Abandoned and in Need of Love

February 22, 2017

More than ninety percent of babies in China’s orphanages are girls. Prior to 1949, it was common for parents to murder female infants. From the 1950s to the end of the 1970s, due to Mao’s leadership and a tough stance for women’s equality, the death rate dropped. Then in the 1980s, with the population growing too fast, a desperate government implemented the one-child policy.

After that, many girl babies went missing or were abandoned to state-run orphanages. To end this tragedy, the government eventually allowed rural families to have two children per family who were hoping for a boy.

The conditions in these rural, state-run orphanages are often not ideal. Girls, who are not adopted, usually end up being the caregivers for the younger children. Since these orphan caregivers were raised without the love of parents and siblings, they may not be loving themselves creating a cold environment to grow up in.

It isn’t as if China’s government has done nothing to stop a practice that has been around for thousands of years. During the 90s, tougher laws were passed but often ignored. Government inspectors were sent to rural areas to enforce these laws, but it isn’t easy controlling a population of 1.3 billion scattered over a mountainous country almost the size of the United States.

I will not criticize the Chinese government for these conditions. I’ve been to China and understand the challenges.

What would you do if you had inherited a medieval country in 1949 that was bankrupt due to the Kuomintang looting the banks and treasury as they fled to Taiwan under American protection?

Then there is a culture reaching back thousands of years where girls were considered worthless. That is a lot to overcome.

The Office of Child Development reports, “Within the past five years, China has experienced a shift in its primary orphanage population from mostly healthy girls to large and increasing numbers of abandoned children with disabilities whose range of special needs are straining the capacity of the nation’s social welfare institutes to train staff or hire specialized staff to care for them.”

If you think this isn’t a problem in the United States or other countries, think again. The Christian Post reports on The Orphan Crises in America, “There are approximately 400,000 children living today in the American foster care system, of which about 100,000 are in need of an adoptive family.”

Discover Saying Goodbye, the heart-breaking story of one orphan’s journey from China to the United States.

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A Chinese Beat Cop in Action, and what are human rights

February 21, 2017

China is often criticized for human rights violations through the United Nations and the west’s media based on European and North American values.

For instance, my last trip to China was in 2008, and we heard about an incident from a friend, a witness to an event that involved the police and two Chinese citizens: a single man in his late forties, who lived in the same building our friend lived in, and one of his girlfriends.

The older 40-year-old man’s girlfriend was in her early twenties, and she called the police from his apartment and claimed she’d been raped. After police officers arrived on the scene of the alleged crime, she demanded, “Arrest and punish him!”

The original single family house in what was once the French sector in Shanghai was now shared by several families; each family had one or two rooms divided up between two floors in what was once a three-story house.  The bottom floor was occupied by a clothing shop.

The neighbors, including our Chinese friend, from the 2nd and 3rd floors, crowded the hall outside an open door to witness what was happening. The police officers, who had arrived on the scene, calmly heard both sides and everyone learned that there had been no actual forced rape. It turned out that the woman had discovered her boyfriend, who was more than twice her age, had two other girlfriends and one of them was twenty years older than he was.

“He asked me to strip,” she said. “He is corrupt.”

The officer studied her, and then the man. The woman was several inches taller and at least twenty pounds heavier. “You have legs. You could leave,” the officer said, “But you stripped. Is that correct?”

There was the sound of laughter from the hallway audience.

The soon-to-be former, much-younger, girlfriend nodded.

“No laws have been broken,” one of the police officers said. “He is a single man and can date anyone he likes, even more than one woman. You could have said no. If you feel that you have been abused, there’s a woman’s organization that will help you. Do you want the phone number?”

“I already went to them. They won’t punish him either.”

The officer shook his head. “You will never come to this apartment again,” the officer said, and he wrote his verdict in a notebook.

China’s police do not have to read a suspected criminal his or her Miranda rights. U.S. Miranda rights do not exist in China. Arguably, In China, the police have more power than police in the U.S. We often hear about China’s human rights violations, but how can they be human rights violations when there are no laws that define them; no human rights laws to enforce?

It might help to compare a few crime statistics between the United States and China.

Nation Master.com reports the murder rate per year per 100,000 people

  • China: 1.2 per 100,000
  • United States: 5 per 100,000

Number of Robberies recorded by police per 100,000 people

  • China: 24.5
  • U.S. 146.4

Prisons Population (reported by the BBC)

  • China: 1,548,498 or 118 per 100,000 people
  • United States: 2,193,798 or 737 per 100,000

What did Patrick Henry say on March 23, 1775? “Give me liberty or give me death.” I wonder what Patrick Henry would say today if he were still alive and saw these compared facts.

