China’s Tobacco Epidemic – Part 2 of 2

March 29, 2017

In 2005, China signed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global anti-tobacco treaty to cut tobacco use. In fact, WHO even awarded China’s Health Minister Chen Zhu for his efforts to battle tobacco use.

However, in China, tobacco companies sponsor public schools and arrange sponsored tours of cigarette factories for elementary students where the slogans say, “Talent stems from hard work, tobacco helps you become accomplished.”

The JAMA Network reports, “Foreign tobacco companies are mounting massive production and advertising campaigns in China. Government health education programs lack funds to counter these influences …” JAMA  is The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Bloomberg reported, “Philip Morris subsidized two cigarette factories in 1988 and almost a decade later provided corporate jets when China’s top tobacco regulator, Ni Yijin, visited the U.S., according to internal industry memos. The company’s objective was to build its relationship with Ni and to impress upon him that Philip Morris was the ‘preferred partner’ to modernize and restructure China’s tobacco industry. The visit was carefully orchestrated with talking points, seating charts, and gifts for Ni (such as a $700 Steuben crystal eagle) determined months in advance.”

Where was Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor, when he was needed most? After all, when the first emperor wanted to get something done, nothing stopped him. He unified China after winning wars with several other countries that existed in China at the time.

China first emperor also finished building The Great Wall causing the deaths of hundreds-of-thousands of peasants. He mandated one written language, and had the scholars from the conquered countries that complained dig their own graves before setting them on fire and throwing dirt on the remains.

It is highly unlikely that Qin Shi Huangdi would have liked cigarettes since he ordered his alchemists/scientists to discover an elixir for immortality, unless they thought smoking tobacco was that elixir.

Note that the United States is one of 17-countries that did not join the 180-countries that ratified the WHO’s anti-tobacco treaty.  The U.S. also joined a handful of countries, including Iran and Sudan that did not ratify the Convention on Discrimination against Women.  In addition, the U.S. and Somalia have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.S. and Turkey are the only nations of NATO that did not sign the Mine Ban Treaty.  – Global Policy Forum, US Position on International Treaties

Return to or start with 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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China’s Tobacco Epidemic – Part 1 of 2

March 28, 2017

The Asia-Pacific Journal reported, “Following Chinese economic reforms of the 1980s, U.S. consumer goods companies were increasingly drawn to China. American companies entered the country by forming joint ventures with a Chinese company or government agency. Early participants included such giants as H. J. Heinz, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, Coca-Cola, American Express, American Motors, AMF, Inc., General Foods, Beatrice, Gillette, Pepsi-Cola, Eastman Kodak, AT&T, Nabisco, and Bell South.”

In 1970, China produced 785-thouisand tons of tobacco. By 1990 that number more than tripled to more than 2.6-million tons. With an estimated 320-million cigarette smokers in China today, annual consumption of cigarettes by each smoker would be about 240 packs. – Tobacco in the People’s Republic of China

I know firsthand how evil addictive tobacco is.   I witnessed a father-in-law, my brother,  a neighbor, an aunt, and my father die early from the ravages of tobacco.

The last few years of my father’s life, he wore a breathing mask attached to a tank of oxygen.  His freedom was limited to the fifty-foot hose connected to that tank.

The World Health Organization reveals:

  • Approximately one million deaths every year in China are caused by tobacco – around one in six of all such deaths worldwide.
  • Approximately 100,000 people die as a result of exposure to second-hand smoke each year.
  • In other words, someone in China dies approximately every 30 seconds because of tobacco use; or around 3,000 people every day.
  • If the prevalence of tobacco use in China is not reduced, the number of tobacco-related deaths every year in China will increase to 3 million by 2050.3

China’s central government is sort of attempting to end tobacco use in China. China’s 12th Five-Year Plan calls for smoke-free public places as part of the major national goal to increase life expectancy. The “China Report on the Health Hazards of Smoking”, released by the Ministry of Health in May, 2012, outlines the hazards of tobacco use, states the health consequences of second-hand smoke, and emphasizes the importance of smoking cessation.

