China is the Misunderstood Dragon

January 30, 2019

If you want to make an attempt to understand China, I suggest starting with the differences between Chinese dragons vs. Western ones.

Kid World Citizen.org tells us, “(Chinese) Dragons symbolize importance, power and strength, represent all things male, and were the symbol of the Emperor of China (who was said to sit on the dragon throne). The imperial dragon is shown with 5 claws instead of the usual 4, to distinguish him from lesser beasts.”

Chinese “Dragons are essential in agricultural life, since they are seen to control the seasons and the weather.  Although they (Chinese dragons) have no wings, the fiery pearl sometimes displayed in their mouths gives them the power to fly to heaven.  The male air and weather dragons would bring rains and winds to help the harvest, while the female earth dragons would preserve the waters in rivers and underground wells.” …

If you are interested, there’s more about Chinese dragons at Kid World Citizens dot org (find the link above).

Compare what you have learned about China’s dragons to the West’s. The Vintage News.com says, “From ancient Greek myths to Game of Thrones, the legend of the dragon is one of the most enduring and romanticized throughout history. It has been traced back as far as 4000 BC and exists in all parts of the world.” …

In the West, dragons were generally treated as violent monsters that must be slain by heroes and saints. European dragons could have four legs, two legs, or none, and often had wings.

“In Asia, and especially China,” The Vintage News continues, “the view of these creatures was very different. … They breathed clouds and moved the seasons. The dragon was the symbol of the Chinese Emperor, and the Imperial throne was called the Dragon Throne. Known as the Dragon, the emperor ruled in harmony, and brought peace and prosperity to all. … Chinese dragons are depicted as being more serpent-like, with long, snaking bodies and usually had four legs. They are generally seen as wingless.”

There are also a few other differences to compare.

China is a collective culture vs Europe and North America that are individualistic cultures. It is possible that the reason China’s dragons are different is because of the influence of a collective culture.

Does that mean we can explain the evil and danger of Western dragons to the influence of individualistic thinking?

European and North American cultures are influenced mostly by Christianity, Judaism, and philosophers from ancient Greece and Renaissance Europe. Ancient Athens in Greece is among the first recorded and one of the most important democracies in ancient times; the word “democracy” ( Greek: δημοκρατία – “rule by the people”) was invented by Athenians in order to define their system of government, around 508 BC.

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have never been a major political or religious influence in China.

Religious and/or philosophical influences in China come from Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism have never been a major political or religious influence in Europe or North America.

Because of these differences, mainland China has never had a republic or democracy similar to Europe or North America.

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 ancient Chinese concept of Hell after death

January 23, 2019

The Chinese have Dante beat. Dante only wrote about 9 circles of hell. The Chinese have eighteen levels. It makes sense in a gruesome way when you realize the Chinese also came up with a very slow and painful death by a thousand cuts, and then there’s the Chinese water torture. Where do you think the West came up for  waterboarding?

China Underground.com says, “Diyu, the Traditional Chinese Hell, based on Buddhism concept of Naraka, is an underground maze with various levels and chambers, where souls are taken after death to atone for the sins they committed when they were alive.”

Buddhism originated in India and when it arrived in China, it brought eighteen levels of hell with it. Over time, this belief spread across China.

Taoism, Buddhism, and traditional Chinese folk religions think that the souls of the dead must experience several tests before reaching the gates of hell, where demons demand money to enter, which might explain why many Chinese burn paper money at funerals to make sure beloved family members have enough for the journey through hell.

There are eighteen levels on this journey, and each level comes with a method to test for evil.

For criminals, the souls are heavy and the trip is long and painful. Chinese almanacs graphically illustrated the punishments while good souls were light and made the journey quickly.

Today, these beliefs are probably more alive in remote areas of rural China than urban areas where Mao’s Cultural Revolution had more of an impact getting rid of ancient beliefs.

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 came first the soybean or tofu?

January 16, 2019

The answer to the question in the title is simple. Soybeans came first. Tofu-making was first recorded during China’s Han dynasty more than 2,000 years ago. Chinese legend credits its invention to Prince Liu An (179–122 BC).

