Will China rebuild its cities so they become people friendly?

June 12, 2019

Most cities were built to be friendly to cars and not people, but there is a growing movement to change that. The April 2019 issue of National Geographic Magazine (NGM) published “To build the cities of the future, we must get out of our cars

Countries across the world, including the United States and China, or starting to build and/or rebuild cities to turn them people friendly.

The first page of the 20-minute read NGM piece started with, “SHANGHAI, CHINA Near the center of this city of 24 million, China’s largest, the Yanan expressway crosses under the North-South Expressway. The country has gained half a billion city dwellers since 1990—and nearly 190 million cars. ‘It’s truly almost incomprehensible what happened in China,’ says American urban designer Peter Calthorpe, who has worked there extensively. With nearly 300 million more people expected in cities by 2030, Chinese planners say they’re changing course, prioritizing walkable streets and public transit over cars. …

Chinese planners say they’re changing course, prioritizing walkable streets and public transit over cars.

“The key test may come in Xiongan, a 680-square-mile stretch of swampy land, including a heavily polluted lake, about 65 miles southwest of Beijing. In April 2017 President Xi Jinping announced, again to general surprise, that he wanted to build a new city there. Ultimately it could house five million people and relieve congestion and pollution in Beijing.”

The guide for building these people-friendly cities is the Emerald Cities Rule book, and China is in the best position to build these cities.

“Emerald Cities: Planning for Smart and Green China,” published in 2017 lays out green building and sustainability practices for low-carbon city planning and construction in China and abroad. Emerald Cities proposes 10 principles to help set a new development direction for Chinese cities: from urban growth boundaries and transit-oriented development, to small blocks with accessible public space and car control, to green buildings and sustainable infrastructure at constructive detailed planning and community levels. The 10 principles aim to establish green, healthy and economic vibrant cities, while solving pollution and livability challenges faced by China’s cities. Emerald Cities was jointly published by China Sustainable Transportation Center and Glumac with support from Energy Foundation and Energy Innovation.”

What do U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration want to build? Trump wants to build a wall that will divide people and promote hate and segregation while he holds rallies across the U.S. promoting hate and segregation.

However, the U.S. also has the possibility offered by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal that is similar to what Xi Jinping wants to do in China, so there is still hope for America to join China in making the world people friendly instead of focused on hate, segregation, and greed.

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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Donald Trump will lose his Great Tariff War with China

June 5, 2019

Trump recently doubled down on his tariff war with China, but China is in a much better position to win this economic war with the United States.

First, as of October 2018, China owned $1.2-trillion of America’s national debt and the United States has five times the national debt that China does and the U.S. doesn’t own any of China’s debt.

Politico.com reports, “China could fire back by dumping its vast holdings of U.S. government debt. Flooding the market with treasuries would push down US bond prices and cause the yields to spike. That would make it more costly for U.S. companies and consumers to borrow, in turn depressing America’s economic growth.”

Trump cannot do the same thing to China.

Second, China exports $2.41 trillion worth of goods to other countries around the world including the United States, but China exports only $557.9 billion worth of goods to the United States — 23 percent of all Chinese exports sold to the rest of the world. That means China exports $1.8521-trillion in goods to other countries, 77-percent of all Chinese exports are sold to the rest of the world.

Third: China has a workforce of almost 800 million people, but only 150-million work in the manufacturing sector. How many of those workers jobs depend on products sold to the United States?

 The answer is, not as many as you might think.

That is because China’s manufacturing sector also makes and sells good in China. In fact, its manufacturing sector’s total value is 96-trillion yuan, according to Interact Analysis, or 14-trillion US dollars.  That means after we subtract the $2.41 trillion in goods sold to other countries that leaves $11.59-trillion in goods that are made and sold in China to Chinese consumers. If we crunch the numbers that means only about 4-percent of China’s manufacturing sector jobs depends on sales to the United States. That translates to about 6-million jobs, or 0.0075% of the total number of jobs in China.


“In the long-run, the United States will Lose.”

