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

June 17, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy

About iLook China


Five Ancient Chinese Myths and Science Proves One Was Real

June 10, 2020

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

2) a widely held but false belief or idea.

Yin and Yang

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

Xi-Wang-Mu, the Queen of the West

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


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

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

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

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

The Great Flood

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

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

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

Where to Buy

About iLook China


If we knew who the real Shakespeare was, we should call him the UK’s Du FU

June 3, 2020

The BBC reported, The Story of China – China’s Shakespeare – Du Fu “Du Fu (712-770 AD) is regarded by many Chinese as their greatest poet. He was well known in his day, and made friends with other poets such as Li Bai, another famous poet in the Tang dynasty. As a member of the elite in society he lived in the capital at Chang’an, now known as Xi’an. Later he was dubbed the ‘Poet Historian’, for writing down what he saw with his own eyes during the An Lu Shan rebellion. Du Fu saw the terrible time that war-torn China suffered, especially the pain and suffering amongst the ordinary people, and the court running away from the capital.”

Why did the BBC say Du Fu was China’s Shakespeare when he was born 851 years before Shakespeare’s birth in April 1564?

In fact, Shakespeare is often called England national poet and the “Bard of Avon.”  Has anyone ever called him the poet historian of the UK?

History.com even asks, “Did Shakespeare really write his own plays?”

In fact, “nothing has been found documenting the composition of the 37 plays and 154 sonnets attributed to him, collectively considered the greatest body of work in the history of the English language.” … “Since the 19th century, a roster of famous people–Henry James, Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Helen Keller, Charlie Chaplin and many others—have voiced their doubts about the man from Stratford. Thousands of books and articles have been devoted to the subject, many of which propose their own candidates for the true author of the Shakespeare canon.”

Is there any doubt that Du Fu wrote his poems? No, because anyone that wants to fact-check will discover that he was born in 712 in Henan province China and died in 770 AD on a riverboat, and many literary critics consider him the great poet of all time. – Britannica

How can anyone compare Du Fu, who we know wrote his poems, to Shakespeare when the world doesn’t know who he really was and if he even wrote the work that bears his name?

The Atlantic even ran a piece that asked, “Was Shakespeare a Woman?”… “Theories that others wrote the corpus of work attributed to William Shakespeare (who was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 and died in 1616) emerged in the mid-19th century. Assorted comments by his contemporaries have been interpreted by some as suggesting that the London actor claimed credit for writing that wasn’t his.” … “Who was this woman writing ‘immortal work’ in the same year that Shakespeare’s name first appeared in print, on the poem ‘Venus and Adonis,’ a scandalous parody of masculine seduction tales (in which the woman forces herself on the man)?”

Comparing the work of Shakespeare to Du Fu is also interesting. Absolute Shakespeare.com says, “For now at least, it is still safe to say Shakespeare did indeed write the 37 plays and 154 sonnets credited to him.”

Total History.com reveals, “His (Du Fu) best poetic works were written during his stay in Kuizhou. He was a wonderful writer and wrote almost 400 poems. The poems written in Kuizhou are amongst his greatest works. Most of his poems are based on nature. The famous poet’s work failed to be recognized in his time. It could have been because his poems were not given much exposure. Like most famous poets, Du Fu’s poems became popular and were appreciated only after his demise. Today Du Fu’s work is much appreciated and has been translated into many languages. The world regards Du Fu as a great poet. His contributions to the literature world have been immense.”

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.

Where to Buy

About iLook China


The World’s Favorite Dessert is Not Chocolate

May 27, 2020

I am a chocoholic. I’m very fond of chocolate and eat or drink some every day. In fact, I usually start my day with some chocolate, and I was enjoying some really-dark chocolate when I started writing this blog post ten hours later in the early evening.

If world civilization collapsed and global trade suffered, I would not miss most of the luxuries I take for granted, but I would miss chocolate. The World Atlas says, “Unsurprisingly, most of the top 10 cocoa-producing countries come from warm, wet climates similar to where the bean originated.”

You might not find this surprising, but the countries that consume the most chocolate do not produce it.

 

How about China? If world trade suffered because of the COVID-19 pandemic, would the Chinese miss chocolate?

Chocolate wasn’t introduced to China until the 1980s. China Business Review reports, “Thirty years ago, most Chinese had never eaten a piece of chocolate; their taste for chocolate was ready to be shaped by whichever company entered the country with a winning combination of quality, marketing savvy, and manufacturing and distribution acumen. For chocolate companies, China was the next great frontier—a market of almost limitless potential to be unlocked through a battle between the world’s leading chocolate companies for the hearts, minds, taste buds, and ultimately the wallets of China’s consumers.”

