The History of Democracy in Hong Kong is so Short it Never Happened

June 19, 2019

Recent Western headlines are shouting:

Hong Kong Protesters face a powerful enemy

Hong Kong Protest: ‘Nearly two million’ join demonstration

Huge Hong Kong protests continue after the government postpones controversial bill

Before I focus on the current protests in Hong Kong, first, a small history lesson.

China never willingly gave Hong Kong to the British Empire in 1842. Instead, China lost Hong Kong during the Opium Wars, and later leased adjacent territories to the British under pressure in 1860 at the end of the Second Opium War when the UK gained a perpetual lease over the Kowloon Peninsula that’s across the strait from Hong Kong Island.

This agreement was part of the Convention of Beijing that ended that war, a war started by England and France. In each case the British Empire, France, and sometimes the United States, were victorious and gained commercial privileges and legal and territorial concessions from China.

These conflicts over the opium trade was the start of the era of unequal treaties.

Then in 1898, the British and Chinese governments signed the Second Convention of Peking and “Britain was granted an additional 99-years of rule over the Hong Kong colony.”

Fast forward ninety-nine years and on December 19, 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and Britain agreed to return not only the New Territories but also Kowloon and Hong Kong itself when the lease term expired on July 1, 1997. China promised to implement One Country, Two Systems policy, so for fifty years, Hong Kong citizens could continue to practice capitalism and political freedoms forbidden on the mainland.

However, for most of its history under British rule, executive power in Hong Kong was concentrated in the hands of the colony governor, a position appointed by the British crown without any democratic input from Hong Kong citizens. The introduction of elected representatives determined by local elections was limited to the role of advisory councils, and that didn’t start until after the 1984 agreement by the British to hand Hong Kong over to China.

Today, since Hong Kong has never been a democracy, who fears being extradited to mainland China?

You might want to see the list of crimes in the new extradition law that so many Hong Kong citizens are mad about … or fear.

Number One: Murder or manslaughter, including criminal negligence causing death; culpable homicide; assault with intent to commit murder.

Click the previous link and discover the other thirty-six crimes. You might want to also read the nine that were removed like “offenses involving the unlawful use of computers” or “offenses against the law relating to environmental pollution or protection of public health”.

For hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens to be out in the streets protesting and holding thousands of printed signs that all look the same (really), there must be a lot of frauds and crooks in that city fearing they are going to lose their freedom to commit crimes.

Who paid for all those signs to be printed by the same company – the CIA?

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 Makes China Different?

April 3, 2019

China is one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world. In fact, while older civilizations around the world crashed, burned and vanished, every time a Chinese dynasty collapsed, China picked itself up, started a new dynasty and continued on. Some have argued that the Chinese Communist Party and its republic is just another dynasty with a twist.

Bloomberg even said, “This Chinese Dynasty Needs a Name. This Communist Party of China, it is frequently asserted, is a misnamed organization. That’s because, since the party began experimenting with private enterprise in the 1970s, it has shed much of the intellectual baggage associated with Marx, Lenin and that ilk.”

The Chinese culture features an abundance of values, unchanged over millennia. In spite of the influence from outside of China and numerous invasions, the Chinese culture preserved its unique identity.

Rebecca Graf points out 13 of the major cultural differences between China and the world.

Graf says, “These differences do not make either culture better or worse than the other one. It just shows their differences which has been created through centuries of history and development. China can trace its traditions and customs for thousands of years. America is still a small babe of a nation that has had very few traditions of its own but has become such a melting pot of cultures that there is almost no specific American culture that can be said is applied across the board. This makes both cultures unique and worthy of study and respect.”

Three of the 13 differences Graf mentions in her piece on Owlcation are: Respect for Elders, Humility, and Collectivism. She says, “The Chinese looks more at the group collective than at individualism. … A person from China is more prone to look at how their acts affect the whole instead of how it affects them personally. They are more willing to give up and sacrifice for the greater good. For the Chinese, each person fits into the greater body of the nation, so individual accomplishments are downplayed.”

To hold on to those unique differences, during the Ming Dynasty, China experienced isolationism motivated by a desire to prevent foreign influences from undermining Chinese values. Study.com reported, “After being ruled by Mongol emperors for almost 100 years, Ming society was obsessed with restoring a sense of absolute Chinese culture. Chinese arts rejected foreign influences, and the emperors restricted trade with foreign nations for much of the 14th and 15th centuries.”

However, the BBC reports, “In the 19th Century, European nations used military power to pry open China’s market. To earn hard currency from China, the British and Americans even smuggled opium into China and basically drugged its people.”