Discover China’s First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, the man that unified China more than 2,000 years ago.

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What Type of Government does China have?

February 15, 2017

By definition, as you will learn from this post, 21st century China is not a socialist and/or Communist country, even though it is still labeled as one. It is also not a capitalist country.

Socialism is a system where there is no private property and the means of production are owned and controlled by the state. But in 2014 Bloomberg reported that private companies are driving China’s growth. Only 25-percent of China’s industrial output came from state-owned enterprises in 2014.

Communism is a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs. When Mao died in 1976, China moved away from this political theory by ending Mao’s Cultural Revolution and arresting the Gang of Four, who planned to lead China and continue the Cultural Revolution’s class war forever.

Then there is capitalism that is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.

Since about 25-percent of China’s industry is still state-owned, China clearly isn’t a capitalist system like the United States is.  The evidence for this was on display soon after the 2007–08 global financial crises created by U.S. Banks and Wall Street greed that caused millions of Chinese to lose their jobs in private sector manufacturing.

That’s when China’s government stepped in.

The Global Economic Crises and Unemployment in China reports, “The state provided subsidies and basic entitlements to urban workers and their families in an effort to maintain social and political stability within the subsystem … the government has poured billions of dollars into public works designated for road and rail transportation improvements. These projects have created many jobs for migrant labor.”

What else do we know about today’s China?

China has one political party with 85-million voting members; it’s one of the largest political parties in the world. — Britannica.com

More than 600-million rural Chinese vote in village elections. New Politics reports, “Elections of Village Committees and Village Leaders in China’s approximately 950,000 villages began in 1989 as part of a wider village self-government movement.”

China has its own Constitution from 1982 that includes Amendments.  For instance, the president of China is limited to two 5-year terms and can be impeached.

There is also a mandatory retirement age that comes with a pension.

However, every year, China’s president is listed as one of the world’s dictators by elements of the U.S. media, but under China’s Constitution, the presidency is a largely ceremonial office with limited powers. This doesn’t fit the definition of a dictator who holds absolute, imperious, or overbearing power or control and who is not responsible to the people or their elected representatives.

How are China’s representatives elected?  About.com reports, “China’s representative elections begin with a direct vote of the people in local and village elections operated by local election committees. In cities, the local elections are broken down by residential area or work units. Citizens 18 and older vote for their village and local people’s congresses, and those congresses, in turn, elect the representatives to provincial people’s congresses.

“The provincial congresses in China’s 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, and four municipalities directly ruled by the Central Government, special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, and armed forces then elect the roughly 3,000 delegates to the National People’s Congress (NPC).

“The National People’s Congress is empowered to elect China’s president, premier, vice president, and Chair of the Central Military Commission as well as the president of the Supreme People’s Court and the procurator-general of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.”

Let’s look at how the United States elects its president.  Political Parties that are private sector organizations allow party members to vote in state primaries. These primaries are not public elections because most of them only allow registered party members to vote.

Donald Trump, for instance, only won a little more than 14-million votes from registered Republicans to end up representing the Republican Party as its presidential candidate in 2016, and this is in a country that has more than 200-million registered voters. Hillary Clinton had more than 16.8 million votes from the Democratic primaries.

The winners (Trump and Clinton) moved on to campaign in the national election that is held and monitored by the public sector in each state.  In the 2016 election, Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote 303 to 235, but he lost the popular vote 62,979,879 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 65,844,954.

Does this seem strange?  Is there any other republic in the world where the winner loses the popular vote?

Last, 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.

After reading this post, what type of government do you think China has?

  1. a dictatorship
  2. a socialist state
  3. a communist state
  4. a capitalist state
  5. a republic
  6. A hybrid capitalist-socialist republic
  7. None of the above

 

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Eating Out in China’s Oldest Capital

February 14, 2017

In 1999, in China’s oldest capital, our hotel was in sight of Xian’s city walls.  We had a view of the ancient battlements that were several hundred years old and sinking. At night, the walls and towers were outlined with white Christmas lights.

I ached to get up there and walk on those walls that were wide enough to drive cars on.  I’d have to wait more than nine years before that happened.

To get an idea of the history of this city, it helps to know that it was the capital longer than any other city in China, and was first called Chang’an before it became known as Xian.