Those chocolate companies failed.

“Even today, the amount of chocolate sold in China is relatively small, accounting for less than 2 percent of total global consumption. Most Chinese would not be able to find chocolate in their vicinity even if they were willing to buy it.”

Why chocolate never caught on in China should be obvious. The favorite dessert in China, Japan, and most, if not all of Southeast Asia is mochi, and that is made from rice.

Mochi is the most popular dessert in the world, but only because there are more Asians than any other ethnic group on the planet. Caucasians (found mostly in North America, Russia, and Europe) only make up 11.5% (850,000,000) of the world’s 7.8 billion people. The Han Chinese, by themselves, represent more than 20%, and that is not counting the populations of Japan and the other countries in that area of the world that love mochi.

Taste Atlas says, “Mochi, the tiny cakes made out of glutinous rice, are an important part of Japanese cuisine and culture (and the rest of East and Southeast Asia). The preparation of mochi starts with a time-consuming process of pounding boiled or steamed rice, usually the glutinous mochigome variety until it forms into a thick and homogenous paste. …The most common confectionery is referred to as daifuku-round cakes filled with different ingredients such as the traditional red bean paste, strawberries, or ice cream. … Due to its chewy texture, it is important to be extra careful and attentive while eating mochi and to take tiny bites of this glutinous treat.”

What ten countries produce the most rice?

The answer is revealed in the last video. If global trade suffers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia will not have to give up their favorite dessert. I live in the United States, and I am not a mochi fan.

What is your favorite dessert?

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.

Where to Buy

About iLook China


The Impact of Cultural and Lifestyle Choices during a Pandemic

May 13, 2020

China is a collectivist culture based on valuing the needs of a group or a community over the individual.

Better the Future.org says, “The traditional Chinese diet consists of low or moderate amounts of meat or fish and plenty of vegetables accompanied by starches like rice or noodles. Tea is often served with dinner instead of soft drinks. Desserts are generally not part of the meal but fresh fruits can be served to help with digestion.”

The BBC reported, “China reported the cases to the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN’s global health agency, on 31 December.… The mayor of Wuhan has previously admitted there was a lack of action between the start of January – when about 100 cases had been confirmed – and 23 January, when city-wide restrictions were enacted. …

“WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has hailed China for the ‘speed with which [it] detected the outbreak’ and its ‘commitment to transparency’.”

The United States is an individualist culture. Very Well Mind.com says, “Individualistic cultures are those that stress the needs of the individual over the needs of the group as a whole.”

Health.gov tells us about the Current Eating Patterns in the United States. “The typical eating patterns currently consumed by many in the United States do not align with the Dietary Guidelines. … About three-fourths of the population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils.

“More than half of the population is meeting or exceeding total grain and total protein foods recommendations (and) … are not meeting the recommendations for the subgroups within each of these food groups.

“Most Americans exceed the recommendations for added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

“The high percentage of the population that is overweight or obese suggests that many in the United States overconsume calories. As documented, more than two-thirds of all adults and nearly one-third of all children and youth in the United States are either overweight or obese.”

How do these cultural and lifestyle choices translate to death by COVID-19?

On May 6, 2020, Statista reported that the United States was 1st place for COVID-19 deaths worldwide.

1st Place: The United States with 72,284 deaths

2nd place: the UK with 29,427 deaths (the UK is also an individualist culture)

11th place: China with 4,633 deaths (where the pandemic started)

The Smithsonian Magazine reports that “U.S. Life Expectancy Drops for Third Year in a Row, Reflecting Rising Drug Overdoses, Suicides,” and Global News reported, “The novel coronavirus is a bundle of proteins. It doesn’t care about faith, freedom, jobs or right-wing conspiracy theories, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of Americans from defying all medical advice to protest against lockdown measures meant to keep them safe — often while standing unmasked and shoulder to shoulder.”

What about life expectancy in China? Macrotrends says, “The Current Life expectancy for China in 2020 is 76.96 years, a 0.22 percent increase from 2019.”  In fact, China has seen a slow and steady increase in life expectancy since 1950. Click the link in this paragraph to see for yourself.

It is apparent that the price for individual freedoms in the U.S. means shorter lifespans and a higher risk of death by COVID-19. What freedom means in the United States depends on each individual.

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.

Where to Buy

About iLook China