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new airports while America’s airports are way overdue for an upgrade along with the rest of U.S. infrastructure that is out of date and falling apart.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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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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Uphill War to End Pollution in China

September 26, 2018

In 2017, National Geographic reported, “More than a million people are thought to die a year from air pollution in China, but now the country is fighting back with innovative solutions.”

“Three years ago, at the Communist Party’s annual congress, Premier Li Keqiang declared war on air pollution in China. At the party congress this past March, he renewed his vow ‘to make our skies blue again.”’ Among Li’s main weapons: Reducing the production of steel and of coal-fired electricity. To replace coal, China is rolling out the world’s biggest investment in wind and solar power.”

The result: a year later, DW Made for minds reports “Over half of world’s new solar capacity is in China.” … “Despite being the largest investor in renewable energy, China has faced an uphill battle transitioning from coal, which is used to generate roughly three-quarters of its power, according to the International Energy Agency. China burns more coal than any other country worldwide and bears the title of top greenhouse gas emitter.

“Still, the country (China) is seen as a potential leader in the fight against climate change after US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the Paris accord struck in 2015.”

What else is China doing? “In the recent decades, many efforts have been made by the coastal scientists and engineers for the explosion of tidal stream energy in China, as tidal stream energy is considered as one of most promising resources of marine renewable energy.”

CNBC reports “From China to Brazil, these are the world titans of wind power … China maintained its position as a wind energy powerhouse, installing 19.7 GW, while the European Union added 15.6 GW of capacity. The U.S. installed a little over 7 GW of capacity.” … China as the “driver of global market growth for most of the last decade.” The “largest overall market for wind power since 2009,” … more than double any other market.”

The New York Times reports, “China Cancels 103 Coal Plants, Mindful of Smog and Wasted Capacity. … China is canceling plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants, seeking to rein in runaway, wasteful investment in the sector while moving the country away from one of the dirtiest forms of electricity generation …”

In addition, the South China Morning Post says, China pips US in race to start the world’s first meltdown-proof nuclear power plant. China has 20 nuclear power plants under construction, more than any other country on earth.” … “Compared with current technology, the AP1000 reactor is theoretically 100 times safer, requires 80 per cent less piping, 85 per cent fewer control cables, and need a third fewer pumps.”

Compared to China’s efforts, what is the United States doing to clean up its environment?  The New York Times reports, “Since taking office last year, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change.”

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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What’s happening in the South China Sea is all about Natural Resources

September 25, 2018

There is nothing new going on in the South China Sea except recent interference and meddling by the United States in what has been a regional issue for more than two thousand years.

China’s historical claim over the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands has a long history, which is documented in detail by Dee Woo.

  • 200BC around – China discovered the Spratly Islands
  • 220 – Nansha (Spratly) Island was settled by Chinese monks, building up a monastery on that island.
  • 789 – The Tang Dynasty, China included the Nansha Islands into its administrative map
  • 990 – Spratley Islands became a part of the Northern Song area in Hainan
  • 1121 – Kublai Khan controlled most of the islands during China’s Yuan Dynasty

Woo’s final piece of evidence is a link to a 64-page document titled, China’s Sovereignty over the South China Sea islands: A Historical Perspective, which is archived at the Oxford Journals.

China’s leaders argue that they and other nations in the region can work out their differences without intervention from the United States. They allege the U.S. is intruding and attempting to make this an international issue.

The South China Sea is bordered by ten nations and includes some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and fisheries. Another motivation to possess this territory is the critically important mineral resources found there, including oil (with reserves thought to be the fourth largest in the world).

In fact, Oil Price.com explains How Oil Drives the South China Sea Conflict. “While Western geologists seem to only recently appreciate the area’s oil and gas potential, the Chinese have known it for years. Perhaps, that’s why they even refer to the South China Sea as a Second Persian Gulf and will undoubtedly continue to not only build there but defend it with rhetoric and if push comes to shove, by force.”

Historically, the South China Sea dispute is no different from any the United States has been involved in since defeating the British Empire and becoming a nation. Another example is when the U.S. paid France for the Louisiana Purchase, while millions of North American natives still lived where their ancestress had lived for thousands of years.

How can anyone buy and sell something that they never occupied or owned? The answer is that it happens all the time.

The Atlantic reports, “Europeans arriving in the New World met people all the way from the frozen north to the frozen south. All had rich and mature cultures and established languages. … Sites in the Yukon that straddle the U.S.-Alaskan border with Canada give us clues, such as the Bluefish Caves, 33 miles southwest of the village of Old Crow.

“The latest radio-dating analysis of the remnants of lives in the Bluefish Caves indicates that people were there 24,000 years ago. These founding peoples spread over 12,000 years to every corner of the continents and formed the pool from which all Americans would be drawn until 1492.”

In 1941, Europeans invaded North and South America and waged war against the people already there, and the United States continued that brutal practice after 1776, against Native Americans because of the resources and wealth that came with the land.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  What China is doing in the South China Sea is no different than what the Europeans did in North and South America.

