Winter Fun in China

January 2, 2019

The annual winter Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (January 5 – February 5) was first celebrated in 1963 and is now the largest ice and snow festival in the world. The average temperature is a (minus) – 16.8 degrees Celsius or 1.76 Fahrenheit. On the Fahrenheit scale, the freezing point of water is 32 degrees, so the cold is below frigid.

“Traditionally, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival open around Dec 24-25 and lasts to the end of February. But its official opening ceremony is usually held on January 5th each year.” According to IceFestivalHarbin.com, if you plan to visit, avoid February 4 – 10, 2019, and escape the crush during the Chinese New Year that is based on the lunar calendar.

The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival was first held in 1963, but it was interrupted during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Mao died in 1976, and it took time for China’s economic engine to recover. The fact that the festival resumed in 1985 was an early sign of the changes soon to take place in China.

Since 1985, China has transformed itself by rebuilding the old cities while building more than a hundred new ones in addition to the explosion of a middle class that equals or surpasses the entire population of the United States with plans to double that middle class in the next decade or two.

China has also crisscrossed the country with new highways and railroads that include more high speed rail than the rest of the world combined. China has also built more than 500 new airports while America’s airports are way overdue for an upgrade along with the rest of U.S. infrastructure that is out of date and falling apart. In fact, Money reports the U.S. is ranked #28 for average mobile internet speed.

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 gets to celebrate a New Year Twice

December 26, 2018

In China it’s possible to celebrate the New Year twice in the same year in different months on different days.

While the Gregorian calendar celebrates the New Year on January 1st of every year, the Chinese Lunar New Year falls on February 5th (Tuesday) 2019, and the festival will last to February 19th, about 15 days in total.

2019 is the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese years are counted in a repeating twelve-year sequence, each year symbolized by an animal: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

In 2018, the Lunar New Year started on February 16th.


Chinese New Year Dragon Dance – Shanghai Disneyland – Shanghai Disney Resort

The Chinese Lunar New Year is defined as the second new moon after the winter solstice; thus it begins sometime between late January and mid-February, approximately at the beginning of Spring (which, in the Chinese calendar, starts forty-five days after the winter solstice). It is celebrated not only in China, but also in Korea, Vietnam (where it is known as Tet), and in Chinese communities around the world.

China established its calendar systems as far back as the 14th century B.C. Shang Dynasty, and over the centuries that calendar was modified and adjusted, but they were always based on calculations of the positions of sun and moon, and even the earliest records have the Chinese New Year beginning at a new moon near the winter solstice.

Since the months of the Chinese calendar are derived from the lunar cycle, which lasts 29.53 days on average, its months are either 29 or 30 days long. Like the Western calendar, the Chinese calendar’s ordinary year has 12 months, but a leap year, every two or three years, adds an extra 13th month. The ordinary year in the Chinese calendar runs between 353 and 355 days, but during a leap year it runs 383 to 385 days.


Shanghai’s New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2017

The Western calendar is a solar calendar based on the Earth’s revolution of the sun and the progression of seasons. Consequently, every month has the same number of days from year to year, except during a leap year.

The Western Gregorian calendar is a modification of the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Cesar in 45 B.C.

If you are curious how the months were named for the Gregorian calendar, here’s a hint – January through December were not based on the zodiac like China’s Lunar calendar was. Click this link to Wonderpolis.org to discover how each month for this calendar got their names. One example: July was named after Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. Previously, July was called “Quintilis,” which is Latin for “fifth.”

Was this one of the reasons why Cesar was assassinated?

With the exception of February, each month in the Western calendar has 30 or 31 days, and there are 12 months every year. That means China’s Lunar calendar has a much longer history than the West’s calendar … about 1,500 years older than the Gregorian one.

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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What China is doing to Supply Water to its People

December 19, 2018

“Unlike food, the maximum time an individual can go without water seems to be a week. That estimate would certainly be shorter in difficult conditions, like broiling heat.” — Independent.co.uk

China has often been criticized by environmentalists in the United States for its massive projects to supply water to its people. The criticism focuses on water pollution and damage to the environment. But with 1.4 billion people and growing, China has no choice, because it has been recognized as one of the 13 lowest water-availability countries in the world.

