China is Leading the World in Alternative Energy

August 23, 2017

The United States Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970 because of polluted rivers, lakes, and dense, visible smog in many U.S. cities and industrial centers.  I grew up in the Los Angeles basin in the 1950s – 60s and was a witness and victim of that air pollution.

A 2016 Report of the Trends in Global CO2 Emissions said, “top emitters China (1st place) and the United States (2nd place) set an example by effectively reducing their CO2 emissions over 2015 by 0.7% and 2.6%, respectively, compared to 2014 levels. … The largest decreases in coal consumption were seen in the United States and China.”

But all of the gains made by the United States since the 1970s are being reversed by #FakePresident Donald Trump and his extremist administration.

Yes, the United States is listed as the second largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions in the world, but if the U.S. had China’s population, the pollution generated would dwarf China. In 2015, China’s global share of emissions was 29 percent vs 14-percent in the United States, but if both countries had equal populations, the U.S. share would be almost twice China’s.

China’s first Clean Air Act was signed into law in 1987. In 2006, Greenpeace was consulted by China’s CCP on an early draft of a renewable energy law by China’s National People’s Congress. Now China is the world’s leader in the production of renewable energy. DW.com reports, “China is one of the driving forces behind the solar power boom. Last year, around 45 percent of the world’s new solar installations were built there. The United States, Japan and India were also top adopters of the technology, albeit significantly behind China.”

China’s one-party system has demonstrated the ability to get things done quickly and, yes, mistakes are made but so are course corrections.  For instance, I witnessed China’s ability to get things done in Shanghai. At the time, we were staying in what was once the French concession. The stately mansions that once housed wealthy French families and their Chinese servants had been converted to communal multi-family homes still surrounded by high walls.  When we went to sleep one night, the walls were there. In the morning, the walls were gone.

An army of workers arrived at night, took down the walls and trucked out the debris without making enough noise to wake people.

History already shows us that when China’s leaders set a goal to achieve something, they get it done even if it takes centuries.

Need proof? China is responsible for two of the largest engineering projects of all time: The Great Wall and the Grand Canal.

China Highlights reveals that “Over 2,000 years, many imperial dynasties and kingdoms built, rebuilt, and extended walls many times that subsequently eroded. The latest imperial construction was performed by the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), and the length was then over 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles). This is the wall often referred to when we talk about the Great Wall.”

Britannica.com says, “The Grand Canal was built to enable successive Chinese regimes to transport surplus grain from the agriculturally rich Yangtze (Chang) and Huai river valleys to feed the capital cities and large standing armies in northern China.”

Global Securtiy.org says, “The Grand Canal is composed of the Beijing-Hangzhou Canal, Sui-Tang Canal and Zhedong Canal, and is over two thousand years old. It starts in Beijing and passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Zhejiang, Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu. It is 21 times longer than the Panama Canal, and surpasses the Suze Canal by 10 times … the Grand Canal of China is the longest waterway in existence and one of the most ancient.”

When someone thinks China can’t replace coal with renewable green energy sources, remind them of The Great Wall and the Grand Canal. All China needs is time to get the work done. Want another example?  About thirty years ago, China decided to seriously deal with poverty and led the world by reducing global poverty by 90-percent but only in China. The rest of the world was only responsible for 10-percent of that reduction.

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

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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China’s History with the Night Sky: Part 2 of 2

August 9, 2017

The Milky Way Maid’s Weblog says, the (ancient) Chinese focused on the constellations creating one of the earliest star maps ever found. “The Chinese are believed to have made the first observation of the legendary Halley’s comet in 240 BC.” In the West, In 1705, an astronomer named Edmond Halley discovered that the comet appears every 75 to 76 years, and the comet was named after him, not the Chinese who observed it before Christ was born.

Chinese astronomers gave distinctive names to familiar Western constellations. For example, the Big Dipper was called The Plow. The North Star was Bei Ji. Another constellation was called the Winnowing Basket.

However, the Chinese were not alone in mapping the heavens.

Ancient cultures in the West studied the skies too. The “Nebra Sky Disc”, discovered in Europe, was dated to about 1,600 BC.

National Geographic reports the Nebra Sky Disc is the oldest depiction of the night sky in history, and its a hundred years older than the oldest images found in ancient Egypt. The Nebra Sky Disc may be the first representation of the universe in human history.

