Writing her way out of Poverty: Part 2 of 2

July 29, 2015

A few days after Ma Yan heard that her family could not afford to continue her education past fifth grade, Pierre Haski, the French journalist, visited her village.  After seeing the diaries, Haski promised that he would help her continue school then go to a university or even further than that.

Needless to say, after the publication of her diaries, Ma Yan continued on to middle school along with lots of attention from the media.

Ma Yan says that most of the media asked her about her experience at school, and she wanted to tell them what it was like so the world would hear of the other poor children that wanted to go to school longer.

Because of that media attention, the students at her elementary and middle schools received offers of help.

That outpouring of interest led to the founding of Children of Ningxia, but it closed its doors in 2013. Details about funding for this project may be found at Global Giving. Global Giving reports that they have helped 245 young people from Ningxia through this program and 34 already graduated.

China’s government also abolished school fees through ninth grade but many remote, rural families still struggle to pay for boarding fees.

As the Al Jazeera segment of Ma Yan’s Story ends, I thought of the billion people living in poverty around the world. Less than 10% of those people live in China and this story is only of a few of those people.

In fact, child poverty in the United States is among the worst in the developed world, and many American children who live in poverty also can’t afford to go to college. More than 15 million children in the US—22% of all children—live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. – NCCP

As for China, a survey conducted by Peking University and Beijing Normal University on young people in 18 counties in 2010 revealed that 4.9 percent of the respondents live in poverty. China has a population of 309 million under the age of 18, of which 60 percent live in rural areas. The survey findings suggest there are an estimated 9 million children living in poverty in rural China. – SOS Children’s Villages Canada

Curious to know what happened to Ma Yan all these years later, and what she was doing with her life, I used Google search but found nothing. I then found Pierre Haski’s Facebook page and left a question asking if he knew what had happened to Ma Yan in France. Last time I checked, I couldn’t find my question, and Haski has not replied.

Return to or start with Part 1

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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.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Writing her way out of Poverty: Part 1 of 2

July 28, 2015

In January 2010, Al Jazeera Witness reported the story of Ma Yan, a young Chinese girl that lived in rural China in the same poverty that rural Chinese have lived with for centuries, and how The Diary of Ma Yan (link goes to Amazon.com) was published in many countries including China (where it was a best seller) and in the United States.

The village where Ma Yan lived was described in Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China, but since that time, few outsiders visited. The United Nations says this is a region unfit for human habitation. Source: China.org.cn

Contrary to popular opinion in the West and especially in the United States, the poor in China did not get this way because of the Communists. The hardship and poverty of Ma Yan’s people and many others in China had been that way for centuries.

It also didn’t help when the Communists won China’s civil war and the defeated Nationalists took the nation’s treasury and most of the ancient Imperial treasures to Taiwan leaving China nothing but people and land.

In this segment of Witness, we travel with Mao Yan as she breaks the cycle of poverty.

By chance in 2001, a French journalist, Pierre Haski, was visiting remote Ningxia province in northwest China when a Muslim woman wearing the white headscarf of the Hui people thrust her daughter’s diaries into his hands.

Ma Yan writes that the economy where she lived has not been developed. However, Mao Yan is not alone wanting to escape the hardship of poverty.  She wrote that her life was like a death sentence.

Then the French journalist read the diary Mao Yan’s mother had given him and was so impressed, he arranged for excerpts to be published in one of the French daily newspapers.

By 2007, Ma Yan passed a university exam and was one of the first girls from her village to be eligible for a university education. She then flew to Paris to live with a French family and attend a university there.

Continued in Part 2 on July 29, 2015

______________________________

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.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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The link between the politics behind the Nobel Peace Prize and the so-called democracy movement in Hong Kong

November 18, 2014

First, according to the Democracy Index, in 2012, there were only 25 full democracies in the world while there were 51 authoritarian regimes. There were also 54 flawed democracies and 37 hybrid regimes. The Democracy Index is compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are United Nations member states.

With the so-called democracy demonstrations taking place in Hong Kong—a former colony of the British Empire that was never a democracy by any definition—I want to make a link between those demonstrations and the Nobel Peace Prize.

