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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Where Have All the Jobs Gone?

August 23, 2016

In 2012, U.S. News and World Report said, “America Lost 2.7 Million Jobs to China in 10 Years.”

In 2013, Think Progress.org wrote, “Study Finds Free Trade With China Lowered American Manufacturing By 29.6 Percent.”

In 2014, the Economic Policy Institute reported, “Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013, with job losses in every state.”

In 2015, Boomberg.com published, “After Doubts, Economists Find China Kills U.S. Factory Jobs.”

In 2016, NPR broadcast on All Things Considered that “China Killed 1 Million U.S. Jobs, But Don’t Blame trade Deals.”

And those previous 5 stories are only the tip of Mt. Everest. When I Googled “U.S. Jobs Lost to China,” there were almost 70 million hits.

That’s why I find the following information so interesting: 59.2 percent of the civilian labor force age 16 and older had jobs in 1950, but in 2015, that ratio was 66.8 percent. Isn’t that an increase in jobs instead of jobs lost? – Labor Force Change, BLS.gov, table 4, page 22

In addition, Heritage.org says, “Those who attack China often do not examine real economic events: They do not measure actual failed businesses and actual job losses. Instead, they assume the U.S.–China trade deficit means that both production and production jobs are moving from the U.S. to China. … Imports do not cause unemployment; quite the opposite, they are a signal of prosperity and plentiful jobs.” The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank based in Washington D.C. and the foundation took a leading role in the conservative movement during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.  Therefore, you can’t blame alleged liberals for this report.

Cato.org, an American libertarian think tank (To be clear, libertarians are not liberals.) founded by the Charles Koch Foundation, (yes, that Koch) supports what Heritage says: “In the quarter century between 1983 and 2007, as real GDP more than doubled and the real value of U.S. trade increased five-fold, the U.S. economy created 46 million net new jobs, or 1.84 million net new jobs per year.”

If what Heritiage.org and Cato.org says is true, is the United States really losing jobs?

First, after the 2007-08 global financial crises caused by U.S. Banks and Wall Street greed, trade between the United States and the world shrunk by 12 percent and almost 9 million jobs were lost in the U.S. — jobs that were not lost to China. In fact, since 2009, more than 9 million jobs were added back making up for those lost jobs.

That proves that the United States has not had a reduction in jobs, but “In the U.S., jobs paying between $14 and $21 per hour made up about 60% of those jobs lost during the recession … such mid-wage jobs have comprised only about 27% of jobs gained during the recovery through mid-2012. In contrast, lower-paying jobs constituted about 58% of the jobs regained.”

Did you know that the United States has the 2nd largest manufacturing sector in the world, and that China only became #1 recently? Brookings.edu says, “As recently as 2010, the United States had the world’s largest manufacturing sector measured by its valued-added and, while it has now been surpassed by China, the United States remains a very large manufacturer.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if you said no.

At this point you may be confused or in denial.  You might be thinking that this can’t be true. How can the U.S. have such a large manufacturing sector when millions of jobs have been lost there?

Bright Hub Engineering.com offers one answer: “Robots have replaced a lot of activities formerly carried out by a human, with one robot replacing as many as ten workers.”

“In the last fifteen years, manufacturing in the United States has undergone a fundamental shift,” Arena Solutions.com reports. “As millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost to … automation, output has steadily continued to grow. And while U.S. manufacturing output has decreased by only 1% since 1990, manufacturing jobs have decreased by over 30% in the same time period.”

Losing manufacturing jobs is not only happening in the US. The Harvard Business Review.org says, “Manufacturing employment decline is a global phenomenon. As a Bloomberg story summarized: “Some 22 million manufacturing jobs were lost globally between 1995 and 2002 as industrial output soared 30 percent.”

Instead of blaming China, blame the real culprits: robots and the greedy rich who are behind the decisions to replace humans with automation. If one robot can replace ten humans, that’s a lot of increased profits, and more job losses are on the way. Earlier this year CBS Money Watch reported The robot revolution will take 5 million jobs from humans.

After all, Robots don’t need Social Security, medical care, retirement plans, paid sick leave or vacations — in fact, they don’t earn any money, even minimum wage with no benefits, making robots better than human slaves.