Part 2 Continued on March 29, 2017

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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The Lovers Who Wanted to Save China’s Past

March 22, 2017

Smithsonian Magazine ran a piece on The Lovers of Shanxi. Lin Huiyn and Liang Sicheng are known today as the couple that wanted to save China’s ancient architectural treasures before they were lost forever. On the eve of World War II and Japan’s invasion of China, this married couple set out in the 1930s to search China and document the country’s architectural history.

Smithsonian said, “The couple would go on to make a string of extraordinary discoveries in the 1930s, documenting almost 2,000 exquisitely carved temples, pagodas and monasteries that were on the verge of being lost forever.”

Liang Sicheng is recognized as the “Father of Modern Chinese Architecture”. Princeton University, awarded him an honorary doctoral degree in 1947, and wrote “a creative architect who has also been a teacher of architectural history, a pioneer in historical research and exploration in Chinese architecture and planning, and a leader in the restoration and preservation of the priceless monuments of his country.”

His wife was the first female architect in modern China. Her passion was the restoration of China’s cultural heritage sites.  She died in 1955 of tuberculosis, and soon after her death, her husband was denounced during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and Liang Sicheng died in 1972 before the Cultural Revolution ended. During the years after his first wife’s death, he witnessed the destruction of many of China’s architectural masterpieces.

But today, in China, this couple is remembered and honored for what they accomplished.

These two also visited one of the few surviving examples of ancient China’s architecture to see the massive four-mile-long wall built in 1370 AD that surrounds the city of Pingyao in Shanxi province. One reason this city’s ancient architecture survived the Mao era is because the city was too poor to tear everything down during the Cultural Revolution when Mao was attempting to erase history.

After Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping reversed Mao’s policies and opened China to the world, and over the years many of the damaged buildings were rebuilt.

I can only hope that something similar will happen in the United States once the malignant narcissist Donald Trump is gone.

Today the ancient city of Pengyao is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most buildings in the Old city are from the Ming and Qing dynasties. During the late Qing Dynasty, Pingyao was the financial center of 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.

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Chocolate Tofu Pie

March 21, 2017

China was making tofu from soybeans more than two thousand years ago.

Shape.com says, ““Generally, less processed soy products, like tofu, are safe and healthy for most people. On the other hand, heavily processed soy-based products should be consumed in moderation, if at all,” advises Ochner, who says edamame, fermented soy, and tofu are considered among the healthiest in the soy family.

When in China, I get up early to go to the nearest market that makes fresh soy juice and I buy it without sugar or sweetener added. There is no comparison. It’s warm. It’s fresh. It’s China. It’s different from the genetically altered, American, factory-farmed soy juice sold in American markets. That stuff is “yuk” and I don’t touch it.

The Chinese invented tofu, but some Americans are reinventing it. For instance, I was introduced to Chocolate Tofu Pie at Mother’s Market in Costa Mesa, California, and I was hooked,.

Back home, I figured out how to make it by experimenting. The following recipe was the result.

Ingredients:

  • Two 10-ounce containers of soft or silken organic tofu
  • Two four-ounce packages of baker’s, unsweetened chocolate—but use only six of the ounces. This chocolate has no milk or sweeteners added.  Use six ounces of the eight.
  • One bag of malt-sweetened chocolate bits. There are no dairy or refined sugars in this chocolate. Use half of this bag. If you skip this ingredient, add more of the baker’s, unsweetened chocolate.
  • Agave nectar. This low absorbing sweetener is absorbed into the body slowly. You can use any sweeter you want.
  • One package of ready-made whole-wheat pie crust (recommended for fiber). You could also make a pie crust out of dates and nuts (see next video)
  • Use one tablespoon of arrowroot for a thickener

Directions:

  • Mix the tofu in a blender with the arrowroot or another natural thickener.
  • Heat the chocolate in a pan (double boiler hopefully) until melted and pour into blended tofu and mix.
  • Add the Agave nectar.
  • Taste to make sure it is sweet enough and that the bitterness from the baker’s chocolate is gone. Add more Agave if desired. Our daughter enjoys this step the most, since she is the taster.
  • Blend until it is all one smooth color.
  • Pour equally into the pie pans.
  • Put pies in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Let pies cool after cooking; put in refrigerator after they are cool.

