Power Corrupts and Great Wealth buys that Power

February 20, 2019

In the United States, autocratic billionaires are destroying the country. For instance, since 1973, the Koch brothers have systematically and deliberately built a machine to subvert America’s Constitutional Republic. Charles and David Koch are not alone. They have at least 2,000 other wealthy allies that belong to an organization the Kochs launched in 1973. It is called ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council, a non-profit, private sector organization with one goal, to subvert the U.S. Constitution and strip the federal and state governments of their power.

But in China, the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to limit the power of that country’s billionaires. For instance, in 2013, The Atlantic asked, Why Do Chinese Billionaires Keep Ending Up in Prison?  The subtitle says, “In China, the rich get poorer.”

The Atlantic continues: “In the last fifteen years, China has produced greater overall wealth than any other country. The number of its billionaires has gone from a mere 15 to around 250 in just six years, but for a number of these people this vaulted status is short-lived. According to one study, 17 percent of those on the list end up squealing their way to court or end up in jail. If they’re lucky, those who are caught are investigated and jailed. Some are even executed.” …

“What accounts for the sharp rise and fall of China’s wealthiest? In a business environment in which personal connections and favors — referred to as guanxi in Chinese — predominate, many tycoons have amassed large fortunes without concern of rules and regulations. However, such a fast and loose atmosphere can cut both ways.”

That piece in The Atlantic appeared in 2013. Five years later according to Business Insider (December 27, 2018), China now has 373 billionaires, a 5% increase in billionaires since the previous year (2017) while the US, where billionaires run rampant spreading corruption with their great wealth, and seldom if ever end up in prison, there are 585 with an increase of 4% from the previous year.

Lord Acton, a member of Parliament in the UK (in office 1859 – 1865), wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you super-add the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”

While the United States is drowning in the corruption Lord Acton mentions, China is struggling to contain the abuse of that power.  For instance, the Los Angeles Times ran this piece in 2017: “Some of China’s richest and most powerful men have mysteriously vanished.”

If U.S. citizens Charles and David Koch had been Chinese citizens, they would have probably vanished a long time ago and the world would be better place without them.

Beware, China, great wealth can become a terminal cancer and it will eventually eat you too no matter how hard your leaders try to stop 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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What might happen to Donald Trump if he was a Chinese citizen?

September 11, 2018

On July 16, 2013, Business Insider reported, Twenty-two Chinese People Were Handed The Death Sentence For White Collar Crime.” … About 4,000 people a year are executed annually in the country, according to human rights organization Dui Hua. And a number of those executed are white collar criminals.”

In the United States, The Christian Science Monitor asked, “How much jail time do white-collar criminals deserve?” For an answer, I turned to Grand Jury Target.com to discover, “the average sentence imposed in fraud cases in fiscal year 2015 was 27 months.”

In China, a convicted white-collar criminal might be executed but in the U.S. the average sentence for fraud (a white collar crime) was 27 months.

What about government officials in China?

Time.com reports, This Is How Much Money You Can Take in Bribes Before the Chinese Authorities Execute You: How much is an errant Chinese official’s life worth? Three million renminbi, or $463,000, according to a statement released on April 18 by Chinese judicial authorities. The legal clarification makes the death penalty applicable to anyone who either embezzles, or accepts bribes of, that sum or more.”

If Donald Trump is eventually found guilty of laundering money for the Russian mob, accepting bribes, cheating on his taxes, fraud, bribing others that know about his crimes to silence them, and maybe even murder, he’s lucky he doesn’t live in China. There’s a big difference between spending 27-months in prison in the U.S. or being executed in China for the same alleged crime or crimes.

If you are curious, you might want to read Trump’s Dirty Money.

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 endless Crusade against Corrupt Government Officials

August 21, 2018

In 2000, a former deputy chairman of the National people’s Congress was executed for taking bribes. At the time, this was the highest communist official to be put to death since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.

ABC News reported, Cheng Kejie (67), the former vice chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, was convicted of taking $5 million in bribes, and executed after the Supreme People’s Court approved his death sentence on Sept. 7, 2000. Cheng’s lover, Li Ping (in her 40s), was sentenced to life in prison. Li escaped the death penalty by cooperating with investigators, giving them details of Cheng’s crimes and helping to recover the booty.

Since economic reforms began in 1978, political corruption in China has grown significantly. The types of offenses vary, though usually, they involve trading bribes for political favors, such as local businesses trying to secure large government contracts or subordinates seeking promotions for higher office.

