China’s long affair with the universe: Part 2 of 2

September 5, 2013

The Milky Way Maid says that the (ancient) Chinese focused more on the constellations, creating one of the earliest star maps ever found.

Chinese astronomers gave distinctive names to familiar Western constellations. For example, the Big Dipper was called The Plow. The North Star was Bei Ji. Another constellation was called the Winnowing Basket.

From the 16th century B.C. to the end of the 19th Century A.D., almost every (Chinese) dynasty appointed officials who were charged with the sole task of observing and recording the changes in the heavens.

However, the Chinese were not alone in mapping the heavens. 

Ancient cultures in the West studied the skies too. The “Nebra Sky Disc”, discovered in Europe, dates to about 1,600 BC. 

National Geographic says the Nebra Sky Disc is the oldest depiction of the night sky in history.  It is a hundred years older than the oldest images found in ancient Egypt.

The Nebra Sky Disc may be the first representation of the universe in human history.

However, in China about 4,000 years ago, the oldest astronomical instrument known to man appeared. It was merely a bamboo pole planted in the ground so that the movement of the sun could be observed from the direction and length of the shadow of the pole. Source: China.org – Astronomy and Mathematics

Historians consider that the Chinese were the most persistent and accurate observers of celestial phenomena.

Return to or start with China’s long affair with the universe: Part 1 or discover Chinese inventions.

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

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


China’s long, violent history with Vietnam

August 22, 2013

After the death of Stalin, relations between the Soviet Union and China turned sour while the Russians and the Vietnamese developed a closer relationship.

To counter this perceived threat, China encouraged Cambodia to take aggressive action against Vietnam. By the end of 1978, the Cambodians under the leadership of Pol Pot launched a series of attacks along the Vietnam border.

The Vietnamese retaliated with armored units and captured the capital of Cambodia on January 7, 1979.

Since ten-thousand Chinese military advisers in Camboida became prisoners, China loses face.

On February 15, 1979, China invaded Vietnam to teach it a lesson.

The Vietnamese decided to hold back their regular army and defend the border with militia units using guerilla tactics in the hills and rainforest similar to how they fought America.

China takes heavy casualties after attacking and soon returns to China.

China has a long history with Vietnam. The First Chinese domination of Vietnam took place in 207 BC to 39 AD. The second occupation was from 43 to 544 AD.  The third was from 602 to 905 AD.  The fourth was between 1407 to 1427 AD.

Then France ruled over Vietnam from 1862 until the Japanese invaded during World War II. The French would return in 1946 and fight the Vietnamese until 1954.

The US and Vietnam, once enemies during the American-Vietnam War (1961 – 1975), are now allied to block China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.  Source: Goldsea Asian American News

Discover China and India at War in 1962

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

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


The Father of China’s Republic, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen

August 15, 2013

“An individual should not have too much freedom. A nation should have absolute freedom.” – Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (1866 – 1925)

He is referred to as the father of modern China.  If there were no Sun Yat-Sen and his revolution, there might not be a modern China as it is known today.

While attending a Christian school in Hawaii (1882), he converted to Christianity, which shaped his revolutionary future. It was obvious that his writing was influenced by American thought. With the support he received from the Hawaiian Chinese community, he networked with Chinese people all over the world.

He went on to publish revolutionary ideas seeking to overthrow the Manchu Dynasty and create the Republic of China. In 1904, he wrote that he wanted to model China’s government after America but by combining Western thought with Chinese tradition.

Yet, he was considered an idealistic dreamer—that his ideas were impractical. He said, “The whole world is one family.” (1910)

In 1882, when Sun Yat-Sen was exposed to American politics, the United States was a republic—not the democracy we know today—and women did not have the right to vote yet. What type of republic do you think he wanted for China—one closer to the America of 1882 or today?

Discover The Roots of Madness

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

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


China’s Gold Rush

August 8, 2013

The Imperial Color was yellow gold and the roofs of the Forbidden City were the same color. During imperial times, anyone wearing the imperial color, who did not belong to China’s ruling family, usually lost their heads.

Now, China is having a gold rush and holds more than a thousand tonnes of Gold as of June 2010, while gold demand from China’s middle class has grown 13 percent annually for the last five years.

As you can see from this Sky News video, Chinese are gobbling up gold as fast as they can regardless of the price.  To them, it is an investment and the Central Bank of China is quietly buying gold to build reserves. China is now the world’s largest producer of gold.

Frank Homes writing for Wall Street Pit, Global Market Insight, says China can’t get enough gold and state-controlled China National Gold Group signed an agreement with Kensington Mine in Alaska to buy more.

In fact, Pacific Money.com says, “China’s society is changing beyond all recognition. At the heart of the most sweeping social and economic transformation the world has seen is the rise of a powerful new largely middle-class population. In 2000, only 4% of China’s urban households were middle class; by 2012, that number skyrocketed to more than 66%.

Discover China’s Heart and Soul

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

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Printing Books in China

July 9, 2013

I read a post on another Blog that complained about printing books in China for the American market, and this was my response.

If American’s stopped buying products made in China, Americans at home would lose jobs.  Since companies like Wal-Mart have most of its products manufactured in China, Wal-Mart might go out of business or shrink—which might be a good thing.  But many low wage people that work for Wal-Mart in the United States would be unemployed like American autoworkers during the recession.

Most Chinese products are manufactured for American companies.  Most of Apple’s products are manufactured outside the country like iPods in China. Try to buy a car—any car—that’s 100% manufactured in the United States.  Does it matter where the jobs go?  They are still gone. People in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, etc. are manufacturing goods that are sold in the United States. China isn’t the only country that does this.  Yet China seems to get all the blame. Why?