Several dynasties ruled China from this city:

BC 221-206 – Qin (Ch’in) Dynasty
BC 206 – 9 AD – Han Dynasty
581-618 AD – Sui Dynasty
618-906 AD – Tang Dynasty
Timeline of Chinese History and Dynasties

Beijing wouldn’t become the capital of China until 1279 AD during the Yuan Dynasty when Kublai Khan was emperor.

On our second day in Xian, we walked from the hotel and through an opening in the ancient wall into the city to a Xian restaurant. I went in first and the hostess, who didn’t speak a word of English, handed me a menu written in English.

Anchee, dressed more like a Chinese peasant than an American, walked in after me, and she was handed a menu written in Chinese. Then she glanced over my shoulder at my menu before taking it out of my hands and giving it back to the hostess.

“We’ll use the Chinese menu,” she said. Anchee grew up in China during Mao’s Cultural Revolution and didn’t leave until she was 28.

The prices in Mandarin were less than half the English version.  A stunned look appeared on the hostesses face.  It was a Candid Camera moment, and it was all I could do not to laugh.

This doesn’t mean every restaurant in China does this. In fact, most don’t. The double menu caper was probably the idea of the owner of that specific restaurant in a city known for tourism due to the Terra Cotta warriors and the tomb of China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi.

Discover The Return of Confucious

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Does Putin want the Kremlin’s Candidate to start a war with China? Part 2 of 2

February 8, 2017

What would a war with China look like?

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons says that China has 260 warheads. “Its warheads are deliverable by air, land, and sea.”  Business Insider reports, “China now has dozens of nuclear-capable missiles that could target almost the entirety of the US, according to the Department of Defense’s 2015 report on the Chinese military. “

Global Firepower.com reports that China is ranked 3rd out of 126 countries for its military capability and available firepower.

The United States is ranked 1st for military capability and available firepower. Click Global Firepower.com to compare the U.S. with China.

Don’t forget that China would be fighting near and from its home base, but the United States is more than 6,000 miles away, and China has 4 ballistic missile submarines with more to be commissioned and more in development.   They are not as advanced as America’s SSBNs but they still exist and are a threat.  National Interest.org says, “Even if China acquires the technical capacity necessary for a survivable sea-based nuclear deterrent, the highly centralized PLA has no operational experience in maintaining deterrence patrols on the open seas. China has traditionally relied exclusively on its land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for deterrence and thus has never confronted the existential question of whether to predelegate SLBM launch authority to submarine commanders in case of crises.”

According to NuclearForces.org, Russia has 112 SLBMs.

Why would Vladimir Putin want the United States to break with its old allies and start a war with China?

I think Putin wants to get rid of China and the United States as military powers.  Newsweek reports “How Trump is Alienating Allies and making China Great Again.”

Without its historical allies, the United States would probably win the war with a Pyrrhic victory (a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat) leaving Russia with the most powerful military on the planet and the only super power.

The U.S. would go after China’s infrastructure like the Three Gorges Dam (China has more dams than any country in the world), and end up destroying most of China’s infrastructure (dams, roads, airports, railroads, the power grid, bridges, etc.) destroying China as a modern technological state and economic power and plunging most of the survivors into extreme poverty.

Global Firepower ranks Russia’s military as #2.

Economically, many U.S. corporations do business in China. To understand how a war with China would devastate many U.S. corporations that make money from Chinese consumers, read this CNN Money report. In addition, The Wall Street Journal reveals how important Chinese consumers are to General Motors and Ford that sell millions of cars in China.

In fact, according to StatisticsTimes.com, the United States has the largest GDP in the world and China is in a distant second place.

In 2016, the United States had a GDP of $18,561,934 billion vs. China with $11,391,619 billion.

Where does Putin’s Russia fit on that global GDP list?  12th place with $1,267,754 billion.

If you look at the list, you will quickly learn that seven countries with GDP’s larger than Russia are historically allies of the United States, allies that President Trump is alienating.

And if Trump is planning to blast most or all of China’s major cities killing hundreds of millions of innocent civilians with nuclear weapons to punish China for not doing what he wants, I wonder if he knows which way the wind blows since he doesn’t pay attention to the environment. Pollution from China blows across the Pacific and blankets the United States just like pollution from the U.S. blows across the Atlantic to fall in Europe. Even the president of the U.S. can’t avoid the poisoned radioactive air, water, and replace the contaminated soil that grows the food we all eat in America.

