Religious Influence in China

April 17, 2018

The Financial Times reports, “Christianity first reached China in the 7th century AD, brought by Nestorian Eastern Syriac believers.” The Review of Religions.org says Islam arrived about the same time, but in the 17th century, The downturn for Muslims began with the rise of the Qing Dynasty in 1644. Qing Emperors made life very hard for Muslims. First they prohibited the Halal slaughter of animals, then they banned the construction of new Mosques and the pilgrimage for Hajj. Conditions grew bleak for Islam in the second half of the 19th Century when rebellion led to the slaughter of possibly millions of Chinese Muslims.”

This helps explain why China has never had an organized religion dominate the culture as religions have in Western and Middle Eastern countries.

In fact, when organized religions meddle too much, the Chinese eventually strike back. During the Tang Dynasty in 878 A.D., a rebel leader named Huang Chao burned and pillaged Guangzhou (better known in the West as Canton) killing tens of thousands of Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

Then there were two Opium Wars during the middle of the nineteenth century where France and England invaded to force opium and Christian missionaries on China.

That resulted in the Taiping Rebellion, which was led by a Christian convert, Hong Xiuquan, known as God’s Chinese son. Hong claimed to be Jesus Christ’s younger brother. Estimates say twenty to thirty million Chinese may have died during this religious war to rid China of opium and turn China into a Christian nation, far more than all the Crusades combined.

The culmination of a series of campaigns against organized religions starting in the late 19th century, including Mao’s Cultural Revolution, destroyed or forced Christians, Jews, and Muslims to hide their religious beliefs.

More than thirteen hundred years have passed since Christianity and Islam were introduced to China, but after all those centuries only 0.45-percent of the Chinese population follows Islam while about 2.5-percent are Christians. That means about 97-percent of the population does not belong to an organized religion like Christianity or Islam that often has an influence on politics.

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 Classic Historical Epic

March 13, 2018

I have long enjoyed reading historical fiction. I also watch films based on history and for that reason, I bought the film version for the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”—an epic of China’s history.

Don’t let the title fool you. This story is not about a boy-girl romance. It’s about the bloody, backstabbing romance of politics, war, and conquest.

The novel was written in the 14th century by Luo Guanzhong and was more than a thousand pages long with 120 chapters. After the Han Dynasty collapsed (206 BC to 219 AD), China shattered into three warring kingdoms.

This story was written using historical sources and is about how China was reunified as one nation again. I’ve seen the television series once and plan to watch it again someday if I live long enough. The DVD version has 84 episodes and runs for more than fifty hours. It has even been made into a game.

There have been seven films produced from this story and a long list of television series. To learn how complex this story is, just scroll through the Wiki’s page of Romance of the Three Kingdoms TV series. The total cast of characters might numb your mind. Imagine keeping track of them all.

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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Reunification after the Han Dynasty: Part 2 of 2

February 21, 2018

The only way to fight this battle would be across a small front with the armies facing each other. In August 208 AD, the enemy army approached the front of Cao Cao’s troops.

After a three month standoff, Cao Cao took a small force and led a night raid to the town where the enemy stored its food supplies and burned them.

When the battle with Yuan Shao’s army finally took place, Cao Cao used deception to make the enemy believe he was attacking in the east when he was in the west fifty kilometers from where the enemy expected him.

That deception caused the enemy general to divide his army, and while he was marching east, Cao Cao moved quickly to attack the other half of Yuan Shao’s unprepared army ending in victory.

In 189 AD, the emperor died and there was a power struggle to see who would control the dynasty. Thousands were murdered, and Cao Cao became the power behind the powerless, last emperor.

Due to the years of struggle, many of the farms had been abandoned leading to famine. Cao Cao became prime minister and reestablished the farms around the capital to end the famine. To deal with danger, each farm was populated with farmers and soldiers to work the land.

The harvests from those farms ended the famine.

Soon after Cao Cao’s death, Wei defeated the other two kingdoms and reunified China establishing the Western Jin Dynasty (265 – 420 AD). In death, Cao Cao was honored and named Emperor Wei Wudi.

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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Reunification after the Han Dynasty: Part 1 of 2

February 20, 2018

The man credited for reuniting China after the end of the Han Dynasty was Cao Cao who lived 155 – 220 AD, but he didn’t succeed. He just set the stage for what happened after he was dead.

