THUGS: “to be, or not to be, that is the question”

October 16, 2019

This post is about the protests and riots taking place in Hong Kong, but I’m going to start with a question first and attempt to answer it.

What would happen in the United States if thousands of protestors swarmed Washington Dulles International Airport or flooded Wall Street in New York City?

To find out, I turned to history. After all, we can learn from what has already happened, right?

CNBC.com reports, “In 1863, citizens were drafted to serve on the Union side in the Civil War. … Resentment at the situation eventually resulted in rioting, but those taking part soon targeted African-Americans, and large numbers were lynched in the streets and had their homes destroyed. President Lincoln sent militia regiments to pacify the city, and by the fourth day the uprising was crushed decisively. … Figures vary between 120 and 2000 people killed …”

Seattle 1999

“Activists blocked traffic at major intersections … police responded by firing tear gas, pepper spray and, eventually, rubber bullets, to disperse the crowds … Protesters responded by destroying storefronts, pushing flaming dumpsters into intersections and slashing the tires of police cars. Ultimately, 600 people were arrested, chief of police Norm Stamper stepped down and the vandalism caused $20 million in damages.”

New York City 1977

“The 1977 blackout, which affected only New York City, was marred by pervasive arson and looting. … All told, over 1,600 stores were damaged, over 1,000 fires were reported and 3,776 people were arrested, the largest mass arrest in city history.”

Cincinnati 2001

“It was a reaction to the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, who was attempting to escape from police officers on foot.”  On the 3rd night of rioting, it rained. “The precipitation stopped the violence in its tracks and limited the damage to $3.6 million.”

Detroit 1967

“When the violence dissipated five days later, property damage was estimated to be between $40 million to $80 million.”

Chicago 1968

“Arson was so extensive that the fires exceeded the capabilities of the city’s fire department, so many buildings burned to the ground. Many that didn’t were so badly damaged that they had to be torn down, rendering hundreds of people homeless and costing more than $10 million in damages.”

Watts 1965

“The situation degenerated into widespread violence that didn’t fully die down until six days later, at a cost of $40 million and 34 lives. The unrest would stand as the worst such case in Los Angeles history until the 1992 riots 27 years later.”

Newark 1967

“The account proved to be false, but the rioting took on a life of its own regardless, and persisted for six long days, resulting in 26 fatalities and $10 million worth of property damage.”

Los Angeles 1992

“Thousands responded to the verdict by engaging in widespread arson, assault and looting, killing 53 people and injuring thousands more. The unrest went on for six days and did not die down until the National Guard was deployed to the area. When it was all over, more than 1000 buildings had been destroyed by fire, and most assessments of the damage put its cost at almost $1 billion, making it the costliest episode by far of civil unrest in United States history.”

Now, back to Hong Kong. Vox.com reports, “9 questions about the Hong Kong protests you were too embarrassed to ask … Protesters filled Hong Kong International airport two weeks ago. … They carried signs and decorated the walls and floors with messages explaining why they’re rallying, disrupting the transit hub. … The airport protests encapsulated months of turmoil in Hong Kong. Weekly demonstrations and sit-ins have at times turned tense and violent when police arrive spraying tear gas and rubber bullets.”

What is happening in Hong Kong has happened before, all over the world, not just the U.S. and HK.

When there are demonstrations in the United States, police and demonstrators also clash as tensions escalate.

Therefore, if the rioter and protesters in Hong Kong are led by alleged pro-democracy advocates, what do we call the rioters and protestors in the United States that is allegedly a democracy?

Do we call them anti-democracy advocates or are they all, in HK and the U.S., just thugs that are out of control?

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 October Golden Week Holiday

October 2, 2019

China and the United States have at least one thing in common, a holiday that celebrates the founding of a country.

For the United States, that day is July 4. History.com says, “On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later on (July 4th) delegates from the 13 (British) colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.”

