Dissecting the “Moral Duty” of a Reckless and False Review: Part 2/6

March 21, 2013

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Amanda Roberts’s first reckless and false statement: “As a customs officer in Ningpo, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou (known as Canton back then) from 1854-1908, Robert Hart spent his life trying to keep the faltering Qing dynasty from going bankrupt.”

This is far from accurate, because it would be years before Robert Hart went to work for the Chinese, and then several more years before he would have the authority and opportunity to dedicate himself to keeping the Qing Dynasty from going bankrupt.

On Page 1 of “Entering China’s Service”, it clearly says, “As head of the Maritime Customs from 1863 to 1908, Hart hired an international staff of hundreds (mainly British) as well as a subordinate Chinese staff of thousands to collect the revenue of foreign trade.”

And Customs only raised about a third of the Qing Dynasty’s revenues.  However, it would have been correct to say that while Hart was Inspector General the revenues from Customs were the only reliable source of money that the Qing Dynasty could depend on.

In addition, as a Custom’s official of China’s emperor, Hart never worked in Hong Kong, a British Crown colony. Instead, he spent a few days in Hong Kong after arriving in July 1854. While in Hong Kong, he struggled—for the first time—to learn Chinese before being posted to Ningpo via Shanghai.

In addition, Hart did not work as a Chinese Customs officer out of Ningpo. Hart first arrived in China not speaking one word of Mandarin and his job description was as an interpreter working for the British—not the Chinese, and for his first few years in China, he worked for the British consulate in Ningpo.

Then on March 20, 1858—while still working for the British as an interpreter—Hart was transferred to Canton three years and six months after he arrived in China.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00034]

3rd edition: April 2013

Hart would not leave his job with the British to work for the Chinese in Canton until June of 1859, and his title would be Deputy Commissioner of Customs—not Commissioner or Inspector General.

It wouldn’t be until November 1863—more than nine years after arriving in China—that Inspector General of Customs Horatio Lay, in Shanghai, would be dismissed (fired) and Hart would replace him.

Continued on March 22, 2013 in Dissecting the “Moral Duty” of a Reckless and False Review: Part 3 or return to Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Dissecting the “Moral Duty” of a Reckless and False Review: Part 1/6

March 20, 2013

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A 1-star review of the 2nd edition of My Splendid Concubine that was posted on a Blog, Two Americans in China dot com [December 9, 2012], and on Amazon.com is the focus of this post. This review ran for 1,145 words. It took me a few months to decide to write a response, because it meant digging through thousands of pages of research—most of it from primary source material, Robert Hart’s journals and letters.

In addition, it also meant attracting the wrath of mostly anonymous Internet vigilantes (bullies) that allegedly think they have a moral duty to attack any author that responds to a review of his or her work no matter how misleading that review might be.

I have no problem with a negative review—even if it is 1-star—that is honest and does not resort to reckless and false claims to influence readers, but Amanda Roberts’s review of My Splendid Concubine may be, in my opinion, a reckless review, and I want to take advantage of my 1st Amendment rights as an American and have my say regardless of the mostly anonymous-cyber bullies who would probably vote “NO” in an attempt to bury this if I were to post it on Amazon.com.

e-book-and-paperback-cover-togethere-book cover                                  paperback cover

Roberts says, “Writing a book is hard. As a writer, I know how difficult it is to put the pen to paper and put what you have to say out there for the world to see and then be ripped apart. I try to be fair in my reviews and, even when they aren’t very good, look for the positive and leave the choice of whether or not to read the book up to my readers. My reviews are my opinion – nothing more.

“But sometimes, you come across a book that is so bad that it becomes a moral duty to spare others the pain of reading it. I really hate to go that far in a review, but this book is so bad I even feel bad for Lofthouse’s wife. Let me explain …”

After we remove all of the reckless, false claims, what’s left is Roberts’s brief and honest opinion: “The book is extremely soft-core pornish, and it is my moral duty to spare others the pain of reading it.”

My question is: Does that “moral duty” give Amanda Roberts (or anyone for that matter) the right to make reckless and false claims?

