Surviving a Pandemic: China vs the United States

March 25, 2020

China is a collective culture and the United States is individualistic. FutureLearn.com says, “Individualism stresses individual goals and the rights of the individual person. Collectivism focuses on group goals, what is best for the collective group, and personal relationships.”

While it is true that China got off to a bad start when local officials in the city of Wuhan attempted to silence and punish Dr. Li Wenliang for sending out a warning about the COVID-19 virus, it didn’t take long before China’s central government acted aggressively to contain the spread of the epidemic.

On December 27, Wuhan health officials learned that a new coronavirus was making people sick. Four days later, China informed the World Health Organization’s office in China.

Then on January 7, China’s President Xi Jinping became involved. Eleven days later Beijing sends epidemiologists to Wuhan to determine what is happening.

On January 21st, the CDC in the United States confirmed the first COVID-19 case. Two days later, China, locked down Wuhan and three other nearby cities, days before Dr. Li Wenliang died on February 7 from COVID-19. The lockdown was not voluntary. It was mandatory.

By March 19, China Daily reported, “The lockdown of Wuhan, the city hardest-hit by the novel coronavirus in China, could gradually be lifted if no new cases are reported for two consecutive weeks, which may happen in April, a top public health expert said.

“However, strict disease control and prevention measures will still be needed to prevent a possible rebound of the outbreak, said Li Lanjuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a senior adviser to the nation’s top health authority.”

Meanwhile, in the United States on January 22, President Donald Trump, a hard-core individualist, because almost every word out of his mouth or from his Twitter account is about how great he is or an attack on someone else or another country, said, “We have it totally under control.”

That was the same day it was confirmed that the first American had COVID-19.

February 2, Trump said, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China. It’s going to be fine.”

The number of confirmed victims in the U.S. had climbed to 8.

February 24, Trump said, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

But the number of confirmed infected individuals was increased by 27, and CNBC reported, “Stocks plunge for a second day as the DOW lost more than 800 points on Tuesday.”

February 25, Trump said, “CDC and my administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

Eighteen more victims of COVID-19 were confirmed in the United States.

February 26: Trump said, “The 15 cases within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” He also said, “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

Six more cases were reported by February 27.

On March 4 (Source: The White House), Trump said. “If we have thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work – some of them go to work, but they get better.” Trump made this comment during an interview on Fox News. At the time, the CDC was urging employers to have workers stay home. Later that day, Trump defended himself, “I never said people that are feeling sick should go to work.” Source: CBS News

By the end of March 4, another 51 confirmed cases had been added to the list.

Meanwhile, many of Donald Trump supporters, individuals that seem to think like him, refused to self-quarantine. “Trump supporters have been warned incessantly not to trust mainstream journalistic coverage of the issue.” Source: The Atlantic.com 

Between March 4 and March 18, another 7,078 confirmed cases had been added to the list. — Statista.com

“Though President Trump said March 7 that ‘anyone who wants a test can get a test,’ the United States’ limited testing capacity means that in practice, only a fraction of people who have symptoms are being tested.” – LiveScience.com

To see the list of Trump’s lies from January 22 to March 13, click on Snopes.com.

 

I started my self-quarantine on March 13th and have gone out once to buy supplies. I was gone for about an hour on March 19. While out, I saw two shoppers (of dozens) wearing masks and they were a young Asian American couple. Later, while at Trader Joes, I saw one cashier (Caucasian) with a face mask, but it was hanging around her neck and wasn’t covering her mouth or nose.

Time.com reported, “Why Wearing a Face mask is Encouraged in Asia, but Shunned in the U.S.”

What do you think – Do collectivist cultures like China have an advantage over an individualist country like the United States when it comes to dealing with a pandemic like COVID-19?

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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What does it take to bring about change?

March 11, 2020

One thing I know for a fact is that Americans complaining about China will not change that country.

The Chinese choose to reflect the views of their leaders and ancient traditions rather than their own personal views. Americans, on the other hand, seek independence and pursue personal goals above the goals of society. As such, China can be described as a collectivist society, while most Americans are individualistic.

Traditional Chinese cultural values harmony, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, honesty, loyalty, and filial piety. The concept of harmony is the most important Chinese traditional value. This has been unchanged for thousands of years in spite of the influence from outside cultures and numerous invasions.

What does American culture value?

The Declaration of Independence states that “all [people] are created equal,” and this belief is deeply embedded in America’s cultural values. Americans believe that all people are of equal standing. That means the most important thing to understand about U.S. culture would be individualism. Americans are trained from childhood to become separate individuals responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions. That individualism also helps explains why someone like Donald Trump is doing everything he can to destroy the country he now leads. With Trump, everything is about him.

