Hong Kong Returns to China: Part 1 of 2

August 7, 2018

On July 1, 1997, The British returned Hong Kong to Mainland China. How many people around the world know Hong Kong’s history?

To understand, it helps to learn that negotiations to return Hong Kong to China started in 1979, but what happened in 1839 is also important.

Imagine if Russia had invaded the United States in the 19th century and after crushing America’s military, they occupied the area where New York City is located and kept it for 156 years while using it as a trading hub to export cocaine and heroin without restrictions into the United States until every American family has one or more members that were addicted to these horrible drugs. That is what happened to China.


The video is included to learn what happened to Hong Kong and not as an indictment of China.

History dot com reports, “In 1839, Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interference in the country’s economic and political affairs. One of Britain’s first acts of the war was to occupy Hong Kong, a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. In 1841, China (forced) ceded the island to the British, and in 1842 the Treaty of Nanking was signed, formally ending the First Opium War.”

Hong Kong’s territory was acquired from three separate treaties: the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the Convention of Peking in 1860, and The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory in 1898, which gave the UK control of Hong Kong IslandKowloon (area south of Boundary Street), and the New Territories (area north of Boundary Street and south of the Sham Chun River, and outlying islands), respectively.

Although Hong Kong Island and Kowloon had been ceded to the United Kingdom in perpetuity, the control on the New Territories was a 99-year lease. The finite nature of the 99-year lease did not hinder Hong Kong’s development as the New Territories were added to Hong Kong.

What about the allegations that the people of Hong Kong lost their freedom when the British returned the city and its territories to China in 1997? We’ll deal with that in Part 2 on August 8, 2018.

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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Deng Xiaoping’s first Steps to Open China to the World

July 18, 2018

It’s time to leave Mao behind as part of China’s history. His era ended with his death and the arrest of the “Gang of Four”, including Mao’s widow, Jiang Qing. The “Gang of Four” was convicted of crimes against the state and Jiang said in court, “I was Chairman’s Mao’s dog. What he said to bite, I bit.”

Jiang was Mao’s third wife, and she was convicted in 1981 of “counter-revolutionary crimes” and imprisoned. In 1983, her death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. On June 5, 1991, she hung herself while still in prison. She was seventy-seven.

In 1977, Deng Xiaoping emerged as the dominant figure among pragmatists in the leadership. Under him, China launched far-reaching economic reforms.

One of the most famous maxims of Deng, dating back to the years before the Cultural Revolution, states that “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” That quote caused trouble between Mao and Deng because it meant Deng did not worry about whether a person was a revolutionary or not, as long as he or she was efficient and capable of doing their job under the socialist economy.

Once you understand that quote, you will understand China’s amazing economic reforms in the decades since Mao’s death and why one of Deng’s first steps in 1979 was to establish diplomatic relations with the United States.

Deng Xiaoping paid an official goodwill visit from January 20 to February 4, 1979, to the United States at the invitation of President Carter. This was the first visit by a Chinese leader to the United States after the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

During his visit, Deng exchanged views with President Carter on the international situation.

About Taiwan, Deng said that China was willing to solve the Taiwan question in a peaceful way. The Joint Press Communiqué issued by both sides said that both sides are of the view that differences in social systems of the two countries should not impede the enhancement of mutual friendly relations and mutual cooperation.

During the visit, China and the United States signed an agreement on cooperation in science and technology and a cultural agreement. They also signed agreements on cooperation in education, commerce, and space, and on the mutual establishment of consular relations and the opening of Consulates-General in each other’s country.

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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Tibet Today

July 11, 2018

The population of the Tibetan Ethnic group is about six million and the majority live in Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan. In the Tibetan areas of Southwest China, reforms were introduced between 1955 and 1957 in the farming areas. Feudal land ownership and all feudal privileges were abolished.  In September 1965, the Tibet Autonomous Region was officially established.

Twenty to forty thousand Tibetans live in Nepal and one hundred and twenty thousand live in India. More than three million people live in the Tibet Autonomous Region and 8%, about 248,000, are Han Chinese.

The Tibet Autonomous Region is located on the Tibetan Plateau, the highest region on earth. In northern Tibet, elevations reach an average of over 4,572 meters (15,000 ft). Mount Everest is located on Tibet’s border with Nepal.