China is also going through its own robot revolution. FT Magazine reported this June that “Factories in China are replacing humans with robots in a new automation-driven industrial revolution.”

The manager of one Chinese company that makes stainless steel sinks in Guangdong talked about 9 robots doing the job of 140 full-time workers, “These machines are cheaper, more precise and more reliable than people.”

But what happens when there are no human jobs left for people to earn money so they can buy stainless steel sinks and all the other consumer crap factories churn out around the world? After all, robots don’t read books, watch films, use sinks or toilets, or even eat.

Are the world’s rich and powerful planning to get rid of the rest of us and replace us with robots, because they certainly are not creating robots to replace them?

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A1 on June 22 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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Stealing the Secrets of Tea Built a Bloody Empire

April 26, 2016

If you are interested in a real-life 19th century collision between the West and China, I highly recommend Sarah Rose’s nonfiction work For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History. You will discover that the British Empire and its merchants were successful, because they were more ruthless and devious than anyone else on the Earth.

In fact, you also might be interested in the list of wars that involved the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1701 – 2011. Be prepared for jaw dropping shock if you don’t already know this history, because the price of empire is lots of spilled blood.

At its greatest extent, the British Empire was known as the largest in history, and it covered more than thirteen-million square miles (20,921,472 square kilometers), which is about a quarter of the Earth’s total land area, and it ruled over more than 500 million people—a quarter of the world’s population at the time.

The British Empire spread the English language—not the United States that Donald Trump wants to make great again (whatever that means)—and English is the second most-widely spoken language in the world today  According to Statista.com, 1.5 billion people speak English, and Chinese, ranked second, is spoken by 1.1 billion.

But to make English the most spoken language on the planet, the British Empire became a thief and the largest drug cartel in human history.

In her book Sarah Rose wrote a fascinating story of Robert Fortune (1812 – 1880) and one of, if not the largest, acts of corporate espionage and theft in history. Her book is about how the British stole tea plants and the method of producing tea from China and successfully transplanted this industry to India.

For example, if you drink Darjeeling Tea from India, you are drinking a product that was a result of theft from China by Robert Fortune in the early half of the 19th century.

But there is much more to this story than the theft of tea from the country that may have invented it almost five thousand years ago. In fact, China is considered to have the earliest records of tea drinking, with recorded tea use in its history dating back to the first millennium BCE.

First, I want to dispel a misconception I discovered from a two-star Amazon reader review of the book that said, “I was a little skeptical about her comment in the notes ‘As this is a work of popular history, not a scholarly undertaking, I have avoided the use of footnotes and tried to steer clear of mentioning sources in the body of the text. Nevertheless, this is a work of nonfiction …’ ”

That unfair review left off the rest of Sarah Rose’s quote: “Nevertheless, this is a work of nonfiction, and anything in quotes comes from a letter, memoir, newspaper or other contemporaneous sources.

“I have relied heavily on Robert Fortune’s four memoires, his letters to the East India Company and other company documents housed in the British Library. Over five hundred books and documents were consulted in putting this project together.” (pg. 251, hardcover)

On page 227 of the hardcover, Rose wrote, “By the time the Chinese realized that Fortune had stolen an inestimable treasure from them, it was many years too late to remediate their loss. His theft helped spread tea to a wider world at lower prices.”

In addition, “Tea likewise revolutionized Britain’s capital and banking systems and influenced the rapid growth of trade networks in the Far East. It was instrumental in extending the reach of British colonialism as the empire expanded to include countries such as Burma, Ceylon, East Africa and others where tea could be grown …”

On page 178, we learn that, “It was through drug-based commercial enterprises such as the tea and opium trade that Britain became the greatest of all hegemonic empires. The British campaign to sell opium in China was tremendously profitable. … Britain’s all-conquering naval fleet was able to be constantly improved with newly minted capital from the sugar, tea and opium trades. Without opium, the India trade would not have flourished and without India, Britain’s post-Napoleonic global ascendency could well have collapsed.”

These few quotes do not do justice to Robert Fortune’s adventure in China. He successfully passed himself off as a citizen of the Qing Empire dressed in mandarin robes. He even had a queue, a braid of hair worn hanging down behind the head, sewn to his scalp and had his head shaved to match the style of the time.

