What came first, Paper for Printing or for the Toilet?

July 8, 2020

Since COVID-19 struck like a venomous cobra killing thousand daily, toilet paper has become a very popular item in the United States and from what I am learning, the world.

March through May, I didn’t see much Costco toilet paper at the store where I shop. That started to change in June, and on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, I saw more of Costco’s Kirkland brand toilet paper in one place than I have ever seen before.

The Costco I shop at added more storage at the back of the store for toilet paper on the heavy metal shelves the chain uses that soar 30 feet from the floor to the ceiling.  At the checkout stand, I asked the clerk if that mountain of toilet paper was enough to satisfy demand, and she said, those shelves had to be filled three times a day to keep up.

The pandemic is in its fourth month and demand for toilet paper doesn’t seem to be ending. What are shoppers doing with all the toilet paper they are buying, insulating their houses with it?

On the way home, I thought about the history of toilet paper. I already knew that China invented paper just like they did the printing press centuries before they both showed up in Europe, but what about TP.

History.com says, “Although paper originated in China in the second century B.C., the first recorded use of paper for cleansing is from the 6th century in medieval China, discovered in the texts of scholar Yen Chih-Thui. In 589 A.D, he wrote, ‘Paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from the Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes.’

“By the early 14th century, the Chinese were manufacturing toilet paper at the rate of 10 million packages of 1,000 to 10,000 sheets annually. In 1393, thousands of perfumed paper sheets were also produced for the Hongwu Emperor’s imperial family.

“Paper became widely available in the 15th century, but in the Western world, modern commercially available toilet paper didn’t originate until 1857, when Joseph Gayetty of New York marketed a ‘Medicated Paper, for the Water-Closet,’ sold in packages of 500 sheets for 50 cents. Before his product hit the market, Americans improvised in clever ways (don’t ask).”

Why did it take more than five hundred years for toilet paper to reach Europe and the United States from China?

I wonder if China had a toilet paper shortage like we did in the U.S. after the Chinese learned about COVID-19, and first warned the world on December 31, 2019. I found one answer dated in February from the South China Morning Post reporting that in Hong Kong there was a fear driven rush to buy all the toilet paper one could drag home.  Guo Yukuan, a senior researcher with the China Society of Economic Reform, a state-backed think tank, said the panic buying was irrational. “This is purely driven by panic and stress,” Guo said. “China’s production capacity [for toilet paper] can supply not just Hong Kong but the whole world.”

Next time, before you flush, thank the Chinese for inventing toilet paper.

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 close does China’s Great Firewall watch Tik Tok?

July 1, 2020

The BBC reports “US President Donald Trump sought help from Chinese President Xi Jinping to win re-election, ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new book says.”

The allegations refer to a meeting between President Trump and President Xi at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, in June last year. “Trump, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election [in 2020], alluding to China’s economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Mr. Bolton wrote in his book The Room Where It Happened, released June 23.

 

What if Xi Jinping does not want to help Donald Trump win reelection?

 

Until yesterday, I didn’t know what Tik Tok was. Curious, I Googled it and discovered from Business Insider that this popular video-sharing app has more than 1.5 billion all-time downloads, and is owned by a Chinese internet company called ByteDance.

From Forbes, I learned that ByteDance, the Beijing-based Chinese Digital Giant and Owner of Tik Tok, had impressive 2019 revenue and earnings of $17 Billion.

 

Does that mean China’s President XI Jinping allowed Tik Tok Tokers and K-pop fans to Tank Trump’s Tulsa rally to embarrass Donald Trump?

 

After all, the Chinese Communist Party is well known for its Great Firewall. Internet censorship and surveillance have been tightly implemented in China blocking social websites like Gmail, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and others. The excessive censorship practices of the Great Firewall of China have now engulfed the VPN service providers as well.

The New York Times even reported, “We Should Worry About How China Uses Apps Like Tik Tok, illiberal innovations created for China’s vast surveilled and censored domestic market are increasingly popular overseas.