And does it really matter how many manufacturing jobs in China will be at risk vs lost jobs in the US caused by Trump’s great tariff war with China?

The answer to the last question is no because China’s financial system is different than the one in the United States.

China will repeat what it did after the global financial crises in 2007-08, when twenty million Chinese factory workers lost their jobs. China allowed factory workers nearing the mandatory retirement age ( at the time 60 for men and 55 for female civil servants and 50 for female workers) to retire early and moved most younger workers to state-owned industries and/or infrastructure projects across the country. For instance, to fast track building what has become the largest high-speed rail network in the world today. China will not let that many younger workers remain unemployed for long compared to a Trump administration that will do little or nothing to help Americans find new jobs once they are unemployed thanks to Trump’s ignorance and arrogance.

The result, China’s labor force did not suffer compared to the suddenly unemployed in the United States where millions of families lost their homes. Remember what the U.S. Government did back then? Let me refresh your memory: President G. W. Bush signed TARP and started to give away $700 billion to banks and corporation so they would not go bankrupt and there was no plan for the government to get paid back while millions of working Americans still lost their jobs and houses.

Unlike the United States, in China, most factory workers migrate to the cities to work and come from family homes in rural China that have no rent, no mortgage payment, and no property tax. Few if any Chinese workers in the manufacturing industry will be at risk of losing their homes, becoming homeless and starving like workers in the United States.  China’s government also gave/offered workers that lost their jobs during the 2007-08 global financial crises a free train ticket to return to their rural family homes.

According to AXIOS, 11-million U.S. workers are at risk of losing their jobs thanks to Trump’s Great Tariff War with China.

How many American workers are one paycheck away from losing their homes and becoming homeless?

According to Fortune.com,  “40% of American households are ‘liquid asset poor,’ meaning that they don’t have enough money put away to make ends meet at the poverty level should their income be suddenly interrupted.”

What does that mean?

Statista.com says, “In 2018, there were about 127.59 million households in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a household consists of all the people who occupy a housing unit.”

Crunch the numbers and that means about 131-million Americans (40-percent of the total population) is one paycheck away from poverty and/or homelessness while few if any Chinese will lose their homes and become homeless. They might become poor without much cash but they will still eat and have a roof over their heads. China is not a purist capitalist country like the United States is. China is a hybrid socialist-capitalist country and the socialist element will not let the Chinese people suffer like that — but the socialist hating capitalists that control the United States will.

If China wants to do the United States a favor and help evict Donald Trump from the U.S. White House, all China’s leaders have to do is what they do best, while they let Trump do what he does best, and that is to fail like he has done so many times with one business venture after another. The only reason Trump still has enough money to support his lavish lifestyle is because he laundered money for Russian thugs, and Trump helped his favorite drug trafficker smuggle cocaine into the United States.

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 does not need MAGA Man’s United States

May 22, 2019

Once MAGA Man, the Deplorable Serial-Liar Donald Trump declared a tariff war with most of the world, China started looking for other markets to buy the same products it has always bought from the United States.

For instance, “China’s soybean imports from the United States plunged to zero in November, marking the first time since the trade war between the world’s two largest economies started that China has imported no U.S. supplies,” CNBC said, “Instead, China has leaned on Brazilian imports to replace the U.S. cargoes, customs data showed on Monday.”

About 120-million Chinese work in manufacturing but China’s total workforce is estimated to be almost 800-million and a lot of what is made in China is also sold to Chinese consumers, and Industry Week says, “China’s export share of its gross domestic product has fallen from 37 percent in 2007 to slightly less than 20 percent today, an important outgrowth of a decade-long rebalancing.” (reported on April 2018)

Because of the explosive growth of China’s middle-class over the last thirty years from no middle class to more than 400-million, China doesn’t have to rely on the U.S. market as much as it once did. That’s why China is in a stronger position to give MAGA Man the middle finger and tell him to “F” off.

In fact, China is already doing it by being passive aggressive. To achieve this, China is punishing his supporters by threatening their businesses and/or jobs.

