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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Americans doing Business in China – Part 9/16

February 29, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: Higher education is a business, and the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities reached 723,277 during the 2010-11 academic year.  China, the top country of origin for international students, sent 157,558 undergraduate and graduate students to America, up 23% from the previous year.

International students and their dependents contributed more than $20 billion to the U.S. economy that academic year. For Chinese students, that means about $4.4 billion came from China.

Ann Stock, assistant secretary of the US State Department says, “Young people who study abroad gain the global skills necessary to create solutions to 21st-century challenges. In turn, international students globalize our campuses and communities.” SOURCE: USA Today

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

On October 1, 1949 the People’s Republic of China was formally established in a speech given by Mao Zedong from the Imperial Gate at Tiananmen Square. I stood at the very spot where Mao gave his speech and took a photo. From speaking with people – in China – who lived through his reign it was beyond believable. What he put his people through is an unforgivable act of power and brutality.

However, it is images from Mao’s era that some – outside of China – still have of the Chinese people. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

I never met a Chinese government official – did not even see one at least that I can recall. What I did meet were the people of China – the people with whom I had my business and personal interactions. I did not ask them questions about their government nor did they ask questions of mine.

The only political statement that I ever heard was a reference that China’s policy would probably change when the younger generation came into power, someday.

In meetings, over two years ago, I heard about the oil pipeline being built directly from Iran to China. None of the people in that meeting expressed an opinion one way or the other regarding this pipeline. It was a decision the Chinese government made.

Maybe my associates did not approve of dealing with Iran—maybe they did? The point being here is their government made this decision—not my associates.

Whether the officials in power in the US are republican or democrat, they have all made decisions of which I don’t agree. They did not consult me or ask my opinion—am I my government in these situations?

The point I am trying to make is that I found the Chinese people I met just like me in a lot of respects. I enjoyed doing business with them – learning their culture – and becoming their friend. No government – or its actions – is ever going to change that for me!

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

Continued March 1, 2012 in  Americans doing Business in China – Part 10 (a guest post) or return to Part 8

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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 March 9, 2010


Is China a Republic? – Part 4/4

January 25, 2012

In China, the power of legislation is not held by a single power organ or one particular person.

China’s legislative power is carried out by two or more power organs, which means the country has multi-legislative powers, including at national level, that for administrative laws and local laws, each subject to different organ authority.

However, unlike the United States, the structure of China’s government is not one of checks and balances, where the legislation, administration and court stand independently to restrain one another, but more like the democratic parliamentary system [seventy-seven countries such as the UK, Spain, Canada, Germany, Thailand, Japan, etc.] which also offers few effective checks and balances so China is not alone in this regard.

The National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee make state laws; the State Council and its relevant departments draw specific regulations respectively; and relevant authentic organs of ordinary localities and governments formulate local regulations.

China’s current legislation structure is deeply rooted in the specific conditions of the nation. First, China is a country where the people are their own masters, so laws should reflect their will [should does not mean the will of the majority automatically leads to new laws—that is what happens in a true democracy but not in a republic].

Then on December 31, 2011, in another post, I had this comment from Alessandro about China’s political system.  He is an Italian married to a Chinese citizen, and they live in China.


Online Democracy in China

Are Chinese citizen entitled to vote?

“Yes,” Alessandro said, “my wife and her family just did it less than a couple of months ago.

“Was that how the communist party’s secretary Hu Jintao got his position?

“Yes,” Alessandro said, “Hu Jintao was voted in by the people entitled to do that, the National People’s Congress (全国人民代表大会), which in turn has been elected by the people’s congresses of the lower level, and so on down to the lowest levels.

“At a grassroots level in villages, village chiefs are directly elected by the residents. That is how the people’s congresses system works…

“People directly elect the people’s congresses at the local level, which in turn elects the congresses of the superior level, to arrive at the top level (after scrutiny and evaluation of their preparation by their peers).”

Before you judge China, and answer the question, “Is China a Republic?” here are a few definitions of dictatorship.

