China’s Tobacco Epidemic – Part 2 of 2

March 29, 2017

In 2005, China signed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global anti-tobacco treaty to cut tobacco use. In fact, WHO even awarded China’s Health Minister Chen Zhu for his efforts to battle tobacco use.

However, in China, tobacco companies sponsor public schools and arrange sponsored tours of cigarette factories for elementary students where the slogans say, “Talent stems from hard work, tobacco helps you become accomplished.”

The JAMA Network reports, “Foreign tobacco companies are mounting massive production and advertising campaigns in China. Government health education programs lack funds to counter these influences …” JAMA  is The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Bloomberg reported, “Philip Morris subsidized two cigarette factories in 1988 and almost a decade later provided corporate jets when China’s top tobacco regulator, Ni Yijin, visited the U.S., according to internal industry memos. The company’s objective was to build its relationship with Ni and to impress upon him that Philip Morris was the ‘preferred partner’ to modernize and restructure China’s tobacco industry. The visit was carefully orchestrated with talking points, seating charts, and gifts for Ni (such as a $700 Steuben crystal eagle) determined months in advance.”

Where was Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor, when he was needed most? After all, when the first emperor wanted to get something done, nothing stopped him. He unified China after winning wars with several other countries that existed in China at the time.

China first emperor also finished building The Great Wall causing the deaths of hundreds-of-thousands of peasants. He mandated one written language, and had the scholars from the conquered countries that complained dig their own graves before setting them on fire and throwing dirt on the remains.

It is highly unlikely that Qin Shi Huangdi would have liked cigarettes since he ordered his alchemists/scientists to discover an elixir for immortality, unless they thought smoking tobacco was that elixir.

Note that the United States is one of 17-countries that did not join the 180-countries that ratified the WHO’s anti-tobacco treaty.  The U.S. also joined a handful of countries, including Iran and Sudan that did not ratify the Convention on Discrimination against Women.  In addition, the U.S. and Somalia have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.S. and Turkey are the only nations of NATO that did not sign the Mine Ban Treaty.  – Global Policy Forum, US Position on International Treaties

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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China’s Tobacco Epidemic – Part 1 of 2

March 28, 2017

The Asia-Pacific Journal reported, “Following Chinese economic reforms of the 1980s, U.S. consumer goods companies were increasingly drawn to China. American companies entered the country by forming joint ventures with a Chinese company or government agency. Early participants included such giants as H. J. Heinz, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, Coca-Cola, American Express, American Motors, AMF, Inc., General Foods, Beatrice, Gillette, Pepsi-Cola, Eastman Kodak, AT&T, Nabisco, and Bell South.”

In 1970, China produced 785-thouisand tons of tobacco. By 1990 that number more than tripled to more than 2.6-million tons. With an estimated 320-million cigarette smokers in China today, annual consumption of cigarettes by each smoker would be about 240 packs. – Tobacco in the People’s Republic of China

I know firsthand how evil addictive tobacco is.   I witnessed a father-in-law, my brother,  a neighbor, an aunt, and my father die early from the ravages of tobacco.

The last few years of my father’s life, he wore a breathing mask attached to a tank of oxygen.  His freedom was limited to the fifty-foot hose connected to that tank.

The World Health Organization reveals:

  • Approximately one million deaths every year in China are caused by tobacco – around one in six of all such deaths worldwide.
  • Approximately 100,000 people die as a result of exposure to second-hand smoke each year.
  • In other words, someone in China dies approximately every 30 seconds because of tobacco use; or around 3,000 people every day.
  • If the prevalence of tobacco use in China is not reduced, the number of tobacco-related deaths every year in China will increase to 3 million by 2050.3

China’s central government is sort of attempting to end tobacco use in China. China’s 12th Five-Year Plan calls for smoke-free public places as part of the major national goal to increase life expectancy. The “China Report on the Health Hazards of Smoking”, released by the Ministry of Health in May, 2012, outlines the hazards of tobacco use, states the health consequences of second-hand smoke, and emphasizes the importance of smoking cessation.

Part 2 Continued on March 29, 2017

Discover Anna May Wong, the American actress who died a thousand times.

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 Challenge of Health Care in China

January 31, 2017

In 1950, China’s population was almost 552 million, and the average lifespan was 35 as it had been for centuries. By the Time Mao died in 1976, even with the Great Famine (1958-1961) in a country known as the Land of Famines, the population increased to more than 930 million, and the average lifespan had climbed to almost 55. Today, there are almost 1-billion, 400-million Chinese, and the average lifespan has reached beyond 76 years, more than twice what it was in 1950 when Mao and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) became the leader of China?