Cao Cao also appears as a character in the historical novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms written in the 14th century by Luo Guanzhong.  The novel was based on historical events that took place during the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty when China fell into chaos and anarchy.

According to historical records, Cao Cao was a brilliant leader and military genius. However, in literature and opera, he has often been portrayed as a cruel and despotic tyrant, an image of a Chinese ruler unique in history.

During his lifetime, there was the three kingdoms of Wei, Shuhan, and Wu. Cao Cao led Wei in Northern China. When the war to reunify China took place, Cao Cao started out with the smallest military force of ten thousand troops.

But Cao Cao must have studied Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. His battle plans against the rival army of Yuan Shao was evidence of a military genius. He carefully studied the terrain and selected the location where the battle would be fought so his smaller army could not be outflanked or surrounded.

Continued with Part 2 on February 15, 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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The Power of China’s People

November 7, 2017

If you think that the Chinese people do not have a voice in China, think again.

CNN reported, “China may be a single-party state run from the very top. But grassroots activism has been bubbling up from beneath, bringing about much needed social support and change. … These are tiny little groups of people all over the country working on trying to improve the lives of people living in those areas — whether it’s on labor issues, women’s rights or the environment.”

One example of this power took place in December 2009 and it was about electric bikes. When new regulations threatened to restrict the use of e-bikes and ban them from public roads, opposition from the e-bike industry and bike riders stopped the regulations in their tracks.

Adrienne Mong of NBC News said, “The news triggered a heated debate that was played out all over the Chinese-language media and on the Internet. Eventually, the government backed down, and it’s been left up to industry groups to figure out new guidelines.”


Of course, even in China, Social Media has other uses too.

More than two years after the e-bike protest, Tea Leaf Nation reported on February 23, 2012 about a blog that was deleted by Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging platform, but what was deleted was soon restored thanks to widespread outrage and threats that the majority of Chinese would switch to Twitter and/or Facebook.

The Reuters Institute ran a piece about the power of the Chinese netizen and how microblogging is changing Chinese journalism. Zhou Kangliang, a Chinese journalist, concludes that “as Chinese online microblogging services grow and traditional journalism grows with them, it is learning from lessons and experience…”

The Washington Post reported, “In a country where most media are controlled by the state, information is heavily censored and free-flowing opinions are sharply constricted, Chinese have turned to a new platform to openly exchange unfettered news and views: microblogs, similar to Twitter.”

But Foreign Policy Magazine reported that Xi Jinping has tamed the once-enterprising commercial media.” The project of ‘guidance’ is not merely what we tend in the West to call ‘censorship,’ an act of cutting, excising, and obliterating; rather, it is a process of diversion, of redirection. Public opinion is not stopped — it is harnessed.” To China’s leaders, this is “Channeling public opinion.”

“Channeling,” then, was about harnessing the power of for-profit newspapers and magazines, commercial Internet portals, and social media in order to better inundate the public with information from state sources. Ultimately, this was about taming the flood in the Internet age.

In other words, China is not going to let an Alt-Right media similar to Fox News, Breitbart or an Alex Jones spread destabilizing conspiracy theories that might cause disharmony and disrupt China’s culture and economy.

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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War with North Korea and What China wants: part 2 of 2

November 1, 2017

North Korea is frozen in time, but South Korea and China have evolved and adapted to the global economy.  It is in China’s interest to see North Korea merge with South Korea and become a capitalist nation, but achieving that goal will not be easy and a nuclear war with North Korea is not the answer.

The Independent, another publication in the UK, explains what nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea might look like. “The most immediate reaction would likely be massive artillery fire on Seoul and its surroundings. North Korean artillery installations along the border can be activated faster than air or naval assets and larger ballistic missiles that can target South Korean, Japanese or American bases in the region with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Those countries have ballistic-missile-defence systems in place but can’t guarantee they will shoot down everything. Japan has begun offering advice to its citizens on what to do in the event a missile lands near them — essentially try to get under ground — and US firms are marketing missile shelters. While it’s unclear if North Korea can successfully target US cities like Denver and Chicago with a nuclear ICBM, it’s similarly unknown if US defence systems can strike it down — adding to American anxieties.”

