Rice and its History

August 28, 2019

When you think of rice, do you think of China? If not, you should. China is the world’s largest producer of rice with 208-million metric tons in 2017, and the crop makes up a little less than half of the country’s total grain output.

Ricepedia.org reports, “Based on archeological evidence, rice was believed to have first been domesticated in the region of the Yangtze River Valley in China.” Then “In the late 3rd millennium BC, there was a rapid expansion of rice cultivation into mainland Southeast Asia and westwards across India and Nepal.”

Fast forward ten-to-eleven thousand years from the domestication of rice in China to 2017, and Statista reported, that almost 496-million metric tons of husked rice were produced in the last harvest year worldwide, and China’s share was almost 42-percent of the global total.

When we compare rice to wheat production, “the global amount of wheat produced came to about 755-million metric tons in crop year 2016-2017.”

World Atlas.com says, China is (also) the largest producer of wheat in the world. “China produces more wheat than any other country, followed by India, Russia, and the United States.”

How difficult is it to grow rice? “All rice cultivation is highly labour intensive. Rice is generally grown as a wetland crop in fields flooded to supply water during the growing season. Transplanting seedlings requires many hours of labor, as does harvesting. Mechanization of rice cultivation is only minimally advanced. Rice cultivation also demands more of other inputs, such as fertilizer, than most other crops.”

When comparing the benefits of rice to wheat, “A study published … by a group of psychologists in the journal Science finds that China’s noodle-slurping northerners are more individualistic, show more ‘analytic thought’ and divorce more frequently. By contrast, the authors write, rice-eating southerners show more hallmarks traditionally associated with East Asian culture, including more ‘holistic thought’ and lower divorce rates. The reason? Cultivating rice, the authors say, is a lot harder.”

How important is rice when it comes to feeding the world? Thought Co.com tells us: “Today, rice feeds more than half the world’s population and accounts for 20-percent of the world’s total calorie intake.”

Next time you eat a bowl of rice, you might want to thank the Chinese for domesticating it for the world?

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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Still in Use Today

August 21, 2019

Several years ago, I had a debate on this Blog with an individual who claimed the Chinese could not be innovative because they did not live in a democracy. Eventually, as I tore his opinion to shreds, the debate turned mean and he started to attack me with insults and threats like internet trolls often do.

For anyone that thinks the Chinese cannot be innovative unless they live in a democracy like the United States with its current repressive, mean President Donald Trump, who is not innovative, I want you to know a few things about China.

First, most of the world knows about China’s Great Wall (first built during the Spring and Autumn period (771 – 476 BC) and portions of that Great Wall, rebuilt by the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD) is still around for tourists to visit today.

China’s Grand Canal is not as well-known as the Great Wall, but that canal (started building in 486 BC) is the longest one in the world and it is still in use today. To make it work, the Chinese invented the Pound Lock in the 10th century more than a thousand years ago. The Pound Lock is a Chinese innovation and without it, there would be no Suez and Panama canals. The first Pound Lock built in the West was in the Netherlands in 1373 AD.

Did someone in the Netherlands reinvent the Pound Lock or was that innovation stolen from China?

What most of the world doesn’t know is that seventeen ancient irrigation sites in China have been inscribed as world Heritage Irrigation Structures, reports China Central Television.

One of those seventeen irrigation sites was built 2,275 years ago, and it is still in operation. The Dujiangyan irrigation system is located in Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province and was built for irrigation and flood control. Even massive earthquakes have not destroyed it. Japanese troops in World War II were ordered to destroy it, but they couldn’t find it.

UNESCO says, “The Dujiangyan irrigation system, located in the western portion of the Chengdu flatlands at the junction between the Sichuan basin and the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, is an ecological engineering feat originally constructed around 256 BC. Modified and enlarged during the Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties, it uses natural topographic and hydrological features to solve problems of diverting water for irrigation, draining sediment, flood control, and flow control without the use of dams.”

Is there another country in the world that can match what China built more than two thousand years ago that is still in use today?

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 Shrinking Carbon Footprint

July 31, 2019

If you don’t know what per capita means, you will not understand that the United States is a much bigger polluter than China is.

Collins Dictionary.com says, “The per capita amount of something is the total amount of it in a country or area divided by the number of people in that country or area.” Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

i.e., per-individual person.

The Union of Concerned Scientists reports each country’s share of CO2 Emissions and ranks the world’s countries. China is ranked #1 for total carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion but is #36 for per capita carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion.

China’s population at 4:49 p.m. on 5-19-2019 when I first wrote this post was 1,419,480,841, and the U.S. population was 328,912,052.