We learn from Soya.be that “Soybeans originate from China. In 2853 BC, Emperor Sheng-Nung of China named five sacred plants – soybeans, rice, wheat, barley, and millet. Soybean plants were domesticated between 17th and 11th century BC in the eastern half of China where they were cultivated into a food crop.”

And Eating China reports, “But while those ancient farmers had discovered a new food source, only their descendants, almost 1,000 years in the future would begin to fully understand the nutritional value of the soybean. The long history of domestication resulted in a great variety of upright hardy soy plants that do well in a wide range of soil and weather conditions. The main types of soybeans are categorized by seed color: green, black and by far the most common, yellow, the variety that inspired the bean’s other name, Yellow Legume, Huang Dou.” …

“Making soy milk was one of the early methods. Soy milk is nothing more than a milky liquid that results from boiling and mashing whole beans, so we can assume that it was not long before soy milk was ‘invented.’ Initially it may have been eaten as bean meal soup. Even today in China soy milk remains a drink that is processed and consumed in simple ways, though it is often sweetened and occasionally salted.”

I can attest that fresh soy milk in China is much better than most soy milk you buy in supermarkets in the United States. When visiting China, I get up early to go to the nearest market that makes fresh soy juice and buy it without sugar or sweetener added. There is no comparison. It’s warm. It’s fresh. It’s China. It’s different from the genetically altered, American, factory-farmed soy juice sold in American markets. That stuff is “yuk” and I don’t touch it.

I’ve even made tofu chocolate pie at home. The Chinese invented tofu, but I was introduced to Chocolate Tofu Pie at Mother’s Market in Costa Mesa, California. Then I figured out how to make it at home by experimenting. You may find the recipe HERE.

Then there is stinky tofu, another of my favorites. When visiting Nanjing Road in Shanghai between People Square and the Bund, we always stop at the same shop, and I order deep fried, fresh chou dofu (stinky tofu) with peppercorn sauce that’s spicy hot enough to make me sweat.

Medical News Today.com says, “Tofu is made from soybean curds. It is naturally gluten-free and low in calories. It contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of iron and calcium.” It is also an important source of protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians. “It also contains isoflavones such as phytoestrogens. Isoflavones may have both estrogen-agonist or estrogen-antagonist properties. These may help protect against some cancers, heart disease, and osteoporosis.”

Then there are the health benefits from soybean sprouts. Livestrong.com says, “Even though you can sprout seeds from any type of bean, the two most common types are mung bean and soybean sprouts, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Bean sprouts give you an easy way to boost the nutrients in your diet. Toss them onto your salad, use them in a sandwich or add them to soups and casseroles, and you’ll quickly increase the amount of protein, B vitamins and vitamin C.”

In fact, the Chinese learned how to sprout beans on their sailing ships to protect Chinese sailors from scurvy long before the west discovered that vitamin C prevented the disease. Our Everyday Life.com says, “Soy bean sprouts, which are germinated soy beans, have been used for human consumption for more than 5,000 years.” Just one of the benefits: “Soy bean sprouts provide the B vitamin, folate, which is essential for the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. One cup of raw soy bean sprouts has 120mcg of folate. Adults need 400mcg of folate daily, according to the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine. Soy bean sprouts are also a source of vitamin C and pantothenic acid.”

Soy bean sprouts were not the only source of vitamin C for ancient Chinese sailors. Asian cultures have relied on fermented cabbage to survive long winters between fruit seasons for thousands of years. Kimchi, sauerkraut’s Korean cousin, was historically used during winter to stave off vitamin deficiencies, while early records show workers building the Great Wall of China ate fermented cabbage regularly when fruit was not available.

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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In 1823, the United States Decided the Outcome of China’s claims in the South China Sea

January 9, 2019

China’s claims and actions in the South China Sea look similar to what the U.S has done with the Monroe Doctrine since 1823.

History.com teaches us that “on December 2, 1823, President James Monroe used his annual message to Congress for a bold assertion: ‘The American continents … are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.’

Ducksters.com spells out the Effects of the Monroe Doctrine:

The Monroe Doctrine had a long lasting impact on the foreign policy of the United States. Several U.S. presidents have invoked the Monroe Doctrine when intervening in foreign affairs in the Western Hemisphere. Here are some examples of the Monroe Doctrine in action.