“He eventfully became proficient enough with speaking Mandarin that he was able to adopt the local dress and move among the populous largely unnoticed. By shaving his head and adopting a ponytail, this rather gruff Scotsman was able to effectively blend in. So well in fact, that he was able to enter the forbidden city of Souchow (now Wuhsien) unchallenged.” Source: Planet Explorers.com

Besides being loaded with facts, this book is also an adventure and/or spy thriller based on a real person and his mission of intrigue—if caught, he would have been executed. To pull off the biggest heist of all time, Fortune traveled to areas of China that no foreigner had ever visited before, and his only companions were Chinese that he had bribed to work for him.

Today, tea is the most popular drink in the world in terms of consumption. Its consumption equals all other manufactured drinks in the world combined– including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol. In fact, China is still the leading tea producer in the world, and in 2010 China produced 1,467,467 tons (32.5% of the world’s tea) compared to second place India at 991,180 tons (21.9%). Third place went to Kenya at 399,000 tons (8.83%).

In addition, consumption of tea in 2010 grew at a faster rate than global production. In the United States alone in 2011, the US tea industry’s gross revenue through all foodservice and retail outlets was greater than $27-billion (and twelve countries consumed more tea than the US). That makes tea more popular than Hollywood, because ticket sales for the US domestic movie market were only $11.1 billion in 2015.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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The Global Hooters Girls

March 23, 2016

As of 2014 there were more than 460 Hooters company-owned locations and franchises throughout the United States. The company has restaurants in 44 U.S. states, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam. Hooters also operates restaurants in 24 other countries, and China is one of them. In fact, the first Hooters in China opened October, 2004.

With more than 234 million middle class Chinese, 113 million more than the United States, the fact that Hooters is doing business in China shows how fast China is changing as the Middle Kingdom evolves into an Asian Super Power that is beginning to look more like the U.S.  China is roaring toward capitalism with all the trappings of a consumer society.

Will the two countries become equal partners one day, because of companies like Hooters, McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Ford and GM? For instance, KFC has more than 4,500 outlets in China and Chinese buyers are obsessed with Buick. According to the New York Times, Buick is the hottest luxury brand in China. Imagine the profits that American companies would lose if China and the U.S. went to war.

I’ve never been to a Hooters in any country, but on my next trip to China, I might visit one since they are six spread out between Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an and Chingdu. I’ve already watched the YouTube videos. See for yourself.

As fast at McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, GM, and Ford are all growing in China (and making money), it’s easy to imagine that Hooters may have more stores in China one day than the U.S.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A1 on March 13 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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Will the real Emperors of Greed please Stand

March 16, 2016

From several pieces I’ve read in the U.S. media and a few comments I’ve received on this Blog, it appears that some people think the Chinese are the emperors of greed, but they aren’t.

In fact, greed is everywhere — even, GASP, in the United States.

For example, ABC’s Good Morning America reported, “Phantom Debt Collectors from India Harass Americans, Demand Money.”

GMA reported, “Hundreds of thousands of cash-strapped Americans have been targeted by abusive debt collectors operating out of overseas call centers suspected of links to organized crime in India, law enforcement officials told ABC News.”

Working through call centers in India, the commission estimates that the criminals have dialed at least 2.5 million calls, persuading already cash-strapped victims to send them more than $5 million.

Another example is A New Crime Wave of Identity Theft: Is Your Child in Danger.

“It’s undetected and undetectable. They’ll use your child’s Social Security number with a different name and a different birth date.” In fact, over several years, 57,000 cases of child identity theft was reported to the Federal Trade Commission. A new report from All Clear ID estimates that one in 10 U.S. children are victims.

“Olivia McNamara was starting her freshman year at Vanderbilt University when she applied for her first credit card. After being rejected twice, she did some digging and found that someone had stolen her identity and had run up massive debt – to the tune of $1.5 million. When she was 9, someone had stolen her Social Security number and set up false identities and more than 42 accounts. All of them had defaulted.”

Then in June 2012, the AARP Bulletin reported (on page 20), Locked out of Luck by Sid Kirchheimer. The piece said, “The overwhelming majority of locksmiths with an 800 phone number are not legitimate … In reality, the pro arrives in a van with no fixed address and a scam in mind. … The work is faulty plus expensive—often $1,000 or more, and demanded in cash.”