Many products may be built in other countries but an American puts them on the shelf, sells them and gets paid for it. When you buy an e-book, where is it manufactured?

Discover Doing Business in China

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

His latest novel, Running with the Enemy, was awarded an honorable mention in general fiction at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival.

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What does the world’s fastest supercomputer; a Chinese Dissident and America’s top secret Internet-phone Surveillance System have in common?

June 18, 2013

Recently three revealing news items caught my attention. The first was about Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese dissident who fled China to become a visiting scholar at New York University.

I understand Mr. Chen doesn’t speak a word of English and was self-educated in China.  Therefore, his one-year job as a visiting scholar at NYU could be seen as a form of welfare offering him a way to earn money just by hanging around sharing his story of how horrible China’s government is.

Now that his one-year visiting scholarship job is ending, he is accusing NYU of being pressured by China to dump him. Is this an example of biting the hand that feeds you? I’m not surprised. Who wants to be unemployed?

“Chen, who has been blind from childhood and taught himself law, was a campaigner for farmers and disabled citizens. He exposed forced abortions in China before he was placed under house arrest in Shandong province. … NYU pointed to a PBS television interview in May 2012 with Cohen, who had said Chen would be at NYU for a year at most while he adjusted to a new country.” Source: Reuters

Then again, maybe the truth about Mr. Chen is that he’s just a paranoid guy with a wild imagination who likes to complain and now that he’s living in the US, he has to find something to complain about here. Maybe the Chinese really locked Chen up because they grew tired of hearing his unsupported, alleged complaints.

The second bit of news was China asking the United States to explain its Internet surveillance program: “China made its first substantive comments on Monday to reports of U.S. surveillance of the Internet, demanding that Washington explain its monitoring programs to the international community.

“Several nations, including U.S. allies, have reacted angrily to revelations by an ex-CIA employee over a week ago that U.S. authorities had tapped the servers of internet companies for personal data.”  Source: CNBC

I think there has to be another reason China is making this demand.  Either China wants the world to see that its biggest critic for Internet surveillance in China, the United States, also spies on its citizens and was keeping it a secret, or—then again—maybe China wants to learn from the United States how to build a better Internet surveillance system.  After all, the US is known for its innovation.

The third bit of news was about China’s new supercomputer. CNBC reported that “China has built the world’s fastest supercomputer, almost twice as fast as the previous U.S. holder and underlining the country’s rise as a science and technology powerhouse.”

It’s no secret—I think (no leak intended)—that the United States uses supercomputers to monitor its Internet surveillance system and eavesdrop on citizens’ phone calls and e-mails. And now that China has a super computer twice as powerful as anything in the United States, China may want to put it to good use just like the US is doing to keep a closer eye on its citizens—and so-called paranoid dissidents like Chen Guangcheng.

That way China will be able to move faster and grant these dissidents immigration status to the US where they will seek political asylum and be given positions as visiting scholars who don’t have to teach classes and who get paid just to hang around and socialize badmouthing China.

That should help divert the attention of America’s citizens off of their own government’s Internet and phone surveillance systems and back on China where the US government wants it to be focused.

Discover Liu Xiaobo’s Manifesto, Charter 08

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

His latest novel, Running with the Enemy, was awarded an honorable mention in general fiction at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival.

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Breathing Huangzhou

June 4, 2013

The city of Huangzhou in Zhejiang province is about a hundred miles or 161 kilometers from Shanghai. We’ve visited several times. Our last trip together was in 2008 shortly before the project this story covers was launched. Huangzhou is one of the most beautiful cities in China.

In the video, Al Jazerra’s Melissa Chan reports on one of the largest bike sharing projects in the world and one of the most successful.

Launched in 2008, the city of Huangzhou provides 50,000 free bicycles at 2,000 bike stops across the city, and in July 2012 a paper was published on the Clean Air Action Planning in Chinese Cities: Hangzhou and Jinan Cases.

The people Chan interviewed say they use the bikes to go to work and it is great to be outside and exercising. One woman says it cuts her commute time.

Melissa Chan says the first hour of bike use is free. It’s actually possible to cycle free all day as long as you check in at a stop every hour.

The system is easy to use—just swipe a bike card across a reader (similar to riding many urban rapid transit systems) and off you go.

Registering for a card is simple.  All that’s needed is a deposit and identification.

Huangzhou, also known as the Westlake, has been one of the more environmentally conscious cities in China.

The government made space to build parks alongside the rapid development and modernization. Huangzhou has remained picturesque unlike many other cities in China where the concrete jungle has taken over.

Li Zhi Hong of Hangzhou Public Transport says the city wanted to encourage citizens to leave their cars and use more public transportation. The bicycles allowed people to take that final kilometer from the bus station to their destination.

The bikes are also great for tourism.

Melissa Chan says public busses have also adopted European emission standards. While there are still many cars on the road, people tell her that it could be a lot worse.

The city has taken the pollution issue seriously and Huangzhou’s success has attracted the attention of Beijing where the pollution problem is still “painfully” visible with each breath.

Today, Huangzhou is one of the cleanest cities in the country.  In fact, recently it was one of seven cities in China to limit the number of vehicles driving on roads using travel restrictions based on vehicle license plate numbers.” Source: Hangzhou Weekly.com (2013 update)

In addition, Huangzhou’s air is rated cleaner than seventeen of China’s Provincial Capitals including Xi’an, China’s ancient capital, and Beijing, its modern capital. Source: What’s On Ningbo.com

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

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