Why aren’t we all the same? Part 2 of 5

March 15, 2017

Even in individualist countries, we find collectivism at work. In business, the collective society is often seen in corporate structure.

New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki says, “Under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.”

An example used by Surowiecki shows that “the TV studio audience of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire guesses correctly 92 percent of the time, compared to ‘experts’ who guess only 65 percent correctly.” Source: Co-Society.com

What Surowiecki says explains why China’s top few-hundred officials use the “Red Machine”, an encrypted communication system, for making quick collective decisions.

In The Collective Will, I mentioned the author of a Wall Street Journal piece as an example of how most people in the West have trouble understanding what goes on in China.

Most Chinese understand their government’s  actions and decisions even if a Westerner from an individualist culture doesn’t.

Some Chinese may not like it. Others may not agree with it.

However, Westerners are not always happy with their governments. Just look at Donald Trump in the United States to understand what this means.

Continued on March 16 in Part 3 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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Why aren’t we all the same? Part 1 of 5

March 14, 2017

A few years ago, I debated another author on this site, and he rejected the scientific fact that there are different types of cultures on this planet. He said, ignoring all the studies on this topic, that there was no such thing as a collective or individualistic culture.

In this 5-part series, we will explore the differences between what it means to grow up in a collective versus an individualistic culture.


Sidney Rittenberg says China is a ‘we’ society while the West is a ‘me’ society.

China and America are not the same. China has a collective culture. The United States has an individualist culture.

I’ve discovered that some people from individualistic cultures don’t understand what a collective culture is, and some hate what they don’t understand. Even the Western media often shows its ignorance by how it reports events in China and by judging what happens in China as if it were an individualist culture.

It might surprise many in the West that China is not the only country with a collectivist culture.

Along with China, one list I saw had Argentina, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt, Greece, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Scandinavia and Portugal on it.

For individualist cultures, there was Canada, Australia, England, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand and the United States.

In Chinese society, collectivism has a long tradition based on Confucianism, where being a community man or someone with a social personality is valued.

In a collective society such as China, each person is encouraged to conform to society, to do what is best for the group and to not openly express opinions or beliefs that go against it.

Group, family or rights for the common good are seen as more important than the rights of the individual. In a collective culture laws exist to promote stability, order, and obedience.

Working with others and cooperating is the norm.  Being uncooperative is often seen as shameful. For instance, Psychology Today reports how to sell online to individualist vs collectivist cultures.

Nathalie Nahai, writing for Psychology Today, says, “A very individualist country (such as the USA) will tend to form loose-knit social groups, and value autonomy, freedom and personal time. They tend to proactively seek out challenge, and are often motivated by extrinsic factors such as material success.

“In comparison, countries that score highly in collectivism (such as China) tend to develop large cohesive social networks, valuing loyalty, good physical conditions and intrinsic rewards as motivating factors.”

Psychologists have found that intrinsic rewards, an outcome that gives an individual personal satisfaction such as that derived from a job well done can be more powerful motivators than an external reward system such as an employee bonus program.

Continued on March 15 in Part 2

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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Living with Disabilities in China

March 8, 2017

Facts and Details.com reports, “China is home to the world’s largest disabled population. There are 83 million disabled people in China, with a million in Beijing alone.” No mention of the fact that China also has the largest population in the world.  For a comparison, in the United States, there are about 48.9-million people with a disability. China has more than 1.3-billion people. The U.S. has about 315-million.

After Mao’s Cultural Revolution, China’s education system had to be rebuilt, and in the late 1990s, teams of Chinese teachers traveled to the United States to learn from America’s public schools and teachers. What they learned, they took home to Shanghai and more than a decade later Shanghai earned 1st place in the international PISA test thanks, in part, from what was learned studying America’s public schools.

China never had a public education system for everyone until after Mao, and the job isn’t done yet. China still has work to do to provide a quality education for all children.

For instance, the art displayed in this post comes from deaf artists, who are graduates of the Shandong Provincial Rehabilitation and Career School, an institute in China that trains young Chinese with disabilities.

a1-art-work-from-disabeled-chinese-artists

In 1949, Mao Zedong launched the People’s Republic of China and ruled with an iron fist for almost three decades. During Mao’s time, there was almost no free artistic expression in China unless the art served the propaganda needs of the state.

Today, that has changed.

After Deng Xiaoping opened China to a global market economy, the post Mao generation was introduced to Western art and theory.

It wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990s that art from China started to emerge.

3-disabilitiesThe photos in this post are presented with permission from “Embracing the Uncarved Wood, Sculptural Reliefs from Shandong, China“, which was made possible by a generous grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and with assistance from the Office of the Provost of Franklin & Marshall College. ISBN: 978-0-910626-04-0

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 Unpredictable Killers Hiding Among Us

March 7, 2017

Nation Master ranks countries by the per capita murder rate. For every one million people, China had 10.1 murders in 2010 and was ranked #167 out of 193 countries. The United States was ranked #99 in 2010 with 40.01 murders per one-million population.

That tells us that we are about four times safer from being murdered in China than in the United States.  The #1 country for murders is Honduras where in 2011, more than 900 people were murdered for each one-million population.

Do you want to live in Honduras where the odds of being murdered are 90 times higher than China; 22 times higher than the U.S.?

How about the 98 countries with higher murder rates than the United States or the 166 countries ranked higher than China?

Let’s compare two news reports. One was in China and the other one took place in the U.S.  In both reports elementary school children were the targets.

From China, the BBC News reported, “A man with a knife has wounded 22 children – at least two of them seriously – and an adult at a primary school in central China. The attack happened at the gate of a school in Chenpeng village in Henan province. … Security at China’s schools has been increased in recent years following a spate of similar knife attacks in which nearly 20 children have been killed.”

So far, in China’s most recent grade school assault, no one has been reported with firearms, but in the United States, in a similar incident, the death toll was shocking.

Fox News reported, “At least 26 dead in shooting at Connecticut elementary school. … Authorities say at least 26 people, including 18 children, were killed Friday when a gunman clad in black military gear opened fire inside a Connecticut elementary school.

“A law enforcement official said the shooter, who is dead, was from New Jersey and had ties to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Authorities recovered a Glock and Sig Sauer 9mm handgun, but it was unclear who killed the shooter, who wore black combat garb and a military vest.”

To understand why, I Googled “profile of mass murderers” and discovered that unlike serial killers mass murderers are hard to profile and are unpredictable.

Dr. Michael Stone told The Daily Beast, “Usually you’re dealing with an angry, dissatisfied person who has poor social skills or few friends, and then there is a trigger that sets them off.” … adding that 96.5 percent of mass murderers are male, and a majority aren’t clinically psychotic. Rather, they suffer from paranoia and often have acute behavioral or personality disorders.

When I checked the list of school massacres by rampage killers, 155 were listed as killed in the U.S. and 58 in China.

Infoplease.com lists the 100 worldwide mass and/or school shootings from 1996 to the present. There wasn’t one listed for China. If you click the link, you will discover that 79 of the 100 worldwide mass shootings took place in the United States.

If you are Donald Trump or a supporter of Donald Trump, before you blame immigrants for these shootings, click the Infoplease link in the previous paragraph first and discover who pulled the triggers. Always check the facts first before jumping to conclusions. If Donald Trump had done that when he publicly claimed that illegal immigrants were responsible for a terrorist attack in Sweden THAT NEVER HAPPENED, he wouldn’t have made a fool of himself again, and again, and again.

If the safety of your family and children was more important to you than Freedom of Speech and choice of religion, what country would you live in?

Discover Anna May Wong, the American actress who died a thousand times, because she was Chinese.

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 Lost Crew of “Tough Titi” made it home thanks to China

March 1, 2017

It’s ironic that during World War II, the United States fought alongside the Chinese, both the Nationalists and the Communists, against the Japanese until 1945. In fact, it was Mao’s Chinese Communist guerrilla troops who rescued some of Jimmy Doolittle’s B-25 crews when they crash landed in China after bombing Tokyo on April 18, 1942. The Chinese who helped save those American troops paid a horrible price. Click the link to discover how horrible.

Then a few years later Communist China and the United States became enemies fighting in North Korea until 1953, and China sent advisers to Vietnam to help fight the United States there (1955 to 1975).

To punish Communist China, the U.S. placed an embargo on China from 1949 to 1969. The Korean War ended in 1953 but the embargo didn’t end until 1969. The goal had been to disrupt, destabilize, and weaken China’s communist government by causing the people of China to suffer, and this “complete embargo” was one of the tools to achieve that goal. The embargo also helped set the stage for millions of Chinese to die of starvation during what’s known as Mao’s Great Famine.

When Nixon arrived in China in 1972, China and the U.S. became friends again.