The BBC reports, “Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts – and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.”

Recently, I had an e-mail conversation with another American that said she’s spent some time in China more than a decade ago. It really bothered her that the Muslim Uyghurs in the Northwest province of Xinjiang did not have the freedom to protest and cause problems. The total population of Uyghurs in China is 11,303,155, and that is less than one percent of China’s population. In addition, the Uyghur’s engagement with China has been violent since the 1960s. The odds are against the Uyghurs.

What my internet friend did not take into account was the fact that the Chinese are not Americans. Her judgment was based on the culture she grew up in.

Maybe that internet friend filled with condemnation for China should take this advice: “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do.”  This phrase refers to the importance of adapting yourself to the customs of another country instead of imposing your values on them.  In fact, all of her energy should be focused on saving her own country from destruction.

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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Does Impeach mean “to Remove from office”

December 11, 2019

Britannica says, “In the United States the impeachment process has rarely been employed, largely because it is so cumbersome. It can occupy Congress for a lengthy period of time, fill thousands of pages of testimony, and involve conflicting and troublesome political pressures. Repeated attempts in the U.S. Congress to amend the procedure, however, have been unsuccessful, partly because impeachment is regarded as an integral part of the system of checks and balances in the U.S. government.”

The U.S. House of Representatives has impeached 19 individuals since 1798, but only eight were found guilty and removed from office.  Click the link to learn who the guilty were.

What about China?

In China’s Constitution, removal from office is mentioned 15 times. For instance: “The National People’s Congress (NPC) has the power to remove from office the following persons: (1) the President and the Vice President of the People’s Republic of China …” China’s Constitution goes on to mention many other positions where individuals can be removed from office.

After a long Google search, I found one example of a CCP official being removed from office. “On April 10, 2012, the Communist Party suspended one of its top leaders, Bo Xilai, from his posts on the Party’s Politburo and Central Committee, and announced that the Party’s graft-fighting arm, the Central Discipline Inspection Commission, would be investigating him for alleged ‘serious discipline violations.’ The Party had removed Bo from his post as Party Secretary of powerful Chongqing Municipality just weeks earlier, on March 15.”

It wasn’t easy finding information about CCP Officials that were removed from office due to corruption/crimes until I changed the search terms I was using. Then I found the following information.

May 2018, the Guardian reported, “China sentences former political rising star to life in prison for corruption. Sun Zhengcai is one of the most powerful officials to be toppled under President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign. …

“He became the first politburo member to be investigated since Bo, who was charged with corruption and sentenced to jail in 2013. Sun was expelled from the CCP in September after the party accused him of taking bribes and trading power for sex.”

In addition, The South China Morning Post reports that “Xi Jinping’s anti-graft drive has caught so many officials that Beijing’s elite prison is running out of cells. …

“It looks like being a particularly grim Lunar New Year in the ‘tigers cage’ this week. The notorious Qincheng maximum-security prison houses many disgraced senior Communist Party officials …

“The source said the prison was packed to the gills with inmates – a product of President Xi Jinping’s ferocious anti-corruption drive that has netted more than 1.3 million officials at various levels.” – February 2018

The score for impeachment and/or removal from office:

China: millions since 1949

United States: eight since 1798

Maybe the United States should transfer President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial to China where the American people might get a fair verdict. And if found guilty in China, let Donald Trump serve his prison sentence there, too. At least in China, Donald Trump would not have access to Twitter from his prison cell.

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 Unleashed, Again

November 27, 2019

While the United States is struggling to survive the arrogant, corruption, lies, ignorance and incompetence of President Donald Trump, Wharton warns us, “China and the U.S. are battling to be the leader in 5G technology, a fight it seems that Chinese tech companies are winning.”

While Donald Trump’s followers obsess about abortion while keeping a quarter of America’s children in crushing poverty, Kara Swisher warns us in the next video that, “Next tech innovation will come from China, not the U.S.”

While Trump’s Republicans are spreading the fear of socialism, American farmers are going bankrupt thanks to Trump’s infamous trade war with China and the world, in the next video, Richard Aguilar warns us, “China (a socialist-capitalist country) is innovating advanced technology in farming.”

“China has been continuously advancing in the field of technology and … you will see how China is transforming agricultural production in their country with the use and help of their technological advancement.”