China’s Grand Canal

China has a long history of moving water and goods on water from one part of the country to another, and it started in 468 BC with the building of the Grand Canal. Britannica.com says, “Some 1,100 miles (1,800 km) in length, it is the world’s longest man-made waterway, though, strictly speaking, not all of it is a canal. It was built to enable successive Chinese regimes to transport surplus grain from the agriculturally rich Yangtze(Chang) and Huai river valleys to feed the capital cities and large standing armies in northern China.”

In the 19th century, “the use of the canal as the major supply line to Beijing was abandoned, and the canal gradually fell into disrepair in its northern sections.”

“New work (on the canal) was begun in 1958 to restore the whole system … The canal is also used to divert water from the Yangtze to northern Jiangsu province for irrigation, making possible double cropping of rice.”

China’s Dams

In addition, China has built more large dams than any country in the world, including the world’s largest – the Three Gorges Dam. Today there are more than 87,000 dams in China. China has over 23,000 large dams. The US is the second most dammed country with some 9,200 large dams, followed by India, Japan, and Brazil.

The World’s Largest Water Diversion Infrastructure is in China

Then there’s the World’s Largest Water Diversion Plan Won’t Quench China’s Thirst. “With an excess of rain in the south and not enough in the north, China’s solution is as simple as it was expensive: Build three massive aqueducts to divert the water for an estimated cost of more than 500 billion yuan ($76 billion).

“The result is the world’s most ambitious water transfer program, the South-to-North Water Diversion project. … It is a stunning engineering feat. Some 11 billion cubic meters of water has traversed the 1,432-km-long waterway, supplying factories, businesses and 53 million residents.”

China is also developing alternative water resources to tackle water conflict, including wastewater recycling, household-level rainwater harvesting and seawater desalination. With the rapid development of seawater desalination technology, desalinated seawater is playing a more important role in addressing the water shortage issue in China (Zhang et al. 2005; Zheng et al. 2014).

China’s Desalination Industry

The Journal of Water Reuse & Desalination reports, “By the end of 2015, there were 139 seawater desalination plants put into operation in China.”

Worldwide, desalination plants produce over 3.5 billion gallons of potable water a day, and according to the Chinese government, desalinated seawater is expected to contribute 16 percent to 24 percent of water supply in Chinese coastal areas in the near future, with total daily capacity expected to reach 660 million to 795 gallons by 2020. That’s almost 23-percent of the 3.5 billion gallons of water produced worldwide from desalination plants.

What about the rest of the world? After all, don’t we all need water?

Water Project.org reports, “India’s water crisis is often attributed to lack of government planning, increased corporate privatization, industrial and human waste and government corruption. In addition, water scarcity in India is expected to worsen as the overall population is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by year 2050.”

For the United States, Business Insider says, “California isn’t the only state with water problems. Americans tend to take it for granted that when we open a tap, water will come out.

“Western states have been dealing with water problems for a while, but they won’t be alone for long.

“As drought, flooding, and climate change restrict America’s water supply, demands from population growth and energy production look set to increase, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.”

Business insider also says, “The water crisis is even worse in many other countries, especially those without good infrastructure to get water from rivers and aquifers. The UN estimates a fifth of the world’s population lives in an area where water is scarce, and another fourth of the world’s people don’t have access to water because countries lack the infrastructure to distribute it.”

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 Cultural Revolution is History but the one raging in the U.S. Isn’t

December 12, 2018

Will the United States survive its current cultural revolution being led by Alt-Right billionaires, bullies, trolls, racists, and Donald Trump?

China survived its Cultural Revolution in the middle of the 20th Century and look where that led: WeForum.org reports, “China’s meteoric rise over the past half century is one of the most striking examples of the impact of opening an economy up to global markets.

“Over that period the country has undergone a shift from a largely agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse. In the process it has seen sharp increases in productivity and wages that have allowed China to become the world’s second-largest economy.”