“Over the summer,” The New York Times reported, “the Chinese took aim at Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. In his home state, Kentucky, 18,000 jobs depend on whiskey. So they (China) put a 25 percent tariff on it. Representative Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, is from Wisconsin, a leading producer of cranberries. So cranberries were added to the list, for good measure. And China went after pork and soybeans, two of the leading farm products in Iowa, home of Charles E. Grassley, a powerful member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.”

The Financial Times also reports, “China is shifting its growth model to one relying more on consumption … In 2000, US consumption levels were 13-times larger than China’s but are now only three-times larger and the gap is closing. … The plausible assumption, however, is that over the next decade a mass consumer society will emerge in China. This will begin to approach that of the US in scale …”

In addition, The Chicago Tribune says.  “A Chinese-owned pork producer is eligible for federal payments under President Donald Trump’s $12 billion farm bailout, a program that was established to help U.S. farmers hurt by Trump’s trade war with China.” That means when China buys American pork, they are really buying Chinese pork raised and butchered in the United States. And that isn’t the whole story. According to AXIOS, “Chinese investors and firms own (the) majority of 2,400 U.S. companies.”

Oh, and MAGA Man means Moscow’s Agent Governing America. MAGA has nothing to do with Making America Great Again and everything to do with destroying the United States. Since that is obvious to China’s leaders, they are already adapting by finding goods in other countries that they once bought from the U.S.

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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Healthcare in China

May 8, 2019

After 1949, China’s government established the country’s first national health system more or less from scratch. However, the US National Library of Medicine reports, “the well-established cooperative medical system for the rural areas collapsed within a short time period after the economic reforms in China in the late 1970s, leaving the vast majority of the rural population without health care. In 1999, only 7% of the 900 million rural residents had some kind of health insurance coverage.”

Then in 2003, China’s government again took steps to reform the health care system that had collapsed in the late 1970s, and as you read this post, you will discover that today 95-percent of China’s population has some level of health care.

InterNations.org says, In 2011, new social insurance legislation set out to reform China’s healthcare system, and there are now three insurance programs providing basic coverage for 95% of the population.”

One: The Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI) applies to workers and employees living in cities. Their contributions are deducted from their salary via payroll taxes.

Two: The Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance (URBMI) covers the non-working population in Chinese cities, such as children, the elderly, etc. The scheme is partly financed through contributions from individual households, but mostly through government subsidies.

Three: The New Rural Cooperative Medical System (NRCMS) is supposed to revitalize healthcare in China’s countryside. Funds are raised through a mixture of individual contributions, support from collective enterprises, and government subsidies.

In 1949, the life expectancy in China was only 37 years. In 2018, Reuters reported that China has overtaken the United States in healthy life expectancy at birth for the first time, according to World Health Organization data. Chinese newborns can look forward to 68.7 years of healthy life ahead of them, compared with 68.5 years for American babies, the data – which relates to 2016 – showed.” …

While the quality of lifestyles and health care is improving for China’s citizens, what is happening in the United States? “The United States was one of only five countries, along with Somalia, Afghanistan, Georgia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where healthy life expectancy at birth fell in 2016, according to a Reuters analysis of the WHO data, which was published without year-on-year comparisons in mid-May.”

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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Why is China automating jobs?

May 1, 2019

China seriously started to replace human workers with robots back in 2015.  The Japan Times helped explain why. “SHANGHAI – These are difficult days to be a factory owner in China. Workers are increasingly scarce, wages are rising, and strikes are breaking out with regularity. Factories in Southeast Asia are now beating China at its own game, attracting investors with the promise of even cheaper labor for low-value assembly work. What’s a factory owner to do?”

Yes, China is running out of enough human workers to continue producing the quantity of products the country has been exporting to the world, and with the rise of China’s American style middle class, many workers are demanding more pay and better jobs that fit their consumer lifestyles.

