Women’s Rights in China Today

October 4, 2017

Dramatic changes in women’s rights have been achieved in China where for millennia women were stereotyped as inferior to men, had no rights and served as slaves, concubines, and prostitutes. Marriages were arranged as early as infancy.

In 1949, foot binding was abolished, and the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) was formed and supported by China’s Communist Party (CCP).  After the CCP won the long Civil War, it took less than a year to liberate women and bring an end to everything mentioned in the first paragraph.

At the 10th National Women’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, in 2008, Deputy-Chairwoman HuangQingyi said, “Sex discrimination in employment should be eradicated and the income gap between men and women should be further narrowed.”

It has also been reported that domestic violence is a severe threat to women. Chinese authorities reported fifty-thousand complaints annually, according to figures released by the ACWF. The domestic violence fact sheet shows this is also a problem in the United States. And it doesn’t help that the Trump administration in the U.S. has backed away from supporting rape victims and is supporting alleged rapists instead.

Sexual discrimination was supposed to have been abolished in China back in 1949, when Chairman Mao Zedong famously announced, “women hold up half the sky”, but it wasn’t. It has only been a few years since China outlawed sexual harassment.


Imagine this happening in China before 1949.

Laws may be passed to bring about change but changing a culture happens much slower.

>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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Feminism Flourished in China almost Fourteen Hundred Years Ago

September 13, 2017

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia says Feminism is a social movement that seeks equal rights for women.

The dates Britannica throws out for the age of feminist are the Enlightenment, a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries, and the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in the United States that called for full legal equality with men.

Merriam-Webster’s definition for feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes and organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.

For centuries Western women were treated as chattel, the property of men. History 120 says, “Most Americans treated married women according to the concept of coverture, a concept inherited from English common law. Under the doctrine of coverture, a woman was legally considered the chattel of her husband, his possession. Any property she might hold before her marriage became her husband’s on her wedding day, and she had no legal right to appear in court, to sign contracts or to do business.”

Female Emperor Wu Zetian (625 to 705 AD) was a very early feminist who ruled the Tang Dynasty as an emperor and was China’s only woman emperor.

Women in World History says the Tang Dynasty was a time of relative freedom for women. Women would not bind their feet for a few more centuries or live submissive lives. It was a time in which a number of exceptional women contributed in the areas of China’s culture and politics.

Wu Zetian demanded the right of an emperor and kept male concubines. She also challenged Confucian beliefs against rule by women and started a campaign to elevate the position of women.

After watching the video and reading the entry in Britannica and the definition in Merriam-Webster, it’s obvious that feminism was alive and well in China more than a thousand years ago during the Tang Dynasty.

In fact, in the United States, It wasn’t until August 18, 1920, that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, a right known as woman suffrage. At the time the U.S. was founded, its female citizens did not share all of the same rights as men, including the right to vote.

After Wu Zetian, women lost the freedom she had given them, but it was returned in 1952 when Mao said women hold up half the sky meaning that women were equal to men.

Before Mao’s victory in 1949, Chinese women were considered of less value than animals. Not only were they actual slaves in their husband’s house, but they were bought and sold like merchandise. The poor and hired peasant women were traded with the land any time a landlord sold his property. Faced with failing crops, families were often forced to sell female infants and girls as concubines, child brides and servants to wealthy families in order for the rest of the family to survive the winter.

Another of Mao’s slogans said, “Any job a man can do, a woman can do.”

This marked the entrance of Chinese women into jobs that had formerly been forbidden to them – everything from crane operators to heart surgeons. The policies adopted by the people ensured equal pay for equal work. No longer do Chinese women do the same jobs as men and get paid half the wages for it.

However, in the U.S. the alleged land of the free with more people in prison than any other country on the planet, the Equal Rights Amendment still hasn’t passed.

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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The Impact of Poverty and Starvation on Human Rights

August 1, 2017

On December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by fifty-six members of the United Nations. The vote was unanimous, although eight nations chose to abstain (not vote).

At the time, the most powerful countries in the world was the members of the alliance that won World War II. It would take another sixty-three years for the rest of the world (minus three) to join and reach 193 countries. That means in 1948, twenty-nine percent of the world’s countries decided what human rights was.

Although Nationalist China was one of the original fifty-one members of the UN in 1945, Communist China (established in 1949 after the end of the Chinese Civil War) didn’t become a member until October 25, 1971, when the UN General Assembly expelled the Republic of China (Taiwan), and admitted the People’s Republic of China as one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. – Growth in United Nations membership, 1945-present

The five most powerful countries are on the U.N. Security Council: China, Russia, France, United Kingdom, and the United States. They are also the five most powerful countries that worked together to defeat Nazi Germany and Japan in World War II.  Six of the eight that abstained and did not vote were members of the Soviet Union’s Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe.