The result was two Opium Wars (1839-1842 and 1856-1860). When China lost those two wars that eventually led to the Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901, another failed attempt by the Chinese people to rid China of foreign influence.

Even the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950) was a result of foreign meddling in China’s affairs, and Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was another attempt to rid China of foreign influences that had been forced on the country starting in 1839 with the first Opium War.  In fact, it was under Mao that China ended illegal drug use in 24 hours. The People’s Liberation Army rounded up and executed about a million drug dealers and forced more than 20-million Chinese addicts into compulsory treatment with a warning that if they were caught using again, they would suffer the same fate the dealers did.

China stayed fairly drug free until Deng Xiaoping opened China to foreign trade again even with China’s existing strict laws concerning illegal drug use. Today, sentencing for drug trafficking could include capital punishment.  For example, the seizure of 50 grams or more of heroin or crystal methamphetamine might result in the use of the death penalty by the Chinese government.

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

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

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Chinese Police Officer in Action

October 2, 2012

One summer while we were in Beijing, a friend of my wife told us about an incident her neighbor was involved in.  The neighbor was a single man in his forties. His former girl friend was in her early twenties, who called the police from his apartment.

“He raped me. Arrest and punish him,” she said to the officer. The neighbors crowded the hall outside the open door to witness what was happening. The officer heard both sides. There was no rape. It turned out that the woman had discovered he had two other girlfriends.

“He asked me to strip,” she said. “He is corrupt.”

The officer studied her and then the man—the woman was taller and twenty pounds heavier. “You have legs. You could leave. But you stripped. Is that correct?”


Chinese Police in court with a Murder Suspect

There was the sound of laugher from the hallway audience. My wife’s friend was one of them.

The soon-to-be former girl friend nodded.

“No laws have been broken,” the police officer said. “He is a single man and can date anyone he likes. You could have said no. If you feel that you have been abused, there’s a woman’s organization that will help you. Do you want the phone number?”

“I already went to them. They won’t punish him either.”

The officer shook his head. “You will never come to this apartment again,” the officer said, as he wrote his verdict in a notebook.

China’s police do not have to read a suspected criminal his or her Miranda rights. In China, the police have more power. We often hear about China’s human rights violations. Read China’s response in China chides U.S. on rights record.

Maybe that difference helps explain why the United States has a prison population of 743 for each 100,000 of national population (total of 2,293,133) and China has 122 per 100,000 (1,650,000). The only country close to the United States is the Russian Federation with 568 in prison of each 100,000.

Discover more about China’s Legal system or learn about Tom Carter’s first-hand experience with Crime in China.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Harlequin Romance Invades China – a guest post by Tom Carter

April 30, 2012

Growing up in a rural, slate-roofed village deep in the countryside of southeast China, the only English books my Chinese wife had to read back then were a brittle copy of Tess of the d’Urbervilles and a set of Harlequin novels.

Yes, I’m talking about Harlequin, those pulpy paperbacks found on revolving wire racks at supermarket checkout aisles across North America and the UK. Their enticing cover art – usually, nay, always featuring shirtless, square-jawed men hovering millimeters away from the glistening-red lips of a damsel in distress – and formulaic flirt/fight/fall-in-love storylines mercilessly targeted housewives and secretaries longing for a 200-page escape from the dirty diapers and pot-bellied husbands of their mid-life realities.

As it turns out, it was by reading books like “Stormy Voyage” by Sally Wentworth and Roberta Leigh’s “Two-Timing Man” (bought used for 7 RMB out of a sidewalk vendor’s book cart), amongst other Harlequin classics, that my wife managed to teach herself English (which explains her tendency to throw her head back dramatically whenever we kiss).

Curious how Harlequin, the forbidden fruit of literature, could be found anywhere in a Communist republic that has the world’s most strict state-sponsored vetting process for publications, I was surprised to learn that in 1995 (about when my fiancée found her copies) Harlequin received official, red star-stamped permission to place half a million copies of twenty titles in Mandarin and a quarter-million copies of ten English versions on the shelves of Xinhua.

Harlequin’s stated goal: “to bring romance to millions of Chinese Women.”

A China.org article on the increasing popularity of romance books in the P.R.C. concurred with Harlequin’s audacious move: “Chinese women today have new demands for their Prince Charming: first, he must be powerful and distinguished…next, he must have unlimited financial resources.”

Wosai! No wonder China has become home to the world’s highest surplus of single men!