While Donald Trump’s arrogant, ignorant, and corrupt Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is doing all she can to destroy the U.S. public education system, the same schools that helped make America the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world after World War II, Rebecca Fanning, the author of Tech Titans of China, says, “U.S. awareness of China’s tech industry as a whole is limited, and this oversight could ultimately prove costly to the U.S., if it persists.”

Fanning’s new book reveals “How China’s tech sector is challenging the world by innovating faster, working harder, and going global.”

If you don’t believe China is capable of racing past the United States because it is not a democracy like the United States, learn from Joseph Needham by reading The Man Who Loved China.

For more than fifteen-hundred years starting with the Han Dynasty in 206 BC, China was the most innovative and wealthiest country in the world up to 1644 AD’s Qing Dynasty. For instance, during those centuries, the Chinese invented paper, the stirrup, the crossbow, silk, tea, gunpowder, the printing press, the development of canal locks (that make the Suez and Panama canals work), and hundreds of other innovations.

I think the reason the United States is falling behind China is because the U.S. is no longer a Constitutional Republic and democracy with a clear separation of church and state. Instead, the United States is fast becoming a theocratic kleptocracy thanks to Citizens United and corrupt, manipulating liars like Donald Trump, the kleptocrat, and Betsy DeVos, the theocrat.

Meanwhile, China throws thieves and liars like Donald Trump in prison, and does not allow religions to have political power.

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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THUGS: “to be, or not to be, that is the question”

October 16, 2019

This post is about the protests and riots taking place in Hong Kong, but I’m going to start with a question first and attempt to answer it.

What would happen in the United States if thousands of protestors swarmed Washington Dulles International Airport or flooded Wall Street in New York City?

To find out, I turned to history. After all, we can learn from what has already happened, right?

CNBC.com reports, “In 1863, citizens were drafted to serve on the Union side in the Civil War. … Resentment at the situation eventually resulted in rioting, but those taking part soon targeted African-Americans, and large numbers were lynched in the streets and had their homes destroyed. President Lincoln sent militia regiments to pacify the city, and by the fourth day the uprising was crushed decisively. … Figures vary between 120 and 2000 people killed …”

Seattle 1999

“Activists blocked traffic at major intersections … police responded by firing tear gas, pepper spray and, eventually, rubber bullets, to disperse the crowds … Protesters responded by destroying storefronts, pushing flaming dumpsters into intersections and slashing the tires of police cars. Ultimately, 600 people were arrested, chief of police Norm Stamper stepped down and the vandalism caused $20 million in damages.”

New York City 1977

“The 1977 blackout, which affected only New York City, was marred by pervasive arson and looting. … All told, over 1,600 stores were damaged, over 1,000 fires were reported and 3,776 people were arrested, the largest mass arrest in city history.”

Cincinnati 2001

“It was a reaction to the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, who was attempting to escape from police officers on foot.”  On the 3rd night of rioting, it rained. “The precipitation stopped the violence in its tracks and limited the damage to $3.6 million.”

Detroit 1967

“When the violence dissipated five days later, property damage was estimated to be between $40 million to $80 million.”

Chicago 1968

“Arson was so extensive that the fires exceeded the capabilities of the city’s fire department, so many buildings burned to the ground. Many that didn’t were so badly damaged that they had to be torn down, rendering hundreds of people homeless and costing more than $10 million in damages.”

Watts 1965

“The situation degenerated into widespread violence that didn’t fully die down until six days later, at a cost of $40 million and 34 lives. The unrest would stand as the worst such case in Los Angeles history until the 1992 riots 27 years later.”

Newark 1967

“The account proved to be false, but the rioting took on a life of its own regardless, and persisted for six long days, resulting in 26 fatalities and $10 million worth of property damage.”

Los Angeles 1992

“Thousands responded to the verdict by engaging in widespread arson, assault and looting, killing 53 people and injuring thousands more. The unrest went on for six days and did not die down until the National Guard was deployed to the area. When it was all over, more than 1000 buildings had been destroyed by fire, and most assessments of the damage put its cost at almost $1 billion, making it the costliest episode by far of civil unrest in United States history.”

Now, back to Hong Kong. Vox.com reports, “9 questions about the Hong Kong protests you were too embarrassed to ask … Protesters filled Hong Kong International airport two weeks ago. … They carried signs and decorated the walls and floors with messages explaining why they’re rallying, disrupting the transit hub. … The airport protests encapsulated months of turmoil in Hong Kong. Weekly demonstrations and sit-ins have at times turned tense and violent when police arrive spraying tear gas and rubber bullets.”

