“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.


Riots

July 17, 2011

When the Western media reports that a riot happened in China, do not mistake this unrest as a demand for a Western style democracy as the media did when the Tiananmen Square protests took place in 1989. Just because a few young people are captured on camera saying they want a democracy in China, that does not mean the majority of Chinese do.

For example, CNN reported a June 10, 2011 riot in Xintang located in southern China.

Witnesses and media reports said local officials beat up a pregnant migrant worker and her husband, pushing the woman to the ground. Mass protests ensued, quickly spiraling to violent clashes with government forces that spread to other parts of Xintang, a city of 400,000 residents, almost half of them migrant workers.

The result was the arrest of 19 men, which included nine teenagers.

If you read the CNN report, you will discover that a slowdown in economic growth (caused by the 2008 global financial crises, which started in the US) in China has caused social tensions between rural versus urban, ethnic minority against majority, and haves versus have-nots, which has led to several riots in different areas of China.

The same thing happened in 1947 when General (and dictator) Chiang Kai-shek ordered his army to quell a riot in Taiwan. The result was the 2/28 Massacre in Taiwan where 30,000 civilians were killed by the military.

The reasons for riots around the world seldom have to do with a demand for a Western style democracy. Even in the Middle East where there have been riots and calls for democracy (according to the Western media), most of the people involved don’t know what a democracy is or how to set one up. They just want some form of social justice.

In 1992, in Los Angeles, there was the Rodney King riot caused by ethnic strife, which ended with about $1 billion in property damages with 53 people killed and thousands injured. The US Marines and Army had to be called in to regain control and there were shootings between the military and civilians.

Recently, in Oakland, California, there have been several riots due to the 2009 killing of an unarmed black man that took place at a BART station.  Hundreds took to the streets to protest while looters broke into stores and set cars on fire.

In 2001, England had riots in three cities due to tensions in the South Asian Islamic community. It was estimated that the riot in Bradford, England involved about a 1,000 youths and eventually 1,000 police to end it.

A recent riot in Vancouver erupted after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup.  After the game, many teenagers went on a rampage attempting to shatter store windows and loot stores.  When one man tried to stop them, he was jumped by no fewer than 15 people, who beat and kicked him until he was left a bloodied heap on the ground.

Wikipedia lists many of the reasons for riots, which may stem from the unlawful use of force by a group of police against civilians, prison riots, race riots, religious riots, student riots, urban riots, sports riots, and food/bread riots, which have taken place all over the world no matter what form of government a country has.

However, when the Western media reports riots in China, it is usually mentioned that China’s central government is challenged to prevent widespread grievances from taking place as if riots in China are different.

According to the history of riots, this challenge of an unruly civilian population is a problem all governments eventually face and the job of governments the world over is to end the killing and damage as soon as possible by whatever means to restore order.

In fact, Matthew 26:52 warns, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword,” which may also means if you take part in a riot, you risk death or injury.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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.


Shanghai Scams, Beggars and/or Cell phone Scam – Part 2/3

January 27, 2011

Serpentza relates a story of having had a few drinks and being in a good mood. While walking down the street, a middle-aged woman told him she had come to Shanghai looking for work and was hungry. She asked him to buy her something to eat.

He decides to buy something inexpensive at a local store. Then she asks him to phone her relatives in her rural hometown to let them know she couldn’t find work.

He says if a stranger asks you to phone someone for him or her, never give away your phone. The odds are the beggar will run away with it.

I have also had incidents in China of beggars approaching me. Since I know begging is illegal in China, I ignore them.

The Shanghai Scams Website says, “Tourists are sometimes approached by beggars or see them with small children on the street. Large underground networks sometimes take kids from villages, then put them on the street to beg, and will even physically deform a child in the hope of generating more sympathy money. So don’t feed this negative cycle by giving them money.

“Beggars may also approach tourists in outdoor dining areas on Nanjing Road (for example, outdoor bars, coffee shops, cake shops etc). These children may not really be poor but are just looking for an easy way to make money. These kids will often beg by standing near a table, then get down on one knee to beg, and as a last resort, will ask for food instead of money. The quickest way to get rid of these kids is to inform the restaurant staff, or to call the police.”

In fact, while shopping in an upscale shopping area near our home in California, I’ve been approached by an entire family of US beggars.

In Berkeley, if I walk several blocks, I’ll always run into several beggars. Some have even become nasty when I wouldn’t give them money. However, in China, days may go by without sight of a beggar.

Due to my experiences in the US, I learned to ignore beggars first in the US—not China.

From what I’ve read and been told, beggars in India are much worse and there are actually beggar cartels where the beggars are crippled and maimed to elicit sympathy.

Return to Shanghai Scams Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.