What’s the Skinny on the Tiananmen Square Incident: Part 1 of 2

July 31, 2018

The Urban Dictionary says one of the definitions for “what’s the skinny” means “an inquiry for inside information”.

Twenty-nine year after the alleged 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, the U.S. media continues to annually remind the world of what happened but are they wrong with all their facts?

I’ve talked to several Chinese American friends, now US citizens, that lived in China in 1989. They all say the student leaders behind the Tiananmen Square protest/massacre, April 14 – June 4, 1989, were supported by the CIA.

I asked myself, “Was this another conspiracy theory?”

However, my curiosity was stirred, so I spent hours searching the internet for clues to validate what I had been told, and I discovered several interesting coincidences.

The new U.S. Ambassador in China was James Lilley, a former CIA operative who worked in Asia and helped insert CIA agents into China. Future President H. W. Bush served as Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing (1974 – 1976), and he went from there to serve as Director of the CIA (1976 – 1977).

Why did President H. W. Bush replace Winston Lord as ambassador to China during the early days of the Tiananmen Square incident with former CIA agent James Lilley? After all, Lord spoke some Chinese and was a key figure in the restoration of relations between the U.S. and China in 1972.  Wasn’t he the best man for the job during a crisis like the Tiananmen Square Incident?

I returned to my friends and asked, “How do you know the CIA helped the student leaders of the protest?”

“It’s obvious,” was the answer. The reason, they explained was the fact that it was very difficult, almost impossible, for anyone in China to get a visa to visit the United States before the 21st century. Yet most of the young student leaders of the Tiananmen Square incident left China quickly after the event with U.S. Visas and prospered in the West without any obvious difficulty.

I returned to my investigation to verify these claims and found Let’s Welcome Chinese Tourists By J.W. Marriott Jr. This piece talked about how difficult it was for Chinese to get U.S. Visas at that time.

Another piece I found in The Washington Post also documented how difficult it was to get a visa to visit the United States from China. I read another piece in The Chicago Tribune on the same subject. And my wife, Anchee Min, told me her brother and two sisters were denied visas to the U.S.

Continued in Part 2 on August 1, 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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China

Advertisements

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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China


Mao Zedong’s Legacy: Part 2 of 2

July 4, 2018

Before I get to Mao’s Cultural Revolution, I want to point out a few of Mao’s achievements. In the “Land of Famines”, China’s last famine was in 1958-62. For the first time in China’s long history, there hasn’t been a famine since 1962, fourteen years to Mao’s death in 1976 and another forty-two years since then.

The Mao era started in October 1949.  Mao said the People’s Republic of China would be free of inequality, poverty and foreign domination. The population of China was 541,670,000. Women were given new rights at work and in marriage, and foot binding was abolished. To deal with disease, Mao launched programs to improve health care that never existed before, and most of the people were inoculated against the most common diseases. When Mao died, the average life expectancy had increased from 35 to 55, and it is now 76.

When Mao died, the population had increased to more than 700,000. Extreme poverty had been reduced by about 14 percent. Since his death, poverty was reduced to where it is today at 6.5 percent of the population.

With a poverty rate of about 95-percent, Mao had promised land reforms to divide the land more equally. In 1950, with Mao’s blessing, rural property owners were judged enemies of the people by the rest of the rural people and hundreds of thousands were executed for their alleged abuses and crimes against the people that denounced them.

Soon after discovering that the famine was real, Mao ended the Great Leap Forward and publicly admitted he had been wrong and stepped aside to let someone else run the country. The large communes were abandoned, and the peasants returned to their villages and were given land again.  At the time, Mao was popular with the people but he still resigned as the head of state.

Then Mao wrote his infamous “Little Red Book” and used it to start the Cultural Revolution.

Zhang Baoqing, an early Red Guard member in Beijing, said, “Chairman Mao started the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) to keep up the momentum for change. We thought if we followed Mao, we could not go wrong.”

Millions, mostly teenagers, willingly followed Mao’s advice.

The Cultural Revolutions stated goal was to preserve ‘true’ Communist ideology in the country by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society and to re-impose Mao Zedong Thought as the dominant ideology within the Party.