In addition, China.org reports that 4,000 years ago, the oldest astronomical instrument known to man was invented. It was merely a bamboo pole planted in the ground so that the movement of the sun could be observed from the direction and length of the shadow of the pole. “From the 16th century BC to the end of the 19th century AD, almost every dynasty appointed officials charged with the sole task of observing and recording the changes in the heavens. Such observations and records have left a rich astronomical legacy. …

“While Western astronomers of the Renaissance period were still arguing in 1615 who was the first to discover sunspots, Chinese astronomers had already accumulated a large amount of records on sunspots. Now it is known that the earliest records of sunspots were made in 28 BC by Chinese astronomers during the reign of Emperor Cheng of the Western Han Dynasty.”

Return to or Start with Part 1.

Discover Wu Zetian, China’s only female emperor

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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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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China’s History with the Night Sky: Part 1 of 2

August 8, 2017

For thousands of years, Chinese astronomers studied the stars and planets moving in their endless repeating paths across the night sky.

The Oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (1766 – 1122 B.C.) recorded eclipses and as many as ninety supernovas, a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that ejects most of its mass.

For about two thousand years, the Chinese used the constant North Star to map the location of all the other stars in the sky.

This method of mapping stars is called the equatorial system. The West would not use this method to map the heavens for almost two thousand years after the Chinese invented it.

In the early 1980s, a tomb was found at Xi Shui Po (西水坡) in Pu Yang, Henan Province where clamshells and bones were found that formed the images of the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger, and the Northern Dipper. It is believed that this tomb belonged to the Neolithic Age about 6,000 years ago.

Star names relating to Chinese astrology’s 28 Mansions of the Lunar Calendar were found on oracle bones dating back to the Wuding Period about 3,200 years ago. “Since ancient times, while classical Chinese astrology, based on the observation and movement of stars, sun, comets, moon and planets, was the exclusive privilege of the emperor, many alternative systems were consequently developed that were not based on the direct observation of the sky. Their basic principles rely mainly on numerology in association with the calendar.”

Continued in Part 2 on August 9, 2017

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

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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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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The Evolution of the Three Teachings of China

July 25, 2017

China may be the only ancient culture that survived the spread of Islam and Christianity and managed to keep its unique identity. The following passage comes from My Splendid Concubine, my first published novel was historical fiction based on a real life story and it earned fifteen literary awards. In the novel, Guan-jiah is Robert Hart’s servant.

 

– the following scene is from CH-4 of My Splendid Concubine

“Guan-jiah,” Robert said, “before I came to China I read The Travels of Marco Polo. Do you know who he was?”

“No, Master,” Guan-jiah replied.

“He came to China from Europe more than six hundred years ago and served Kublai Khan during the Yuan Dynasty. Polo wrote that Hangzhou was the finest and noblest city in the world.”

“Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Sung Dynasty, Master,” Guan-jiah said. “I’ve heard it is beautiful. Sung philosophy says that we have the power in our minds to overcome our emotions.”

“Marco Polo believed it was God’s will that he came back from China so others in the West might know what he’d seen.” Robert turned to his servant, who was the last in line. “Do you believe in this Sung philosophy, Guan-jiah?”

“The Sung said that if you know yourself and others, you would be able to adjust to the most unfavorable circumstances and prevail over them.”

“That’s admirable, Guan-jiah. You never mentioned you were a scholar. If the Sung Dynasty was that wise, I want to see Hangzhou one day.”

“I am no scholar, Master, but I must believe in the Sung philosophy to survive. I have read and contemplated much literature. However, I am like a peasant and have never mastered calligraphy. It is a skill that has eluded me.”

“How old were you when you studied this philosophy?”

“I was eleven, Master, two years after I was sent to Peking.”

The 3 teachings of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism have been the backbone of Chinese culture since the bronze age, and are still intertwined strongly with today’s China. They are different interpretations to China’s core philosophies of life. Over time, different dynasties favored different ideas, if only to define themselves against their predecessor. Ultimately though, it’s all about the philosophy of combining spirituality with the reality of everyday life.

Discover The Return of Confucious

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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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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Should the Chinese Communist Party be concerned about the Mandate of Heaven?

July 19, 2017

Due to the Mandate of Heaven, many of China’s people see rebellion as a birthright under the right circumstances. The Mandate of Heaven has been traced back to 1753 B.C. or earlier.

