit in one room of their home, the Chinese would be consuming the same among of electricity that Americans would consume under the same circumstances.

 

Most of the Chinese cities we have spent time in all had the same amount of energy you experienced in Hong Kong.

Originally posted on The Blissful Adventurer:

If you are arriving here from FRESHLY PRESSED – A Huge thank you and Welcome. I would be so grateful if you would follow me as storytelling and travel are my livelihood and if we share this passion you will have a blast here.

Cheers and Thank You!

Hong Kong is easily the most dynamic city I have ever visited. Alive, moving, walking, running, and most of all eating and all of this with great vigor.

This Amazing HK Street Artist Painted These Birds - We bought this

I was charged to do a Hong Kong post by another lovely blogger and so I decided it was long overdue to take my Blissful Adventurers on a tour.

I fell in love with the Hipstamatic iPhone app last year and I enjoy how this $3 investment really forced me to look at Hong Kong under the surface and explore subjects that on my Nikon D90 may have seemed plain and ordinary.

Hipstamatic…

View original 379 more words


Taoism and Religion in Communist China – Part 3/3

March 29, 2012

Until Communism arrived, religion and the state were often closely linked. In the imperial era, the emperor was regarded as divine; political institutions were believed to be part of the cosmic order; and Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism were incorporated in different ways into political systems and social organizations.

U.S. History.org says, “Taoism and Confucianism have lived together in China for well over 2,000 years. Confucianism deals with social matters, while Taoism concerns itself with the search for meaning. They share common beliefs about man, society, and the universe, although these notions were around long before either philosophy.”

During the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976), the teenage Red Guard did not discriminate against particular religions — they were against them all. They ripped crosses from church steeples, forced Catholic priests into labor camps, tortured Buddhist monks in Tibet and turned Muslim schools into pig slaughterhouses. Taoists, Buddhists and Confucians were singled out as vestiges of the Old China and forced to change or else…

However, under Deng Xiaoping, in 1978, the ban on religious teaching was lifted. In fact, since the mid-1980s there has been a massive program to rebuild Buddhist and Taoist temples.

Then in December 2004, China’s government in Beijing announced new rules that guaranteed religious beliefs as a human right.

According to an article in The People’s Daily: “As China has more than 100 million people believing in religion, so the protection of religious freedom is important in safeguarding people’s interests and respecting and protecting human rights.”

In March 2005, religion was enshrined in China as a basic right of all citizens. Even so, worship outside designated religion remains forbidden. Source: Facts and Details – Religion in China

There are five religions recognized by the state, namely Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. There are also a few Jewish Synagogues: two in Beijing, two in Shanghai, and five in Hong Kong.

Return to Taoism – 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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Americans doing Business in China – Part 13/16

March 4, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: Miller-McCune says, “Since the 1990’s dot-com boom, “tens of thousands of Ph.D.s, primarily from China, have arrived to staff American university laboratories, and the information industry has padded its ranks with temporary workers who come largely from India.”

However, The New York Times reports,, “No Chinese-born scientist has ever been awarded a Nobel Prize for research conducted in mainland China, although several have received one for work done in the West…” In addition, “Recently, though, China has begun to exert a reverse pull. In the past three years, renowned (Chinese) scientists…have begun to trickle back. And they are returning with a mission: to shake up China’s scientific culture of cronyism and mediocrity, often cited as its biggest impediment to scientific achievement… They are lured by their patriotism, their desire to serve as catalysts for change and their belief that the Chinese government will back them.”

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Guest Post by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption, an international online magazine.

For various reasons, my business in China declined a little over two years ago, and I have not had occasion to visit there during that time period. A lot has happened—both within the U.S. and China—since my business went south.

I do miss China – its people – its culture – its smell. This might seem like an irrational statement since China is suppose to be one of the most polluted countries in the world, but it is not the smell of pollution that sticks in my memory.

Our China office was located in Guangdong Province, which is in the southern part of China near Hong Kong. Traveling around that province, I always remember the fresh scents of flowers, rain, trees, grass, and meals being prepared for daily consumption.

I tended to visit factories that were in outlying areas—their conference rooms, factories, reception rooms, and gardens all had a smell that I grew to welcome during each of my visits. As I made trips and visits to other parts of China, I felt they each had their own unique smells and aromas that I have not found any other place in the world that I have traveled.

I have written other posts regarding my feelings about the Chinese people—those have not changed. I am not certain that I will ever have occasion to visit China again but the smells and memories of that country and its people will remain with me forever.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued March 5, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 14 (a guest post) or return to Part 12

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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 guest post first appeared on April 27, 2010


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