Divided we fall.

What do you think the odds are that Trump will get the U.S. into a conventional and/or nuclear war with China, and will Russia finish off the winner?

Start with or return to Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Does Putin want the Kremlin’s Candidate to start a war with China? Part 1 of 2

February 7, 2017

What are the odds that President Trump will start a war with China? Please wait and answer the question after reading this two part series.

President Donald Trump continuous to talk about Putin with praise while badmouthing and challenging China.

Trump has a history of racism, and the Chinese are not Caucasians but Putin is.

Beijing is seriously concerned about Trump’s comments on One China policy says Politico.com.

In an interview with Fox News, Trump had signaled that the U.S. commitment to the policy that undergirds its relationship with China should be up for negotiation: “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things,” he said.

Then the New York Post reports, “China lashes out after Mattis backs Japan in islands dispute.”

Politifact reports, Trump warned of China military might. “We have rebuilt China, and yet they will go in the South China Sea and build a military fortress the likes of which perhaps the world has not seen …”

Trump was wrong when he said the U.S. rebuilt China. After World War II, the United States, under the Marshall Plan, rebuilt Europe, but blockaded China and fought wars in Korea (1959 – 1953 with an estimated 2.5 million civilians killed/wounded) and Vietnam (1955 – 1975 with an estimated 1.3 million to 4.2 million civilian dead) that were wars that China saw as a threat.

American Foreign Relations.com reports, “During the Cold War in Asia, the United States imposed embargoes on North Korea, China, and North Vietnam. These were severe embargoes established under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The embargo on China and North Korea began in 1950, during the Korean War.” The United States wouldn’t lift the embargo with China until 1969 during the Richard Nixon administration.

To discover if the Trump White House is planning to start a war with China, The Guardian.com reported that Steve Bannon said, “We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years. There’s no doubt about that.”

The Guardian went on: “Bannon’s sentiments and his position in Trump’s inner circle add to fears of a military confrontation with China, after secretary of state Rex Tillerson said that the US would deny China access to the seven artificial islands. Experts warned any blockade would lead to war.”

Continued on February 22, 2017, in Part 2

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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Chinglish

February 1, 2017

Chinglish is a play by David Henry Hwan that first premiered at the Goodman Theater in Chicago. The play premiered on Broadway at the Longacre Theater. I saw it at the Berkeley Rep Theater, and it was a laugh-out-loud evening.

This is not a review of Hwan’s play as much as it is about how different cultures find common behaviors hard wired in our DNA to make connections.

To summarize Chinglish, this laugh-out-loud play was about Daniel, a former employee of Enron, who almost went to prison with the rest of the Enron crooks. Daniel not only lost his high paying job with Enron, but he’s broke due to the legal battle that kept him out of jail.

In a last desperate attempt at success, he goes to China to find customers for his American company (a business that’s been in his family since 1925), but Daniel does not speak a word of Mandarin. At the beginning of the play, he says, “If you are an American, it is safe to assume that you do not speak a single f*****g foreign language.”

That one line reveals how clueless most Americans are when it comes to other cultures and languages.

Chinglish, through humor, teaches us a lesson about the minefield of misunderstanding and manipulation that happens when people of different cultures attempt to do business with each other.

“An American businessman arrives in a bustling Chinese province looking to score a lucrative contract for his family’s sign-making firm. He soon discovers that the complexities of such a venture far outstrip the expected differences in language, customs and manners.”

There is another implied theme in this play, and that’s about why sex is important, something all cultures and races have in common that often transcends cultural differences.

In the play, Daniel, an unhappily married man has an affair with an unhappily married mainland Chinese woman. Without spoiling the story, this affair provides the link that Daniel needs to succeed in China, and that link is known as Guanxi.

Early in the play, Daniel’s British interpreter, a man who has lived in China for years and speaks Mandarin fluently, tells him he must stay at least eight weeks to have a chance to develop Guanxi, a system of social networks and influential relationships that facilitate business and other dealings. The British interpreter says that for millennia China has survived without a Western legal system of laws, lawyers, courts and judges, and that Guanxi was crucial for China’s success as the longest surviving civilization and culture on the planet.

Without understand how Guanxi works, Daniel struggles to cross the cultural divide, but fails until he has the affair with the wife of a Chinese judge. The sexual attraction and lust that led to the affair opens the door to the Guanxi network of his lover, and her husband.

Discover Anna May Wong, the woman that died a thousand times.

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