Of course, the United States would end up fighting its war for independence with the British Empire from 1775 – 1783. A war that lasted eight years until the country was really independent. During this conflict, the United States lost an estimated 25,000 – 70,000 killed vs 78,200 British, German and Loyalist troops that lost their lives.

China, on the other hand, waited until after the civil war to celebrate, and it was a long wait from 1927 – 1949, twenty-two years if we do not count the so-called time-out to fight World War II from 1937 – 1945. Some eight million Chinese were killed during a Civil War that was complicated by the Japanese invasion of China that killed an additional twenty-million Chinese.

Imagine what it must have been like to be fighting a Civil War and then getting invaded by another country at the same time.

In China, “National Day holiday is fixed at October 1–7 with adjacent weekend days being mandatory workdays to make up for lost time. This period is also called ‘golden week’ because of the biggest week for tourism in China, when people have a week off to reunite with families and take trips.”

China Highlights.com reports, “Due to preparations for the celebration of China’s 70th Anniversary, many top attractions in Beijing will be closed for a certain period in 2019.” Click the link in this paragraph to discover those facts.

The History of China’s National Day

After the Civil War ended, the People’s Republic of China was established, and an official victory celebration and ceremony was held in Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949.

The South China Morning Post reported, “Twice a year China sees a mass migration of its citizens as it celebrates Golden Week. … In 1999, an estimated 28-million people travelled for the first Golden Week. In October 2017, 705-million people travelled around China and spent 583.6-billion yuan (US$85 billion).”

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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Comparing China to the World through History

September 18, 2019

During the Han Dynasty, China had a population of some sixty million people, about one-fourth of the world’s population at the time, and the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD) marked the beginning of China becoming the wealthiest and most innovative country on the planet. The first video shows the history of the world from the rise of civilization to the present day.

In that video, keep an eye on China and remember that all but two of China’s dynasties were ruled by the Han Chinese regardless of the name of the dynasty. The two dynasties that were not ruled by the Han were the Yuan (Mongols) and the Qing (Manchus). The beginning of China’s decline started with the Ming Dynasty that was established by a nationalist, isolationist, religious cult (similar to the Donald Trump administration in the United States today), and the decline accelerated near the end of the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century.


Pay attention and you will discover that Tibet was ruled by China’s Qing Dynasty in the early 18th century.

In 1793, even though China had been in decline for two-to-three hundred years, it was still the wealthiest country on the planet as the second video reveals.


Top 20 Country GDP (PPP) History & Projection (1800-2040)

China’s Emperor Qianlong’s letter to King George III of the British Empire reveals how powerful China still was. “The following is one sentence from the response given by Chinese Emperor Qianlong (b. 1711, d. 1799) to King George III of Great Britain (b. 1738, d. 1820) following the first British envoy to China, known as the Macartney Embassy.”

One line from Qianlong’s letter read: “As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for your country’s manufactures.” – China.org.cn

After “Macartney left Beijing, Qianlong issued many documents outlining the need to strengthen the military defense and guard against surprise attacks by Britain. Qianlong issued orders to closely guard the coastal ports. One of the main points Qianlong made was that Britain was demanding that China assign some areas near Zhoushan or Guangzhou for them to set up trading bases to make it easier for them to trade. ‘We must not only observe the coastlines carefully but also prepare a military defense, especially in Zhoushan and Macao. We must prepare our soldiers in advance to avoid Britain capturing (our land).’ This shows that Qianlong was aware of the potential threat Britain posed and could help explain his actions in rejecting British advances.”

There is a 16th-century idiom that says: “If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.” In his letter, Qianlong refused to give the British Empire the inch King George III had demanded. Soon after that happened, the European colonial empires and even the United States took that first inch by force.

The second video compares the GDP (PPP) of the top twenty countries starting in 1800, a century before China lost 1st place as the world’s wealthiest and most innovative country on the planet.

If you watch the dates in the second video you will see that China’s decline as the wealthiest country on the planet started during the Opium Wars in the early 19th century. These wars were started by the British and French colonial empires just like Emperor Qianlong had feared, and many of America’s oldest and wealthiest families made their fortunes selling opium to the Chinese.