With the Mandate of Heaven, the right to rule from divine legitimization to one based on ‘evenhanded’ rule was born. Whenever a dynasty fell, the reason offered by China’s wise men was the loss of the moral right to rule given by Heaven alone, because, for a good government, Heaven sends down all blessings, but on the evildoer, Heaven sends down all miseries.

However, China’s leaders, like leaders all over the world, were free to rule unjustly and could harm the people they ruled but the thinking was that their rule would come to a swift end as Heaven passed its mandate to another family or group. It’s thought that Heaven blessed the authority of a just ruler, but would be displeased with a despotic ruler and would withdraw its mandate. In addition, severe floods or famines might be considered evidence of divine repeal of the Mandate of Heaven.

As long as the ruling family or political party rules fairly and justly, the majority of Chinese people will see no need to call for change or rebel.

What is the closest thinking to the Mandate of Heaven in the West? Here’s my choice for the United States. Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”?

Since I started this post with a question, I’ll end with one. Should the 45th President of the United States be concerned about the Mandate of Heaven and Thomas Jefferson’s advice? Please let me know what you think in the comment section.

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

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.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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China’s Transition Years – Discovering History through Film

July 18, 2017

Farewell, My Concubine covers more than 50-years of Chinese history from 1924 – 1977.

In 1924, prostitute Yanhong sees no other alternative than leaving her son Douzi at a training school for Chinese opera where the boys are beaten, and tortured for forgetting their lines. The only escape is suicide. China’s decades long Civil War between the Communists and Nationalist rages on and then Japan invades China in 1937 and the challenges to survive become worse. After World War II, the Chinese Civil War continues and doesn’t end until 1949.

Two of the boys at the training school, Douzi and Shitou, become friends destined to be great actors, and they impress audiences by performing together. Through the years, with the political situation in China ever changing and not always for the good, Shitou and Douzi remain close.

Chen Kaige, self-trained as a filmmaker, was the director for this award-winning 1993 film. Prior to “Farewell, My Concubine”, Chen received modest acclaim for the “Yellow Earth” and “The Big Parade”. With “Farewell, My Concubine,” he won the Palme d-or in Cannes.

Although the film is in Mandarin with English subtitles, the story captured me from the beginning. If you are interested in Chinese history, this film spans several decades beginning soon after the end of the Qing Dynasty. On the surface, it is a story of two boys that happen to become famous, but they have difficulties and challenges like most of us do. However, the film takes us from the Qing Dynasty to a warlord dominated, struggling republic, the Japanese invasion of World War II, and through Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

I saw this movie more than a decade ago and I remember this powerful, dramatic story of one man’s life from the day his mother took a knife and chopped off an extra finger on each hand so he would have five instead of the six he was born with.

Discover Anna May Wong, the American actress who died a thousand times.

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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Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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Discovering Mao’s Cultural Revolution through Books and Film

July 12, 2017

I read Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie soon after its English translation came out in 2002.  A few years later in 2005, we drove about sixty miles to see the Mandarin language film with English subtitles. Checking Amazon recently, I saw 344 customer reviews with an average of 4.2 out of 5 stars for the novel. The film had a 4.5 average.

This short novel spent twenty-three weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. The author, born in China, moved to France where he learned to read, speak, and write French. The book was originally written in French and translated into English by Ina Rilke.

The story is about two likable, teenage boys and their struggle after being banished to a peasant village for “re-education” during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Sons of doctors and dentists, the boys work at muscling buckets of excrement up the mountainside and mining coal. Then there is the little seamstress of the title, whom Luo, one of the boys, falls in love with. He dreams of transforming the seamstress from a simple country girl into a sophisticated lover. He succeeds beyond his expectations, but the result is not what he expected.

Discover more about Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China through Joan Chen’s film Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl and Anchee Min’s memoir Red Azalea. Joan Chen’s film earned high marks on Rotten Tomatoes from both critics and the audience.  Min’s Red Azalea was a national bestseller. The Vogue Review said, “”The book sings. It is a small masterpiece. . . [No one] has written more honestly and poignantly than Anchee Min about the desert of solitude and human alienation at the center of the Chinese Communist revolution.”  The New York Times called it “[An] extraordinary story. . . . This memoir of sexual freedom is [both] a powerful political as well as literary statement.” And the Miami Herald said Min’s memoir was “Brave and heartbreaking.”

The best way to learn about the Mao era in Chinese history is to read it from those who were there and lived through it; not from some foreigner that wasn’t there and/or has never been to China.

Discover Wu Zetian, China’s only female emperor

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.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline