China’s curious link between Opium, Christians, Cults and Cannon balls

January 27, 2015

Organized religions and cults such as the Falun Gong have been in China for centuries, but have never played a major role in the culture until the 19th century when Christianity and opium was forced on China.

C.M. Cipolla, in Guns, Sales and Empires, wrote, “While Buddha came to China on white elephants, Christ was born on cannon balls” paid for by the profits to be made from opium. Cipolla obtained his first teaching post in economic history in Catania at the age of 27. In 1953, Cipolla left for the United States as a Fulbright fellow and in 1957 became a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Two years later he obtained a full professorship.

The treaties that ended the two Opium Wars—first Opium war (1839-1842) and second Opium War (1856-1860)—required that China’s emperor allow Christian missionaries free access to all of China to convert the heathens. The treaty also opened all of China to the opium trade. Christianity and Opium might seem a strange partnership but that’s the way it was.

Then there was the Taiping Rebellion led by Hong Xiuquan, God’s Chinese son and a Christian convert, who was responsible for 20 – 100 million deaths over a period of 14 years (1850 – 1864). Hong claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ, and millions of Chinese believed him, but the Taipings were against the opium trade and that led the Christian countries to support China’s emperor against the Christian Taipings proving that profits come before God.

Then in the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers, officially known as Fists of Righteous Harmony, roamed the countryside attacking Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Chinese converts.

Confucius and Lao-Tse have influenced the foundation of Chinese culture and morality, and these two along with Buddha offer more of a blended influence on Chinese culture than Christianity or Islam.

Thanks to Confucius, China’s mainstream culture understands the importance of people within the family and society more so than many other countries and cultures. This may explain why China is a powerhouse of industry today.

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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 lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010” Awards

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Renewing Pride One Win at a Time

June 10, 2011

Recently a Chinese friend was proud to announce that Li Na won the French Open in Tennis on June 6.

Li Na is the first Chinese woman ever to win an Open Tennis women’s final title and become a world champion.

My friend watched it on a Chinese language cable news station the morning Li Na won, and said, “I bet the American media will not report this, and we won’t see it on the evening sports news.”  The Chinese news anchor said that all of China would have been watching the game even if they had to give up sleep.

However, my Chinese friend was wrong. I Googled “Li Na wins the French Open” and discovered that ESPN, Yahoo Sports, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, Fox Sports, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, etc. had reported Li Na’s win. The comment my friend made reflects an attitude among many in China.

In fact, there may be a little truth to what the said. After I searched the first two pages of Google hits, I still hadn’t seen the New York Times and I’m not surprised. Over time, I have discovered that the New York Times along with The Economist in the UK seems to be particularly antagonistic toward mainland China in the way the news is reported about The Middle Kingdom.

The morning before Li Na won the French Open, I heard from the same Chinese language news source that Chinese military and police snipers had won four out of five events at the 10th Military and Police Sniper World Cup in Budapest. The Chinese snipers placed first in four of the five events winning four gold medals. Source: The Firearm Blog

For those that watched the 2008 Beijing Olympics, you may remember that although America won the most medals at 110, the Chinese were a close second at 100 and China won 51 gold medals to America’s 36.

What Li Na accomplished at the French Open and what the Chinese military and police snipers won is a sign that the Chinese are regaining confidence and rebuilding the pride that was lost after Western imperial powers won two Opium Wars, destroyed the emperor’s Summer Palace in 1860, the failure of the Boxer Rebellion by Chinese peasant in 1900, the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and the anarchy that followed, the invasion by Japan during World War II, the loss of Taiwan to an American supported dictator, and the fact that the Western media won’t stop criticizing China over Tibet or let the world forget 1989 and what happened in Tiananmen Square.

What angers most Chinese is the Western media criticizing China over Tibet and Tiananmen Square based on falsehoods (you know—half lies).  Most Chinese know the whole truth but many Westerners don’t and do not care to know.

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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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The Connection between Opium, Christianity, Cults and Cannon Balls in China

March 1, 2011

Organized religions and cults such as the Falun Gong have been in China for centuries, but have never played a major role in the culture until the 19th century when Christianity was forced on China.

C.M. Cipolla wrote in his book, Guns, Sails and Empires, “While Buddha came to China on white elephants, Christ was born on cannon balls” powered by opium.

The treaty that ended the opium wars included a clause that required China to allow Christian missionaries free access to all of China to convert the heathens.

Then the Taiping Rebellion led by Hong Xiuquan, God’s Chinese son and a Christian convert, was responsible for more than 20 million deaths. Hong claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Millions believed him.

In the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers, officially known as Fists of Righteous Harmony, roamed the countryside attacking Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Chinese converts.

Confucius and possibly Lao-Tse have influenced the foundation of Chinese culture and morality the most. These two along with Buddha offer more of a blended influence on Chinese culture than Christianity or Islam.

Thanks to Confucius, China’s mainstream culture understands the importance of people within the family and society more so than many other countries and cultures.

This may explain why China is a powerhouse of industry today.

Learn of Christianity and Islam in China

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

Note: This post first appeared on iLook China March 11, 2010 as post # 128. This revised version reappears as post # 1095.


The Lips Protecting China’s Teeth – Part 2/3

February 20, 2011

With military bases in the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and Okinawa, it was easy for America to replace France in Vietnam, which led to the Second War in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia from 1955 to 1975.

That was when Mao’s China said that Vietnam and China were “as close as the lips and the teeth”.  Mao asked, “What happens to the teeth when the lips are gone?”

What the French and Americans did in Vietnam was not the only reason China wants to keep a buffer between itself and countries such as England, France, Japan and the United States.

Great Britain conquered Burma after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in 1824 to 1886. Singapore was added in 1819. Then the British acquired Melaka in 1824 then expanded into the Malay Peninsula between 1874 and 1914.

Thailand was the only Southeast Asian state to remain independent during the colonial period yet Thailand, which was known as Siam paid tribute to China 48 times mostly after 1780.

The next war between China and Japan took place in 1894 to 1895. China lost and ceded Taiwan, the adjoining Pescadores, and the Liaotung Peninsula in Manchuria to Japan.

China’s defeat encouraged the Western powers to make further demands of the Chinese government, which triggered a reform movement and the beginning of revolutionary activity against the Manchu rulers of China.

While China was helpless, Japan occupied Korea and held it as a colony from 1900 – 1945.

In 1903, a British military expedition invaded Tibet interfering in Tibetan affairs to gain a base in one of the buffer states surrounding India. The British were unsuccessful and left in 1904.

However, in 1913, soon after the Qing Dynasty collapsed, the British convinced Tibet to declare freedom from being one of China’s tributaries after being occupied and loosely governed by China since the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century.

In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion led to another foreign invasion by the eight-nation alliance of Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Germany, Austria-Hungry and Italy.

During that invasion, China’s Imperial army lost 20,000 troops and about 19,000 civilians while the foreign invaders lost 2,500 soldiers.

Return to The Lips Protecting China’s Teeth – Part 1

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The Economist on China – Seriously – Part 4/4

January 13, 2011

Although I feel that some of the advice from The Economist (ET) of The dangers of a rising China is flawed, the most important advice for America is to abide by its own rules — and if it must break them, it should factor in the real cost of doing so.

I say that the problem here is the fact that every few years, the leadership of America changes and the new leadership (depending on political agendas and promises made to win votes) often does not respect agreements made by previous administrations.

However, China’s central government tends to be much more stable than that of the US. This may help.

Since the US has a history of breaking rules (and treaties), The Economist (TE) does offer valuable advice but I doubt if the US government will listen. The nature of US politics and much ignorance of China among many American voters increases the risk of making a costly mistake.

In fact, there are political factions in the US that do not care how many die or suffer to achieve their political/religious goals.

TE also offers important advice for the Chinese Communist Party to stop using censors… and to draw less on historic grievances.

I suspect that as long as life in China continues to improve, the majority of Chinese could care less about the censored topics.

However, what TE means by historic grievances is more important and a larger challenge for the Chinese to overcome. There are 19th century invasions of China by Western powers that led to the Opium Wars; the devastation of the Taiping Rebellion caused by a Christian convert; the results of the Boxer Rebellion and what happened in World War II when Japan invaded China slaughtering millions of innocent people.

In the 18th and 19th century, China wanted to avoid contact with the West but the West due to its politics and religious beliefs refused and forced China to open its doors to trade resulting in much suffering in China.

Forgetting those grievances, which smashed China’s “collective” pride, may be difficult for many Chinese to do now that the pride that was lost has been found again.

In fact, do not forget that many in China feel a serious connection to the ancestors who suffered at the hands of Western countries and Japan between the Opium Wars and the conclusion of World War II.

It may be difficult and even impossible for people in an “individualist” culture such as the US to understand why many Chinese may have difficulty letting go of these historic grievances.

After all, in America, it is easy to forget about the ancestors, the past and history. Many even believe it is a waste of time to learn of history.

Return to The Economist on China – Seriously – Part 3

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Separation of Church and State — Part 1/3

January 6, 2011

In 1998, something dire happened in Washington DC while President Clinton was in the White House and the GOP controlled both houses of Congress.

Clinton must have made a compromise with the GOP since in the 105th Congress, the GOP held 55 seats in the Senate and Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the House with 228 GOP votes of 435.

I have no idea what Clinton got out of the deal, but what happened was a huge victory for America’s conservative evangelical Christians. It also created a threatening situation for most of the world’s population.

These evangelicals are the same people who want to control women’s reproductive rights in the US and the same people who fight to block sex education designed to combat the spread of HIV AIDS.  These evangelicals are the same people that managed, while President G. W. Bush was living in the White House, to limit stem cell research possibly leading to many early deaths and much suffering among the living. 

To explore more on this topic, see Christian Today Australia – US evanglical engagement in politics is too partisan, say authors or Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right.

What President Clinton and the GOP majority in Congress did was turn the U.S. Department of State into a global advocate for organized religion.

For many in China, this blending of government with religion in the US may be of a particular concern since China has a history with Christianity that has often ended badly.

When the treaty was signed ending the First Opium War (1840-1842), the British Empire included a clause that forced China to open its doors to Christian missionaries.

A decade later, the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864) was led by a Christian convert that wanted to turn China into a Christian nation. In fact, Jonathan D. Spence wrote about this Christian convert in God’s Chinese Son.

In the end, more than twenty million were killed.  Ironically, Hong Xiuquan called the part of China he controlled the Kingdom of Heavenly Peace.

Then in 1900, there was the Boxer Rebellion (Righteous Harmony Society Movement), which was a popular peasant uprising to rid China of meddling Christian missionaries and foreigners.

An armed force made up of military from mostly Christian nations invaded China and ended the Boxer movement. The Christians stayed.

In Part 2, we will see why it is dangerous to allow a government to use taxpayer dollars to get into the business of spreading organized religion across the world.

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) – Part 2/2

December 14, 2010

The Yongzheng Emperor ruled from 1722 to 1735. He was frugal like his father, the Kangxi Emperor.

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 Qianlong Emperor (birth/death 1711 – 1799) ruled China for much of the 18th century (1735 – 1796). He subdued about ten rebellions known as the “ten successful campaigns”, which drained the Qing Dynasty’s treasury. These rebellions stretched from 1747 to 1792.

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

During the rule of the Qianlong Emperor, Manchu and Chinese armies proved the Qing sovereignty over Burma and Nepal.

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.

During the 19th century, the two Opium Wars started by Britain and France weakened the Qing Dynasty.

Besides the Opium Wars, there was also the Taiping Rebellion, which lasted more than a decade and cost about 20 million lives.

In 1900, The so-called Boxer Rebellion (known as “I-ho Chuan” or the “Righteous and Harmonious Fists”) was originally started against the Manchu Qing Dynasty but the Qing government managed to redirect this rebellion against the foreigner invaders that had defeated China during the earlier Opium Wars.

This ended in a worse defeat after the foreign powers formed an alliance and marched on Beijing slaughtering the rebels.

The driving force behind the revolution of 1911 that ended the Qing Dynasty was Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

However, once the Qing Dynasty fell, warlords tore China apart and it would take years of struggle to reunify China under one government in 1949 after the Communist Party defeated the Nationalists, who fled to Taiwan with much of China’s imperial treasures and gold.

Return to The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) – Part 1

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.