“To China’s surveillance state,” The NYT continues, “a video-sharing app offers much more than your dog dancing to Drake. Tik Tok’s domestic Chinese version, Douyin, is heavily censored and surveilled: Last year, the British cartoon Peppa Pig was purged from the platform after the authorities decided she had taken on subversive meaning. (It is unclear whether this was because of a direct government order or the company pre-emptively censoring itself.) … “To date, no evidence suggests that Chinese authorities have used their leverage over Douyin domestically to censor or surveil Tik Tok overseas. But given what we know about Beijing’s illiberal impulses, there is a gap between what is provable beforehand, and what it is prudent to presume.”

Since China keeps a close watch on its social networking sites like Tik Tok, why did its Great Firewall allow all those teens in China and around the world to sabotage Trump’s hate rally in Tulsa and embarrass the most unpopular president in United States history, not only in America but throughout the world?

After all, wouldn’t it be in China’s interest to see Donald Trump defeated in November 2020? Trump even answered that question when he said, “China wants me to lose reelection.”

If true, China would not be alone. Most of the world wants Trump to lose, and so do I. That is why I am asking China’s President Xi Jinping to please help Trump lose this year’s U.S. election and block Russia from helping him like they did in 2016.

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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My Splendid Concubine is now available to read through Kindle Unlimited.

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China’s Heritage Sites Growing in Popularity

June 24, 2020

China has 55 World Heritage Sites, and I have been to four of the top ten: the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, and the Terracotta Warriors. I have also been to the Ming and Qing Dynasties Imperial Tombs, South China Karst region along the Li River near Guilin, the West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou, the Grand Canal, and possibly a few others I did not recognize when I was looking at the list while writing this post.

In 2012, CNN.com reported, “Tourism boom threatens China’s heritage sites. … Places that were previously very remote and didn’t see a lot of (Chinese) tourists are now seeing enormous numbers arriving because they have the money to travel,” says Neville Agnew, group director of the Getty Conservation Institute, which has worked in China since 1989. “It’s an interesting phenomenon because it’s in complete contrast to the experience in Egypt, where almost all the visitors are foreigners.”

World Atlas.com also reports, “China’s Forbidden City gets more visitors (15 million) than any other UNESCO World Heritage Site.” The Great Wall had ten million.

World Atlas also said, “Although the high number of tourists visiting these UNESCO World Heritage Sites translates to high revenue for the receiving country, the cost of maintaining these sites is also significantly high.”

In 1971, the United States was central to UNESCO’s mission, and the People‘s Republic of China was isolated from the world. China had no world heritage sites and showed no evidence of public religious activity. That all changed after U.S. President Richard Nixon visited China in 1971. The Berkeley Center said, “By the 1980s, China had been recognized with its first World Heritage site and a massive religious revival was underway.”

Tragically, “Nearly half a century later, the United States (with 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites) has withdrawn from UNESCO (because of President Donald Trump who values nothing but his power, his fame or infamy, as long as he is getting attention from the media, and money even when he has to cheat people to get it), and China eagerly seeks a greater role in the organization, which has recognized China with the second-highest number of World Heritage sites in the world.”

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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My Splendid Concubine is now available to read through Kindle Unlimited.

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When it comes to World Heritage Sites, China and Italy are tied for First Place

June 17, 2020

When it comes to World Heritage Sites, China is tied with Italy for first place. Each country has 55 World Heritage Sites.  China has 14 natural and 37 cultural sites vs Italy’s five natural and 50 cultural.

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, which is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged to be important for the collective and preservative interests of humanity.

To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already-classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area). It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.

The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 “states parties” that are elected by their General Assembly.

The reason Italy and China are tied for 1st place is because Italy was home to the Roman Empire (27 BC to 1453 AD) and China to the Han (206 BC – 280 AD), Tang (618 – 907 AD), and Qing (1368 – 1644 AD) Dynasties.