1865 – The U.S. government helped to overthrow Mexican Emperor Maximilian I, who was put in power by the French. He was replaced by President Benito Juarez.

1904 – President Theodore Roosevelt added the “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine. He used the doctrine to stop what he called “wrongdoing” in several countries. It was the beginning of the U.S. acting as an international police force in the Americas.

1962 – President John F. Kennedy invoked the Monroe Doctrine during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. placed a naval quarantine around Cuba to prevent the Soviet Union from installing ballistic missiles on the island.

1982 – President Reagan invoked the Monroe Doctrine to fight communism in the Americas including countries such as Nicaragua and El Salvador.

And, according to international law, the jurisdiction of a country only extends no more than 3 nautical miles into the ocean.

However, on “March 10, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a Presidential Proclamation (5030) which set up the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The EEZ consists of those areas adjoining the territorial sea of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. overseas territories and possessions. The EEZ extends up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastline.”  – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

With America’s Monroe Doctrine and Reagan’s Presidential Proclamation used as a precedent, it appears that China is doing the same thing in East Asia.

In April of 2018, China’s proposed a new boundary in the South China Sea. The South China Morning Post reported, “The new boundary will help to define more clearly China’s claims in the contested region, but it is not clear whether or when it will be officially adopted by Beijing, the scientist said.”

However, China’s claims over East Asia and its seas stretches as far back as the Western Han Dynasty (221 BC) up to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912 with China’s long history with tributary states.

Historically, a tributary state is a term for a pre-modern state in a particular type of subordinate relationship to a more powerful state which involved the sending of a regular token of submission, or tribute, to the superior power. This token often took the form of a substantial transfer of wealth, such as the delivery of gold, produce, or slaves, so that tribute might best be seen as the payment of protection money.

What China is doing today in the South China Sea is similar to what it was doing more than two-thousand years ago, and  what the United States has done since 1823’s  Monroe Doctrine and Reagan’s 1983 Presidential Proclamation (5030).  If the United States can do it and get away with it for almost two hundred years, why can’t China do something similar in East Asia?

To make it official, maybe China might consider copying U.S. President James Monroe, but call it the Xi Jinping Doctrine. That will make it official and Xi will join Monroe and Reagan in the history books.

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 gets to celebrate a New Year Twice

December 26, 2018

In China it’s possible to celebrate the New Year twice in the same year in different months on different days.

While the Gregorian calendar celebrates the New Year on January 1st of every year, the Chinese Lunar New Year falls on February 5th (Tuesday) 2019, and the festival will last to February 19th, about 15 days in total.

2019 is the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese years are counted in a repeating twelve-year sequence, each year symbolized by an animal: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

In 2018, the Lunar New Year started on February 16th.


Chinese New Year Dragon Dance – Shanghai Disneyland – Shanghai Disney Resort

The Chinese Lunar New Year is defined as the second new moon after the winter solstice; thus it begins sometime between late January and mid-February, approximately at the beginning of Spring (which, in the Chinese calendar, starts forty-five days after the winter solstice). It is celebrated not only in China, but also in Korea, Vietnam (where it is known as Tet), and in Chinese communities around the world.

China established its calendar systems as far back as the 14th century B.C. Shang Dynasty, and over the centuries that calendar was modified and adjusted, but they were always based on calculations of the positions of sun and moon, and even the earliest records have the Chinese New Year beginning at a new moon near the winter solstice.

Since the months of the Chinese calendar are derived from the lunar cycle, which lasts 29.53 days on average, its months are either 29 or 30 days long. Like the Western calendar, the Chinese calendar’s ordinary year has 12 months, but a leap year, every two or three years, adds an extra 13th month. The ordinary year in the Chinese calendar runs between 353 and 355 days, but during a leap year it runs 383 to 385 days.


Shanghai’s New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2017

The Western calendar is a solar calendar based on the Earth’s revolution of the sun and the progression of seasons. Consequently, every month has the same number of days from year to year, except during a leap year.

The Western Gregorian calendar is a modification of the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Cesar in 45 B.C.