Merriam-Webster defines human rights as: “rights (such as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons.”

When I read A Different Turning Point for Mankind by G. W. Bowersock in the May 9, 2013 issue of The New York Review of Books, I had one of those “Aha!” moments while I was reading about the history of several different cultural philosophies and ideologies.

For millennia, the major cultural influences on the planet have been: Greek, Roman, Jewish, Christian, Chinese, Hindu, Islamic, and Buddhist.

But the concept of human rights that dominates the planet today has its roots from ancient Greece and Rome, not China, Africa, India, or the Middle East.


China focused on poverty reduction first over human rights. After all, what good are human rights if you are poor and starving?

This Western, Greek-Roman concept of human rights that evolved over a period of centuries to dominate the planet today came about due to the fire and brimstone of the colonial era of the 18th and 19th centuries where European countries such as Spain, England, France, Germany, Portugal and Italy ruled, often brutally, over most of the planet as colonial powers. Later the United States joined in building its own global empire once again based on a Greek-Roman, Christian foundation.

When Western citizens criticize China or Asia, the Middle East, or Africa for human rights violations, these cultures are not being judged by their own perception of what human rights might mean. Instead, the West, especially the United States, is forcing its beliefs on those cultures.

In the West, human rights are based on the ideology of the self that emphasizes autonomy, but this is not relevant to a Confucian based society that stresses the primacy of community and the person’s obligation to others. – University of Illinois Press

And for the Islamic Middle East, Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im says, “Shari’ah, which is the historical foundations of Islamic law, directly affects the millions of Muslims around the world. Because of its moral and religious authority, it has great influence on the status of human rights for Muslim countries.”

Words for thought: are claims of human rights violations outside of Western countries based on the status of human beings as individuals or as a member of a community or group of people, because traditional cultures do not always view the individual as an autonomous being possessed of rights above society? – Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center

In addition, hunger and poverty also influence the concept and evolution of human rights. “The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people, or one in eight people in the world, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing fifteen percent of the population of developing counties.” – World Hunger.org

If you were one of the almost one billion people around the world suffering from chronic undernourishment (starving), would you be sitting around debating freedom of expression, religion, democracy, and equal pay for men and women? If you have never experienced living in a so-called democracy, how can you be expected to understand what that’s like?

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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Are Empires Built on a Mountain of Lies?

July 5, 2017

The sun never set on the British Empire until endless wars brought that empire to its knees. I’m sure that at one time, a British citizen could easily say with arrogance, “If Russia (or China, or Germany, or Italy, or France or Spain) doesn’t behave, we will spank them.” And Britain did spank these countries and others for centuries until the empire was bankrupt and burdened with debt—sound familiar?

I read a piece in The Huffington Post and was reminded how power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Then I remembered what an old friend said in an e-mail.  This friend is a conservative, born-again Christian. He claims to be guided by scripture. He believes that George W. Bush (GWB) was the greatest if not one of the greatest American presidents. He also believes in the nation building that GWB attempted in Iraq.

That former friend makes part of his living as a handyman. He lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment and drives a very-used car that he keeps running by visiting junk yards for parts and doing the work himself. He also votes Republican and often bashes evil liberals while listening to radio-talk shows like Dennis Prager and reading authors like Ann Coulter.

This former friend also voted for Donald Trump knowing the man was a crook and a liar.

This former friend wrote once that Communism was evil. My reply was that individuals like Mao or Stalin were corrupted by their power and did evil things, but not all communists were or are evil. In fact, if Communism was evil why has the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) been responsible for reducing 90-percent of global poverty? In 1949, about 95-percent of people in China lived in extreme poverty. Today, according to the CIA Factbook, 3.3 percent of people in China live below the poverty line.

How can the CCP be so evil if it also doing good things for China’s people?

I always thought that ‘power corrupts’ was only abused by people in powerful positions like corporate CEOs or elected officials.  I was wrong. A nation’s power may also corrupt the thinking of its people. That brings me to Donald Trump and a piece in the June 2017 National Geographic Magazine on Why We Lie. Trump is mentioned because of his lie about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. And later in the piece, it is mentioned by Dan Ariely, a psychologist at Duke University and one of the world’s foremost experts on lying said that “we want to see ourselves as honest, because we have, to some degree, internalized honesty as a value taught to us by society. Which is why, unless one is a sociopath (Trump is not a sociopath. He is a malignant narcissist and psychopath. There is a difference between a sociopath and a psychopath), most of us place limits on how much we are willing to lie.

Donald Trump does not place limits on how many lies he says. He is a world class serial liar. In fact, Politifact.com has a file on Trump’s lies, and according to Politifact, 84-percent of what comes out of Trump’s mouth or through his rabid tweets are lies.