Based on those population numbers, China’s per capita carbon dioxide emission from fuel combustion (metric tons) was 6.59 metric tons per person for a total of 9,354.5 million metric tons.

For the United States, the per capita was 15.53 metric tons or 5,107.8 million metric tons total.

To put it another way: if China’s per capita carbon dioxide emissions from fuel consumption were the same as the United States, China would be producing 21,589.2 million metric tons or 2.3 times more than it actually is.

And if the United State emitted the same per capita carbon dioxide that China does, then the U.S. would reduce its total carbon dioxide emissions by more than half to 2,167.4 million metric tons instead of 5,107.8.

Then there is what I call the Trump Factor that will increase pollution.


President Donald Trump is replacing the Clean Power Plan with a dirty one, and he will deny it because he is a serious serial liar.

Thankfully, China is not following in the tracks of Donald Trump’s golf cart.

The South China Morning Post reports, “China is stepping up its push into renewable energy, proposing higher green power consumption targets and penalizing those who fail to meet goals to help fund government subsidies to producers.”

Forbes.com reports, “No country has put itself in a better position to become the world’s renewable energy superpower than China, … China has taken a lead in renewable energy and is now the world’s largest producer, exporter, and installer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and electric vehicles.”

However, in the United States, Donald Trump wants to cut renewable energy and energy efficiency by 70-percent. Does that mean everything China does to improve clean energy consumption will be reversed by Trump’s agenda in the United States?

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 takes the lead in growing indoor crops

June 26, 2019

I recently read a comment on another blog that said Trump was going to win his tariff war with China because of a crop eating pest known as the fall armyworm that is threatening China’s domestic food supply.

So far, this worm has only attacked crops in Southern China.

The flaw in this thinking is the fact that China imports food from other countries. In fact, in 2017, China bought more food products from France than the United States, and World Bank.org lists the countries China buys from and how much China spends. All you have to do is click the World Bank link in this paragraph to discover those facts.

The comment I read mentioned Inkstone News.com, “To compound matters, China’s food supply was already under pressure after it was forced to slaughter millions of pigs with African swine fever affecting all 31 autonomous regions and provinces within just nine months, trimming 20% of the national supply and driving up prices.”

First, China is not going to starve because they lost twenty percent of the country’s pigs, because the Chinese eat a lot more than pork. I’m a vegan and have never had a problem finding a variety of plant foods to eat when visiting China.

Second, Smart Cities Dive reports, “How China Leads the World in Indoor Farming. China is investing significant amounts of effort into developing vertical farming systems to feed its burgeoning urban population. It aims to become a world leader in industrial scale applications of these systems.” …

“Compared to conventional farming, a plant factory with natural solar light can increase productivity per unit area by between two and ten times. With artificial light, this rises to 40 times and by adding vertical farming this goes to 1000 times.”

To learn more, read what Next Shark.com reveals about China’s high-tech indoor farms where “5,000-square-meter (53,819-square-foot) indoor space, produces eight to ten metric tons of vegetables DAILY while requiring only four staff members to manage it. Conventional farmlands would require about 300 farmers to produce the equivalent amount which can feed almost 36,000 people.” …

“The smart farming method involves a strict system that regulates temperature, water source, humidity, nutrients and LEDs that replace sunlight in a confined indoor space. Such regulations allow the firm to significantly save on water, granting each plant only the right amount it needs.”

If bugs, African swine fever, and global warming continue to threaten China’s domestic food supply, how fast will it take China to convert most if not all of its outdoor farms to these high-tech indoor farms?

The answer can be found in China’s high-speed rail network. China’s first high-speed train service was introduced in April 2007. Twelve years later, China has the longest high-speed railway network in the world, 18,000 miles in length, two-thirds of the world’s total, with plans to increase it to 24,000 miles by 2025.

How does China’s high-speed rail development compare to the rest of the world?

Well, the first high-speed rail system started operating in Japan in 1964, and it took the rest of the world 55 years to build one-third of the world’s high-speed railroads. The United States only has one high-speed rail line linking Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC, but those bullet trains cannot take advantage of their maximum speed because some sections along that route are old rail lines that cannot safely support trains moving 150 mph.

When China needs to, it can move fast. For instance, the Chinese government made high-speed rail construction a cornerstone of its economic stimulus program in order to combat the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis and the result was a rapid development of the Chinese rail system into the world’s most extensive high-speed rail network. China moved up its timeline when twenty million Chinese lost their factory jobs because of the global financial crises … and let us not forget that the United States was responsible for that crises due to old fashioned capitalist greed.

One day, pork might not be on the menu in China, but there will still be plenty of fruits, nuts, and vegetables, and if I can survive for thirty-seven years as a vegan, the Chinese can do it 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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Will China rebuild its cities so they become people friendly?