There is a big difference between these two Cultural Revolutions. Mao’s Cultural Revolution was meant to benefit most of the people and punished the wealthy.  At first Mao failed to achieve all of his goals, but once Mao died and his Maoists lost power, China recovered like no country in history has ever done before.

However,  what happened in China will not happen in the United States, because the Cultural Revolution taking place in the U.S. will only benefit a small number of people, the wealthy.

The only thing Mao’s Cultural Revolution has in common with America’s Cultural Revolution is the propaganda designed to prop them up. Understanding the Mechanism of Propaganda teaches us: “At its most basic, propaganda is biased or misleading information circulated via some form of mass media with the intent of promoting a political agenda or viewpoint. Propaganda is deliberately not objective and is usually part of a larger psychological campaign to influence people toward a specific opinion. It may include outright lies or more subtle misinformation and censorship.”

Donald Trump learned how to use propaganda from masters at this game of deception like all the dictators Trump admires and worships.

Trump has been using a propaganda campaign since before he was elected president in 2016 to cast doubt on all media fact check sites because Trump wants the media to report only what he wants people to hear just like every dictator and tyrant in history.

If you Google “who is fact checking the fact checkers” you will run in to some of the propaganda designed to feed the confirmation bias of Trump’s base and to erase any doubts they might have.  These Trump followers are so willingly blind, they will not fact check the claims from the propaganda that claims the media and its fact checkers can’t be trusted.

Once that idea is planted in their minds, Trump’s rabid followers will dismiss everything they read from media fact check sites that does not match what they are hearing from Trump and the Alt-Right misleading, conspiracy theory media machine.

For Trump’s mindless mob it has become automatic to dismiss everything and only accept what Trump tells them.

However, Real Clear Politics has a Fact Check Review.

Fact Check Review Methodology

“The goal of the RCP Fact Check Review project is to understand how the flagship fact-checking organizations operate in practice, from their claim and verification sourcing to their topical focus to just what even constitutes a ‘fact’.” …   (Click the link above for more)

If you want to discover the rankings of the fact check sites, click the link above and scroll down to discover that in the first column, Snopes was 99-percent correct for the previous week, FactCheck.org was 90-percent correct, Politifact was 86-percent correct, the Washington Post was 85-percent correct and the New York Times was 83-percent correct.

Then compare that to Trump’s lies.  All of the fact check sites list Trump’s lies and according to Real Clear Politics, the media fact check sites are overwhelming accurate with the truth compared to Trump.

CNN.com reports, “Donald Trump lies. And he is doing a lot more of it lately.”

The sad fact is, once seduced by Trump, nothing in this blog post will matter to Trump’s Red Guard. Whoops, I mean supporters. To Trumpists, the media Trump hates is full of fake news and fact check sites can’t be trusted because they are always wrong. Only trust in Mao. I’m sorry. I’m bad. I meant to say Trump and didn’t mean to insult Mao.

If Donald Trump and the Alt-Right billionaires, bullies, trolls, and racists win the U.S. Cultural Revolution in the United States, it will make Mao’s Cultural Revolution look like preschool.  If you doubt that, click the link and read what Vox.com has to say about “White American men are a bigger domestic terrorist threat than Muslim foreigners. Since Trump took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.” … “between 2001 and 2015, more Americans were killed by homegrown right-wing extremists than by Islamist terrorists, according to a study by New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC.”

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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How the Chinese saved GM’s Buick Brand and Donald Trump is killing American Jobs

December 5, 2018

Malignant Narcissist and the embarrassingly ignorant Donald Trump used his “BULLY” pulpit as the president of the United States to threaten: “General Motors Should Pay Back Bankruptcy Aid.”

Trump said this, “One day after General Motors reported it will shutter five North American assembly and powertrain plants.” The reason: the tariffs President Donald Trump has placed on steel and aluminum in his trade war with the world.

After Losing $1 Billion to Tariffs, General Motors Announces 14,000 Layoffs

And the BBC.com reports. “(Trump’s) Critics point out the US gets most of its (imported) steel from Canada and the EU – staunch US allies.”