Religious activities are protected by the government. Temples have been renovated and repaired. Buddhist statues, volumes of scriptures, ancient porcelain articles and other precious relics lost during the ten-year turmoil of the “Cultural Revolution” have been returned to the monasteries. Among them was a bronze statue of Sakyamuni brought to Tibet by Princess Brikuthi from Nepal in the 7th century. It is now kept in the Qoikang Monastery in Lhasa. An institute of Buddhist theology has been set up and preparations are being made to restore the scripture printing house. Tibet now has several thousand lamas, and the government sets no limit to the number of monks in the monasteries.

According to Lonely Planet, “Tibet offers fabulous monasteries, breathtaking high-altitude treks, stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and one of the most likable peoples you will ever meet.”

Lonely Planet.com says, “For centuries, Tibet was cut off from the outside world by its remote location, extreme climate, and geographic environment. This far-flung region thwarted all but the boldest travelers and explorers — that is, until the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in 2006, which connected Tibet to the rest of China. …

“To protect passengers from high-altitude sickness, trains have an oxygen supply system that increases the oxygen in the cabin as the train ascends and cabins have private oxygen-dispensing outlets. The temperature in the train is regulated and pressurized and the windows are glazed with a UV coating to protect against the powerful high-altitude rays.”

CNN Travel reports, “Robbie Barnett, a Tibet scholar at Columbia University, says China has poured in huge sums of money to make the high-altitude region accessible for mass tourism.”

The UK’s Telegraph says, “According to Xinhua News Agency, Tibet received more than 20 million tourists for the first time in 2015, representing 190-per cent growth from five years ago. Tourism revenue reached 28.19 billion yuan (£3.42 billion) in the same year, equal to 27.5 percent of Tibet’s GDP.”


In this video, the CNN reporter says the rent could be high in a new Tibetan village, but rural Chinese seldom pay rent or make mortgage payments.

Twenty million tourists is more than six times the population of Tibet.

People.cn says, “Thanks to the improvement in medical services over the past six decades, average life expectancy in Tibet jumped from 35.5 to 67 years by the end of 2010, says a white paper issued by the Chinese government on Monday …

“Improvement has also been seen in education.

“The enrollment rate for school-age children was less than 2 percent and illiteracy rate was as high as 95 percent among the young and the middle-aged in 1951. …

“Sixty years later, the enrollment rate for primary school-age children of the Tibetan ethnic group has reached 99.2 percent and the illiteracy rate among the young and the middle-aged has fallen to 1.2 percent …”

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 long History with Tibet

July 10, 2018

On October 7, 1950, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded Tibet. The PLA quickly surrounded the outnumbered Tibetan forces, and on October 19, the five thousand Tibetan troops surrendered.

When you hear about China and Tibet, what are your first thoughts? I suspect most people in the United States and Europe only know about China’s alleged ‘brutal’ conquest of Tibet and think Tibetans lost their freedom. If that’s what they have been programed to think, they are wrong. If they think Tibet was never part of China before October 19, 1950, they are also wrong.

The October 1912 issue of National Geographic Magazine describes how the Imperial government in Beijing managed a difficult Tibet, and letters Sir Robert Hart wrote in the 19th century also mention Tibet as part of China.

China considered Tibet a vassal state or a tributary of the empire.  In fact, starting in the 13th century, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasty troops occupied Lhasa. There was a political governor and the Dali Lama, the religious leader of Tibet. Both were selected for their positions by the Emperor of China. When a Dali Lama died, the list of replacements was sent to the Emperor in Beijing and he selected the new Dali Lama.

In 1890, a Convention between Great Britain and China was signed that offers more evidence that China’s emperor considered Tibet part of his realm and Great Britain agreed. Tibet is mentioned twenty-nine times in that treaty.

Tibet has never had a Democracy and will probably never have one. The following quotes show you what Tibet was like before 1950.


One error mentioned in this video is that “many” Tibetans live outside of Tibet. Only 1-percent of Tibetans live outside of Tibet and they represent the landowners and ruling class that fled when China returned to Tibet in 1950.

The October 1912 National Geographic Magazine, page 979, reported, “Lamaism is the state religion of Tibet and its power in the Hermit Country is tremendous. Religion dominated every phase of life. … For instance, in a family of four sons, at least two, generally three, of them must be Lamas. Property and family prestige also naturally go with the Lamas to the monastery in which they are inmates.

“Keeping the common people or laymen, in ignorance is another means of maintaining the power of the Lamas. Nearly all of the laymen (serfs) are illiterate. Lamas are the only people who are taught to read and write.”

Under theocratic Lamaism, there was no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, and there were no elections.