According to Webster’s Online Dictionary.org, a dictatorship is an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by a dictator. In contemporary usage, dictatorship refers to an autocratic form of absolute rule by leadership unrestricted by law, constitutions, or other social and political factors within the state.

In fact, a dictator is a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained control by force. Source: Oxford Dictionaries.com

People’s democratic dictatorship [sounds like an oxymoron] is a phrase incorporated into the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China by Mao Zedong. The phrase is notable for being one of the few cases in which the term dictatorship is used in a non-pejorative manner, which means not in a negative, disparaging or belittling manner.

By saying “People’s Democratic Dictatorship”, the CCP meant that the people rule. However, that would be incorrect since even in all three types of democracies, the people do not rule. The people elect those that rule—well, at least some or most are elected.


PBS Documentary: China from the Inside (Power and the People)

Over at William Meyers.org, you may learn more about how the United States was born as a republic and over the course of one hundred and fifty years, step-by-step, became what Meyers calls a “true representative democracy”.

Meyers says, “Democracy means rule of the people. The two most common forms of democracy are direct democracy and representative democracy. Representative democracies are, therefore, a kind of republic. Self-appointed governments such as monarchies, dictatorships, oligarchies, theocracies and juntas are not republics. However, this still allows for a wide spectrum.

“The classic is the Roman Republic, in which only a tiny percentage of citizens, members of the nobility, were allowed to vote for the Senators, who made the laws and also acted as Rome’s supreme court.

“Most people would say that Rome was a Republic, but not a democracy, since it was very close to being an oligarchy, rule by the few. Although the Roman Republic was not a dictatorship (until Augustus Caesar grabbed power), it did not allow for rule of the people.

“In both theory and practice the Soviet Union, that late evil empire, was a republic (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) because the lawmakers were elected, if only by the Communist Party members…”

“But,” Meyers says, “the main Amendment that tipped the scales from the national government of the United States being a mere republic to being a true representative democracy was the often-overlooked Seventeenth Amendment, which took effect in 1913.

“Since 1913, the U.S. Senate has been elected directly by the voters, rather than being appointed by the state legislatures. That makes the national government democratic in form, as well as being a republic.”

Now, if you have read this far, you may answer the question — is China a Republic?

Return to Is China a Republic – Part 3 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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Is China a Republic? – Part 2/4

January 23, 2012

It appears that democracies come in several types. According to Democracy Building.info, there are three basic types of democracy—the Direct Democracy [ex. Switzerland], the Presidential Democracy [ex. USA, France] and the Parliamentary Democracy [ex. UK, Germany, Spain, Italy].

As for checks and balances, the parliamentary system offers few effective checks and balances [remember that China doesn’t offer checks and balances either].

In the UK, the Prime Minister, as head of state, is not elected. He or she is the leader of the majority party and may stay in power as long as his or her party is the majority. One of the main criticisms of many parliamentary systems is that the head of government is in almost all cases not directly elected by the people.

There are two types of parliamentary systems.  One is the unicameral system, which means it only has one single house or parliament. Forty-four countries fit this description. Examples are Denmark, Finland, Greece, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden and Turkey.

Then there is the bicameral system [thirty-three countries] of a parliamentary government, which has two houses, an upper and a lower chamber. Examples of this form of democracy are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the European Union, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

Let’s see how China’s type of government compares and decide if it is a democracy, republic or a dictatorship.


Democracy From the Bottom Up (The Carter Center)

The Carter Center says, “More than 600,000 villages across China are participating in a national movement toward meaningful democracy—democracy from the bottom up—in a communist nation of 1.3 billion people. For more than a decade, at the invitation of the Chinese government, The Carter Center has aided this effort by helping to standardize election practices among villages and by promoting good governance and citizen participation.”