If you are curious how the months were named for the Gregorian calendar, here’s a hint – January through December were not based on the zodiac like China’s Lunar calendar was. Click this link to Wonderpolis.org to discover how each month for this calendar got their names. One example: July was named after Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. Previously, July was called “Quintilis,” which is Latin for “fifth.”

Was this one of the reasons why Cesar was assassinated?

With the exception of February, each month in the Western calendar has 30 or 31 days, and there are 12 months every year. That means China’s Lunar calendar has a much longer history than the West’s calendar … about 1,500 years older than the Gregorian one.

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 China is doing to Supply Water to its People

December 19, 2018

“Unlike food, the maximum time an individual can go without water seems to be a week. That estimate would certainly be shorter in difficult conditions, like broiling heat.” — Independent.co.uk

China has often been criticized by environmentalists in the United States for its massive projects to supply water to its people. The criticism focuses on water pollution and damage to the environment. But with 1.4 billion people and growing, China has no choice, because it has been recognized as one of the 13 lowest water-availability countries in the world.

China’s Grand Canal

China has a long history of moving water and goods on water from one part of the country to another, and it started in 468 BC with the building of the Grand Canal. Britannica.com says, “Some 1,100 miles (1,800 km) in length, it is the world’s longest man-made waterway, though, strictly speaking, not all of it is a canal. It was built to enable successive Chinese regimes to transport surplus grain from the agriculturally rich Yangtze(Chang) and Huai river valleys to feed the capital cities and large standing armies in northern China.”

In the 19th century, “the use of the canal as the major supply line to Beijing was abandoned, and the canal gradually fell into disrepair in its northern sections.”

“New work (on the canal) was begun in 1958 to restore the whole system … The canal is also used to divert water from the Yangtze to northern Jiangsu province for irrigation, making possible double cropping of rice.”

China’s Dams

In addition, China has built more large dams than any country in the world, including the world’s largest – the Three Gorges Dam. Today there are more than 87,000 dams in China. China has over 23,000 large dams. The US is the second most dammed country with some 9,200 large dams, followed by India, Japan, and Brazil.

The World’s Largest Water Diversion Infrastructure is in China

Then there’s the World’s Largest Water Diversion Plan Won’t Quench China’s Thirst. “With an excess of rain in the south and not enough in the north, China’s solution is as simple as it was expensive: Build three massive aqueducts to divert the water for an estimated cost of more than 500 billion yuan ($76 billion).

“The result is the world’s most ambitious water transfer program, the South-to-North Water Diversion project. … It is a stunning engineering feat. Some 11 billion cubic meters of water has traversed the 1,432-km-long waterway, supplying factories, businesses and 53 million residents.”

China is also developing alternative water resources to tackle water conflict, including wastewater recycling, household-level rainwater harvesting and seawater desalination. With the rapid development of seawater desalination technology, desalinated seawater is playing a more important role in addressing the water shortage issue in China (Zhang et al. 2005; Zheng et al. 2014).

China’s Desalination Industry

The Journal of Water Reuse & Desalination reports, “By the end of 2015, there were 139 seawater desalination plants put into operation in China.”

Worldwide, desalination plants produce over 3.5 billion gallons of potable water a day, and according to the Chinese government, desalinated seawater is expected to contribute 16 percent to 24 percent of water supply in Chinese coastal areas in the near future, with total daily capacity expected to reach 660 million to 795 gallons by 2020. That’s almost 23-percent of the 3.5 billion gallons of water produced worldwide from desalination plants.

What about the rest of the world? After all, don’t we all need water?

Water Project.org reports, “India’s water crisis is often attributed to lack of government planning, increased corporate privatization, industrial and human waste and government corruption. In addition, water scarcity in India is expected to worsen as the overall population is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by year 2050.”

For the United States, Business Insider says, “California isn’t the only state with water problems. Americans tend to take it for granted that when we open a tap, water will come out.

“Western states have been dealing with water problems for a while, but they won’t be alone for long.

“As drought, flooding, and climate change restrict America’s water supply, demands from population growth and energy production look set to increase, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.”

