Jack London Accused of Racism after Visiting China in 1904

September 6, 2016

The experiences Jack London (1876 – 1916) had in Korea and China in 1904 led to an essay and a story that ignited a debate that he was a racist. At the time, London also took photographs during the Russo-Japanese War in Korea and Manchuria.

He wrote the The Unparalleled Invasion, which takes place in a fictional 1975, when the West decides to destroy China (for no good reason) by using biological warfare.

London’s 1904 essay, The Yellow Peril, contributed to the claim that he was a racist. Using Google, I found sites that support this theory.

The New World Encyclopedia says, “Many of Jack London’s short stories are notable for their empathetic portrayal of Mexicans (The Mexican), Asian (The Chinago), and Hawaiian (Koolau the Leper) characters. But, unlike Mark Twain, Jack London did not depart from the views that were the norm in American society in his time, and he shared common Californian concerns about Asian immigration and ‘the yellow peril’ (which he actually used as the title of an essay he wrote in 1904; on the other hand, his war correspondence from the Russo-Japanese War, as well as his unfinished novel “Cherry,” show that he greatly admired much about Japanese customs and capabilities.”

In addition, Jack London, Photographer (ISBN 978-0-8203-2967-3) by Jeanne Campbell Reesman, Sara S. Hodson and Philip Adam is a beautiful book showing that London had talent beyond writing stories such as White Fang or Call of the Wild.

On page 57, the caption says, “London had his camera confiscated in Japan and was often detained by Japanese officials when he got too close to the front lines, especially as the war spread to the Yalu River, the boundary between Korea and Manchuria.”

After seeing the pictures in Jack London, Photographer, it’s difficult to believe he was a racist. There have also been rumors that London committed suicide, but there’s no evidence to support that theory either.

If London were a racist, why did his Japanese servant Tokinosuke Sekine stay loyal to the end even after London was bankrupt and his ‘fair weather’ friends had abandoned him?

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Mao as a Complicated Man

August 2, 2016

Mao was fifty-six when he became China’s leader and seventy-two at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. But who was Mao for the other fifty-five years before he ruled China?

Many outside of China only think of Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976) as a brutal dictator, but he was more than that.

For instance, as a child, his father was a stern disciplinarian who beat him and his three siblings often, and Mao became an avid reader.

And while commanding the Red Army during The Long March (1934-1935), he was a man respected by China’s peasants. Then there was Mao’s move away from Communist Russia after Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, when Mao said to Nixon, “Our common old friend, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, doesn’t approve of this.”

In 1935, Mao’s poem, “The Long March”, reveals an awareness of the sacrifice and the willingness to suffer to accomplish great things.

The Red Army fears not the trials of the March,
Holding light ten thousand crags and torrents.
The Five Ridges wind like gentle ripples
And the majestic Wumeng roll by, globules of clay.
Warm the steep cliffs lapped by the waters of Golden Sand,
Cold the iron chains spanning the Tatu River.
Minshan’s thousand li of snow joyously crossed,
The three Armies march on, each face glowing.

Mao was a complex man, and it wasn’t until after the failure of the The Great Leap Forward (1958 – 1961) that the fatal attraction and power of leadership corrupted him leading to the horrors of The Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976), that Mao’s many critics outside of China use to define him.

Anyone who follows all of Mao’s life instead of relying on his last decade would understand that he cared deeply about the common people while punishing the landowners and wealthy, who abused the people he cared about.  On the other hand, his foe, Chiang Kai-shek, supported the landowners and wealthy while crushing the peasants and workers, but few outside of China condemn this brutal dictator who was a U.S. ally.

Mao Zedong Poems reveals what Mao might have been thinking about as President Johnson increased America’s involvement in Vietnam. Was Mao also warning us of what he was about to do in 1966, when he launched The Cultural Revolution?

Two Birds: A Dialogue (1965)

The roc wings fanwise,
Soaring ninety thousand li
And rousing a raging cyclone.
The blue sky on his back, he looks down
To survey Man’s world with its towns and cities.
Gunfire licks the heavens,
Shells pit the earth.
A sparrow in his bush is scared stiff..
“This is one hell of a mess!
O I want to flit and fly away.”
“Where, may I ask?”
The sparrow replies,
“To a jewelled palace in elfland’s hills.
Don’t you know a triple pact was signed
Under the bright autumn moon two years ago?
There’ll be plenty to eat,
Potatoes piping hot,
Beef-filled goulash.”
“Stop your windy nonsense!
Look, the world is being turned upside down.”

Through Mao’s poetry, we learn more about the man beyond the demonized stereotype created in the media outside of China.