In addition, ABC News reports, “The U.S. produced 81.6 million metric tons of steel in 2017, according to steel trade group The World Steel Association (WorldSteel).” How much steel did the U.S. import: “In 2017, there were 36 million metric tons of steel imported to the U.S.”

In June, Trump already had “imposed a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese goods, including China-built cars such as the Buick Envision.”

The Envision was first introduced publicly in China on July 1, 2014, with a photo of the car under a cover and placed between a Buick Encore and a Buick Enclave.

The Buick Envision has never been manufactured in the United States and no American jobs were lost jobs because of the Buick Envision being produced in China.

Back in July 2014, NBC News reported, “How China, Not Your Grandfather, May Have Saved Buick’s Future.

The reason China saved Buick is because in China Buick became a luxury car equal to BMW and Mercedes Benz. “In the late 1990s, when General Motors wanted to become one of the first Western automakers to set up a plant in China, government officials told then-CEO Jack Smith they wanted GM’s ‘best brand,’ he once recalled — not Cadillac, not Chevrolet, but Buick. Today, GM is the second-largest automaker in China and Buick is its top brand.”

How many GM Buicks are sold in China vs the United States?

Forbes.com reports, “When GM went through bankruptcy a decade ago and euthanized Saturn, Pontiac, Saab and Hummer, the custodians also pressed the case to relegate Buick to the automotive graveyard along with Mercury, Plymouth, Hudson, Studebaker, AMC, LaSalle, etc. But they were deterred by a passionate case for Buick made by GM executives stating that if the brand were killed in the U.S., it would probably dramatically impact the brand’s bizarrely healthy business in China. That’s right. Buick sells more than 800,000 Buicks a year in China. In the U.S., Buick did about 220,000 last year.”

Do you think the Chinese would be willing to buy that many Buicks if China allowed them to be imported, with a price increase, if GM moved manufacturing back to the United States for Buicks sold in China?

In fact, some U.S. made vehicles are exported to and sold in China. USA Today reports, “Altogether, Chinese sales of U.S.-made vehicles totaled about 266,657, representing less than 1% of the world’s largest automotive market.” Compare that number to how many cars made in China were sold in the US: USANews.com provides the answer: 50,000.

What country will lose the most jobs if the U.S. is forced to stop selling more than a quarter million cars made in America to Chinese consumers while China stops selling fifty-thousand to U.S. consumers all thanks to Donald Trump’s trade war?

Let’s not forget that Donald Trump has said he is a stable genius, very intelligent, and a great businessman … that caused U.S. banks to lose more than a billion dollars from Trump’s six biggest bankruptcies. Did you know that Donald Trump said during the 2016 presidential election debates that he never had a bankruptcy?

It is safe to say that if Donald Trump brags about how great he is, he is lying.

If you are curious how to sell China manufactured products in China, visit the China Law Blog here.”

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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Donald Trump’s Revival of Racism in the U.S. reminds me of the Chinese woman who died a thousand times

November 28, 2018

Until Chinese started to immigrate to the United States in the mid-19th century, they never encountered a people who considered them racially and culturally inferior. At the time, the discrimination against the Chinese in America was only exceeded by the racism directed at African-Americans.

The Chinese-American woman I’m thinking of was Anna May Wong (1905 to 1961), and the American brand of racism that hatched the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that prohibited all immigration of Chinese laborers also had a negative impact on the life of this woman.

As a child, Anna loved going to the movies and even cut school to go to the show. Eventually, she gained some success in film as an actress. Between 1919 and 1961, she acted in 62 films. The Internet Movie Data Base says she was the “first Chinese-American movie star”.

However, to act, Anna had to play the roles she was given. Because she was Chinese, the American racist stereotype always cast her as a sneaky, untrustworthy woman that only fell for Caucasian men. The price she paid to act in movies meant Anna had to die so the characters she played got what they deserved.

Anna often joked that her tombstone should read, “Here lies the woman who died a thousand times.”

In fact, in the 1960s, many of the anti-racist laws enacted during the Civil Rights era focused on protecting African-Americans. Since the Chinese, due to cultural differences, often did not complain, they were left behind.