The South China Morning Post reports, “President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign was launched in 2012 targeting party, government, military, and state-owned company officials suspected of corruption.  The campaign has led to the investigation and prosecution of hundreds of officials across the country.”

In fact, “Xi Jinping’s anti-graft drive has caught so many officials that Beijing’s elite prison is running out of cells. Overcrowding has prompted Qincheng prison – where former high-ranking officials are jailed – to pull the plug on Lunar New Year visits, source says.”

And XinhuaNet.com says, “Besides the crackdown on “tigers” and “flies,” the anti-graft watchdog has been busy hunting corrupt officials hiding out abroad.

“By the end of December, 3,866 fugitives had found themselves hunted down and captured from more than 90 countries, with more than 9.6 billion yuan (1.48 billion U.S. dollars) recovered by police, according to the CCDI.”

Brookings Institution China scholar Cheng Li, in an article entitled “Debunking Misconceptions about Xi Jinping’s Anti-corruption Campaign”, asserted that attributing ulterior motives to the campaign was not only wholly misleading but also unproductive. Li believes that not only has Xi’s campaign had the effect of truly curbing corrupt practices at all levels of government, it has also restored public confidence in the Communist Party’s mandate to rule, and has also returned massive ill-gotten gains back into state coffers which could be re-directed towards economic development.”

But corruption in China’s government is nothing new.  Stratfor.com tells us, “Too often, the dynastic cycle began with the central power’s vigorous gains over the vast country’s far-flung regions under the Mandate of Heaven (the belief in an emperor’s divine right to rule), which led to decades or centuries of unity and prosperity. Then, bureaucratic corruption began eroding the imperial court, manifesting in the slow and steady accumulation of power in the regions. … An unwillingness or inability to reform, the massiveness and uncontrollability of the country and various other factors — both internal and external — led to dynastic decline.”

It is obvious that Xi Jinping does not want history to repeat and end up with another government decline and collapse, at least while he is alive and in charge.

I think Donald Trump, if he is convicted of treason and corruption in the United States, should be relieved he is in a country where his replacement will probably pardon him and he won’t spend a day in prison or face execution.

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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Hong Kong Returns to China: Part 2 of 2

August 8, 2018

The history of democracy in Hong Kong is so short, it never existed. How can you lose something you never had?

On December 19, 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration, in which Britain agreed to return not only the New Territories but also Kowloon and Hong Kong itself when the 99-year lease expired on July 1, 1997. China promised to implement a “One Country, Two Systems” regime, under which for fifty years Hong Kong citizens could continue to practice capitalism and political freedoms forbidden on the mainland.


The video is included to learn what happened to Hong Kong and not as an indictment of China.

However, for most of its history under British rule, executive power in Hong Kong was concentrated in the hands of the colony’s governor, a position appointed by the British crown without any elections or democratic input from Hong Kong’s citizens.

The introduction of representatives determined by local elections, even limited to the role of “advisory councils”, did not begin until after the 1984 agreements by the British to return Hong Kong to China.

Since democracy in Hong Kong never existed under British rule until after 1984, why did the British add it before they returned Hong Kong to China?

Return to or start reading Part 1

 中

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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Hong Kong Returns to China: Part 1 of 2

August 7, 2018

On July 1, 1997, The British returned Hong Kong to Mainland China. How many people around the world know Hong Kong’s history?

To understand, it helps to learn that negotiations to return Hong Kong to China started in 1979, but what happened in 1839 is also important.

Imagine if Russia had invaded the United States in the 19th century and after crushing America’s military, they occupied the area where New York City is located and kept it for 156 years while using it as a trading hub to export cocaine and heroin without restrictions into the United States until every American family has one or more members that were addicted to these horrible drugs. That is what happened to China.


The video is included to learn what happened to Hong Kong and not as an indictment of China.

History dot com reports, “In 1839, Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interference in the country’s economic and political affairs. One of Britain’s first acts of the war was to occupy Hong Kong, a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. In 1841, China (forced) ceded the island to the British, and in 1842 the Treaty of Nanking was signed, formally ending the First Opium War.”

Hong Kong’s territory was acquired from three separate treaties: the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the Convention of Peking in 1860, and The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory in 1898, which gave the UK control of Hong Kong IslandKowloon (area south of Boundary Street), and the New Territories (area north of Boundary Street and south of the Sham Chun River, and outlying islands), respectively.