And Do the Chinese People Currently Consider Mao Zedong to Be Evil or a Hero. In Forbes, Kaiser Kuo writes, “If I were forced to say there’s a dominant view of Mao among mainlanders, it would be that Mao was ‘good’ up until the very early 1950s — before the Anti-Rightist Campaign got into full swing, and before he set China on a course toward collectivization. Whether or not these beliefs can be supported by fact, it’s widely believed among Chinese that Mao led the Communist Party and its Red Army in effective resistance against the Japanese invaders; that they represented a morally superior vision over that offered by the Guomindang (the Nationalist Party) — a vision that championed egalitarianism, feminism, anti-imperialism, anti-feudalism, nationalism; and that they allowed China to ‘stand up’ after a century of abject humiliation beginning with the Opium War. After 1949, land redistribution and the Marriage Law (which was, by any measure, a very progressive piece of legislation) won them plaudits too.”

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 [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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What do Moses and China’s Yellow Emperor have in Common?

July 20, 2016

On Tuesday, July 19, in Is 3,799 years old enough for you we learned about the discovery of China’s oldest known dynasty and the myth of the Yellow Emperor.  In this post I link Moses with the Yellow Emperor.

“And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.”  Exodus 19:17, 18

What about China’s Yellow Emperor? Bellaonline.com reports, “Then one day, a yellow dragon descended from the sky to take the Yellow Emperor back to heaven …. Myth says, he ruled for a hundred years before leaving.”

In China no one knows for certain where the Yellow Emperor was from. … He was known as the Yellow Emperor in honor of his contributions to agriculture and the Chinese calendar. In addition to farming, his wife, Lei Zu, is credited with developing the idea of growing silkworms and creating silk. The Yellow Emperor is also noted as the creator of Chinese medicine, and the origins of Taoism and Confucianism trace their roots back to this mythical Emperor.

In addition, consider that the Biblical Moses (1393 – 1273 BC) and the Yellow Emperor were both on Earth about the same time.

Was the Old Testament’s description in Exodus a space ship landing on Mount Sinai, and is the Yellow Emperor returning to heaven on what sounds like another space ship a myth or reality?

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 [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Did Mao Zedong have Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)? – Part 2 of 2

July 13, 2016

Mao born in 1893 grew up during a period of madness in China’s history. To learn more, I suggest reading The Roots of Madness.

The Chinese Civil War lasted from 1926 to 1949 with a few years out to fight the horrors of the Japanese invasion of China during World War II.

The horrors of Mao’s Long March by itself was enough to cause PTSD in all 6,000 of its survivors from the more than 80,000 troops that started the year-long journey of retreat, battle, and severe suffering that was threatened by death on a daily basis.

After Mao was China’s leader, there was an assassination attempt by one of his most trusted generals, Lin Biao, a man Mao had named as his successor after he died.  In addition, during China’s Civil WarChiang Kai-shek ordered more than one failed assassination attempt on Mao.

However, the threats and violence that shaped Mao’s life began before The Long March and before he was a leader in the Chinese Communist Party.

As a child, he grew up among farmers and peasants with an average expected life span in China of 35 years. In the 1920s, as an idealist and a sensitive poet, he believed in helping the worker and led several labor movements that were brutally subdued by the Nationalist government led by Chiang Kai-shek.

Once, Mao barely escaped with his life.

In 1930, Yang Kaihu, his wife at the time — Mao was married four times — was arrested and executed. In addition, Mao had two younger brothers and an adopted sister executed by Chiang Kai-shek’s troops.

If you had several close calls with death; lost a wife, two younger brothers and an adopted sister in this way, how would that affect you?

To judge Mao by today’s Politically Correct Western values is wrong, because he grew up in a world ruled by a completely different set of values that shaped him to be tough enough to survive.

Anyone that survived and went on to rule China at that time would have been judged as brutal by today’s Politically Correct Western values. In fact, Chiang Kai-shek was a brutal dictator who ruled Taiwan — after he fled mainland China in 1949 — under military marshal law until his death in 1976. But Chiang didn’t have as many people to rule over so the death count he caused was smaller but no less significant.

The History of Humanitarianism shows us that this concept was born and nurtured in the West and developed slowly over centuries with the result that the individual was made more important than the whole.

However, in China, the whole is still more important than one person as it was during Mao’s time. If you were to click on the link to the History of Humanitarianism and read it, you would discover that China was not part of this movement while Mao lived. (Discover more about China’s Collective Culture)

PTSD as a war wound and a trauma was not recognized or treated until well after America’s Vietnam War.  Prior to its discovery, it was known as shell shock. The diagnosis of PTSD first appeared in the 1980s, and Mao died in 1976.

In fact, if Mao were alive today he would not be alone. In the United States, it is estimated that 7.8% of all Americans suffer from PTSD, and among that segment of the population, more than 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan military veterans have PTSD in addition to 1.7 million Vietnam veterans.

Return to or start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat vet, 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 unique 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 Story of Silk

June 28, 2016

I’ve often heard about the Silk Road, but I was curious and wanted to know more about the history of silk so I did some Google research and discovered that silk has a long history in China.

For example, in 1984, silk fabric dating back more than 5000 years was found in Henan Province.


Worker makes silk cloth from a silkworm.

According to legend, Lei Zu, the queen of China’s legendary Yellow Emperor, was drinking a cup of tea beneath a mulberry tree one day when a silkworm cocoon fell into her cup. Further investigation revealed that the unraveling fibers were light and tough, ripe for spinning. Thus China’s silk industry was born.