How did all that happen?

After the CCP won the Civil war in 1949, health care improved in China. By the time Mao died in 1976, average life expectancy had increased by twenty years, so the program must have worked, right?

The CCP was the first government in China’s history to set goals and plans to help the people who lived in extreme poverty improve the quality of their lifestyles, and soon after Mao Zedong’s healthcare speech in 1965, the concept of the barefoot doctor (with basic paramedical training) was developed.

By 1968, the barefoot doctors program was a national policy, and it was offered free to the working class. The barefoot doctor program ended in 1981 with the end the agricultural cooperatives. However, two-thirds of rural village doctors currently practicing in China were first trained as barefoot doctors.

This program was the foundation of rural-health care in China, but back then anyone could become a barefoot doctor.

Mao told the people that if you wanted to be a doctor, you didn’t need to go to medical school. All you had to do was have the motivation to provide medical care to needy people and the government would support you and provide limited training.

The second class of medical care went to teachers, clerks and secretaries, who were considered ‘friends’ of the working class, the proletariat. The only difference was that these ‘friends’ had to pay to get medical treatment, and it was possible to face financial ruin from one hospital stay.

A third group of people was considered enemies of the proletariat: former shop-owners, landlords and denounced intellectuals like liberal arts professors. These people were denied health care.

Mao died in 1976, and between 1981 and 2003, the health care system in China was privatized. People had to pay before treatment or receive no medical care. This changed again in 2003, when the CCP launched a new cooperative medical system operated and funded by the government with a copay of 10 Renminbi per year for each enrolled citizen.

In 2008, the SARS epidemic resulted in the beginning of more health-care reforms.

Health Affairs.org reports, “China is at a crossroads in transforming its health care system. Like the United States, China is faced with the double-edged sword of having both a large uninsured population and rapid health care cost inflation. … China’s solution for its rural areas is the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS), a government-run voluntary insurance program. … In an attempt to redirect urban patients’ reliance on hospital services toward primary care, the government announced in 2005 the establishment of community health centers (CHCs) to provide prevention, primary care, home care, and rehabilitative services.”

2a-242-positive-reviews-hall-of-fame-reviewer-jan-16-2017

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The Healing Flower of Riches and Honor

July 27, 2016

Pearl S. Buck (1892 – 1973; awarded the 1932 Pulitzer Prize and 1938 Nobel Prize in Literature) loved the peony and so did the Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi (1835 – 1908).  The Chinese Peony is the Paeonia lactiflora. Along with the plum blossom, the peony is a traditional floral symbol of Mongolia and China. The peony comes as a shrub and a tree.

The peony is also known as the “flower of riches and honor” and is used symbolically in Chinese art. In 1903, the Qing Dynasty made the peony the national flower. Today, there is no national flower in the PRC, but the tree peony can be regarded as a national favorite. Taiwan—on the other hand—has named the plum blossom as the national flower for its island territory.

The World Health Organization reports that the dried root of the Radix Paeonia (red peony) is used to treat dementia, headache, vertigo, spasms of the calf muscles, liver disease, and allergies and as an anticoagulant. These uses have been described in pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine claims that drinking Bai Mudan (white peony tea) helps dispel heat within the body and enhances immune function while protecting the heart and blood vessels.


Ode to Peonies

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Is the Nap at risk in China?

March 9, 2016

Napping is a custom in much of China. My father-in-law, for instance, who is 84, naps every afternoon, and I thought it was due to his age.

Then after more than a decade of marriage, I asked my wife if her father had always taken afternoon naps. She said yes and that even at work in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party bosses made everyone take a long nap after lunch—about two hours every day.

Deciding to learn more, I turned to Google and found that “The Chinese, particularly those in the southern and south-eastern regions, take what could be called an afternoon siesta that lasts from approximately 12 noon to 2:30 p.m.”

I learned that afternoon naps in China are common, but that doesn’t mean everyone does it.  I also learned that the Internet and the modern-urban lifestyle have cut into the old habit of napping.

In fact, micro-blogging in China has had an impact on this centuries old custom. MSNBC.com reported that the Chinese government “sensitive to public opinion, especially stories of lazy or corrupt bureaucrats carried by massively popular micro-blogging sites,” cracked down on napping at meetings in an attempt to “instill a greater sense of duty into its officials.”

If this trend continues, this might seriously impact public health, creativity and learning in China.

Han Fang, a professor at Peking University People’s Hospital, says, “Lack of sleep can cause a significant lowering of immunity…”

In addition, the New York Times reported, “New research has found that young adults who slept for 90 minutes after lunch raised their learning power, their memory apparently primed to absorb new facts.”