Harlequin, which puts out 1,500 new titles annually in over 100 international markets, has yet to think up a romance set in present-day China (Possible storyline: wealthy, second-generation Beijing businessman seduces sexy xiaojie with his shiny black Audie, pleather man-purse and a thick stack of redbacks; he agrees to save her Anhui village from being bulldozed by corrupt cadres if she will become his kept woman.).

Until that day, we will have to entertain ourselves with stories set in China’s olden times starring princesses and concubines.

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Travel Photographer Tom Carter traveled for 2 years across the 33 provinces of China to show the diversity of Chinese people in China: Portrait of a People, the most comprehensive photography book on modern China published by a single author.

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Note: This guest post first appeared December 8, 2010


“Detective Dee” Movie Review and other Thoughts

September 20, 2011

The first time I learned of the Emperor Wu Zetian, who was a woman, was when I wrote a four part series of her starting with Wu Zetian, China’s Female Emperor – Part 1, October 9, 2010.

In fact, while researching Emperor Wu, I learned that under her rule, the economy, culture, social and political affairs prospered. She was also a talented military leader who reformed the army. After the reforms, without leaving her palace, she managed victorious military conflicts with rival states.

If you decide to see the movie, you will discover that the film depicts her as a brutal, scheming tyrant. Historically, China’s historians often demonize powerful women. In reality, the facts say that she was no worse than most male emperors were and was more talented, open-minded in addition to being an early feminist.

The last time I attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA, I had an opportunity to talk to a film agent that said Hollywood wasn’t making epic blockbusters anymore because they cost too much.

Consider that the 2004 Alexander the Great cost $155 million to produce and the gross box office was about $164 million and in 2007, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End cost $300 million to produce.

However, according to Box Office Mojo, the budget for Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame was $13 million. Maybe all films should be made in China.

The film was based on the Chinese folk hero Di Renjie, popularized in the West by a series of detective novels written by Robert Van Gulik (1910 – 1967), who called him “Judge Dee“.

When I went to see the film, I discovered that it was an action mystery of epic proportions with classic palace intrigue that rivaled a Hollywood epic, which today would cost twenty times the estimated budget I mentioned earlier.


Tsui Hark Director of “Detective Dee” interviewed by Film Steve 3

I enjoyed the film and walked away thinking that anyone interested in a glimpse of how powerful China was thirteen hundred years ago, this lavish spectacle provides a hint of that former time.

The mystery that Dee solves is the spontaneous combustion of two high-ranking court officials that exploded in flame when exposed to sunlight.  Do not expect the ending to be the stereotypical Western conclusion.

These ‘murders’ take place before the coronation of Wu Zetian as China’s first female emperor.  Detective Dee, the films hero, is based on a real person but there is a lot of fiction and fantasy mixed into this epic film.

The real Detective Dee was originally Duke Wenhui of Liang, an official of the Tang Dynasty and of Emperor Wu Zetian’s Zhou Dynasty. He was one of the most celebrated officials of Wu Zetian’s reign.

Discover another classic/epic Chinese movie in Farewell My Concubine

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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A Riot is a Riot is a Riot — even when it happens in China

August 11, 2011

The Diary of a Wimpy Catholic gives a brief history of London Riots, and what he says may be applied to most countries, even China, which has more to do with anarchy and chaos than a desire to have a multi-party democracy.

The London “unrest” flared on Saturday, August 7, 2011 and the latest headline (as I’m writing this post) says, “London under siege as violence spreads across UK. Ugly scenes of violence, rioting and looting have spread across the length and breadth of London and beyond since trouble began three days ago.”

This latest “unrest” in England started in the low-income, multiethnic district of Tottenham where many are unemployed. By August 9, sixteen thousand police had been deployed on the streets of London, and Prime Minster David Cameron said, “People should be in no doubt that we will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain’s streets and to make them safe for the law-abiding.” Source: Yahoo.com

The correct way to handle this sort of “unrest” may be how quickly the US ended the Rodney King Riots of 1992 in Los  Angeles, which started on Wednesday, April 29, 1992 and officially ended on May 4 — six days later.

On the second day, the state’s governor sent in 2,000 California National Guard troops.

On the fourth day, President H. W. Bush ordered 4,000 heavily armed US Marines and Army troops to quell the riots, martial law was declared, roadblocks were set up and there were firefights between the military and the looting rioters that were setting fire to the city.

