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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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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Winter Fun in China

January 2, 2019

The annual winter Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (January 5 – February 5) was first celebrated in 1963 and is now the largest ice and snow festival in the world. The average temperature is a (minus) – 16.8 degrees Celsius or 1.76 Fahrenheit. On the Fahrenheit scale, the freezing point of water is 32 degrees, so the cold is below frigid.

“Traditionally, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival open around Dec 24-25 and lasts to the end of February. But its official opening ceremony is usually held on January 5th each year.” According to IceFestivalHarbin.com, if you plan to visit, avoid February 4 – 10, 2019, and escape the crush during the Chinese New Year that is based on the lunar calendar.

The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival was first held in 1963, but it was interrupted during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Mao died in 1976, and it took time for China’s economic engine to recover. The fact that the festival resumed in 1985 was an early sign of the changes soon to take place in China.

Since 1985, China has transformed itself by rebuilding the old cities while building more than a hundred new ones in addition to the explosion of a middle class that equals or surpasses the entire population of the United States with plans to double that middle class in the next decade or two.

China has also crisscrossed the country with new highways and railroads that include more high speed rail than the rest of the world combined. China has also built more than 500 new airports while America’s airports are way overdue for an upgrade along with the rest of U.S. infrastructure that is out of date and falling apart. In fact, Money reports the U.S. is ranked #28 for average mobile internet speed.

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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Is China already the World Leader in Climate Strategy

November 14, 2018

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reports, “As the United States steps away from global climate leadership, China is stepping up. EDF has been working there for more than 25 years, and now we’re helping the Chinese government launch a national system to control climate pollution.”

How serious is China?

In 2017, the BBC wrote, “China leads world in solar power production” …

“The largest solar farm in the world – Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, all 30sq km of it – is a Chinese project. And the country recently opened the world’s largest floating solar farm, in Huainan, Anhui Province.”

CNBC reports, “China continues to lead global wind energy market, says new report.” …

“The GWEC said that Asia would lead growth, with China – which installed 23 GW in 2016 – leading all markets.”

CNBC also says, “China now produces more solar, wind and hydro power than the US and EU combined.” … “And, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), last year alone China pumped over $44 billion into increasing its renewable energy reach.

“This model of renewables replacing coal is now being replicated throughout Asia.”

China is also in the process of replacing its taxi fleet with electric cars.  Quarts reports, “China added as much battery-storage capacity in 2018 as all previous years combined.” … “China isn’t building gigafactories,” says Patrick Hurley, chief technology officer of A123, a lithium-ion battery company. “It is building gigacities.” … “In 2017, CNESA estimates that China built 40 GWh worth of batteries for electric cars and buses. That accounts for the batteries in more than 50% of all electric vehicles sold globally in the same year.”

“Beijing Leads China in Promoting Battery Electric Vehicles,” Inside EVs says. “Beijing is one of the most EV rich places in the world with 188,000 all-electric vehicles, which is 11.6% of all electric cars registered in China.

“The Chinese capital increased the number of BEVs this year by 17,000. Around 140,000 out of a total of 188,000 were purchased by individuals and companies, while the remaining 48,000 were used in the public sphere.

“All those vehicles can use roughly 130,000 charging points – 93,000 privately installed for home use, 20,000 accessible to the general public, and 17,000 installed for the public transport system.”

And Vox.com reports, “By 2020, every Chinese coal plant will be more efficient than every US coal plant.

China’s efforts to tackle coal are comprehensive and ambitious, a new report shows.”

What has President Donald Trump done in the U.S. to cut back on fossil fuel emissions/pollution?

Nothing!

 

In fact, Trump has signed executive orders that allow coal mines to pollute US rivers and coastal waters with more toxic emissions. … “Old coal-fired power plants may get to keep polluting the air we breathe and the atmosphere that sustains life on earth, thanks to Trump’s call to toss out the Clean Power Plan. And future power plants may not be held to tougher standards that would have largely prevented new coal plants from coming online.”

Vox continues, “China is waging an aggressive, multi-front campaign to clean up coal before eventually phasing it out — reducing emissions from existing plants, mothballing older plants, and raising standards for new plants. Unlike the US, it is on track to exceed its Paris carbon reduction commitments.

“In short, while the US dithers along in a cosmically stupid dispute over whether science is real, China is tackling climate change with all guns blazing. The US, not China, is the laggard in this relationship.”

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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