“Other studies have indicated that sleep helps consolidate memories after cramming, but the new study suggests that sleep can actually restore the ability to learn,” and that might explain why “most Chinese schools have a scheduled half-hour nap right after lunch.” – Wiki.answers.com

“According to the advocates, a short 10-20 minute nap in the middle of a working day can increase productivity by over 30 percent and alertness by 100 percent as well as improve memory and concentration. They also claim that it can reduce stress and the risk of heart disease by 34 percent.”

I’m struggling to cultivate the habit of napping, but it’s hard to break old habits when you grew up in the United States where it is customary to make people work long hours for poverty wages even when they are exhausted.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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What happens to the alleged culprits of Food Fraud in China? Part 1 of 2

December 22, 2015

In 2011, Wall Street Journal.com reported, “Ink, dye, bleach and toxic chemicals … have been found recently in food products in China, reigniting fears over food safety despite repeated government pledges to crack down on tainted eats.”

Sounds bad, but don’t judge China before reading this entire two-part series to discover that China is not alone in the struggle to make food safer to eat.

It isn’t as if China’s government is not trying to improve food safety. In 2011, Al-Jazeera’s Melissa Chang reported from Beijing about China’s government vowing to improve food safety laws. In fact, according to Melissa Chang, more than 2,000 people across the country were arrested for failing to meet food safety standards.

The Wall Street Journal said, “One of the biggest issues is the drive to make a buck at any cost, says Lester Ross, a Beijing-based attorney with U.S. law firm Wilmer Hale. Some companies see that by using additives, they can cut overhead costs or boost profit margins, and they merely aren’t thinking about the affects the additives will have on consumers, Mr. Ross says.”

Melissa Chang demonstrated how a chemical sauce to turn meats such as pork into beef can change any meat that isn’t beef into beef so the enterprising capitalist can charge more and increase profits.

Is that capitalism at work?

Since living in China means awareness of such trickery, “Many Chinese,” Chang says, “pay a premium to know exactly where the food they eat comes from.”

Chang then talked about an organic food cooperative in the suburbs of Beijing, which was established by families to buy directly from organic farmers and the project was successful.

However, Chang said, “Even the best intentions (may) go awry.” Organic in China doesn’t mean the food would qualify as organic outside of China since so much of the air and water is polluted there.  It is a challenge to grow quality produce.  Achieving better standards will take years.”

What about food safety in the U.S.? Continued on December 23, 2015, in Part 2

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Can Chinese Medicine Beat Cancer?

November 10, 2015

Actress Pam Grier was a guest on Oprah some time back.  Grier has been a major African-American actress from the early 1970s, and she has 96 film credits on imbd.com.  She has also appeared in many TV series and each one counts as one of her film credits.

Grier says, “People see me as a strong black figure, and I’m proud of that, but I’m a mix of several races: Hispanic, Chinese, and Filipino. My dad was black, and my mom was Cheyenne Indian. So you look at things beyond just race or even religion: I was raised Catholic, baptized a Methodist, and almost married a Muslim.”

In 1988, Grier was diagnosed with stage four cancer, and she was given a few months to live. There was nothing Western medicine could do to cure her.

During Grier’s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she said, “My physician said western medicine has done all it can, I recommend that you go to Chinatown. You’ll meet these practitioners and you’ll listen to them.”

She started making regular trips to Chinatown in Los Angeles.

The focus in China is on prevention — to plan your lifestyle around healthy habits. That’s why early in the morning in China you may find many older Chinese outside exercising using the graceful, poetic movements of Tai Chi to insure health and longevity.

The history of acupuncture has been traced back before the birth of Jesus Christ, and the use of herbal medicines in China has been traced back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD), also before the birth of Christ.

In fact, the World Health Organization reports that “eighty per cent of African populations use some form of traditional herbal medicine, and the worldwide annual market for these products approaches US$ 60 billion.”

All of these facts of Eastern and/or Chinese medicine beg for a question. Why do Western drug companies reserve the right to use the word ‘cure’ and no one else may use it legally?

“Unfortunately the word ‘cure’ is the sole property of the drug companies. If a nutritional supplement company uses this term they are attacked judiciously. This often leads to bankruptcy. As a result, many natural cures are buried.” – Forbidden words, and diagnosis

Pam Grier was diagnosed with cancer in 1988, and her doctors believed she only had a few weeks to live, but she’s still around thanks to Chinese medicine. However that Chinese medicine didn’t cure her because that’s illegal. Only Western drugs are legally allowed to cure.

______________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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