The pies will be ready the next day.

Note: I usually shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for the ingredients used in the tofu chocolate pie.

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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Why aren’t we all the same? Part 5 of 5

March 18, 2017

Individuals in a collectivist culture tend to view themselves as members of groups (families, work units, tribes, nations), and usually considers the needs of the group to be more important than the needs of an individual.

Most Asian cultures, including China, tend to be collectivist.

Another example between individualism and collectivism is Piety (respect for elders). In the West, evidence suggests that the young are being spoiled to the point where many Western children are rude to elders expecting them to be invisible and silent, while in China that same behavior is often the reverse—at least it was before Western fast food and consumerism appeared in China.

In China, when there is a conflict of interest between individuals and the collective, individuals are expected to sacrifice their own benefits for the sake of the collective well-being.

On the other hand, an individualist culture is one in which people tend to view themselves as individuals and to emphasize the needs of the individual over the well being of the group. Source: Travel China Guide – a discussion about individualist and Collectivist Cultures

Are there exceptions?  Of course, but those exceptions seldom represent the average or the majority.

Return to Part 4 or Start with  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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Why aren’t we all the same? Part 4 of 5

March 17, 2017

The Research Digest Blog asks, “Are children from collectivist cultures more likely to say it’s okay to lie for the group?”

The theory says that yes, they might say it’s okay to lie for your team than children from individualistic cultures, such as the US, which places more value on self-interest.

The surprising finding was that children from China actually found lying to protect one’s team less acceptable than children in the US did.

“This is not to suggest that Chinese children were acting in an individualistic manner,” the researchers said, “but rather that they were acting based on what they believed to be a more salient moral aspect of the situation.” Source: Research Digest Blog

Collective cooperation may explain why China has a long history of innovation.

After all, the Chinese invented the compass, paper, the printing press, gunpowder, the multistage rocket and much more.  Source: The Growing Gap Between the US and China

In addition, I read in the September/October 2012 issue of Foreign Policy Magazine that the Chinese are doing it again. for example: inventing a modular method to build energy-efficient skyscrapers —China plans to use this innovative method to built the world’s tallest building (220-stories) in ninety days compared to the current tallest building in Dubai that is 160 stories tall and took six years to build. Other innovations China is developing is the straddling bus in addition to safer, cleaner nuclear energy.

Continued on March 18 in Part 5 or go back to Part 3

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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Why aren’t we all the same? Part 3 of 5

March 16, 2017

When I wrote why China is studying Singapore, my goal was to show Westerners why China couldn’t model itself after an individualistic culture such as the United States, because copying the United States wouldn’t fit China’s culture.

Even Dr. Sun Yat-Sen – China’s Democratic Revolutionary, said any democracy in China would have to fit China’s culture saying, “An individual should not have too much freedom. A nation should have absolute freedom.”

Individualism promotes individual goals and encourages each person to express him or herself freely.  Each person is encouraged to be unique. Rules and laws attempt to ensure independence, choices, and freedom of speech. Relying or being dependent on others is often seen as shameful, and people are encouraged to do things on their own, to rely on themselves. Source: Psychology – Collectivist and Individualist Cultures

However, James Surowiecki says, “We once accused the Japanese of being copycats and now we turn on the Chinese. But the truth is that we have all become imitators. … In many situations, collective decisions are better than individual ones.” Source: Co-Society.com

Continued on March 17 in Part 4 or go back to 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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