China Joined the WTO in 2001

August 22, 2018

The BBC reported, “After 15 years of diplomatic struggle, China finally has become a fully-fledged member of the international trading system.”

China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on December 11, 2001. The admission of China to the WTO was preceded by a lengthy process of negotiations and required significant changes in China.

Many elements in China’s WTO accession agreement required improving the rule of law. When China joined the WTO, China agreed to ensure that its legal measures would be consistent with its WTO obligations and that led to China’s Rule of Law Reform.

China also made a substantial number of other WTO commitments related to the rule of law in areas of transparency, judicial review, uniform enforcement of laws, and nondiscriminatory treatment.

China reformed its judicial processes to ensure that they were compatible with its WTO commitments.

This transition from Chinese to western legalism hasn’t been as smooth as some critics wanted it to be, but it is happening, and it’s clear that in the last few decades China has made an effort to fit into the community of nations while retaining its own identity.

That might be explained by the differences between Chinese legalism and Western legalism primarily related to morality. Western legalism defends the rule-of-law but argues against the morality of law. In contrast, Chinese legalism, especially in the early Pre-Qin era, did not separate morality from law.

Chinese legalism was interpreted as the fidelity (loyalty) to the monarch in moral terms often as defined by Confucianism. In other words, morality in the United States and Europe is mostly based on the teachings of Christianity and many western philosophers while the morality of China is mostly based on Confucianism.

Understanding China’s history and the morality that’s part of its legal system is often ignored, especially by many ignorant Americans that judge China based on Western values and laws.

For instance, a conservative, born-again Christian, a former friend, once said to me that China needed a proper legal system. Since China already had a legal system, what did he mean?

I knew this individual for about sixty years, and I’m sure he meant that China should have a legal system like the U.S. or the U.K. After all, he claimed scripture guided his life and the Christian Bible has been around for centuries proving, to him, that it came from God. For this former friend’s approval, China had to bend its laws to fit Christian scripture.

However, the Chinese learned from Confucius while in the West we learned from the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, the Old and New Testaments, and many other voices that influenced western thought. I wonder if too many voices often lead to confusion, and that might explain why the Chinese civilization has been more stable over the millennia than the west has.

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 happened to Macao Four-Hundred-and-Forty-Two years later

August 15, 2018

In 1535, Portuguese traders obtained the rights to anchor ships in Macau’s harbors and to carry out trade.  Then in 1557, they established a permanent settlement there.  In 1999, 442 years later, the same year China banned the Falun Gong religious cult, Macao was back.

Since Macau was returned to China in 1999, it has overtaken Las Vegas to become the world’s biggest gambling mecca. Since 1999, Macau, along with Hong Kong, is one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China, and it is situated on the western side of the Pearl River Delta across from Hong-Kong.

The next building trend expanded Macao into a global entertainment and high-end shopping hub along with leisure activities, but that has not matched the success of gambling that remains Macau’s main money maker. In fact, almost every business depends on the gambling to survive.

However, the days of Chinese Triads having shooting wars on Macau’s streets are histroy. The Chinese Communist Party will not tolerate the violence and the People’s Liberation Army is much larger than any triad gang. If the CCP will ban the Falun Gong for illegally protesting in China, imagine what it would do to the triads.

Macao is not China even though it is technically part of the People’s Republic. The World History Blog provides a short history of the former Portuguese colony, which is a Special Administrative Region in China today but has more in common with the Principality of Monaco or Las Vegas.

Macao’s location was first settled by members of the South Sung Dynasty escaping invading Mongols in 1277. Centuries later, Portuguese traders built a staging port there, the oldest European settlement in the Far East.

The Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1643) did not recognize that Macao belonged to Portugal and collected rent until 1849 when the Portuguese, taking advantage of China’s defeat during the first opium war with England and France, declared Macau’s independence from China.

Britannica reports the 1999 transfer agreement allowed Macao to govern itself with a one-house legislature and a legal system based on Portuguese law, not China’s legal system.