In 2018, the WITS reported, “China had a total export of 2,263,370,504.30 in thousands of US$ and total imports of 1,843,792,938.80 in thousands of US$ leading to a positive trade balance of 419,577,565.51 in thousands of US$.”

To keep up this favorable trade balance, China must remain competitive and to continue to improve the quality of life for its people, the country needs this positive cash flow.

How does a country continue to compete in a situation like this? Well, China does what the United States started doing back in the 1970s, you automate as many manufacturing jobs as possible. After all, unless you believe Donald Trump’s lie during the 2016 presidential debates that America “doesn’t make anything anymore”, the United States is the “2nd largest maker of things” in the world and according to the Global Manufacturing Scorecard turned out $1.867 trillion in goods in 2017.

Marketplace.org tells us, “What worries China’s manufacturers more than tariffs? Labor Shortages” … “According to Chinese government statistics, the country’s workforce peaked in 2011 at 941 million and has been on the decline since. The latest figures from China’s National Bureau of Statistics shows that the working population is 916 million [about 150 million work in China’s manufacturing sector].

“The working age population decreased by 25 million from 2012 to 2017. That is equivalent to the entire population of Australia disappearing from the workforce,” said Yao Meixiong, the deputy head of the Center for Population Census for neighboring Fujian Province.

After all, China does not trade only with the United States. It trades with the world, but China still has the lowest average robot density in Asia. For instance, in South Korea, in 2017 there were 710 robots for every 10,000 workers in manufacturing vs 97 per 10,000 in China while The Robot Report tells us that the United States ranks 7th in the world for robot density at 200 robots per 10,000 workers.

Just so you will know: USTR.gov reports, “U.S. goods and services trade with China totaled an estimated $710.4 billion in 2017. Exports were $187.5 billion; imports were $522.9 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China was $335.4 billion in 2017.”

Forgive me, but I have to ask this question: Are robots in China stealing jobs from robots in the United States, and will Trump’s fake propaganda machine known as Fox News use that as a headline one day?

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 do you Define Freedom: Part 2 of 2

April 25, 2019

Slavery in China vs India, the democracy next door.

The Wall Street Journal reported, Of the 167 countries surveyed, India has the highest number of people living in slavery–more than 18 million, or 1.4% of the population. The 2016 Global Slavery Index from the Walk Free Foundation said modern slavery comes in many forms, from domestic to sexual to bonded and child labor. China has only 3.4 million slaves or 0.24-percent of the population. India, a democracy, has more than five times the number of slaves that China has.

USA Today reports, “There are 40 million slaves worldwide, most are women and girls. A United Nations agency warns 40.3 million people across the globe were subject to some form of modern slavery in 2016. Among them, about 28.7 million — or 71% — were women or girls forced into sex, marriage or labor.”

Freedom to Travel to Other Countries

Then there is the freedom to travel to other countries, but you have to have enough money to afford to become a globe-trotting tourist. The Economist reports, “China’s decision to let its people travel abroad freely is changing the world. … for much of the 1980s, the number of trips abroad taken by Chinese citizens was in the tens of thousands a year, the current figure is well over 130-million annually.”

For a comparison to the world’s two largest democracies, The Times of India said, “In 2015, more than 20.4-million Indians had the money to visit other countries.”

How about the United States? The PointsGuy.com said, almost 67-million US citizens traveled outside the country in 2015.

Food Production
How do you feed 1.4 billion people using only 10-percent of your land?

National Geographic.com reveals, “Sweeping reforms starting in the late 1970s have transformed China from an isolated, centrally controlled economy into an increasingly market-oriented juggernaut. Agricultural and industrial modernization has fueled continuing migration to cities, rising incomes, and a growing appetite for a more westernized diet among China’s 1.4 billion people. … Economic and food-production reforms have helped China’s growing population double its supply of daily calories.”

When U.S. Founding Father Patrick Henry, who was born a free man to a successful family, never lived in poverty and never starved said, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” did he mean freedom of speech was more important than living in slavery, poverty, starving, and/or going without medical care?