Although LA’s Mayor Bradley lifted the curfew on May 4, signaling the official end of the riots, sporadic violence and crime continued for days afterward. Federal troops did not stand down until May 9, and the National Guard remained until May 14 with some troops staying as late as May 27

The LA riots caused more than $1 billion in damage and saw 53 people killed and thousands injured.


“Contrary to what has become conventional wisdom outside China, the protesters were not demanding Western style politics and an end to Communist Party Rule.” Source: BBC Documentary Produced and Directed by Rob Coldstream (2009), which I wrote about on this Blog June 30, 2010 as China’s Capitalist Revolution – Part 1 of 9

However, when unrest takes place in China and the Chinese react as the United States did in 1992 and England’s government today, the Western media, Blogs and Internet Forums often claim the unrest was caused by the fact that China is not a multi-party democracy.

Explain why China’s people should want a multi-party democracy since many democracies are broke, in debt and mired in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

In fact, in the last few decades, China has reduced severe poverty more than any country, increased literacy from 20% to more than 90%, increased the lifespan from age 35 in 1949 to more than 70 today, and created a modern consumer middle class approaching the size of the US population, while poverty, unrest and unemployment has increased in England and the United States.

In addition, in contrast to the 6 days it took to end the violent unrest in Los Angeles in 1992, The Tiananmen Square protests in the People’s Republic of China occurred between April 15, 1989 and June 4, 1989 (seven weeks — not six days), centered in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. If you Google this unrest, most likely you will read the lie that it was a democracy movement, which it wasn’t (watch the embedded BBC video with this post to discover the facts).

When troops of the People’s Liberation Army arrived in Beijing to deal with the unrest, they were “actively opposed” by protesters. There were “battles” during the entry of the troops into the city with military casualties, and extensive roadblocks constructed by the protesters slowed the army’s progress.

How is this different from America in 1992 and London in 2011 except that the Chinese had a lot of patience to let the unrest go on for seven weeks before applying force?

More Western riots to explore, which took place in freedom loving, multi-party democracies.

1981 England riots – West Indian race riots across London, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool

2001 England riots – South Asian race riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford

2005 civil unrest in France – Widespread rioting across France

2005 Cronulla riots – Beachfront riots in Sydney, Australia

2006 Dublin riots – Love-Ulster Riots in Dublin, Ireland

2008 Greek riots – Riots in Greece, mainly centered on Athens

2010 Berkeley California riot – protesters damaging UC Berkeley’s Durant Hall and then spilling over into the city streets, igniting trash cans and Dumpsters, smashing windows and clashing with police.

1934 San Francisco RiotTwo men were killed by bullets, another by injuries, 31 others were shot and an untold number, including police, were clubbed, gassed, beaten and stoned.

Recent Oakland Riots – On January 7, 2009 a protest march in Oakland involving about 250 people became violent. Demonstrators caused over $200,000 in damage while breaking shop and car windows, burning cars, setting trash bins on fire, and throwing bottles at police officers.

In fact, here is a List of incidents of civil unrest in the United States – too many to count!

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Discover What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square? and The Tiananmen Square Hoax

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The Tiananmen Square Hoax

July 26, 2011

On October 30, 1938, H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds was broadcast in the style of a radio news story with bulletins from reporters played by actors in the Mercury Theater, which resulted in hundreds if not thousands believing the earth was being invaded by Mars.

The excuse used to invade Vietnam and escalate the Vietnam War was the Tonkin Gulf Incident, which never happened as President Johnson claimed. This hoax led to the long war in Vietnam (1955 – 1975) with millions of troops and civilians killed and injured. Sources: The National Security Archive, Shakesville, and American USSR

Since 1950, when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China invaded and reoccupied Tibet, we have been told repeatedly by our leaders, Hollywood celebrities and the Western media that Tibet was never a part of China before 1950, which was proven to be a lie by letters written in the 19th century by Sir. Robert Hart.

More evidence (that we do not hear of in the media) was published in the October 1912 National Geographic Magazine.

Now, Wiki Leaks reveals that the Tiananmen Square incident may be one of the biggest hoaxes in Western Media history or manipulation of the media by the U.S. government on a grand scale.

This revelation of the Tiananmen Square slaughter “that never happened” is big news in China, but in the West it is almost non-news.

After doing a Google search, it appears that only one Western media source published this story on June 4, 2011, and that was the UK’s The Daily Telegraph (to read the story click on the link).

To learn of this, I had to receive an e-mail from friends (American citizens) visiting China as tourists.

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.

Why the hoax? One answer may be found in What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square?

I wonder how many more Western media and U.S. government lies will be discovered in the future.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.