The flaw behind “Don’t Do as I Do – Do As I Say”

August 29, 2011 explains this self-deprecating phrase, which means you are conscious of your own shortcomings, with, “Don’t imitate my behavior but obey my instructions.”

The reason I am writing this post is because of Faithful Monuments, a piece I read in the May 2011 Smithsonian Magazine, which has nothing to do with China.

However, there is a connection to China with the “Do As I Say” phrase.

In Smithsonian, Jamie Katz quotes Shirley Macagni, a 79-year-old retired dairy rancher and great-grandmother of seven, who is also an elder of the Salinan tribe that inhabited California’s Central Coast for thousands of years.

Macagni feels, “It is unfair to judge 18th century attitudes and actions by contemporary standards,” and says, “They (the Spanish) didn’t deliberately say they’re going to destroy people…”

Macagni is referring to the Spanish conquest that brought Western civilization and/or Spanish cultural values including the Church to the Americas forging an empire in blood for gold.

John Selden’s phrase, “Don’t do as I do. Do as I say,” may be applied, with some revisions, to China. “It is unfair to judge Chinese attitudes and actions by contemporary Western Standards.”

In fact, Western and American civilization may also be judged by the standards of other cultures such as China.

Consider that contemporary Western standards underwent a drastic metamorphosis starting with the Industrial Revolution. This change altered how parents raised children, resulted in child labor laws, the building of national education systems, the rise of labor unions, and the liberation of women, etc.

Then the West decided to import these new values to the rest of the world even if the rest of the world was not ready or did not want them.

Henry Kissinger touches on this Western/American behavior in On China, where he says, “American exceptionalism is cultural. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its values to every part of the world.” In a CNN interview, he said, “So how to conduct ourselves in such a world – it’s a huge test for us… It’s a big challenge.”

In 1970, sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler published Future Shock and defined the term as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies and what happens when there is too much change in too short a period.

Toffler argued that these sort of drastic changes overwhelmed people leaving them disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation”. He said, “The majority of social problems were symptoms of this future shock.”

When we take what Toffler says into account, we have an explanation for everything that has taken place in China over the last century since the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.  The shattering stress and disorientation of future shock (forced on China by the West) led to China’s Civil War and Mao’s Cultural Revolution, etc.

Of course, when an individual is culturally and historically illiterate, it may be difficult to face this challenge Kissinger talks of – especially when we consider what Chris Hedges writes in America the Illiterate.

Hedges says, “We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth.

“The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth,” which may explain why so many in America and the West suffer from Sinophobia, a hostility toward the Chinese, Chinese culture, history and/or government, and a stubborn unwillingness to listen to the facts/truth and attempt to understand them.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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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Mao and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Part 2/2

August 8, 2011

Mao (born 1893) grew up during a period of madness in China. To learn more, I suggest reading The Roots of Madness, which shows the world he grew up in.

Then the Chinese Civil War lasted from 1926 to 1949 with a few years out to fight the horrors of the Japanese invasion of China during World War II.

The Long March alone was enough to cause PTSD in all 6,000 of its survivors from the more than 80,000 troops that started the year-long journey of retreat, battle, and severe suffering that was surrounded by death.

After Mao was China’s leader, there was an assassination attempt by one of his most trusted generals, Lin Biao, a man Mao had named as his successor after he died.  In addition, during China’s Civil WarChiang Kai-shek ordered more than one failed assassination attempt on Mao.

However, the threats and violence that shaped Mao’s life began before The Long March and before he was a leader in the Chinese Communist Party.

As a child, he grew up among farmers and peasants. In the 1920s, as an idealist and a sensitive poet, he believed in helping the worker and led several labor movements that were brutally subdued by the government. Once, he barely escaped with his life.

In 1930, Yang Kaihu, his wife at the time (Mao was married four times), was arrested and executed. In addition, Mao had two younger brothers and an adopted sister executed by Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT.

To judge Mao by today’s Politically Correct Western values is wrong, since he grew up in a world ruled by a completely different set of values that shaped him to be tough enough to survive and win. Anyone that survived and went on to rule China at that time would have been judged as brutal by today’s “Politically Correct” Western values.

The History of Humanitarianism shows us that this concept was born and nurtured in the West and developed slowly over centuries with the result that the individual was made more important than an entire population.

However, in China, the whole is still more important than one person is as it was during Mao’s time. If you were to click on the link to the History of Humanitarianism and read it, you would discover that China was not part of this movement while Mao lived. (Discover more about China’s Collective Culture)

PTSD as a war wound and a trauma was not recognized or treated until well after America’s Vietnam War.  Prior to its discovery, it was known as “shell shock” and wasn’t treated. The diagnosis of PTSD first appeared in the 1980s, and Mao died in 1976.

In fact, if Mao were alive today he would not be alone. In the United States, it is estimated that 7.8% of all Americans suffer from PTSD, and among that segment of the population, more than 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan military veterans have PTSD in addition to 1.7 million Vietnam veterans. The more combat a veteran was exposed to, the higher the risk.

Discover Mao Zedong, the Poet or start with Mao and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. 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.

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 Founding of China’s Republic – a Movie Review

May 4, 2011

The Founding of a Republic was produced to coincide with the 60th anniversary (in 2009) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) winning the Civil War in October 1949. I first saw this movie March 2011.

The film has the largest number of Chinese movie stars in one movie. Many of the top stars were invited to star as leads, supporting characters, or to appear in cameos, such as internationally well known Jackie Chan and Jet Li, whom appear briefly in the film.

The film covers the period between 1946 and October 1949 — well before the infamous failed Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which are the events most people in the West identify with Mao.

There is seldom any mention in the West of how Mao won the hearts and minds of the hundreds of millions of Chinese that supported the CCP, while distrusting and spurning the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT). This film (regardless of any propaganda that may exist) provides a glimpse of how Mao accomplished this feat.

The mild dose of propaganda that does appear in the film is nothing compared to the propagandized, anti-bourgeois PRC movies of the early 1950s or 60s.

It was because of how Mao won the Civil War (1926 to 1949 with a pause during a portion of World War II) that despite the deep collective scars left by the catastrophes of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, that he retains a strong measure of popular affection in China to this day.

In fact, many born in China prior to the 1980s still consider Mao to be China’s George Washington.

Directors Huang Jianxin and Han Sanping provide glimpses into the key moments during the final stages of the Chinese Civil War and the film was not just glorified propaganda since the Communists are given only one third of the screen time.

More time was given to people like Zhang Lan and Li Jishen, and key members of the China Democratic League. Until I watched this film, I only knew of the KMT and the CCP. I didn’t know there were other Chinese political parties involved.

In addition, Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-Kuo, who later guided Taiwan’s government to become a multi-party democracy (the first direct presidential election was held in 1996 eight years after Ching-Kuo’s death), are not demonized but are played as characters trapped between their responsibilities towards their country and pleasing political factions in the KMT.

The film suggests that the KMT lost because of the political agendas of these factions within the KMT, and not because of the power of the Communists, which was unexpected in a pro-Communist film.

After all, in war there are few if any saints and politics are more complex than most people ever know.

I urge everyone interested in modern Chinese history to see this film especially students in Chinese history classes and/or those majoring in East Asian studies. People that cannot understand Mandarin will be pleased that the movie has English subtitles.


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.

China’s Communist Revolution or Civil War

March 5, 2011

In Russia and Cuba, there were Communist Revolutions. In China, it was a Civil War. There is a difference. says a revolution is an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.

A civil war is a war between political factions or regions within the same country.

The United States of America fought a Revolution from 1775 to 1783. The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. Both fit the definitions. gets it wrong when it says, “Mao Zedong led China’s Communist revolution in the 1920s and 1930s.”

In fact, many Blogs and Websites get the facts wrong with it comes to China’s civil war. 

However, the PBS report clearly shows that in 1923, Sun Yat-sen, known as the father of China’s republic and the leader of the Kuomintang (KMT), allied with the Communist Party (CCP) to strengthen the republic and take China back from the warlords.

Then in 1927, after Sun Yat-sen’s death in 1925, the KMT broke from the CCP shattering the alliance that Sun Yat-sen had formed.

Chiang Kai-shek, the new leader of the KMT, launched a brutal purge to kill all Communists in China.

The CCP had no choice but to fight or be exterminated by Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT. With the support of China’s peasants, the CCP won the civil war in 1949. The US backed the loser.

In fact, both the CCP and the KMT honor Sun Yat-sen as the father of the republic.

In mainland China, the Memorial Hall for Sun Yat-sen is in Guangzhou on the southern slope of Yuexiu Hill and was constructed between 1929 and 1931.

Another memorial hall dedicated to Sun Yat-sen is in Taipei and was completed on May 16, 1972.

So, why do so many call it China’s Communist Revolution when it was a civil war between the KMT and the CCP? Could they be confused?


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 Lips Protecting China’s Teeth – Part 3/3

February 21, 2011

After reading parts one and two, I want you to wear China’s shoes for a moment.

If you were one of China’s leaders, ask yourself what you would think and do when one or more of the nations that challenged the sphere of influence China once dominated for two thousand years was hanging about as if it were a threat.

This foreign nation, the United States, which is more than six thousand miles from China, has troops based in South Korea, Japan, Okinawa and protects an enemy of yours in Taiwan, the Nationalist Chinese (KMT).

In 1949, under Mao, the KMT was defeated ending the Chinese Civil war of 1925 – 1949.

Before 1925, the founder of your republic, Sun Yat-sen, asked the United States for help to end the anarchy and chaos that was sweeping across China after the Qing Dynasty collapsed, but America refused as did the other major democracies. Then Sun Yat-sen turned to the Soviet Union, who said yes.

The Communist Party you belong to didn’t start the 1925 Civil War. It was started by the KMT’s leader Chiang Kai-shek, who then retreated to Taiwan taking China’s treasury and treasures with him leaving China broke.

Chiang Kai-shek was a brutal dictator that ruled Taiwan under martial law. He was protected by a country that took part in the Second Opium War against China and again in the 1900 invasion that brought an end to what the West calls the Boxer Rebellion.

Would you be suspicious? Would you want to have a strong, modern military to deter other nations from attacking China as China was attacked in the 16th, 19th and 20th centuries?

You may take China’s shoes off now.

The Chinese do not lack courage. Any “fool” that thinks the Chinese are unwilling to fight to preserve their culture and/or protect their country from foreign invaders need only study China’s history to see otherwise.

Wise men learn from history and do not repeat the same mistakes.

Return to The Lips Protecting China’s Teeth – Part 2


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.