Although Hong Kong Island and Kowloon had been ceded to the United Kingdom in perpetuity, the control on the New Territories was a 99-year lease. The finite nature of the 99-year lease did not hinder Hong Kong’s development as the New Territories were added to Hong Kong.

What about the allegations that the people of Hong Kong lost their freedom when the British returned the city and its territories to China in 1997? We’ll deal with that in Part 2 on August 8, 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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The Most Popular Drink in the World originated in China and was stolen by the British

June 12, 2018

Tea is the most popular drink in the world second only to water. Its consumption equals all other manufactured drinks combined including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and alcohol, and China is still the leading tea producer in the world.

If you are interested in a real-life collision between the West and China early in the 19th century, I highly recommend reading Sarah Rose’s heavily researched nonfiction book For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History.

In this book, you will discover that the British Empire and its merchants were successful, because they were more ruthless and devious than anyone else on Earth. When China’s last Dynasty collided with the British Empire, the Qing Emperors probably had no idea who they were dealing with.

The British Empire was the largest in history, and it covered more than thirteen-million square miles (20,921,472 square kilometers), which is about a quarter of the Earth’s total land area, and it controlled more than 500 million people, a quarter of the world’s population at the time.

What financed the brutal expansion of this empire?  In the 19th century the British Empire was not only a thief, but the largest drug cartel in human history. After all, it was the British that forced Opium on China and fought two Opium Wars to make that happen. How do you think the British paid for the expansion of their empire?

The real-life main character in Sara Rose’s fascinating, true, fact-based story is Robert Fortune (1812 – 1880) who successfully pulled off one of, if not the largest, act of corporate espionage and theft in history. This nonfiction book is about how the British stole tea plants and the method of producing tea from China and successfully transplanted this industry in India where the British were also growing the opium they were selling to the Chinese.

If you drink Darjeeling Tea from India, you are drinking a product that was stolen from China by Robert Fortune in the early half of the 19th century.

But there is much more to this story than the theft of tea from the country that has the earliest records of tea drinking dating back to the first millennium BCE, because this nonfiction book reads like a spy thriller. If caught, Fortune would have been executed by the Chinese. To pull off the biggest heist of all time, he disguised himself as Chinese and traveled to areas of China that no foreigner had ever visited before, and his only companions were Chinese that he had bribed to work for him.

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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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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The International Battleground of the Internet

August 2, 2017

The internet is a battleground and no one is safe. In fact, recently my desktop was hijacked by ransomware. I didn’t pay the ransom, but I did pay a local computer business to fix the problem and that cost me several hundred dollars.

This year, at the G-20 Summit, Trump met with Putin for a scheduled thirty-minute talk that turned into several hours behind closed doors, and The Daily Beast says, “Donald Trump Just Set the Table for Vladimir Putin’s Next Election Hack.”

But Russia is not the only player in the cyber-warfare battlefield. The German Police and Intelligence Agencies hired a company to create Trojans capable of capturing traffic from Skype and SSL, and in 2001, the recording industry wanted the right to hack into our computers and delete stolen MP3s.

After a Chinese fighter collided with an American surveillance plane in April 2001, Chinese hacker groups cyber-attacked American businesses causing millions of dollars in damage.

The Carders“, cyber-criminals that specialize in using a sophisticated and automated process to steal information from credit cards, have made off with billions.

When the Cult of the Dead Cow gains access to a computer, they can spy on all of us through our own webcams and microphones. Imagine what the Dead Cows discover and maybe film if that webcam is in your bedroom or bathroom.

The American National Security Administration’s (NSA) Red Team is suspected of distributing malicious software across the web acting as illegal hackers, but they do it legally under the protection of U.S. law.  In 2008, an elite U.S. Military Unit shut down a Saudi-CIA Website that was seen as a threat to US security. Learn more from the NSA’s disturbingly successful hack of the American military.

Mother Jones reports that Britain’s NSA [the GCHQ] listens to its citizen’s phone calls too, and recently Reuters reports, “The U.S. government will seek to collaborate with Israel and other countries to develop new ways to thwart computer hacks and other cyber-attacks.”

While Russia is ramping up cyber-attacks and the alleged U.S. President Donald Trump ignores the evidence, The New York Times reported in 2016, “Nine months after President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China agreed to a broad crackdown on cyberespionage aimed at curbing the theft of intellectual property, the first detailed study of Chinese hacking has found a sharp drop-off in almost daily raids on Silicon Valley firms, military contractors, and other commercial targets.”

Now that Trump is president and reversing everything that Obama accomplished, is that good-deal dead too?

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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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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