It is a historical fact that a Tang Dynasty Emperor married his favorite daughter to Tibet’s king as a way to stop Tibetans from raiding into China, something that Tibetans had done for centuries. Tibetans were not always Buddhists. Buddhism was introduced to Tibet by a conquering Mongol king around the time of Kublai Khan’s Yuan Dynasty.

Then a reluctant Tibet was ruled over by the Yuan (Mongol), Ming (Han) and Qing (Manchu) Dynasties from 1277 to 1913, when Great Britain convinced Tibet to break from China at the same time the Qing Dynasty was collapsing.

Between 1913 and 1950, Tibet was ruled by a Dalai Lama and was an autocratic theocracy, not a democracy or a constitutional republic like the United States. In case you don’t know it, a theocracy is a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god. In Tibet’s case, his holiness the Dalai Lama is considered a living “God-King”, and he isn’t a Christian, a Jew, or a Muslim.

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 One-Hundred-Thirty-Seven-Years of Turmoil and Madness 1839 – 1976: Part 3 of 3

June 28, 2018

Then on December 7, 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and America enters the war. War supplies start to arrive in China through India and across the Himalayas to Chiang Kai-shek’s four-million-man army, but his government is corrupt, his troops are poorly fed, and morale is low.

Chiang Kai-shek is accepted as an equal among the leaders of the world while Mao and the Chinese Communist Party are ignored, but Mao works hard to keep up the morale of his troops through political training. Ignorant Western leaders don’t understand what he is doing and criticize him.

Joseph Stilwell, the commanding US general in China, is not happy with Chiang Kai-Shek because he is not fighting Japan. Chiang’s excuse it that he needs his troops to fight the Communists.

In 1945, America invites representatives from Chiang’s government to take part in Japan’s surrender on the battleship Missouri and ignores the Communists.

The American ambassador in China urges Mao to join Chiang in a unified government. To make this happen, the United States offers Mao protection and there are face-to-face negotiations between Mao and Chiang.

Meanwhile, in secret, Chiang moves his troops to launch an assault against Mao’s troops in Manchuria.

The United States urges Chiang to win the people by implementing Sun Yat-sen’s promised reforms.  Instead, Chiang’s war against the Chinese Communists causes run-away inflation. Essential goods become too expensive. The people want peace, and Mao offers the peasants what they want if he wins, land.

In 1948, Mao attacks. His army leaves the caves and captures Manchuria. When Chiang Kai-shek’s northern army surrenders, modern American weapons and equipment fall into Mao’s hands. Mao demands total surrender, but Chiang’s army boards ships for Taiwan taking China’s wealth and historical treasures with them. In fear, western businessmen and missionaries flee China.

By 1967, Mao had ruled China for 18 years. Protected by America, Chiang Kai-Shek was still in Taiwan serving as president for life. He also had six-hundred thousand Kuomintang troops, and the island people lived under martial law.

By the time Mao died in 1976, his failed Great Leap Forward and his brutal Cultural Revolution had almost destroyed China, but Deng Xiaoping becomes the leader of the Chinese Communist Party and changes course leading to the China of today. Since 1976, China is responsible for 90-percent of the reduction in global poverty. That means the rest of the world was only responsible for 10-percent of that reduction in poverty. When Mao became the leader of China in 1949, life expectancy was 35. When Deng took over in 1976, the average lifespan was 64.28 years. In 2017, life expectancy in China had increased to more than 76 years.

Return to Part 2 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 One-Hundred-Thirty-Seven-Years of Turmoil and Madness 1839 – 1976: Part 2 of 3

June 27, 2018

The reason that China was not divided up between other countries was that on October 10, 1911, a riot took place that couldn’t be controlled. Five weeks later, the Imperial government collapsed. The Qing Dynasty vanished overnight and two-thousand years of Imperial tradition was gone. The Chinese called this time “Double Death”.

The British and Americans could not control what replaced the Qing Dynasty. Students without weapons rioted in the streets. Warlords, who controlled armies, divided China and the chaos grew worse. Life became so cheap, that death was like a bloody circus. However, while the Chinese people suffered and starved, foreigners live in luxury and controlled China’s industries while being protected by the Western military.

Chinese students demanded a revolt and Sun Yat-sen,  known as the father of China’s republic, called on China to slay the dragon of Imperialism. He said China must start with nationalism, then democracy and finally socialism. The only country that offered help was Soviet Russia.