June 12, 2019

Most cities were built to be friendly to cars and not people, but there is a growing movement to change that. The April 2019 issue of National Geographic Magazine (NGM) published “To build the cities of the future, we must get out of our cars

Countries across the world, including the United States and China, or starting to build and/or rebuild cities to turn them people friendly.

The first page of the 20-minute read NGM piece started with, “SHANGHAI, CHINA Near the center of this city of 24 million, China’s largest, the Yanan expressway crosses under the North-South Expressway. The country has gained half a billion city dwellers since 1990—and nearly 190 million cars. ‘It’s truly almost incomprehensible what happened in China,’ says American urban designer Peter Calthorpe, who has worked there extensively. With nearly 300 million more people expected in cities by 2030, Chinese planners say they’re changing course, prioritizing walkable streets and public transit over cars. …

Chinese planners say they’re changing course, prioritizing walkable streets and public transit over cars.

“The key test may come in Xiongan, a 680-square-mile stretch of swampy land, including a heavily polluted lake, about 65 miles southwest of Beijing. In April 2017 President Xi Jinping announced, again to general surprise, that he wanted to build a new city there. Ultimately it could house five million people and relieve congestion and pollution in Beijing.”

The guide for building these people-friendly cities is the Emerald Cities Rule book, and China is in the best position to build these cities.

“Emerald Cities: Planning for Smart and Green China,” published in 2017 lays out green building and sustainability practices for low-carbon city planning and construction in China and abroad. Emerald Cities proposes 10 principles to help set a new development direction for Chinese cities: from urban growth boundaries and transit-oriented development, to small blocks with accessible public space and car control, to green buildings and sustainable infrastructure at constructive detailed planning and community levels. The 10 principles aim to establish green, healthy and economic vibrant cities, while solving pollution and livability challenges faced by China’s cities. Emerald Cities was jointly published by China Sustainable Transportation Center and Glumac with support from Energy Foundation and Energy Innovation.”

What do U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration want to build? Trump wants to build a wall that will divide people and promote hate and segregation while he holds rallies across the U.S. promoting hate and segregation.

However, the U.S. also has the possibility offered by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal that is similar to what Xi Jinping wants to do in China, so there is still hope for America to join China in making the world people friendly instead of focused on hate, segregation, and greed.

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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How do you Define Freedom: Part 2 of 2

April 25, 2019

Slavery in China vs India, the democracy next door.

The Wall Street Journal reported, Of the 167 countries surveyed, India has the highest number of people living in slavery–more than 18 million, or 1.4% of the population. The 2016 Global Slavery Index from the Walk Free Foundation said modern slavery comes in many forms, from domestic to sexual to bonded and child labor. China has only 3.4 million slaves or 0.24-percent of the population. India, a democracy, has more than five times the number of slaves that China has.

USA Today reports, “There are 40 million slaves worldwide, most are women and girls. A United Nations agency warns 40.3 million people across the globe were subject to some form of modern slavery in 2016. Among them, about 28.7 million — or 71% — were women or girls forced into sex, marriage or labor.”

Freedom to Travel to Other Countries

Then there is the freedom to travel to other countries, but you have to have enough money to afford to become a globe-trotting tourist. The Economist reports, “China’s decision to let its people travel abroad freely is changing the world. … for much of the 1980s, the number of trips abroad taken by Chinese citizens was in the tens of thousands a year, the current figure is well over 130-million annually.”

For a comparison to the world’s two largest democracies, The Times of India said, “In 2015, more than 20.4-million Indians had the money to visit other countries.”

How about the United States? The PointsGuy.com said, almost 67-million US citizens traveled outside the country in 2015.

Food Production
How do you feed 1.4 billion people using only 10-percent of your land?

National Geographic.com reveals, “Sweeping reforms starting in the late 1970s have transformed China from an isolated, centrally controlled economy into an increasingly market-oriented juggernaut. Agricultural and industrial modernization has fueled continuing migration to cities, rising incomes, and a growing appetite for a more westernized diet among China’s 1.4 billion people. … Economic and food-production reforms have helped China’s growing population double its supply of daily calories.”

When U.S. Founding Father Patrick Henry, who was born a free man to a successful family, never lived in poverty and never starved said, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” did he mean freedom of speech was more important than living in slavery, poverty, starving, and/or going without medical care?