If Roberts had read “Entering China’s Service: Robert Hart’s Journals, 1854—1863”—as I did using a highlighter and tagging pages—before writing her review or after reading the 112,538 words of My Splendid Concubine’s 2nd edition, she would know how reckless and false the claims she made are that supports her ‘moral duty’.

Continued on March 21, 2013 in Dissecting the “Moral Duty” of a Reckless and False Review: Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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An Attitude Shift in China

June 7, 2010

During Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Pearl S. Buck, who wrote The Good Earth and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first American woman to win it, and the Pulitzer Prize, was denounced in 1972 as an “American cultural imperialist” by the Communists in China and was not allowed to visit China with Richard Nixon.

Pearl S. Buck

I recently read in Xinhua, the official voice of China’s government, that “A few months ago, the American novelist who spent most of the first 42 years of her life in China, from 1892 to 1934, putting her heartfelt and acute understanding of Chinese grassroots people in her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Good Earth (1931), was voted one of the top “friends of China” in an international event hosted by the Chinese government.”

In February 2009, city officials in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province in China opened the Pearl S. Buck Museum and Philanthropy Pavilion adjacent to her historic home. The museum and pavilion were divided into three sections: one devoted to her humanitarian works, another to her life and achievements, and the last, to her writings.

See International Women’s Day


Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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Pearl of China

March 12, 2010

“From the bestselling author of Red Azalea and Empress Orchid comes the powerful story of the friendship of a lifetime, based on the life of Pearl S. Buck.”

“In this ambitious new novel (Pearl of China), Anchee Min brings to life a courageous and passionate woman who is now hailed in China as a modern heroine. Like nothing before it, Pearl of China tells the story of one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers, from the perspective of the people she loved and of the land she called home.” Source Bookbrowse

At Bookbrowse, thirty-five early, reader reviews rated Pearl of China an average 4.5/5 stars.

In the southern town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the nineteenth century, two girls bump heads and become thick as thieves. Willow is the only child of a destitute local family. Pearl, the headstrong daughter of zealous Christian missionaries, will become Pearl S. Buck, Nobel Prize-winning writer and activist. Their friendship will be tested during decades of great tumult, by imprisonment and exile, bloody civil war and Mao’s repressive Communist regime.

Pearl S. Buck won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932, the Howells Medal in 1935, and the Nobel Prize for literature in 1938.

Read International Women’s Day where Anchee Min was a guest speaker http://wp.me/pN4pY-ft


International Women’s Day

March 12, 2010

March 8, marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Nations that officially honor women, range from China and Russia to Macedonia and Vietnam.

In Imperial China, women could not hold positions of power. They were considered “objects” to be sold into marriage or to serve men as concubines or prostitutes. However, while men ruled the world outside, women ruled the home. The head wife dictated who went where, how much money was spent on household needs, what education the children received, and ultimately the fate of the lives of the other wives and concubines beneath her.

When the Kuomintang ruled China, rural women were expected to stay home and care for the family, while women in the major cities were given a chance to have a formal education. When Mao came to power, he eliminated these differences between men and women. Afterwards, many women marched beside their fellow comrades in the same uniforms. They went to school and worked at jobs.

Today, Chinese women can be seen in all aspects of life. They are famous actors, accomplished musicians and skilled scientists. They are award-winning writers and politicians. Two successful Chinese women will be speaking at the Women in the World Summit  (starting the evening of March 12 to 14). The schedule of speakers and events shows that these two notable Chinese women will be speaking Saturday afternoon, March 13.

Wei Sun Christianson

Wei Sun Christianson, head of Morgan Stanley China manages all aspects of the firm’s China business. She has helped start many of the landmark privatizations critical to China’s economic progress.

Anchee Min

 Anchee Min is the author of the bestselling memoir Red Azalea, the story of her childhood in communist China. At age 17, Min was sent to a labor camp during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. In 1984, with help from a friend, Min went to America. At the time, she spoke no English, but within six months taught herself the language. Her next novel, Pearl of China, is a fictional account covering the 40 years Pearl S. Buck lived in China. The novel will be released in April by Bloomsbury.

Hillary Clinton will also appear. She said, the world “can’t solve problems of financial crisis, climate change, disease and poverty if half of the population is left behind.” The International Women’s Day doesn’t get much attention in the United States.

Discover China’s Modern Women


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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