Back in 2010, the media in democratic countries sounded the charge against China when Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Western media splashed the news on the Internet, across the front pages of newspapers and repeatedly reported it on TV and radio.

For example, The Huffington Post reported, “Imprisoned Chinese democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo on Friday won the Nobel Peace Prize, an award that drew furious condemnation from the authoritarian government and calls from world leaders including President Barack Obama for Liu’s quick release.”

I’m sure that Liu Xiaobo believes in his mission as many in the West do, but I have to agree with America’s Founding Fathers. For instance President John Adams (1735 – 1826), the second president of the U.S., who said, “That the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority is demonstrated by every page of the history of the whole world,” and “Democracy … while it lasts is more bloody than either [aristocracy or monarchy]. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

What about China soon after Mao’s death when Deng Xiaoping launched China’s economic capitalist revolution, and in 1982, China wrote the first draft of a constitution designed to build an authoritarian republic—not a democracy?

Since then, China has been moving slowly down a road toward a more representative republic that fits China’s culture, which might never accept Western democracy activists like Liu Xiaobo. I wonder what America’s Founding Fathers would have done with Liu Xiaobo—probably ignored him as most Americans would, but we might find an answer with how the U.S. deals with treason.

“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” 18 U.S. Code 2381 – Treason

What about China’s Constitution? After all, China does have a Constitution of its own.

For instance, there is Article 35: Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.

But there are also Articles 51, 52, 53 and 54:

Article 51: Citizens of the People’s Republic of China, in exercising their freedoms and rights, may not infringe upon the interests of the State, of society or of the collective, or upon the lawful freedoms and rights of other citizens.

Article 52: It is the duty of citizens of the People’s Republic of China to safeguard the unification of the country and the unity of all its nationalities.

Article 53: Citizens of the People’s Republic of China must abide by the Constitution and other laws, keep State secrets, protect public property, observe labour discipline and public order and respect social ethics.

Article 54: It is the duty of citizens of the People’s Republic of China to safeguard the security, honour and interests of the motherland; they must not commit acts detrimental to the security, honour and interests of the motherland.

Nobel Prizes are awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which has been accused of having a political agenda. They have also been accused of Euro-centrism.

For the 2010 Nobel Prizes, there were five committee members, one man and four women—all white and old. Click the link and see for yourself.

In conclusion, I want to point out a few facts about China and its government that you probably will never hear from the mainstream Western media—especially in the United States.

Never before in China’s history has any government made an attempt to improve the lifestyles and welfare of its people. The World Bank reports that the CCP has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty—90 percent of global poverty reduction in the last 30 years. Poverty in 1981 was 85 percent. In 2008, the World Bank reported it was 13 percent, lower than the poverty rate in the United States where poverty is increasing.

For more than two thousand years, China was known as the land of famines. In fact, Imperial records reveal that China had famines annually in one or more provinces, but under the CCP, the only famine was in 1958-1960—and the Western media has crucified the CCP repeatedly because of this famine and has never mentioned China’s annual history of  famines.

In 1949, when the CCP came to power, average life expectancy in China was age 35. Today it is 75. When Mao died, only 20 percent of Chinese were literate. Today, literacy is 95.1 percent.

If China is ruled by a brutal authoritarian government with a dictator—which isn’t true because its president may only serve two, five-year terms and the president’s power is limited—explain why an average of more than 50 million Chinese travel the world annually as tourists (more than any other country) and why many Chinese are free to go to college in the United States, and other countries, as foreign students.

Did you know that Xi Jinping, China current president, sent his daughter to college in the United States? In addition, in 2011, China send the most foreign students—194,029—to the USA, up 23% from the previous year.

There are more than 2,000 McDonald’s restaurants in China. KFC has more than 4,600. Pizza Hut has more than 1,200.  Walmart has been in China for 18 years and has about 90,000 employees. Starbucks is also in China and plans to have 1,500 stores by 2015.

Intel has research and manufacturing facilities in Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

In 2012, 54 percent of urban Chinese were middle class and another 14 percent were upper middle class.