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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In 2012, China achieved a Milestone

September 19, 2018

In 1950, soon after the Chinese Communist Party and its military won the long Civil War (1927 – 1950), almost 500 million Chinese lived in rural areas with 70 million (12 percent of total population) living in urban areas. The UN estimated that by 2030, 875 million people will live in China’s cities.

The Telegraph reported, “China’s urban population now exceeds the number of rural dwellers for first time in its history, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Tuesday.

“Just over 680 million now live in cities – 51.27 percent of China’s entire population of nearly 1.35 billion.

“Most have moved during two decades of boom in search of economic opportunities, and the historic mass migration from fields to office and apartment blocks ends the country’s centuries-long agrarian status.” …

“With 75 per cent of Chinese expected to be living in cities within 20 years, the demand for more transport, energy, water and other vital infrastructure is set to test resources and city planners.”

For a comparison, in 1940, 11 percent of the population of the United States lived in urban (cities) areas. It wouldn’t be until 1920, that the urban population in the U.S. reached 51 percent to outnumber the rural population.

The rural to urban shift in population took China sixty-two years to achieve vs eighty years for the United States.

How do people travel in China vs the United States?

The first railroad to enter commercial service in China was the Woosung Railway, a 9 ¼ mi (14 km) railway from Shanghai to Woosung (modern Shanghai’s Baoshan District) which opened in 1876.

As of 2015, China had 121,000 km (75,186 mi) of railways, the second longest network in the world, including 19,000 kilometres (11,806 miles) of high-speed rail (HSR), the longest HSR network in the world.

In the US, The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first passenger and freight line in 1827 and this signaled the beginning of railroad construction.

Today, the U.S. had 163,562 miles of active railroads, but Forbes asks, “Why Doesn’t The United States Have High-Speed Bullet Trains Like Europe And Asia?”

In 2017, the United States had 5,136 public airports (statista) compared to China’s 229 (statista).

China’s railways are among the busiest in the world.  In 2014, railways in China delivered 2.357 billion passenger trips. The U.S. has about 31-million railroad passenger miles a year.

How about air passengers in China vs the United States? The answer is 551.56-million in 2017 for China compared to 988,234,460 in the U.S (bts.gov).

What method of long distance travel is more efficient?

The World Bank says, “When it comes to realistically traveling 350 miles, your most efficient choices,  in the following order … are to travel by bus, train, or (you guessed it) airplane.

Small Business Trends offers more details: “Trains can use 50% less fuel per passenger than planes for the same trips, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Bus travel is an even eco-friendlier alternative, emitting even less carbon dioxide than trains on short and long trips, according to the EPA.”

No wonder the United States pollutes more per person than China.

The Union of Concerned Scientists report that the United States produces 15.53 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person annually. China produces 6.50 metric tons per person.

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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China’s Xinjiang Challenge

September 12, 2018

Xinjiang is a province in the Northwest corner of China. It is also an Uyghur Autonomous Region. This area shares its border with Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

In the next video, you will watch 3,000 years of Chinese history in a minute and discover that China first ruled over the Xingjian area during the Tang Dynasty more than 1300 years ago. When the Tang Dynasty collapsed a few centuries later, China lost control of this area and it wouldn’t be reoccupied and ruled by China again until the Qing Dynasty in the early 18th century (1720s). When the Chinese Communist Party came to power in China in 1949, China continued to rule over Xinjiang.

The BBC reports, “Most Uighurs are Muslim and Islam is an important part of their life and identity. Their language is related to Turkish, and they regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. … But development has brought new residents. In the 2000 census, Han Chinese made up 40% of the population, as well as large numbers of troops stationed in the region and unknown numbers of unregistered migrants.” …

“The region has had intermittent autonomy and occasional independence, but what is now known as Xinjiang came under Chinese rule in the 18th Century.” …

“In the 1990s, open support for separatist groups increased after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent Muslim states in Central Asia.” …

“China has often blamed ETIM – the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – or people inspired by ETIM for violent incidents both in Xinjiang and beyond the region’s borders.

The ETIM has been linked to Al-Qaeda and is allied with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan along with the Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek i Taliban Pakistan).

The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party Organization for Freeing Eastern Turkistan, and the Islamic Party of Turkistan were outlawed by Kyrgyzstan’s Lenin District Court and its Supreme Court in November 2003. Kazakhstan, Russia, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, China, the United States, and Pakistan outlawed the group.

Foreign Policy Magazine reported in 2017 that “the Islamic State pledges to attack China next. ISIS tries to curry favor with China’s repressed Muslim minority groups. The Islamic State is now setting its sights on China, releasing on Monday a half-hour video in which they pledged to ‘shed blood like rivers’ in attacks against Chinese targets. Experts say it’s the first threat the terrorist organization has leveled against China.

“Ethnic Uighurs have carried out terrorist attacks already, including a May 2014 attack in the Xin­jiang region’s capital of Urumqi that killed 43 and wounded 90. But for the most part, Uighur extremists carry out attacks on a much smaller and less coordinated scale. That likely won’t change, despite newfound ISIS-backing, Gladney said.”


Xinjiang is rich in coal, natural gas, and oil.

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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