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


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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September 22, 2010

After writing the post Global Censorship and Corruption, I did more research and discovered that Reporters Without Borders ranked the United States 20th in their 2009 Press Freedom Index. 

In 2008, when G. W. Bush was president, that rank was 36 of the 175 countries listed.

The People’s Republic of China was ranked 168. 

Saudi Arabia, a staunch ally to the US and an important source of foreign oil, was ranked 163 not far from China, yet we seldom hear or read complaints about censorship in Saudi Arabia.

James E. Hanson, who worked for NASA, appeared on 60 minutes and said that the G. W. Bush White House censored climate-related press releases reported by federal agencies to make global warming seem less threatening

Does the U.S. Constitution allow freedom of press and expression for government employees?  It doesn’t look like it.

In addition, if an employee for an American corporation speaks to the media without permission, he or she may be fired.

The September 2010 AARP Bulletin had a piece about books banned in America. 

Did you know that the Harry Potter series was burned in New Mexico and challenged in 19 states and the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin was frequently censored from 1789 to the early 20th century? Source: AARP Bulletin

I do not agree with what President Bush’s White House did to James Hanson’s report about climate change.

However, if the U.S. government can censor government employees, why can’t China’s government do the same to their employees?

To learn about China’s Constitution see Dictatorship Defined


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.

Learning from Sherlock Holmes

June 26, 2010

I was shopping at Costco and saw a piece in The (June 19) Economist about China’s secret media.  I bought a copy and read it when I got home. One of the major reasons that the Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1911 was because the Manchu leaders were out of touch with what was going on. The royal princes lived behind high walls in a fantasy world of opulent gardens. The young Emperor and the Empress Dowager lived inside the Forbidden City or The Summer Palace—surrounded by ministers who filtered the news.

Sherlock Holmes

In Chinese whispers, The Economist reveals the different layers of news in today’s China. One layer is the cleansed version for the people then there are other layers depending on how high one is in the government. Each layer appears to have less censorship. What this piece reveals is that China’s top leaders wants to know what’s going on before anyone else does.

One example would be the SARS outbreak in 2003. According to the Economist, by the time China’s leaders learned about SARS, there had already been 300 cases and 5 deaths. Two days after learning about SARS, China’s leaders told the World Health Organization. Since Xinhua’s reporters and editors do such a great job filtering the news for mass consumption, it seems that China’s top leaders have to become sleuths to discover the missing facts.

See The Collective Will


Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning concubine saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you also marry her family and culture.

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