National Interest.org says, “Contrary to the common perception of China being historically isolated and weak, many Chinese dynasties were very powerful and have had a profound impact on global history. … The Han Dynasty ruled China for a solid four centuries, from 206 B.C.E. to 220 C.E. Although the preceding Qin Dynasty unified China, it was the Han Dynasty that kept it together and developed the institutions that characterized most of Chinese history since. …

“After the Han Dynasty collapsed due to civil war, China entered a period of disunity until being reunited by the Sui Dynasty, which was subsequently succeeded by the Tang Dynasty, which ruled China from 618-907 C.E. The Tang Dynasty was one of China’s most cosmopolitan and urbane dynasties, opening China up to a period of foreign influences. The Tang Dynasty was also likely China’s largest and most powerful dynasty in history and is considered the golden age of imperial China.”

The Qing Dynasty was China’s last and one of its greatest from 1644 to 1911. The National Interest explains why, “The Qing were the first Chinese state to effectively control regions like Tibet, Xinjiang, Manchuria, and Mongolia, peripheral regions that were inhabited by people that had always harassed China.”

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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Five Ancient Chinese Myths and Science Proves One Was Real

June 10, 2020

Myth: 1) a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events

2) a widely held but false belief or idea.

Yin and Yang

“A popular creation myth from Daoism states that before the beginning of the world there were two opposite forces. Yin was the female element, representing softness, darkness and the earth; Yang was the male element, representing hardness, light and the heavens. Though the two forces were opposites, they were still dependent on each other to maintain the harmony of the universe.” ­– Study.com

Xi-Wang-Mu, the Queen of the West

The Ancient History Encyclopedia says, “She was the queen of the immortal gods and spirits, especially female spirits who lived in the mystical land of Xihua (“West Flower”), and goddess of immortality. She is also known as Xiwangmu or Xi-Wang-Mu and lived in a castle of gold in the Kunlun Mountains, surrounded by a moat which was so sensitive that even a hair dropped on the waters would sink. This moat served as protection for her Imperial Peach Orchard where the juices of the fruit of the trees gave immortality. She rewarded her followers with eternal life but punished those who angered her. During the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) the government built shrines for her popular cult.”


MULAN – Full Movie (not the latest Disney version; with no English subtitles)

The Myth of Mulan is based on a poem that “tells the story of a young girl who dresses as a man for a dozen years to wage war in her father’s stead. Though many people believe it was based on a true story, there is little evidence that the powerful young woman existed. And there are longstanding debates over where the story was to have taken place and about the family name of Mulan.” – Hartford Courant.com

The Yellow Emperor has a tomb, but he is still a myth

The Myth of Huang Di or the Yellow Emperor is about “a legendary Chinese sovereign and cultural hero presented in Chinese mythology. He is said to be the ancestor of all Huaxia Chinese. According to many sources he was one of the legendary Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. Tradition holds that he reigned from 2697–2597 BCE or 2696–2598 BCE. He is regarded as the founder of Chinese culture & civilization. His enlightenments include fundamental shifts in civilization: writing (on tortoise shells), politically formed government, the compass and silk woven clothes via the Empress, Lei Zhu (嫘祖).”

The Great Flood

“One of the Chinese legends explains that the flood was caused by an argument between a crab and a bird. Fuhi, his wife, three sons, and three daughters escaped a great flood and were the only people alive on earth. After the great flood, they repopulated the world.” – Ark Encounter

What’s interesting about China’s Great Flood Myth is that it has been verified by science. Culture Trip.com reports, “A dramatic 4,000-year-old Chinese myth known as the ‘Great Flood of Gun-Yu’ has underpinned Chinese culture for millennia. Historians have long debated the veracity of the story, but a startling new study published in Science says there’s archaeological evidence that the flood was real.” … “Using evidence from the sediments along the Yellow River, a team of geologists and archaeologists have verified that a devastating flood did indeed occur around 1900 BCE, approximately the date that the Xia dynasty is supposed to have begun. The catastrophe ranks as one of the largest freshwater floods in the past 10,000 years.”

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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