AARP even has a book out by fraud expert Doug Shadel, Outsmarting the Scam Artist. Shadel and a team of scientists interviewed thousands of victims and dozens of scam artists who revealed their trade secrets.

The Federal Trade Commission warns, “Consumer frauds pose a threat to consumers and the economy. Even the most wary and sophisticated consumers may fall victim to fraudulent offers – in the mail, in the media, and on the Internet.”

The FTC report stated that in the year prior to the survey the number of victims of the most common types of consumer fraud reached almost 36 million with 53 million incidents.

In fact, in 2010, the Better Business Bureau reported, “$2.9 trillion is lost to fraud annually.” In a decade that adds up to $29 trillion or almost twice the National Federal debt.

So, next time you read in the media or in a Blog that China, or any other country, is filled with crooks and corruption, remember that China is not alone. Don’t stereotype anyone. After all, the Chinese were not behind the 2008 financial crisis that cost the U.S. economy more than $22 Trillion in addition to nine-million jobs, and that does not  count what the rest of the world lost. – U.S. Government Accountability Office

One last thought. The 2008 financial crises caused nine-million working Americans to lose their jobs in a few months, but the Economic Policy Institute reports that the U.S. trade deficit with China cost only 3.2 million American jobs between 2001 and 2013 (12 years or about 258 thousand jobs a year).  In addition, a recent report from PBS.org and the BBC says that one in three jobs today will be lost to software, robots and smart machines by 2025—not to China.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A1 on March 13 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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What happens when any Form of Government becomes destructive and many people suffer?

March 1, 2016

I was recently asked, “What can China learn from the US political model? American government is looking more and more like ‘of the 1% by the 1% and for the 1%’!”

My answer follows: If China learns anything from what is happening in the U.S., it’s to keep a balance between socialism and capitalism and not let socialism dominate capitalism and capitalism dominate socialism.

Capitalism benefits the 1% – everyone cannot be a winner even though many of the wealthy think everyone can make it like they did and they look down on and discriminate against everyone who doesn’t make it. After all, everyone has the right to work harder to make it, right, even on poverty wages with no benefits?

Socialist programs benefits the other 99% where many can end up suffering horribly without a safety net.

I’m not talking about pure socialism where the state—representing the people—own everything: the land and everything built on and under it, the means of production and the retail sector that sells what’s produced. I’m talking about social safety-net programs like affordable and/or free universal health care for every citizen no matter how much they earn, a livable wage, Social Security for when people are old and retire, unemployment insurance for people who have lost their jobs, labor unions that represent the workers, and disability insurance for workers injured on the job and even from accidents outside of work, who can no longer work because of the injury.

The capitalists, the 1%, will moan and groan because of these social programs that protect 99% of the people—the workers that helped make the 1% wealthy and powerful. The 1% will moan and groan because enough is never enough and the social programs that protect the 99% cut into the profits and the growth of their wealth and power. Angry, the 1% will bribe as many leaders in the country as possible to get rid of the socialist programs that protect the 99%. The corruption and lies will be rampant, because money buys power and power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Wealth and power is similar to cancer and to contain that disease and protect the 99%, the government must walk a fine line to keep the balance.  The 99% must be stopped from destroying the 1% and the 1% must be stopped from causing the 99% from suffering due to the greed of the 1%.

The 99% can cause tyranny and suffering too because the mob is dangerous and powerful when united against tyranny, and the 1% can quickly become the tyranny behind the suffering caused to the 99%. That is what is happening in the United States today. The 1% is systematically attacking every public sector socialist program that protects the quality of life for the 99%.

The U.S. Declaration of Independence, that is not the law of the United States—the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is the law that guides America—says it best:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

A government’s struggle to keep that balance between capitalism and socialism never ends because the temptations to lean toward capitalism’s 1% are many, and it has been said through the ages that every person has a price and can be bought one way or the other. Government also must resist the cry of the mob, loud and organized factions of the 99%, that demand more from the social safety net. In the end, it is up to knowledgeable, honest voters to help keep that balance in place.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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