China did not lose 1st place until 1890 after the French Empire defeated the Qing Dynasty in the Sino-French War (1884-1885) followed by another defeat in 1895 in the First Sino-Japanese War. The final nail in China’s Imperial coffin was the Eight-Nation Alliance (including the United States) that defeated the Boxer rebels and Qing Forces in 1901.

One-hundred-and twenty-three years later in 2013, China regained 1st place and now has the largest GDP (PPP) on the planet with the United States in second place.

“The Gross Domestic Product measures the value of economic activity within a country. Strictly defined, GDP is the sum of the market values, or prices, of all final goods and services produced in an economy during a period of time.”

In addition, over the last few decades, China’s navy has rapidly expanded. As of 2018, the Chinese Navy consists of over 300 ships, making it larger than the 287 vessels comprising the deployable battle force of the United States Navy.

Do you think China will let itself become a victim again, and since the birth of Jesus Christ, how many years has China had the largest GDP (PPP) on the planet?

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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September 13th is Mid-Autumn Day

September 11, 2019

China’s Mid-Autumn Festival is similar to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Families and friends in China get together and celebrate a bountiful harvest by coming together to eat, drink, and be happy.

Around the world, Chinese and Vietnamese celebrate this festival. For instance, in San Francisco, not far from where I live, the Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival took place on September 7 – 8, 2019.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, it is customary to have Moon-Watching parties, and offerings are still made to the Moon.

Also known as the “Full Moon Festival,” the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month and takes place when the moon’s orbit is at its lowest angle to the horizon, making the moon appear brighter and larger than any other time of the year.

One historical event linked to this festival is the Moon Cake Uprising.

Near the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368 AD), many Chinese wanted to take back their country from the invading Mongols. Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD), united the resistance forces. However, it was not easy to organize the different factions spread across the country so the rebels hid notes with details about the rebellion in mooncakes and sent them to the different factions on Mid-Autumn Day. Since then, eating moon cakes have been a Chinese custom during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

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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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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Army Day in China

August 7, 2019

China and the United States both honor their military. The United States does this on Veterans Day (Monday, November 11) and Memorial Day (Monday, May 25). China celebrates its annual Army Day on August 1st.

Veterans Day in the United States is a federal holiday to honor military veterans that have served in the United States Armed Forces.

History.com says, “Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.”

In the United States, federal employees get the day off for Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

China celebrates Army Day August 1st, and according to China HIGHLIGHTS.com, the men and women that are active-duty troops have half a day off. Although Army Day in China is a holiday, it is a working holiday and not an official day off.

Army Techology.com says, China Military Online estimated in 2015, that 53,000 women (less than 5 percent of the total number of troops) also serve in China’s Army. In the United States, according to the Defense Department, women now make up 20 percent of the Air Force, 19 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army and almost 9 percent of the Marine Corps.

The Basics explained by Chinese American Family.com: The People’s Liberation Army was founded on August 1, 1927, in Nanchang during a rebellion against nationalist Kuomintang forces. They were known simply as the Red Army during the Chinese Civil War (April 1927 – May 1, 1950). The People’s Liberation Army assumed its role as the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Today, the People’s Liberation Army counts more than two million troops.

I think it is important to note that China’s Civil War started days after the Shanghai massacre of April 12, 1927 when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had his troops slaughter thousands of Communist Party members and union workers without warning followed by a full-scale purge (executions without trials) of Communists in all areas under the KMT’s military control. Before April 12, 1927, the Communist Party was one of the political parties that made up the fledgling Republic of China started by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

“You’re unlikely to see any public celebration of Army Day outside of China, except for perhaps a joint ceremony with a host country at a foreign embassy. Otherwise, this is a domestic state occasion marked by speeches and military demonstrations.”

AnydayGuide reports, “The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China established Red Army Day in 1933.”

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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