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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.

Low-Res_E-book_cover_MSC_July_24_2013

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Risking all for the myth of Gold Mountain

May 20, 2014

Poverty causes people to take risks in an effort to improve the quality of life, and China still has millions of poor people, but not by U.S. standards where many who live in poverty often drive cars and have TVs but still don’t have enough to buy food or pay rent.

However, contrary to a belief caused by malicious rumors in the West, the Communist Party is not responsible for causing poverty in China and has been working hard since the early 1980s to end it.

The Guardian.co.uk says, “The report, by authors from the China Institute for Reform and Development and other think tanks, describes the nation’s (China) progress over the past 30 years of reform as a miracle in the history of poverty reduction.”

It wasn’t always this way. For instance, in 1949, most of the Chinese still lived in an environment similar to Europe’s middle ages, and even today, to escape poverty, some Chinese will immigrate illegally to the US, and the reason so many do this is because there is a myth in China that America and/or Canada are “Gold Mountain”.

There is also a documentary called Golden Venture about the US immigration crises, but “The first major waves of Chinese immigrants came to the U.S. after hearing of the “Golden Mountain” or “Gum Sana” during California’s Gold Rush in 1848.”

What these desperate Chinese didn’t know is that The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality in the United States reports: “The official poverty rate increased from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 15 percent in 2012 (more than 47 million total), and the child poverty rate increased from 18 percent in 2007 to 21.8 percent in 2012 (more than 16 million).”

What does the United Nations say of China? “Both national and international indicators show that China has already achieved the goal of halving the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015 set by the UN as one of eight Millennium Development Goals.  Remaining poverty is however becoming increasingly difficult to address, as the rural poor are now concentrated in remote regions with difficult natural conditions.”

In addition, Global Issues says, “China also accounts for nearly all the world’s reduction in poverty. Excluding China, (global) poverty fell only by around 10%” while poverty increased in the United States.

_______________

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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How one Amazon reader review Misleads and what many in the West do not know about China

August 28, 2012

There is always two sides to every issue so it is time to hear both sides in the same post—again.

A one-star Amazon Reader review written by an Adnil Nevets of “The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village” by Dongping Han said, “The author’s credentials are indisputable. He grew up in China and has an intimate knowledge of Chinese history and Mao’s policies. But, his version of history does not agree with 99% of the (note: Western) academic community, and indeed, official Chinese history.”

Adnil says, “I would suggest that readers keep in mind that there were intelligent, well-educated, scientific and academic members of the Nazi party who were completely smitten with Hitler and defended him to their graves. Sometimes closeness to a historical event does not yield clarity of thought.”

Hmmm, when I checked, Adnil Nevets’ Review Ranking on Amazon was 10,356,111.

Here is my response at Adnil’s reader review.

Regardless of the negative aspects of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the Mao era, there is another side to China’s history—a positive one that is not all doom and gloom as Adnil infers.

In 1949, the average lifespan in China was age 35, more than 90% of Chinese lived in severe poverty, 80% were illiterate and China suffered from loss of life caused by famines in one or more provinces on an annual basis—deaths by starvation from famines have been documented going back annually for more than 2000 years.  For the first time in China’s history, deaths from famine have not happened in sixty of the sixty-three years that China has been ruled by the CCP.

During the Mao’s era, the average lifespan in years doubled, the population doubled, there was only one famine that caused deaths from starvation (1959-1961), but in the West Mao was blamed for that famine while Western authors and politicians ignore two thousand years of Chinese history, and people living in severe poverty have almost vanished (there are still many that live in poverty but it is not as severe as it was before 1949).

In fact, since 1976, literacy improved from 20% to more than 90% and China’s middle class grew from almost nothing to about 300-million people today with estimates that there may be 600-to-800 million middle-class Chinese by 2025.


The CCP is the only government in China’s LONG history to set goals and do something about poverty.

All of these improvements in lifestyle quality in China have been documented by the World Bank and other reputable international agencies,  although we seldom if ever hear about these positive changes in the Western media or in books written by so-called experts in Western Academia that focus only on the dark side of the CCP.