David Campion writes, “As in Havana and Las Vegas, the gambling economy in Macau was first built up and its rules enforced by clever and well-organized gangsters, here called Triads. Once a date was set for the departure of the Portuguese, the Triads fought amongst each other viciously for greater control over the territory before the PRC was due to come in and rain on their parade (which it didn’t, as it turned out).”

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’s the Skinny on the Tiananmen Square Incident: Part 2 of 2

August 1, 2018

After more sleuthing, I learned that Wang Dan, one of the principal student organizers of the Tiananmen incident, went to jail because he stayed in China when most of the other student leaders fled. Today, Wang lives in the West.

Two others went to Harvard and a third went to Yale. Where did they get the money? It’s expensive to attend these privileged private universities? Few if any Chinese had that kind of money in China in 1989. Today, Harvard costs between $46k – $68k annually. Yale costs about the same.

How about the other leaders who fled to the West? Time Magazine reported, “Some have reincarnated themselves as Internet entrepreneurs, stockbrokers, or in one case, as a chaplain for the U.S. military in Iraq. Several have been back to China to investigate potential business opportunities.”

Official figures of the dead during the incident ranged from 200 to 300. At the Chinese State Council press conference on June 6, spokesman Yuan Mu said that “preliminary tallies” by the government showed that about 300 civilians and soldiers died, including 23 students from universities in Beijing, along with a number of people he described as “ruffians”. Yuan also said some 5,000 soldiers and police along with 2,000 civilians were wounded. On June 19, Beijing Party Secretary Li Ximing reported to the Politburo that the government’s confirmed death toll was 241, including 218 civilians (of which 36 were students), 10 PLA soldiers and 13 People’s Armed Police, along with 7,000 wounded.

The previous paragraph is what China’s leaders publically admitted the casualty toll was. There was no attempt to claim nothing happened.

Chinese government officials have long asserted that no one died in the Square itself in the early morning hours of June 4, during the ‘hold-out’ of the last batch of students in the south of the Square. Initially foreign media reports of a “massacre” on the Square were prevalent, though later journalists acknowledged that most of the deaths occurred outside of the Square in western Beijing.

Several people who were situated around the square that night, including Jay Mathews, former Beijing bureau chief of The Washington Post, and Richard Roth, CBS correspondent, reported that while they heard sporadic gunfire, they could not find enough evidence to suggest that a massacre took place on the Square itself.

If the U.S. media annually reminds the world of the alleged Tiananmen Square massacre, why don’t they also remind us of another massacre that took place in Taiwan in 1947 where about 30,000 Taiwanese citizens were slaughtered during the 2-28 Massacre by troops of America’s ally Chang Kai-shek?

Can anyone explain why the deaths of a few hundred Chinese in Communist China in 1989 are more important than the slaughter of 30,000 civilians in 1947 by an American ally?

In addition, Wiki Leaks obtained cables that originally came from the US embassy in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square Incident, which partially confirms the Chinese government’s claim that PLA troops did not massacre demonstrators inside Tiananmen Square.

In conclusion, most of the world doesn’t know because they have never heard from the Western media that the protests leading to the alleged Tiananmen Square massacre did not start out as a democracy movement.  The protests started as adult workers filled the streets protesting government corruption. The students appeared later when they were bussed or trucked to the square from their colleges after President H. W. Bush switched ambassadors and you now know who that man was from Part 1 and the video with this post.

Who arranged that transportation for the students and paid for it?

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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What’s the Skinny on the Tiananmen Square Incident: Part 1 of 2

July 31, 2018

The Urban Dictionary says one of the definitions for “what’s the skinny” means “an inquiry for inside information”.

Twenty-nine year after the alleged 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, the U.S. media continues to annually remind the world of what happened but are they wrong with all their facts?

I’ve talked to several Chinese American friends, now US citizens, that lived in China in 1989. They all say the student leaders behind the Tiananmen Square protest/massacre, April 14 – June 4, 1989, were supported by the CIA.