What does that say about the United States?

I wonder how many empires are built on lies. Winston Churchill once said, “There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.”

One of those lies is that the United States is not an empire.  The National Interest says (and I agree), “The United States is an empire – indeed, one of the most powerful empires in all history-but refuses to acknowledge the obvious (Is this refusal a lie?). This is part of the problem, for at present, America is a colossus with an attention deficit disorder, practicing cut-price colonization.”

And if you doubt that, explain this: “We know that roughly 750 military bases and installations staffed by American military personnel exist in approximately 130 countries around the world.”

How many military bases does China have in other countries?

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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How much did it cost for the U.S. to support a brutal dictator?

April 25, 2017

Just about everyone in the United States who reads and/or listens to the news has probably heard of Mao’s brutality and the alleged brutality of the Chinese Communist Party, but what about Chiang Kai-shek and his KMT, an ally of the United States during and after World War II.

But since 1949, China is responsible for 90-percent of the reduction in global poverty. At the same time the United States was supporting a brutal authoritarian dictatorship in Taiwan that didn’t become a democracy until 1996.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History reports, “Taiwan was the home of one of the Cold War ‘friendly dictatorships’: illiberal governments with which Washington partnered because they were anti-communist. Taiwan’s political system allowed only the KMT to rule and maintained a permanent state of martial law, with severe constraints on civil and political liberties and harsh punishment of dissidents. Until the 1990s the KMT government, like the CCP, had a Leninist party structure originally designed by Soviet advisors.”

The Taipei Times published a piece on the front page of the paper on Tuesday, February 27, 2007, and said, Former dictator Chiang Kai-shek was a murderer, and President Chen Shui-bian said Taiwan’s former authoritarian regime and its leaders were responsible for the massacre of tens of thousands of civilians slain in 1947.

On a site that lists the death tolls for the major wars and atrocities of the twentieth century, Chiang Kai-shek was given credit for 10,214,000 democides from 1921 to 1948.

Democide is a term revived and redefined by the political scientist R. J. Rummel as “the murder of any person or people by their government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder.”

Scaruffi.com credits Chiang Kai-shek with the deaths of 30-thousand people during a popular uprising against his regime in Taiwan in 1947.

The next day, several thousand protesters marched in Taipei on February 28, 1947 against the brutality that took place the day before, but they were met with bullets, and martial law was declared.

I discovered a book on the topic, Representing Atrocity in Taiwan, The 2.28 Incident and the White Terror by Sylvia Li-Chun, who is the Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Chinese at the University of Notre Dame.

The Asia Times also reported, “They slaughtered civilians at random to terrorize the Taiwanese into submission, and carried out a targeted campaign to wipe out the Taiwanese elite—local leaders and intellectuals who represented the biggest threat to KMT rule. To this date, the numbers killed are uncertain, but historians estimate 30,000.”

The reason for all this was the confrontation between capitalism and communism worldwide. The thinking was “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” even if that friend is a monster, a tyrant who is equal to or worse than the targeted enemy.

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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Living with Disabilities in China

March 8, 2017

Facts and Details.com reports, “China is home to the world’s largest disabled population. There are 83 million disabled people in China, with a million in Beijing alone.” No mention of the fact that China also has the largest population in the world.  For a comparison, in the United States, there are about 48.9-million people with a disability. China has more than 1.3-billion people. The U.S. has about 315-million.

After Mao’s Cultural Revolution, China’s education system had to be rebuilt, and in the late 1990s, teams of Chinese teachers traveled to the United States to learn from America’s public schools and teachers. What they learned, they took home to Shanghai and more than a decade later Shanghai earned 1st place in the international PISA test thanks, in part, from what was learned studying America’s public schools.

China never had a public education system for everyone until after Mao, and the job isn’t done yet. China still has work to do to provide a quality education for all children.

For instance, the art displayed in this post comes from deaf artists, who are graduates of the Shandong Provincial Rehabilitation and Career School, an institute in China that trains young Chinese with disabilities.

a1-art-work-from-disabeled-chinese-artists

In 1949, Mao Zedong launched the People’s Republic of China and ruled with an iron fist for almost three decades. During Mao’s time, there was almost no free artistic expression in China unless the art served the propaganda needs of the state.

Today, that has changed.

After Deng Xiaoping opened China to a global market economy, the post Mao generation was introduced to Western art and theory.

It wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990s that art from China started to emerge.

3-disabilitiesThe photos in this post are presented with permission from “Embracing the Uncarved Wood, Sculptural Reliefs from Shandong, China“, which was made possible by a generous grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and with assistance from the Office of the Provost of Franklin & Marshall College. ISBN: 978-0-910626-04-0

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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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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