According to Rural Life in China at Facts and Details.com, “the 2010 census [reported that], 51.3 percent of China’s population lives in rural areas. This is down from 63.9 percent in the 2000 census, which used a different counting system, and over 95 percent in the 1920s. There are around 800 million rural peasants and migrant workers—roughly, 500 million farmers and 300 million to 400 million excess unskilled rural laborers… There are around 1 million villages in China, about one third of the world’s total.  Each village has an average of 916 people.”

That means about 549.6 million rural Chinese vote in democratic village elections every three years.

By contrast, in the 2010 US national election 37.8% (90.6 million) of the voting-age population turned out, and in 2008 only 56.8% (132.6 million) did.  In 2008, the voting age population was 231.2 million and in 2010, it was almost 236 million.  If the majority of people do not vote in an election, does that mean the democracy is broken?

I recommend reading Rural Life in China at Facts and Details.com.  It is well balanced and points out the way it was and the way it is.  Although I did not read every word, I didn’t see any China bashing going on. It was not an indictment of China. However, I am sure a critic [read that enemy] of China could easily cherry pick this article and select a few pull quotes to support more misleading mudslinging at the CCP while ignoring what life was like in rural China before 1949.

Continued on January 24, 2012 in Is China a Republic – Part 3 or return to 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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Is China a Republic? – Part 1/4

January 22, 2012

The reason for this post is due to a recent comment made by Troy Parfitt in another post. “You’re a mythomaniac, a propagandist, and endorser of one of the most repressive regimes in the world [Mr. Parfitt is talking about me]. And your website is a series of disconnected nonsense decorated by retarded videos. You can’t construct an argument to save your life, and the sycophants who show up here saying, ‘Yes, Lloyd, I agree with you,’ belong in Sgt. McGillicuty’s Travelling Nutbar Show.”

If Mr. Parfitt is nothing else, he is creative.

It is true that at one time a strong case could be made that during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, China had one of the most repressive regimes in the world but that claim is questionable today and has been since the 1980s regardless of what some say happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

To discover an answer to see if China is qualified to be called a republic instead of a dictatorship, I will provide information and let the reader decide.

The Oxford English Dictionary says a republic is “a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

Then Albatrus.org says that in 1928, the US Army provided a more succinct definition of a republic: Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them. Attitude toward property is respect for laws and individual rights, and a sensible economic procedure. Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences.

A republic is the “standard form” of government throughout the world.

A republic is a form of government under a constitution, which provides for the election of:

  1. an executive and
  2. a legislative body, who working together in a representative capacity, have all the power of appointment, all power of legislation, all power to raise revenue and appropriate expenditures, and are required to create
  3. a judiciary to pass upon the justice and legality of their governmental acts and to recognize
  4. certain inherent individual rights

Continued on January 23, 2012 in Is China a Republic – 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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Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Not Rule the World” – Part 7/12

December 3, 2011

Sixth Question [Parfitt]:

Governments and human-rights groups have heaped criticism on China about human-rights issues. Is such criticism justified?

Answer [Lofthouse]:

No!

The evolution of human-rights is mostly a Western political phenomenon based on individualism dating back to the Greek City States hundreds of years before Christ and the Western Roman Empire (27 BC – 476 AD).

The timeline of the Ongoing Struggle for Human Rights in the West shows the first mention of an alleged human rights violation in China (according to Western values) was the 1989 (so-called) Tiananmen Square massacre.

However, you set the record straight on your Blog, June 4, 2011 in The Tiananmen Square Myth and I have written of this issue in  What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square? and The Tiananmen Square Hoax.

Examples of the slow progress of the evolution of human rights in the West may be seen in 1791 (fifteen years after the U.S. Declaration of Independence), when the U.S. Bill of Rights incorporated notions of freedom of speech, press, and fair trial into the new U.S. Constitution.

In fact, in 1920, the League of Nations Covenant required members to “endeavor to secure and maintain fair and humane conditions of labor for men, women and children,” but it took the US twenty-one more years before stricter laws banning the employment of underage children was declared constitutional in 1941 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Note, none of these early gains in the political arena of human rights took place in East Asia.

In addition, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) did not join the United Nations until 1971.