The New Yorker reports, “The Obama Administration studied the potential costs and benefits of a preventive war intended to destroy North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Its conclusion, according to Rice, in the Times, was that it would be ‘lunacy,’ resulting in ‘hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of casualties.’ North Korea likely would retaliate with an attack on Seoul. The North has positioned thousands of artillery cannons and rocket launchers in range of the South Korean capital, which has a population of ten million, and other densely populated areas. (Despite domestic pressure to avoid confrontation, South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, has accepted the installation of an American missile-defense system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or thaad.)”

And we shouldn’t forget this fact also reported by The New Yorker. Some two hundred thousand Americans live in South Korea.

The New Yorker correctly called this lunacy the Madman Theory, but isn’t that who Donald Trump is: a madman, a serial liar, a failed businessman, and a bully?

Who do you think China fears more Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un and his brutal regime? And the answer is simple. All you have to do is compare how many nuclear weapons the U.S. has vs North Korea. The Independent reports North Korea has 60 compared to 6,800 for the United States.

If you have watched the two videos in Part 1 and 2, you will know what is at risk for all of us on this planet called Earth. There is hope. Trump might also be a barking dog that doesn’t bite.

UPDATE

The Telegraph reports, “China ‘detains North Korean assassins seeking Kim Jong-un’s dissident nephew Kim Han-sol’

“It is possible that Kim Han-sol and his family remained in China under the protection of Beijing, which also extended protection for his father when he was in the country. There have been suggestions that Beijing saw Kim Jong-nam as as a potential North Korean leader should his half-brother be overthrown.”

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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War with North Korea and what China wants: part 1 of 2

October 31, 2017

The Telegraph in the UK asked, “Did Kim Jung-un kill his uncle and brother over a ‘coup plot involving China’?” From what I’m hearing from my sources in China, the answer is yes. China did try to get rid of Kum Jung-un. For more details about this alleged and failed coup attempt, click the link in this paragraph and read what The Telegraph says.

In the past, when the United States and North Korea threatened each other, China’s response has been for the “relevant parties” to “calmly and properly handle the issue and avoid escalation of tension.”

What has changed? The answer is simple. The current president of the United States is a serial liar, a racist, a bully, a malignant narcissist and a psychopath-sociopath (if it is possible to be both at the same time). Donald Trump is clearly more dangerous, unstable, and insane than Kum Jung-un is. Kim Jung-un is more like the barking dog who might never bite, because he knows if he bites, he will die and so will most of the people that live in his little kingdom.

In the past, China has been reluctant to be sucked into North Korea’s problems with the United States, because China has a history with Korea going back to the Tang Dynasty in 688 AD, when there was an alliance with Silla, a Korean state.

It’s also because Chinese culture, written language, and political institutions have had an influence in Korea since the 4th century and in the 14th century, Korea came under the influence of Confucian thought influenced by Buddhism and Daoism (Taoism). Even today, China has more in common with the people of North Korea and their culture than China has with the United States.

But that 1,700-year old relationship between China and Korea might not be enough to protect North Korea now that the United States has an unpredictable madman and lunatic for its president.

Why did China allow itself to be bullied by Trump to tame a beast it cannot control? The answer is simple and it is Donald Trump and his insane tweets threatening to nuke North Korea.

In an essay written by Sung-Yoon Lee in Hillsdale College’s Imprimis newsletter, he discussed Keeping the Peace: American in Korea 1950 – 2010.

Professor Lee is an adjunct assistant professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and an associate in research at the Korea Institute at Harvard University.

Professor Lee says, “It is important for Washington to hold quiet consultations with Beijing to prepare jointly for a unified Korea under Seoul’s direction, a new polity that will be free, peaceful, capitalist, pro-U.S. and pro-China.”

But Donald Trump has clearly demonstrated that he doesn’t have the patience or intelligence to be part of a quiet consultation with Beijing to fix the North Korean problem. Even after the alleged and failed plot that China was willing to risk to get rid of Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump’s lunatic Twitter raving hasn’t stopped.

When Mao ruled China, North Korea and Communist China looked like evil twins, but today that is not the case because Mao died in 1976 and so did the China he was building. In the 1980s, China emerged as a hybrid one-party republic with term and age limits for its political leaders, so one man would never rule China like Mao did for 26 years.

In fact, China has a lot to lose because China’s middle class is more than 300-million people with an estimate that by 2030 that number will be more than 700-million.

Continued in Part 2 on November 1, 2017

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 Holistic Historical Timeline