China’s Xinjiang Challenge

September 12, 2018

Xinjiang is a province in the Northwest corner of China. It is also an Uyghur Autonomous Region. This area shares its border with Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

In the next video, you will watch 3,000 years of Chinese history in a minute and discover that China first ruled over the Xingjian area during the Tang Dynasty more than 1300 years ago. When the Tang Dynasty collapsed a few centuries later, China lost control of this area and it wouldn’t be reoccupied and ruled by China again until the Qing Dynasty in the early 18th century (1720s). When the Chinese Communist Party came to power in China in 1949, China continued to rule over Xinjiang.

The BBC reports, “Most Uighurs are Muslim and Islam is an important part of their life and identity. Their language is related to Turkish, and they regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. … But development has brought new residents. In the 2000 census, Han Chinese made up 40% of the population, as well as large numbers of troops stationed in the region and unknown numbers of unregistered migrants.” …

“The region has had intermittent autonomy and occasional independence, but what is now known as Xinjiang came under Chinese rule in the 18th Century.” …

“In the 1990s, open support for separatist groups increased after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent Muslim states in Central Asia.” …

“China has often blamed ETIM – the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – or people inspired by ETIM for violent incidents both in Xinjiang and beyond the region’s borders.

The ETIM has been linked to Al-Qaeda and is allied with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan along with the Pakistani Taliban (Tehreek i Taliban Pakistan).

The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party Organization for Freeing Eastern Turkistan, and the Islamic Party of Turkistan were outlawed by Kyrgyzstan’s Lenin District Court and its Supreme Court in November 2003. Kazakhstan, Russia, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, China, the United States, and Pakistan outlawed the group.

Foreign Policy Magazine reported in 2017 that “the Islamic State pledges to attack China next. ISIS tries to curry favor with China’s repressed Muslim minority groups. The Islamic State is now setting its sights on China, releasing on Monday a half-hour video in which they pledged to ‘shed blood like rivers’ in attacks against Chinese targets. Experts say it’s the first threat the terrorist organization has leveled against China.

“Ethnic Uighurs have carried out terrorist attacks already, including a May 2014 attack in the Xin­jiang region’s capital of Urumqi that killed 43 and wounded 90. But for the most part, Uighur extremists carry out attacks on a much smaller and less coordinated scale. That likely won’t change, despite newfound ISIS-backing, Gladney said.”


Xinjiang is rich in coal, natural gas, and oil.

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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Climate Change and Development in Tibet Creates Lifestyle Challenges

July 17, 2018

In 1949, 99 percent of Tibetans were mostly illiterate serfs. Serfs have always been treated as an inferior element in society. As serfs, most Tibetans depended entirely upon the few landowners for survival. In this system of serfdom, peasants could be traded, punished without due process of law, and made to pay tribute to the lord with labor. When China occupied Tibet, all those serfs were freed just like they were throughout China.

Tibet is part of China. Rural Life in China reported, “A typical family of seven described by Business Week in 2000 lived in a four-room house, used 0.64 of an acre for growing rice, used 0.59 an acre for growing other crops and owned four pigs, one horse, and 20 ducks. Their expenditures were $546: $217 for food, $96 for transportation, $72 for fertilizer and pesticides, $48 for medicine, medical services, $36 for local taxes; $7 for road building and improvement; $4 for power station maintenance; $6 for education and culture and $60 for cloth and clothes.”

Did you notice there was no mention of rent or a mortgage payment? My mortgage payment in the United States is almost 38 percent of my income and a friend and his family of three pay more in rent for less space in the same area. But in urban China,, renting or owning a home is not free. Tibet is mostly a rural area of China.

“Since 2006, the Tibetan government has mandated that Tibetan farmers, herders, and nomads use government subsidies to build new homes closer to roads. New concrete homes with traditional Tibetan decorations dot the stark brown countryside. But the base government subsidy for building the new homes is usually $1,500 per household, far short of the total needed. Families have generally had to take out multiple times that amount in interest-free three-year loans from state banks as well as private loans from relatives or friends.” [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, July 24, 2010]”

Even the lives of Tibetan Nomads that makeup about a quarter of the population is changing. “Tibetan nomads have a lot in common with Mongolian nomads. Tibetan nomad culture is quickly disappearing as more Tibetans each year are being relocated off of the grasslands.”  But that might have more to do with climate change.

Nature.com reports, “A comprehensive environmental assessment of the Plateau of Tibet has found that the region is getting hotter, wetter and more polluted, threatening its fragile ecosystems and those who rely on them.