Since then, in human rights issues, the PRC has been increasingly successful at maintaining their positions. In 1995, they won 43 percent of the votes in the General Assembly; by 2006 they won 82 percent.

SFGate.com quoted Li Junru, deputy director of the China Society for Human Rights Studies,  who said, “Since China adopted [its] reform and opening-up policy in 1978, the country has witnessed the second great liberation of human rights, as…reform in [the] economy, technology, education, culture, (and) politics…”

Since all of East Asia including China are collective cultures, the face of human rights may not fit the West’s definition of it.

Response [Parfitt]:

China’s culture isn’t collective. China is fond of saying it’s collective, that’s its strength, and the West should take a lesson, but if there’s one overarching rule in the Chinese universe, it’s this: the more you hear something, the more you can be assume it to be untrue.

‘Collectivism’ is a euphemism for ‘subservience.’

The Foshan incident highlights China’s awful individualism; 20 people ignoring a small girl hit by a truck. Western individualism may be extreme, but Westerners can act collectively when it counts. They often assist people in crisis, for example.

Cultural moral relativism argues there is no absolute truth, and no matter how dreadful circumstances become, they are forever valid. Cultural moral relativism isn’t unlike Orwell’s doublethink: “to hold simultaneously two opinions that cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it.”

China’s human-rights: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

Final Word [Lofthouse]:

Regarding collective cultures, ERIC.ed.gov, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U. S. Department of Education, offers a definitive definition.

ERIC says, “The remarkable differences between the East Asian cultures of China and Japan and the American culture make acculturation of East Asians into the mainstream of United States society extremely difficult.

“Characteristics of individualistic cultures include: the individual as an autonomous entity; egalitarianism; competitiveness; and self-reliance.

“Characteristics of collective cultures include: individuals as interdependent entities; hierarchism; cooperativeness; and self-denial (sacrificing one’s own desires or interests).”

In Litigation Nation, I explained why the behavior of a few individuals during the Foshan incident cannot be used to judge a nation.

A better example would be the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which affected almost 46 million Chinese in 10 provinces.

In Recovering from a Beating by Mother Nature, I compared China’s recovery to how America dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Continued on December 4, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 8 or return to Part 6.

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – 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 Damage Viral Lies and Rumors may Cause

August 1, 2011

Jeff Cole at PR 101 asked, “Why do people believe everything they read on the Internet?” Then Cole cites two examples in his PR 101 post to make a point.  In both cases, what people read and believed without checking the sources led to a panic and may have caused children to suffer and die.

If interested in more details, click on the link in the first paragraph to read Cole’s post.

His conclusion was, “Many people will believe something no matter how outlandish it might seem.”  He said, “People seem more willing to believe bloggers and others using social media without checking,” and he asked, “Doesn’t anyone check the source?”

Wanting another source on this topic, I searched further and discovered a Pew Internet Study (the first national survey of the use of social networking sites by adults) and read, “the typical internet user is more than twice as likely as others to feel that people can be trusted.”

After learning how gullible people are when it comes to reading something on the Internet, it should come as no surprise that China’s only national Red Cross society is fighting to keep the public’s trust after a scandal erupted when Guo Meimei, a 20-year-old woman, claimed on a Blog to have a link to China’s national Red Cross.

Guo bragged online about her luxurious lifestyle and triggered concerns among the Chinese public that money donated to the Red Cross in China was being misused.  Source: China Daily

After bragging, Guo Meimei became a hot topic on China’s major micro blog website, Weibo.com.  Her fans jumped from a few hundred to more than 108,000 within a short period.

Five days later, Shanghaiist.com reported that Guo was stopped at a Beijing airport from leaving China to visit Australia with her mother.

Shanghaiist‘s Robert O’Connor wrote, “Guo continued to deny connections to the Red Cross Society and asked reporters and internet users to “stop fooling around”.

When was the last time you believed something you read on the Internet without checking to see if it were true or not? A good place to start might be Snopes.com.

Discover What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square?

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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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