Now President Donald Trump, the popular-vote loser by almost 3 million votes, is working overtime to turn China into an enemy of the U.S. again.

But in 1996, when the U.S. and China were trading partners and still friendly, Chinese farmers discovered a World War II American bomber’s wreckage and the remains of the ten-man crew on Little Cat Mountain (Mao’er Shan), Southern China’s highest peak.

The name of the B-24 bomber was Tough Titi.

These Americans were considered heroes to the Chinese, and the remains of the crew were returned to the United States for burial.

There’s a memorial stone near the crash site and Chinese tourists pay honor to these Americans by leaving flowers and other gifts.

To honor these American heroes further, the Chinese recovered some of the bomber’s parts and used them as a centerpiece for a museum in Xing’an, about a four-hour drive from the crash site.

Why is President Donald Trump going out of his way to make China an enemy of the United States while doing the opposite in Russia with the brutal Vladimir Putin?

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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Red Star Over China

February 28, 2017

During one of our trips to Shanghai, China, we saw a film called Mao Zedong and Edgar Snow.

Edgar Snow (1905 – 1972) was an American journalist known for his books and articles on Communism in China and the Chinese Communist revolution. He is believed to be the first Western journalist to interview Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, and is best known for Red Star Over China (1937) an account of the Chinese Communist movement from its foundation until the late 1930s.

The film was in Mandarin and wasn’t subtitled, so I had to watch carefully to understand what was going on. When I returned home to the United States, I searched Amazon for a DVD copy of the film but couldn’t find one.

However, I discovered that Edgar Snow’s wife threatened to sue China if the movie was released, but that didn’t stop the Chinese.

There’s no doubt that Mao had to have charisma to lead so many in battle for so many years to win a civil war that stretched from 1927 to 1950.

However, Mao changed after he became China’s modern emperor, and the power must have corrupted him. The evidence is the results of the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the purges that killed so many.

There were also successes like the Chinese Communist Party’s war against poverty, the increase in life expectancy that almost doubled during Mao’s rule. and the health programs that were implemented such as the bare-foot doctors. The reason so many Chinese still think of Mao as the George Washington of China was because life after 1949 was better than life before the CCP won the Civil War.

Students of China may want to see this film, but the only place one may buy a DVD of this movie is probably China.

When Edgar Snow came down with pancreatic cancer, Zhou Enlai dispatched a team of Chinese doctors to Switzerland to treat him.

Discover Anna May Wong, the woman that 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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Abandoned and in Need of Love

February 22, 2017

More than ninety percent of babies in China’s orphanages are girls. Prior to 1949, it was common for parents to murder female infants. From the 1950s to the end of the 1970s, due to Mao’s leadership and a tough stance for women’s equality, the death rate dropped. Then in the 1980s, with the population growing too fast, a desperate government implemented the one-child policy.

After that, many girl babies went missing or were abandoned to state-run orphanages. To end this tragedy, the government eventually allowed rural families to have two children per family who were hoping for a boy.

The conditions in these rural, state-run orphanages are often not ideal. Girls, who are not adopted, usually end up being the caregivers for the younger children. Since these orphan caregivers were raised without the love of parents and siblings, they may not be loving themselves creating a cold environment to grow up in.

It isn’t as if China’s government has done nothing to stop a practice that has been around for thousands of years. During the 90s, tougher laws were passed but often ignored. Government inspectors were sent to rural areas to enforce these laws, but it isn’t easy controlling a population of 1.3 billion scattered over a mountainous country almost the size of the United States.

I will not criticize the Chinese government for these conditions. I’ve been to China and understand the challenges.

What would you do if you had inherited a medieval country in 1949 that was bankrupt due to the Kuomintang looting the banks and treasury as they fled to Taiwan under American protection?

Then there is a culture reaching back thousands of years where girls were considered worthless. That is a lot to overcome.

The Office of Child Development reports, “Within the past five years, China has experienced a shift in its primary orphanage population from mostly healthy girls to large and increasing numbers of abandoned children with disabilities whose range of special needs are straining the capacity of the nation’s social welfare institutes to train staff or hire specialized staff to care for them.”

If you think this isn’t a problem in the United States or other countries, think again. The Christian Post reports on The Orphan Crises in America, “There are approximately 400,000 children living today in the American foster care system, of which about 100,000 are in need of an adoptive family.”

Discover Saying Goodbye, the heart-breaking story of one orphan’s journey from China to the United States.

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