Business insider also says, “The water crisis is even worse in many other countries, especially those without good infrastructure to get water from rivers and aquifers. The UN estimates a fifth of the world’s population lives in an area where water is scarce, and another fourth of the world’s people don’t have access to water because countries lack the infrastructure to distribute it.”

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 Cultural Revolution is History but the one raging in the U.S. Isn’t

December 12, 2018

Will the United States survive its current cultural revolution being led by Alt-Right billionaires, bullies, trolls, racists, and Donald Trump?

China survived its Cultural Revolution in the middle of the 20th Century and look where that led: WeForum.org reports, “China’s meteoric rise over the past half century is one of the most striking examples of the impact of opening an economy up to global markets.

“Over that period the country has undergone a shift from a largely agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse. In the process it has seen sharp increases in productivity and wages that have allowed China to become the world’s second-largest economy.”

There is a big difference between these two Cultural Revolutions. Mao’s Cultural Revolution was meant to benefit most of the people and punished the wealthy.  At first Mao failed to achieve all of his goals, but once Mao died and his Maoists lost power, China recovered like no country in history has ever done before.

However,  what happened in China will not happen in the United States, because the Cultural Revolution taking place in the U.S. will only benefit a small number of people, the wealthy.

The only thing Mao’s Cultural Revolution has in common with America’s Cultural Revolution is the propaganda designed to prop them up. Understanding the Mechanism of Propaganda teaches us: “At its most basic, propaganda is biased or misleading information circulated via some form of mass media with the intent of promoting a political agenda or viewpoint. Propaganda is deliberately not objective and is usually part of a larger psychological campaign to influence people toward a specific opinion. It may include outright lies or more subtle misinformation and censorship.”

Donald Trump learned how to use propaganda from masters at this game of deception like all the dictators Trump admires and worships.

Trump has been using a propaganda campaign since before he was elected president in 2016 to cast doubt on all media fact check sites because Trump wants the media to report only what he wants people to hear just like every dictator and tyrant in history.

If you Google “who is fact checking the fact checkers” you will run in to some of the propaganda designed to feed the confirmation bias of Trump’s base and to erase any doubts they might have.  These Trump followers are so willingly blind, they will not fact check the claims from the propaganda that claims the media and its fact checkers can’t be trusted.

Once that idea is planted in their minds, Trump’s rabid followers will dismiss everything they read from media fact check sites that does not match what they are hearing from Trump and the Alt-Right misleading, conspiracy theory media machine.

For Trump’s mindless mob it has become automatic to dismiss everything and only accept what Trump tells them.

However, Real Clear Politics has a Fact Check Review.

Fact Check Review Methodology

“The goal of the RCP Fact Check Review project is to understand how the flagship fact-checking organizations operate in practice, from their claim and verification sourcing to their topical focus to just what even constitutes a ‘fact’.” …   (Click the link above for more)

If you want to discover the rankings of the fact check sites, click the link above and scroll down to discover that in the first column, Snopes was 99-percent correct for the previous week, FactCheck.org was 90-percent correct, Politifact was 86-percent correct, the Washington Post was 85-percent correct and the New York Times was 83-percent correct.

Then compare that to Trump’s lies.  All of the fact check sites list Trump’s lies and according to Real Clear Politics, the media fact check sites are overwhelming accurate with the truth compared to Trump.

CNN.com reports, “Donald Trump lies. And he is doing a lot more of it lately.”

The sad fact is, once seduced by Trump, nothing in this blog post will matter to Trump’s Red Guard. Whoops, I mean supporters. To Trumpists, the media Trump hates is full of fake news and fact check sites can’t be trusted because they are always wrong. Only trust in Mao. I’m sorry. I’m bad. I meant to say Trump and didn’t mean to insult Mao.

If Donald Trump and the Alt-Right billionaires, bullies, trolls, and racists win the U.S. Cultural Revolution in the United States, it will make Mao’s Cultural Revolution look like preschool.  If you doubt that, click the link and read what Vox.com has to say about “White American men are a bigger domestic terrorist threat than Muslim foreigners. Since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.” … “between 2001 and 2015, more Americans were killed by homegrown right-wing extremists than by Islamist terrorists, according to a study by New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC.”

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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