I asked myself, “Was this another conspiracy theory?”

However, my curiosity was stirred, so I spent hours searching the internet for clues to validate what I had been told, and I discovered several interesting coincidences.

The new U.S. Ambassador in China was James Lilley, a former CIA operative who worked in Asia and helped insert CIA agents into China. Future President H. W. Bush served as Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing (1974 – 1976), and he went from there to serve as Director of the CIA (1976 – 1977).

Why did President H. W. Bush replace Winston Lord as ambassador to China during the early days of the Tiananmen Square incident with former CIA agent James Lilley? After all, Lord spoke some Chinese and was a key figure in the restoration of relations between the U.S. and China in 1972.  Wasn’t he the best man for the job during a crisis like the Tiananmen Square Incident?

I returned to my friends and asked, “How do you know the CIA helped the student leaders of the protest?”

“It’s obvious,” was the answer. The reason, they explained was the fact that it was very difficult, almost impossible, for anyone in China to get a visa to visit the United States before the 21st century. Yet most of the young student leaders of the Tiananmen Square incident left China quickly after the event with U.S. Visas and prospered in the West without any obvious difficulty.

I returned to my investigation to verify these claims and found Let’s Welcome Chinese Tourists By J.W. Marriott Jr. This piece talked about how difficult it was for Chinese to get U.S. Visas at that time.

Another piece I found in The Washington Post also documented how difficult it was to get a visa to visit the United States from China. I read another piece in The Chicago Tribune on the same subject. And my wife, Anchee Min, told me her brother and two sisters were denied visas to the U.S.

Continued in Part 2 on August 1, 2018

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 if China and America Stopped Trading

July 25, 2018

After establishing relations with the United States and imposing the One-Child Policy, China, in 1986, opened the country to foreign investments and encouraged the development of a market economy and private sector.

China also started the long process to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). It took China another 15 years of diplomatic struggle to became a full member of the WTO. To join, China had to significantly change its economy. These changes were difficult steps for China and conflicted with its prior economic strategy. Acceptance into the WTO meant China had to engage in global competition according to rules that it did not make

The BBC reported, “China’s formal membership comes exactly one month after the 142 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ratified its application at the world trade talks in Doha in the Gulf state of Qatar, and the Chinese government formally approved the deal.”

What happened to China after joining the WTO?

WTO.org said, “in 2001, China’s trade in goods was valued at $0.51 trillion, ranking 6th in the world, but by 2014, it reached $4.3 trillion, growing over 8 times.”

By 2016, China was exporting $2.27 trillion in goods and importing $1.23 trillion,” and OEC report said.

China’s top five export destinations were the United States at $436 billion (19% of the total), $250-billion (11%) to Hong Kong, $148 billion (6.6%) to Japan, $99 billion (4.4%) to Germany, and $87.2 (3.8%) billion to South Korea.  If we subtract the United States, China exported $1.834 Trillion worth of goods to the rest of the world.

China also buys products from the United States and other countries. It’s top four import countries were the United States at $122 billion (9.9%) in goods, $121-billion (9.8%) from South Korea, $120 billion (9.8%) from Japan, and $83.7 billion (6.8%) from Germany.

If we subtract what China buys from the United States, China imports good worth $1.08 Trillion from the rest of the word, and did you notice that China has a trade deficit with some countries?  If we focus on just South Korea, China bought more goods than it sold by $33.8 billion.

What goods does China want from other countries? China’s highest value imported goods are electronic circuits and micro-assemblies, crude oil, iron, cars, mobile phones, and then soya beans.

In 2017, China exported $2.2 trillion of its production. The EU exported $1.9 trillion that year.

There is also a common misconception that the United States doesn’t make anything anymore, and it doesn’t help that Donald Trump, a malignant narcissist, and serial liar, reinforced that thinking during the presidential debates in 2016.

What do the facts say?