Britannica.com says, “Mao pursued his goals through the Red Guards, groups of the country’s urban youths that were created through mass mobilization efforts. They were directed to root out those among the country’s population who weren’t ‘sufficiently revolutionary’ and those suspected of being ‘bourgeois.’ The Red Guards had little oversight, and their actions led to anarchy and terror, as ‘suspect’ individuals—traditionalists, educators, and intellectuals, for example—were persecuted and killed. The Red Guards were soon reined in by officials, although the brutality of the revolution continued. The revolution also saw high-ranking CCP officials falling in and out of favor, such as Deng Xiaoping and Lin Biao.

“The revolution ended in the fall of 1976, after the death of Mao … The revolution left many people dead (estimates range from 500,000 to 2,000,000), displaced millions of people, and completely disrupted the country’s economy.”

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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China


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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China


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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China


The Qing Dynasty’s Last Leader was a Woman: Part 2 of 2

June 20, 2018

The National Library of Australia reports, “Hugh Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, was asked to examine the Backhouse manuscript by its Swiss custodians. In Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse, Trevor-Roper dismissed the autobiography as historically worthless fiction by a man he called a forger, confidence trickster and fantasist. He concluded, ‘Backhouse’s ‘memoirs’ are not an edifying work. They are a pornographic novelette’, and unpublishable.”

But Backhouse’s journalistic fraud served as the foundation for most history texts still used today that continue to slander Tzu Hsi.

To do Tzu Hsi justice and to discover the truth, one should read Seagrave’s Dragon Lady, The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China.

To learn who the real woman was that ruled China pay attention to what Robert Hart wrote about Hzu Hsi in his letters and journals.  Robert Hart arrived in China from Ireland in 1854 to learn the language as an interpreter for the British consulate in Ningpo. In 1859, almost five years later, Hart quit his job with the British and went to work for the Emperor of China as an employee. He returned to England in 1908.

When I was researching Robert Hart’s life while working on my historical fiction novel My Splendid Concubine, I learned that Hart became Inspector General of Chinese Maritime Customs and worked closely with the Imperial ministers and Manchu princes. Before returning to England after living in China for fifty-four years, Hart met with the Dowager Empress in a private audience inside the Forbidden City.

Hart referred to Tzu Hsi as “the Buddha” and later “the old Buddha” since she was a devout Buddhist and it is obvious that he thought of her with affection and admiration.

In fact, Hart, who is considered the Godfather of China’s modernization, at no time indicated in anything he wrote that Tzu Hsi was conspiratorial, sinister or manipulative. However, he did indicate that she was strong-willed and hot-tempered, clever and had ability.

Tzu Hsi died in 1908 a few weeks after Robert Hart left China and returned to England to live out his final few years. The Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1911, the same year Robert Hart died.

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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China


The Qing Dynasty’s Last Leader was a Woman: Part 1 of 2

June 19, 2018

Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi ruled the Qing Dynasty as a coregent after her husband, the Xianfeng Emperor died in 1861, and her son, The Tongzhi Emperor (1856 – 1875), was too young at age five to rule China.

Sterling Seagrave, the author of Dragon Lady, writes, “Absurdly little was known about her life. The New York Times printed a long, error filled obituary calling her Tzu An, the title of her coregent, who had died twenty-seven years earlier.”

Many current history texts continue to slander the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi (1835 – 1908) without much evidence as one of history’s most monstrous women, an alleged ruthless Manchu concubine who seduced and murdered her way to the throne in 1861 to rule China through prevision, corruption and intrigue.

This is how many still think of Tzu Hsi. In addition, she was accused of murdering her son, and then years later her nephew, who died the day before she did.

Instead, her son died of syphilis because he preferred prostitutes to the hundreds of virgin concubines that belonged to him. Rumors claimed that Tzu Hsi had her nephew poisoned, but Yuan Shikai may have had him poisoned so he could become the next emperor. There is no evidence to support either allegation.

How did Tzu Hsi earn such a bad reputation?

It seems that she earned this reputation similar to how today’s China has been smeared in much of the Western media. Thanks to a liar and fraud by the name of Edmund Backhouse, who was a reporter for The London Times and his bestselling book “China under the Empress Dowagers”, Tzu Hsi’s fate to be labeled a monster and murderer  was guaranteed until 1976 when Backhouse’s fraud and lies were revealed.

Continued in Part 2 on June 20, 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.

Where to Buy

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”.

About iLook China