Improving Education in China

“After Deng (Xiaoping) took over in China (in 1978) and initiated a series of market-oriented reforms that led to explosive economic growth, the nation set out to reach parity with the West in education at every level—a truly daunting goal, given the very high rates of illiteracy in China, the extent of the prior destruction of its education infrastructure and teaching force, and the depth of poverty in this very rural nation.”  China’s agenda to improve its educational system at every level does not mean replacing public schools with private sector corporate charter schools that profit a few individuals like what has been happening in the United States for the last few decades. Instead, China has worked hard to improve its public schools from kindergarten through college. – Not replace them with public funded corporate schools.

In fact, Statista reports, “During the school year of 2017/18, over 363-thousand Chinese students were studying in higher education institutions in the United States.”

If China’s leaders were afraid of their people learning how to think for themselves, why allow them the freedom to attend colleges and universities in the United States and Europe?

The leaders of the United States seem to have forgotten: “I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” –Thomas Jefferson – 1820

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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The Great Fire-Wall and China’s Social Media Giants

April 17, 2019

When you read that China’s government monitors and censors that country’s social media, you might think the Chinese Communist Party is dealing mostly with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google. If that’s what you think, you would be mostly wrong.

China’s version of YouTube is YouKu Tudou that serves about 500-million users a month, half of YouTube’s reach. “YouTube says more than 1-billion unique visitors visit its site each month, but don’t forget, YouKu Tudou caters to a much smaller net of Chinese-speaking audiences only.”

However, few if any of YouTube’s billion visitors are in China since YouTube is banned/blocked in China along with popular websites such as Google, Gmail, and Facebook.  If you live in China and you want to use those sites, you have to find a way to bypass the internet blocking by the GFW by using a web proxy or VPN, but in spite of the ban, Alexa ranks YouTube as the 11th most visited website in China.

Twitter is also banned in China and if you have had your fill of the Twitter maniac in the U.S. White House, who can blame the CCP? Twitter’s equal in China is called Weibo.  Nearly 25-percent of China’s population uses Weibo, and they are free of Donald Trump’s Twitter trolling, endless lies, and rants. Recently Trump has been bullying and insulting John McCain, a man that’s been dead for months. With more than 1.4 billion people in China, that means Weibo has more than 354.6 million users.

“Weibo has evolved into an entertainment platform that encompasses the features of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, reddit and YouTube rolled into one,” eMarketer forecasting analyst Shelleen Shum said.

China’s Google is Baidu. Once a popular search engine, most services offered by Google China were blocked by the Great Firewall in the People’s Republic of China. In 2010, searching via all Google search sites, including Google Mobile, were moved from mainland China to Hong Kong.  Baidu remains focused on the local Chinese market while Google is global and continues to expand. While Google has long been the market leader in search in most countries, when it exited China, it was the runner-up. It held roughly 30% of the sector, with domestic rival Baidu capturing most of the remainder.

China’s Facebook is Tencent with almost one billion users mostly in China.  According to CNN Business, “This Chinese tech giant could soon be worth more than Facebook. … But it isn’t just social networking that has gotten investors excited about Tencent. The company has been expanding deeper into other areas including smartphone games, mobile payments and streaming music. All that has helped fuel record profits this year.”

Alibaba is China’s Amazon and India, Australia, and Singapore are becoming key battlegrounds for Amazon and Alibaba, says, cbinsights.com. According to a February 2018 SEC filing, Alibaba had 617 million monthly mobile users and 552 million active users on its China retail marketplaces, and Forbes says, “For Brands, Alibaba is The Gateway to China and Chinese Customers. … Amazon’s market cap is about 70% larger than Alibaba’s yet China’s e-commerce market alone is going to be larger than the rest of the world… by 2020, Asia is projected to account for 66% of global e-commerce sales with China accounting for 58%.”

“Alibaba has a more dominant e-commerce business than Amazon … though Amazon claims about 40-50% of all online US retail sales, Alibaba claims about 80% of all online Chinese retail sales.”

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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