The plateau and its surrounding mountains cover 5 million square kilometers and hold the largest stock of ice outside the Arctic and Antarctic; the region is thus often referred to as the Third Pole. And like the actual poles, it is increasingly feeling the effects of climate change, but rapid development is putting it doubly at risk and is also changing lifestyle choices.

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 Last Imperial Dynasty was not ruled by the Han Chinese: Part 2 of 3

June 7, 2018

The next Qing Emperor Yongzheng ruled from 1722 to 1735, and he was frugal like his father.

Yongzheng created an effective government and used military force to preserve the dynasty’s position as his father had. Under his leadership, he continued the era of peace and prosperity by cracking down on corruption and waste while reforming the financial administration of the empire.

The next one was the Qianlong Emperor, also known as the warrior emperor, and he ruled China for much of the 18th century (1735 – 1796). During his leadership, he subdued several rebellions known as the “ten successful campaigns”, which drained the Qing Dynasty’s treasury. These rebellions went on for forty-five years from 1747 to 1792.

However, when the Qianlong Emperor died, China was unified, at peace, and still strong. He was a brilliant military leader and expanded the empire further into Mongolia and Tibet.

During Qianlong’s rule, Manchu and Chinese armies spread Qing sovereignty over Burma and Nepal.

In addition, Chinese settlers in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Taiwan dealt with rebellions of the aboriginal tribes that could only be subdued by military force. Muslim people also resisted the Qing regime in Gansu and Xinjiang.

Part 3 will be posted on June 8, 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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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 Ming Dynasty’s Second Emperor was the opposite of Hongwu

May 29, 2018

Before Emperor Hongwu (the 1st emperor of the Ming Dynasty), died, he made arrangements so his oldest grandson would become the next emperor. To ensure this wouldn’t fail, he had all the “potential” enemies of his grandson killed. Hongwu did this because he wanted someone to replace him that thought like him.

However, that grandson didn’t become the second emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Instead, Hongwu’s fourth son became that emperor, and he became Emperor Yongle who ruled 1402 – 1424.  Before his father died, Yongle had been sent to guard the north against the nomads and was given the title of King Yan. Due to his success at driving back the Mongols, he had the support of China’s nobility to become emperor.

After a bloodbath to gain the throne, he became emperor and reversed his father’s decisions reopening China to world trade.

In 1404, Yongle also decided to move the capital from Nanjing to Beijing since that city was situated in an important strategic position between Mongolia and the plains of northern China, twenty miles from the Great Wall.

Before moving from Nanjing, Yongle had Beijing rebuilt with a new palace now known as The Forbidden City. The materials for this construction came from all over China with most of it being carried on barges along the Grand Canal.

Emperor Yongle also wanted to learn more about the world, so he had a huge fleet of ships built that the world had never seen before, and he put a Muslim eunuch by the name of Zheng He in charge.

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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Mongol Yuan Dynasty Defeats Song: Part 2 of 3

May 17, 2018

To decide who the next khan would be while Kublai was still in China, a secret council was held in Mongolia’s capital Karakorum, and a rebellion was plotted by Kublai’s rivals.

After his mother warned him of the plot, he had no choice, and Kublai broke off the war with the Song Dynasty and led his army north to Shang-Tu. where he gathered supporters and was elected the great Khan of the Mongols at the age of 44.

Deciding he wanted a new capital, construction was started on the site where Beijing stands today. It would take 30,000 men five years to complete the new city. This is the city Marco Polo reached in 1266.

Kublai received Marco and his brother with hospitality and asked them many questions regarding the European legal and political system. He also inquired about the Pope and Church in Rome. After the brothers answered his questions, he tasked them with delivering a letter to the Pope, requesting 100 Christians acquainted with the Seven Arts (grammar, rhetoric, logic, geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy).

Kublai Khan was now ready to wage war with the Song Dynasty again. At first, he tried diplomacy but the Song Dynasty refused to surrender. To fight the Song, Kublai Khan knew he had to build a navy and learn naval warfare. The Mongols had never been a seafaring race but this didn’t stop him.

Kublai’s army was now up against the great fortress city of Xiangyang.  On the other side of this city was the Yangtze River and on the other side of the river was the heart of the Song Empire. He had to take the city before he crossed the river.

The siege lasted for five years before taking the city of Xiangyang and then Kublai’s army crossed the Yangtze.

At the time, the Song emperor was only four years old, and his aging mother handled affairs of state ruling China as the Empress Dowager. In 1276, she admitted defeat and the Song Dynasty surrendered.

Continued in Part 3 on May 18, 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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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