Improving Education in China

“After Deng (Xiaoping) took over in China (in 1978) and initiated a series of market-oriented reforms that led to explosive economic growth, the nation set out to reach parity with the West in education at every level—a truly daunting goal, given the very high rates of illiteracy in China, the extent of the prior destruction of its education infrastructure and teaching force, and the depth of poverty in this very rural nation.”  China’s agenda to improve its educational system at every level does not mean replacing public schools with private sector corporate charter schools that profit a few individuals like what has been happening in the United States for the last few decades. Instead, China has worked hard to improve its public schools from kindergarten through college. – Not replace them with public funded corporate schools.

In fact, Statista reports, “During the school year of 2017/18, over 363-thousand Chinese students were studying in higher education institutions in the United States.”

If China’s leaders were afraid of their people learning how to think for themselves, why allow them the freedom to attend colleges and universities in the United States and Europe?

The leaders of the United States seem to have forgotten: “I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” –Thomas Jefferson – 1820

Return to or start with Part 1

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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Does China have the best Chance to save Civilization?

March 20, 2019

The Chinese Government Is Dominated by Scientists and Engineers and this is why China and its leaders may be the only country on the planet capable of saving our species and its modern civilization.

Donald Trump doesn’t qualify to save the world. He is a serial liar. He doesn’t believe in science. He is a troll and a bully. He is proud of his ignorance and brags that he doesn’t read books, but worst of all, he is a malignant narcissist and psychopath, and his only goal is to build walls and make money for his family business.

Then there is the brutal fact that to most if not all of the America’s oligarchs of capitalism from the Koch brothers to the Walmart Walton family, if it is unprofitable to fight global warming, then we will do nothing.

There is also how the political system works or doesn’t work in the United States compared to how China’s one-party political system operates through the use of Guanxi.

In a Mad Hatter Libertarian-Trumpian world, it is always an “I” win and you lose situation, because the United States is fracturing into tribal groups incapable of compromise. The New York Times explored this topic in Does American Tribalism end in a compromise or a fight.

Russian Officials have even canceled a U.S. visit saying, “Second American Civil War” is underway.


Will China save the Planet?

However, that isn’t a problem in China. In “How to Lobby Beijing”, we discover that to win in China it has to be a win-win situation between business and the interests of the government.  That means both sides must be willing to find a middle ground and compromise.

What’s the best way to lobby the Chinese central government? “It is very important for foreign companies to make their case, make their argument to the Chinese officials in ways in which there is a win-win, where the Chinese can achieve their objective and the company can achieve their objective,” says Sandy Berger. The official-turned-lobbyist gives us the conventional wisdom–and a buzz phrase to boot.

The European Union “might” — and it is a big “might” because even Europe is in the throes of nationalism — survive and work with China to save civilization, but Russia is probably a lost cause since it is now a kleptocracy ruled by a small number of oligarchs who are also the leaders of most organized crime in that country and the boss of bosses is another psychopath called Putin.

Psychology Today reports, ” There can be little doubt that his (Putin’s) brain has been neurologically and physically changed (damaged) so much that he firmly and genuinely believes that without him, Russia is doomed. Absolute power for long periods makes you blind to risk, highly egocentric, narcissistic and utterly devoid of self-awareness. They also make you see other people as objects and the emotional-cognitive consequence of all this is…contempt.”  This previous paragraph could also be used to describe Donald Trump.

What about Xi Jinping – is he a world-class leader capable of keeping a clear-and-open mind and saving civilization even in the face of Climate Change?  We have no choice but to hope that answer is yes or at least maybe, because it seems there is no one else humanity may turn to.

The Cipher Brief.com attempts to profile and understand China’s illusive Xi Jinping. “To truly understand China’s President Xi Jinping is to accept his quintessential Chinese qualities, resilience, and psychological strength, and to conceptualize Xi not as merely another Mao or ‘Red Princeling,’ but rather, as his father’s son. For Xi Zhongxun, one of Mao’s closest comrades and founders of modern China, veteran of the Long March and survivor of Kang Sheng’s 1930s purges, the youngest Vice Prime Minister in China during the 1950s, and (along with Deng Xiaoping) a leader of reform and ‘opening up’ during the late 1970s, was also, in his own manner, ‘impressive.’ In summary, observers of Xi Jinping might thereby appreciate the qualities that bind together father and son for, in the words of Wordsworth, ‘the child is father to the man.’”

In conclusion, we can only hope that Xi Jinping will understand that to save China, he has to save the world, because it is obvious that there may not be another world leader capable of accomplishing it, certainly not Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin.

The future and survival of our species and the environment we need to survive may now be in China’s hands and at this moment that means Xi Jinping and the CCP, a political party led by scientists and engineers, not by corporate lobbyists and organized crime lords.

It is possible that this explains why Xi Jinping and the CCP he leads is cracking down on any divisive thinking and actions in China that might be seen as getting in the way of saving the world.

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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