What I didn’t know was that merchants from the Roman Empire sent ships by sea to China and traded directly with the Han Dynasty. It’s well known that China traded with India, the Persians and even Europe using a land route called the Silk Road across Asia. But this was the first time I heard of ships from Europe reaching China about two thousand years ago.

Ships from the Roman Empire first sailed to India and bought silk, which became very popular in Rome. In fact, purple silk was worth its weight in gold.

Eventually the Roman merchants set up trading posts all the way to China and reached Canton; then traded in Chang-Cheou near today’s Shanghai. – Romano-Chinese Relations

In fact, until 73 AD, the silk sea route was the only one open since the caravan routes along the Silk Road were closed at the time.

Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar (31 BC to 14 AD) earned credit for establishing trade between Rome and China.

In 166 AD, Roman travelers arrived at the Court of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 219 AD) in Chang’an near today’s Xian. These Romans met powerful representative of the Han Dynasty.

About the same time, Buddhist missionaries arrived in China by ship from India and introduced Buddhism to China.

The next paragraph may sound as if history were repeating itself between the U.S. and China.

Romans spent recklessly. Gold left Rome and flowed to the East at such a rate that the government had to restrict imports. After a long period of prosperity in Rome, the empire entered a serious economic crisis.

Rome was bankrupt from its overspending and couldn’t maintain the hundreds of thousands of troops needed to protect the empire.

In 312 AD, Constantine moved the Roman capital to Constantinople.  In 395, the Roman Empire was divided between the Western and Eastern Empires. Then the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 AD ushering in what’s known as the Dark Ages in Europe (5th to the 15 centuries AD).

During this same period, the Tang (618 – 907 AD) and Song (960 – 1279 AD) Dynasties ushered in the golden age of China, and China was the wealthiest and most technologically advanced country on the Earth.  The long decline of imperial China’s started in the 15th century as the Renaissance was getting under way in Europe (14th – 17th centuries).

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Vietnam versus China – 207 BC to Today

June 21, 2016

Compared to China, the few years the U.S. fought in Vietnam is insignificant, and based on history, the United States learned its lesson to get out in a much shorter time span than it took China. And the French learned this lesson in a much shorter time span between 1946 and 1954.

China’s most recent conflict with Vietnam started on February 15, 1979, when China invaded Vietnam to teach it a lesson.

Why did China do this? Well, after the death of Stalin, relations between the Soviet Union and China turned sour while the Russians and the Vietnamese developed a closer relationship.

To counter this perceived threat, China encouraged Cambodia to take aggressive action against Vietnam. Near the end of 1978, the Cambodians under the leadership of Pol Pot launched a series of attacks along the Vietnam border.

The Vietnamese retaliated with armored units and captured the capital of Cambodia on January 7, 1979.

Since ten-thousand Chinese military advisers in Cambodia became prisoners, China lost face, and invaded Vietnam to “teach it a lesson”.

The Vietnamese decided to hold back their regular army and defend the border with militia units using guerilla tactics in the hills and rainforest similar to how they fought America, the French and China in the past.

China took heavy casualties after attacking and soon pulled its troops out 3 weeks and 6 days after crossing the border.  Both sides declared victory. Border clashes between Vietnam and China would continue until 1990.

One would think that China would have learned its lesson long ago, because China has a long and bloody history with Vietnam. The first Chinese invasion and occupation of Vietnam took place in 207 BC to 39 AD. The second occupation was from 43 to 544 AD.  The third was from 602 to 905 AD.  The fourth event was between 1407 to 1427 AD. During this long history of invasions and occupations by China, the Vietnamese rebelled repeatedly to drive the Chinese out and regain their independence as a country.

France ruled over Vietnam from 1862 until the Japanese invaded during World War II. The French would return in 1946 and fight the Vietnamese until 1954.

The US and Vietnam, once enemies during the American-Vietnam War (1961 – 1975), are now allied to block China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.  – Goldsea Asian American News

I seriously think many leaders do not study history to avoid repeating the same mistakes made by others before them.

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A1 on March 13 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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Was Hsi Wang Mu real?

June 14, 2016

To the Chinese, Hsi Wang Mu is the Queen Mother of the West (Western China), and she is an important figure in Chinese mythology.

It is believed that the myth of China’s Queen Mother goes back almost three thousand years, but the earliest recorded history was found from the Chou Dynasty (1122 – 222 BC) and was written in the second century BC. It appears that she may have been a real queen of a Western Chinese state and stories of her life become legend over the centuries turning into magical myths.

One of the older stories is about Hsi Wang Mu and the celestial archer, where she asks him to build her a palace of jade in the western sky. His reward was a pill made from the peaches of immortality, which ends in tragedy and heartbreak.

It is said that Hsi Wang Mu had nine sons and twenty-four daughters with her mate, Tung Wang Kung.

 Discover China’s First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A1 on March 13 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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