But when Sun Yat-sen (1866 – 1925) died, his concept of a Chinese style republic died with him. Chiang Kae-Shek, the leader of the Nationalist Party quickly replaced Sun Yat-sen and in Shanghai, Chiang Kai-shek, now a dictator, struck without warning on April 12, 1927. His troops killed anyone suspected of being a Communist. In December, there was a Communist uprising in Canton. A battle raged for two days between the Communist and Nationalist troops ending in the executions of most of the Communists. Mao Zedong escaped and went into hiding.

Four years later, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Kuomintang army was not ready when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931. He didn’t have tanks, the artillery was old and out of date, and the Chinese were still learning about airplanes.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party that Chiang thought he had destroyed were back, because Mao Zedong knew the peasants lived in horrible poverty, and he promised land reforms. By 1932, Mao had millions of supporters.

Yes, when Mao ruled China, he was a brutal dictator, but Chiang Kai-shek was also a brutal dictator in Taiwan until he died in 1976, the same year Mao died.

After Japan invades Manchuria, instead of fighting Japan, Chiang’s army bombed villages that Mao controlled killing tens of thousands of noncombatants. To survive, Mao retreated and took his ninety thousand troops on the famous thousand-mile Long March that many said was impossible. Successful, Mao calls for unity to fight Japan.

One of Chiang’s generals, Zhang Xueliang, forces him to sit down with the Communists where Chiang Kai-shek agrees to fight Japan. As soon as Chiang returns to his capital, he breaks the agreement and throws Zhang in prison.

Mao’s troops in the hills of Yunnan grow their own food. His army, dressed in shabby clothing wearing straw sandals, doesn’t look like a fighting force. Mao says the people are the sea and guerrillas are like fish that swim in the sea. Within a year, Mao’s army grows to 200,000.

Meanwhile, Chiang Kai-shek’s army loses battles and cities to the Japanese. To continue fighting, his government and army moves to the mountain city of Chongqing in Sichuan province. In 1939, the Japanese start bombing Chongqing nonstop. When asked about the Japanese threat, Chiang says that the Japanese are a disease of the skin, but the communists are a disease of the heart.

Continued with Part 3 on June 28, 2018, or return to 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 One-Hundred-Thirty-Seven-Years of Turmoil and Madness 1839 – 1976: Part 1 of 3

June 26, 2018

The Encyclopedia Britannica reports that the Opium trade with China was developed in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Western countries, mostly Great Britain, exported opium grown in India and sold it to China.

“Early in the 18th century, the Portuguese found that they could import opium from India and sell it in China at a considerable profit. By 1773 the British had discovered the trade, and that year they became the leading suppliers of the Chinese market.”

When China attempted to end the epidemic caused by opium in 1839, England and France invaded China and ended up forcing opium and Christianity on China. There were two Opium Wars. The second one ended in 1860.

What many people don’t know is that five American families made their great fortunes from the dirty money that came from that opium trade.

The Astor Family: America’s first multimillionaire, John Jacobs Astor, joined the opium smuggling trade in 1816 when his American Fur Company bought 10 tons of Turkish opium and smuggled it into Canton.

The Forbes Family: John Murray Forbes and Robert Bennet Forbes worked for Perkins & Co. in its China trade. It was the brothers’ activities in the 1830s and 1840s in China that led to the Forbes family’s accumulated wealth.

The Russel Family: Samuel Wadsworth Russell started as an orphaned apprentice to a maritime trade merchant, made his initial investment capital on trading commissions while working for other traders, and eventually founded Russell and Co., the most powerful American merchant house in China for most of the second half of the 19th Century.

The Delano Family: Warren Delano, Jr., the grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was chief of operations for Russell & Co., another Boston trading firm which did big business in the China opium trade in Canton. He first went to China at age 24 and spent a decade dealing dope on the Pearl River before returning to New York as a newly wealthy and very eligible bachelor.

The Perkins Family: Thomas Handasyd Perkins, a wealthy merchant, and Boston Brahmin par excellence made his bones as a young man trading slaves in Haiti, then peddled furs to China from the American Northwest before amassing a huge fortune smuggling Turkish opium into China.

After the Opium Wars, the British and Americans ended up controlling the industries in Shanghai, Nanking, Hankow, and Chunking.

The New York Times reported, “At the end of the 19th century, of a population of 300 million Chinese, 90 million were addicted to opium; the old Chinese empire was threatened by fragmentation, and the foreign powers were poised to divide it into economic zones of influence. The dismantling did not occur.”

Continued with Part 2 on June 27, 2018

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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