In many respects, this racism toward the Chinese still exists in the U.S. today and manifests itself through the media as China bashing. How often have you been reminded of the alleged Tiananmen Square Massacre or the millions Mao allegedly murdered during the Great Famine and have never heard that China in the last thirty years is responsible for 90-percent of the world’s reduction in poverty?

Anna was determined to play Chinese characters that were not stereotypes, but it was a losing battle. To escape the hateful racism that murdered her dreams, she lived in Europe for a few years before returning to the racist U.S.

Since the law in the United States at the time did not allow her to marry the Caucasian man she loved, and she was afraid that if she married a Chinese man he would force her to give up acting since Chinese culture judged actresses to be the same as prostitutes, she never got married or had children.

Anna May Wong died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California at age 56. For her contribution to the film industry, Anna May Wong received a star at 1708 Vine Street on the inauguration of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

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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The Power Women Hold in China vs the U.S.

November 21, 2018

Since the end of foot binding in 1949, when Mao said women hold up half the sky, how much power have women gained in China vs the United States?

On July 4, 1776, when the U.S. became a country, women were considered the property of men and they were not allowed to vote. It wasn’t until June 4, 1919 when the 19th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution that women gained the right to vote.

The Chinese Communist Party didn’t wait almost 143 years to make women equal to men and technically, women in the U.S. are still not equal because the Equal Rights Amendment has never been passed.

In October 2017, the BBC reported, “Of the 89.4 million members of the Chinese Communist Party, just fewer than 23 million are women – that’s 26%.

“And women make up 24% of China’s National Congress – the sprawling national parliament. You don’t have to be a Communist Party member to sit on that.

“Women are less represented the higher up the political tree you climb.

“After the last Congress in 2012, only 33 women sat on the Central Committee which elects the powerful Politburo – that’s 9%.

“Only two of the 25 members of that Politburo were women – 8%.”

How about the power Women hold in the United States?

Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics reported, the “Percentage of Women in Elective office. In 2018, 20-percent held seats in the U.S. Congress, 23.7 percent held statewide Elective offices and 25.4 percent held seats in state legislatures.”

The United States doesn’t have a Central Committee but it does have the President’s Cabinet that was established in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Cabinet’s role is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of each member’s respective office.

Trump’s cabinet currently has 22 members listed and only five are women (was six but one recently quit), or 22.7-percent. Cabinet members are not elected but they must be approved by the U.S. Senate.

China’s Central Committee is currently composed of 205 full members and 171 alternate members. Thirty-three are women.

Members are nominally elected once every five years by the national Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Central Committee is, formally, the “party’s highest organ of authority” when the National Congress is not in session. Of the 2,280 delegates at the National Congress, less than a quarter was women.

No woman has ever been China’s president since the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949, but the United States also has never had a woman as its president.

“Even though Mao once famously said, ‘Women hold up half the sky’, women still have a long way to go in their fights for equal representation.”

The same holds true for the United States.

China Power.org says, “China’s constitution guarantees women ‘equal rights with men in all spheres of life,’ and over the last several decades, women in China have enjoyed some notable gains. Life expectancy and literacy rates, for instance, have risen as China’s economy has developed. This progress, however, has been outpaced by the rest of the world. China’s ranking in the index fell sharply from 63rd out of 115 countries in 2006 to 100th out of 144 countries in 2017.”

While women in the U.S. have achieved 1st place in educational attainment, women in China are ranked 102nd. China has also taken strides to improve postnatal care … a significant improvement over the US, which has no federally mandated leave.

On Global Gender Parity, Chinese women beat American women for political empowerment. China is ranked 77th and the US is in 96th place.

Then there are the billionaires. Barrons.com reports, “China dominated a ranking of the world’s self-made female billionaires, making up almost two-thirds of the total, as well as sweeping the top four spots.” … “In total, China had 64 self-made women billionaires, representing 63% of the total. … “The U.S., with 17 women billionaires, had the second largest share of the list, accounting for 17% of the total.”

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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