From 1982 to 2005 China succeeded in lifting over 600-million of its citizens out of grinding poverty.

How about if we focus on the dark-side of American democracy instead?

There was a bloody Civil War to end slavery (that has returned today but in a different form), the battle for women’s rights, poverty (more than 40-million Americans live in poverty), starvation in America exists, endless foreign wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc), and continued racism, etc.


News that should be covered more than it is in the United States

Is there anyone out there that cares about both sides of the truth supported with facts?

Discover Health Care During Mao’s Time

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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 China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 5/5

January 4, 2012

China, unlike India, has managed to contain unrest caused by such groups as the Falun Gong [cult] and the Tibetan and Islamic separatists over the objections of Western human rights activists that cannot stand how China manages these challenges.

Due to what many in the West call brutal measures, harmony and economic progress continue as planned for the vast majority of Chinese.

In addition, in rural China, “Living standards soared in the early 1980s—average incomes doubled in both the cities and the countryside, while there was a boom in both food consumption and the availability of consumer goods.” Source: Socialist Review Index.org.uk

“Growth in (China’s) peasant income, which had reached a rate of 15.2% a year from 1978 to 1984, dropped to 2.8% a year from 1986 to 1991. Some recovery occurred in the early 1990s, but stagnation of rural incomes marked the latter part of the decade.” Source: Asia Times

In fact, the last five-year plan is extending electricity to rural China and subsidizes the cost of appliances for rural villages once the electricity is turned on.

For an example of China’s continued progress, Tom Carter, one source for this post, is currently living in a small rural village in the tea-producing region of China near Hangzhou and has internet access from a village of twenty people.

I agree that India has the potential to equal or match China, but I doubt that will happen in the next few decades due to the economic long-term problems that India must overcome.

I don’t know where Manjeet Pavarti lives, but I suspect it isn’t outside of the gleaming glass and steel cites such as New Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore.

People living inside these economic growth bubbles may have no idea how serious it is outside and probably don’t care or India would be dealing with these challenges as China has been doing since 1949.

India became a democracy in 1947, which means it has had more than sixty years to solve these problems, while China has had less than thirty since 1982 when the republic wrote its new constitution, took a seat at the United Nations in 1971 [replacing Taiwan] and joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

It is ironic how the West seldom hears about India’s problems but always hears about every bit of negative news that happens in China, which is often distorted.

Return to The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – 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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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on October 22, 2010 as India Falling Short


The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 4/5

January 3, 2012

POVERTY & THE MAOIST REVOLTForeign Policy magazine reports that rural poverty in India is turning a Communist Revolt in to a raging resource war. “For India this is no longer rural unrest, but a full-fledged guerrilla war.”

“Economic liberalization has not even nudged the lives of the country’s bottom 200 million people. India is now one of the most economically stratified societies on the planet… The number of people going hungry in India hasn’t budged in 20 years.…”

“New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore now boast gleaming glass-and steel IT centers and huge engineering projects. But India’s vaster hinterland remains dirt poor—”

The World Hunger Index [GHI] says, “India is home to the largest number of poor in the world. The latest estimate suggests that over 400 million people live below the official poverty line… Given the nature of rural Indian economy all shades of poverty can be found in India—from moderate under-nutrition to extreme starvation.”

In fact, while China’s Communist Party and Mao are often accused and criticized for killing or allowing millions [estimates range from 16.5 million to 45 million based mostly on inflated numbers] to die of starvation in 1959 during the Great Leap Forward, “According to the 2010 GHI report, India is among 29 countries with the highest levels of hunger, stunted children, and poorly fed women.”

UNICEF reported in 2006 that, “10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths.”

If “the Indian subcontinent has nearly half the world’s hungry people,” as Think Quest.org says, then about two and a half million children die from malnutrition and hunger related diseases annually in India equaling twenty-five million deaths every decade or about 130 million deaths since the 1959 famine in China. In addition, the Times of India reported, India tops world hunger chart.

Continued on January 4, 2012 in The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – 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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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on October 22, 2010 as India Falling Short


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