What is happening in Hong Kong has happened before, all over the world, not just the U.S. and HK.

When there are demonstrations in the United States, police and demonstrators also clash as tensions escalate.

Therefore, if the rioter and protesters in Hong Kong are led by alleged pro-democracy advocates, what do we call the rioters and protestors in the United States that is allegedly a democracy?

Do we call them anti-democracy advocates or are they all, in HK and the U.S., just thugs that are out of control?

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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Say Hello to “The Farewell”

September 4, 2019

If you marry someone that grew up in China, the odds favor that you will also be married to a Chinese family. When I married Anchee in 1999, I got a lot more than a wife. In China, I also was accepted by her family, her friends, and I started to learn about the country of her birth, its long history, and its culture, and I haven’t stopped learning. The only thing I haven’t learned is Mandarin, a tonal language where what sounds like one word can be four words depending on the tone. I’m not tone deaf. I enjoy listening to music, but I cannot tell the difference between the sounds needed to pronounce four different words that sound like they are one word.

I saw “The Farewell” alone on a Monday morning in an almost empty theater with two other people that sat higher up in what I call the bleachers. The film offered more than the drama of a Chinese family that discovers their beloved grandmother in China has a short time to live. Throughout the film, the Chinese family and their friends, and even the Japanese bride hide the doctor’s verdict from the grandmother.

To keep this secret, her two sons that haven’t been to China with their families for twenty-five years, use the excuse of a sudden engagement to bring family and friends together for this unexpected wedding before grandmother dies. One son lives in the United States, and his brother lives in Japan where his son has a Japanese girlfriend, the bride to be.

The lead character is Billi. She was six when her mother and father moved to the United States. When we first meet Billi, she is in her twenties and living alone in a postage-stamp-sized apartment in New York City.  She can’t pay her rent, won’t ask her parents for financial help, and doesn’t want to move back home.

Billi played by Awkwafina, an actor that was born in New York City in 1988 as Nora Lum, grew up Chinese in the United States helping her understand the differences between the two cultures.

What I think made this film worth watching was witnessing Billi’s American individualism in conflict with China’s collective culture, until she remembers or learns, when in China, do as the Chinese do.  By the way, the grandmother lives in an older building. Many residential buildings in China’s cities are newer looking and more modern than what I saw in this film unless the story took place before the 21st century.

Too bad, so many Americans are not interested in learning about other cultures. “The Farewell” opened July 12, 2019, and its total domestic lifetime gross to date is about $12.8 million. More Americans should see films like this one instead of cartoons like “Monsters, Inc.” that grossed almost $600 million.

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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Seventy-five percent of the world’s indigenous people live in China

May 15, 2019

If this post focused only on the United States, the topic would be about that country’s Native Americans and how the European invaders took away their land, slaughtered them, and forced the few survivors on reservations monitored by the FBI today. For a time, Native American children were forcebably taken from their families and sent to religious boarding schools. “As part of this federal push for assimilation, boarding schools forbid Native American children from using their own languages and names, as well as from practicing their religion and culture. They were given new Anglo-American names, clothes, and haircuts, and told they must abandon their way of life because it was inferior to white people’s.”

Back to China where 91.5-percent of the population of 1,418,984,771 is Han Chinese, and its native minority population represents about 8.5-percent of the total or more than 120.5 million compared to 5.2 million native Americans in the U.S. Please take note that recognized native minorities in China are equal to 36.7-percent of the total U.S. population of 327-million.

The World Bank defines the word “indigenous” as people recognized in international or national legislation as having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory, and their cultural, linguistic or historical distinctiveness from other populations that are often politically dominant.

When the U.S. media criticizes China for allegedly cracking down on China’s Uyghur Muslim minority in northwest China, there is seldom any mention of the other recognized indigenous groups in China. The World Bank says, “The research found that in every country studied, Indigenous peoples are poorer. The Indigenous poverty headcount (the percent of the population living below the poverty line) is much larger than for the non-indigenous population, and the poverty gap (the distance from the poverty line) is far larger than the national average.” In fact, in the United States Indian Youth.org reports, “Many American Indian communities are impoverished, with some tribes reporting unemployment as high as 85%.”

Travel China Guide.com says, “As a large united multi-national state, China is composed of 56 ethnic groups. … Although they make up only a small proportion of the overall Chinese population, the … minority ethnic groups are distributed extensively throughout different regions of China.”

One of the 56-ethnic monitories lives primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, where they are one of the officially-recognized ethnic groups. The Uyghur indigenous population represents about 0.8 percent of the country’s total population.

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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