The Balance reports, “2017, total U.S. trade with foreign countries was $5.2 trillion. That was $2.3 trillion in exports and $2.9 trillion in imports of both goods and services.” China exported $2.2 trillion to the world that year, less than the United States exported from its manufacturing sector.

How many jobs in the U.S. does that $2.3 trillion in exports support and how many jobs are at risk in the United States due to Mr. Trump’s trade war?

CNN Money says, “analysts say that tens of thousands of American workers are likely to lose their jobs—and upwards of two million jobs are at risk—more or less as a direct consequence of the Trump administration’s trade policies, and the retaliatory tariffs that follow.”

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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Invasion of the Robots

December 13, 2017

Recode.net reported in May 2017, why manufacturing jobs are coming back to the U.S. – even as companies buy more robots. “In April, 12.4 million Americans worked in manufacturing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up by about 25,000 jobs from a year prior, and almost a million from early 2010. But it’s still down by about one third, or more than six million jobs, from 1980. …

“Last year, for the first time in decades, more manufacturing jobs came back to the United States than left, according to data compiled by the Reshoring Initiative, a firm that works to bring jobs back to the U.S. …

“Even though now both human jobs and robotic manufacturing are on the rise, in the end machines do take away jobs from humans. For every robot brought into the U.S. workforce between 1990 and 2007, six human jobs were lost,”

However, jobs coming back will not stop the popular political pass time in the United States to bash China for stealing jobs from US workers.

In addition, Smirking Chimp.com says, “The perception among some Americans is that immigrant labor and off shoring of jobs are the major causes of unemployment. Indeed, American corporations choose to utilize migrant labor and off shoring to India and China in order to pay out lower wages. Yet, studies have estimated that off shoring accounts for 10 percent of unemployment and would only affect two percent of employed Americans.”

Does that mean that 90% of jobs lost in America were to robots and computers and not to China or other countries with cheap labor?

No matter the facts reveal, it is a safe bet that if someone is out of work, it is easier to blame it on China or Japan or India or South Korea, or Bangladesh, for example, than on some machine probably made in America by another machine that caused the  lost job.

The New York Times even published this in December 2016: “The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation.”

And it isn’t just the United States that firing humans and replacing them with robots. China is also doing it. Quartz Media reports, “It’s not just the US: Chinese factories are turning to automation as wages rise. … In 2015, according to the International Federation of Robotics, factories in China bought 68,000 industrial robots, 20% more than the year before, and more than all European countries combined.”

Next time you hear someone curse China for stealing jobs from the United States, see if you can shut them up long enough to tell them what’s really happening. “It isn’t other countries that are stealing our jobs, Stupid, its robots.”

What will happen when there are no jobs left for humans because robots took them all?  Will the robots become the consumers of the products they produce?

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 are women doing in China compared to the United States?

October 10, 2017

In 1949, Mao announced that women hold up half the sky. In one day they went from being the property of men to being equal. Sixty-eight years later, how are women doing in China?

China’s women make up 48.1 percent of the population, but Catalyst.org reports, “In 2016, only 17.5 percent of firms in China have women as top managers. … Less than one-quarter (24.2%) of all positions in China’s single-house parliament are held by women.”

When we isolate China and report these facts, China looks bad, doesn’t it?

But how does China compare to the United States when it comes to women reaching the top?

In the United Staets women make up 50.8 of the population.  American Progress.org says, “They are only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.” In addition, Rutgers.edu reports, “21 women (21%) serve in the United States Senate, and 84 women (19.3%) serve in the United States House of Representatives.”

The Harvard Business Review says, “In the decades since Deng Xiaoping instituted market reform, millions of women have profitably followed Deng’s dictate that “to get rich is glorious.”

Quartz.com tells us “No country comes even close to China in self-made female billionaires.” China has 56 self-made female billionaires; The United States only has 15. China has almost four times as many self-make female billionaires.

Discover Wu Zetian, China’s only female emperor

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline