Is China a Republic? – Part 3/4

January 24, 2012

Under Chinese Communist Party rule, village elections are the only example of a one-person, one-vote democracy in China. Launched in the mid-eighties, these elections were originally introduced to replace the village communes that were dissolved after the Cultural Revolution. At the time, few outside China paid much attention and many still do not know this is happening.

In addition, according to the US Army in 1928, a republic has a Constitution, and China has one, which provides for all four points that were made in the US Army definition of a republic. Another definition for a representative type of government is that the constitution is changeable from its original meaning by amendments and China’s 1954 Constitution was amended in 1982, 1988, 1993, 1999, and 2004.

Unlike the parliamentary democratic system where the prime minister may rule as long as his or her party holds the majority, China sets a limit of two five-year terms for its President, and he or she is elected by the National People’s Congress for the first of those two, five-year terms.


Emerging democracy in China

 The office of President was created by the 1982 Constitution. Formally, the President is elected by the National People’s Congress in accordance with Article 62 of the Constitution. In practice, this election falls into the category of ‘single-candidate’ elections. The candidate is recommended by the Presidium of the National People’s Congress [The 2009 NPC Presidium is made up of 171 members and headed by the Secretary General of the NPC legislative session].

The National People’s Congress is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People’s Republic of China with 2,987 members.

The State Council is the chief authority of the People’s Republic of China. It is appointed by the National People’s Congress, is chaired by the Premier, and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency. There are about 50 members in the Council. In the politics of the People’s Republic of China, the Central People’s Government forms one of three interlocking branches of power, the others being the Communist Party of China and the People’s Liberation Army.

The Supreme People’s Court is the highest court in the judicial system of the People’s Republic of China.

Hong Kong and Macau, as special administrative regions, have their own separate judicial systems based on British common law traditions and Portuguese civil-law traditions respectively, and are out of the jurisdiction of the Supreme People’s Court. The National People’s Congress appoints the judges of the Supreme People’s Court, which is similar to the United States where both houses of congress approve the appointment of the justices of the Supreme Court.

The governors of China’s provinces and autonomous regions and mayors of its centrally controlled municipalities are appointed by the central government in Beijing after receiving the nominal consent of the National People’s Congress.

Continued on January 25, 2012 in Is China a Republic – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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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’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 3/8

November 13, 2011

Before I reveal new evidence to cast doubt on the claims of Mao’s critics in the West, two more books blame Mao for the loss of life due to the famine that took place during The Great Leap Forward (GLF).

In Mao’s Great Famine (September 2010), Frank Dikotter claimed, “that as many as 45 million Chinese died from starvation, execution, and maltreatment under forced labor.”

Then, in Eating Bitterness (February 2011), two editors that compiled this book claimed that some “30 million peasants died of starvation and exhaustion during the GLF”.

I find it interesting how two editors claim the loss life was from starvation and exhaustion while another author claimed it was from starvation, execution, maltreatment and forced labor with a difference of 15 million deaths, which is a huge disparity.

In addition, In Henry Kissinger’s On China (pg 184), he says, “The Great Leap Forward’s production goals were exorbitant, and the prospect of dissent or failure so terrifyhing that local cadres took to falsifying their output figures and reporting inflated totals to Beijing.” Then Kissinger says this led to the deaths of over twenty million people from starvation–twenty-five (25) million less than Dikotter’s inflated claim. Other’s have estimated the loss of life closer to 15 million.


Famines throughout the Ages: 19th to 21st Century

It appears, that as the false accusations and the fraud grows, so does the emotional language.

There is a name for books of this sort, and it is “Yellow Journalism” where writers take advantage of popular opinions and without valid evidence spread lies and exaggerations as if they were the truth. I’m sure those authors laugh all the way to the bank too.

Before I continue, I want to mention that in 1949, the average life expectancy in China was 36 and in 1960, it was 36.3 years of age, as you shall eventually see from a reliable source. It has been estimated that it took at least a decade for the Chinese Communist Party to establish a political/governmental infrastructure in all or most of China, which means goals to develop the country and improve health were not in full swing until about 1959.

As for how many starved, theories abound and cover a wide spectrum and all the higher numbers of deaths are easily challenged as two Amazon reviewers of Dikotter’s flawed and biased book demonstrate with impressive facts.

From these two Amazon reviewers, I learned something new I did not consider in my post of China’s Great Famine (1959-1961) Fact of Fiction.

Continued on November 14, 2011 in Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Recommended reading on this topic for those who seek the unblemished truth: From the Monthly Review, Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward? by Joseph Ball

From Griffith University, Australia, Poverty, by David C. Schak, Associate Professor

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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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Ah Bing and “Reflection of the Moon”

October 26, 2011

To understand another country’s history and culture, one should listen to the music, read that country’s novels and watch its films.

This summer, my wife and daughter returned from China with dozens of original Chinese films on DVD.

Then I saw Reflection of the Moon, (ISBN: 7-88054-168-3), which is about Ah Bing (1893 – 1950), a famous master of the Chinese Erhu, who overnight—in 1950 shortly before his death—became a national sensation as radios throughout China played his music.

Fortunate for me, Ah Bing’s story had English subtitles, which were not of the best quality and true to form for a Chinese movie filmed in 1979 (shortly after the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976), the plot was melodramatic with traces of propaganda that favored the Chinese Communists.

However, to be fair, in 1950, the Civil War was over and the Communists, with support from several hundred million peasants, had won.

Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution would not begin for years and for those that survived the purges in 1949 and 1950 (mostly abusive land owners and drug dealers accused of crimes by the people they may have abused and victimized), Mao fulfilled his promises of land reforms.

To understand the era of Ah Bing’s life, much of China (including Tibet) was still feudal in nature, and the upper classes often took advantage of the peasants and workers as if they were beasts of burden treated as slaves.


This is one of Ah Bing’s masterpieces for the Erhu—Moon Reflected in the Second Spring (二泉映月)

Ah Bing’s real name was Hua Yanjun. His knowledge of traditional Chinese music and his talent as a musician went mostly unnoticed until the last year of his life in 1950, shortly after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

In 1950, two musicologists were sent to his hometown of Wuxi to record and preserve his music. At the time, he was ill and hadn’t performed for about two years. Six of his compositions were recorded that are considered masterpieces. It is said that he knew more than 700 pieces—and most were his compositions.

As “Reflection of the Moon” shows, the lyrics of some of his music criticized the KMT (Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government), and he was often punished for speaking out through his music. If you have read of The Long March, you know that the peasants did not trust the KMT, but they did trust the Communists and that trust was earned between 1926 and 1949—a period covering twenty-three years, and most rural Chinese of that era still think of Mao as China’s George Washington.

Before the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, China’s Communist Party treated the peasants and workers with respect while the KMT did not earn that trust.

In fact, Ah Bing’s story and music is still so popular that the Performing Arts Company of China’s Air Force performed Er Quan Yin, an original Western-style Chinese opera, in 2010. Source: China Daily

To discover more of the time-period that Ah Bing lived, see The Roots of Madness.

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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.


China’s Great Famine (1958 – 1961) Fact or Fiction – Part 4/4

September 3, 2011

The last damaging factors that may have led to millions of deaths due to famine and starvation was the statistical lies of rural farmers and local party bosses reporting crop yields in rural China and Mao’s impossible goals to create a miracle in five years.

Mao’s five-year plan for the Great Leap Forward set quotas (goals) to develop agriculture and industry so China would catch up to America and the other Western nations that had invaded China during the 19th century (England, France, Japan, Germany, Russia, America, etc.)

Mao believed that both agriculture and industry had to grow to allow the other to thrive.

Industry could only prosper if the workers were well fed, while the agricultural workers needed industry to produce the modern tools needed for modernization.

For this to happen, China was reformed into a series of giant communes.

However, the droughts, floods and other severe weather arrived soon after this five-year plan was implemented and set the stage for a tragedy caused by nature and supported by American “economic warfare” in the form of a “complete embargo” of China.

Due to quotas set by Mao’s agricultural policies, no one wanted to be seen as a failure and/or unpatriotic so this generated boastful claims about output that were followed by more boastful claims of incredible crop yields.

Nobody – least of all the central government in Beijing – knew the real output figures and nobody was trying to find out. Instead, there was a sense of general euphoria in Beijing that China was succeeding.

While rural farmers and party posses lied about crop yields, China started exporting rice and wheat to other countries as a source of revenue, since Beijing believed there was a bumper crop. The result was that only urban areas suffered with reduced rations but with still enough food to survive.

However, the situation was different in the areas that lied the most and resulted in mass starvations largely confined to rural China, where, because of drastically inflated production statistics, very little grain was left for the peasants to eat.

Food shortages were bad throughout the country. However, the provinces, which had adopted Mao’s reforms with the most energy, zeal and the highest boasts, such as Anhui, Gansu and Henan, tended to suffer disproportionately.

Sichuan, one of China’s most populous provinces, known in China as “Heaven’s Granary” because of its fertility, is thought to have suffered the greatest absolute numbers of deaths from starvation due to the vigor with which provincial leader Li Jinquan undertook Mao’s reforms.

Once the central government in Beijing discovered the truth, the Chinese Communist Party acted quickly to correct the errors in national agricultural decision-making, to conserve food, and to save as many lives as possible implementing drastic measures to feed those in need and to restore agricultural productivity.

Grain exports were stopped, and imports from Canada and Australia (in spite of America’s complete embargo) helped to reduce the impact of the food shortages. Source: Library Index.com

The final question is: Would Mao’s Great Leap Forward have been more successful if there had been no drought, no floods and no “complete (U.S.) embargo” and the people had not lied about crop yields?

It is no secret that millions of rural people starved to death in China during the famine of 1959 – 1960, but it was a “great” tragedy caused by a complex series of circumstances and was not murder.

In addition, the actual number of deaths was significantly lower than what has been claimed in the West.

The CCP’s lofty goal was to prove to the world that the Party ruled China successfully by boosting crop yields and industrial output.

Another reason the CCP set such unrealistic goals for the five-year plan that contributed to the tragedy that was Great Leap Forward was because of Taiwan, which was recognized by the world as the official government of China and still held its seat in the United Nations.

It wouldn’t be until 1971 that the U.N. recognized the People’s Republic of China instead, and the United States wouldn’t switch diplomatic relations with China from Taipei to Beijing until 1979, finally recognizing the Communist Party as the legitimate ruler of China.

Return to China’s Great Famine (1958 – 1961) Fact or Fiction – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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Recommended reading on this topic for those who seek the unblemished truth: From the Monthly Review, Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward? by Joseph Ball

From Griffith University, Australia, Poverty, by David C. Schak, Associate Professor

______________

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.


Dictatorship or One-Party Republic

February 27, 2011

There is so much misleading information on the Internet and from the Western media regarding China that it boggles the mind. For example, China’s President is listed as a dictator but by definition, he cannot be a dictator.

Dictatorship: 1) government by a ruler who has complete power 2) a country that is ruled by one person who has complete power (source: Longman Advanced American Dictionary)

Chinese Constitution: Article 1

Article 1. The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants. The socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. Sabotage of the socialist system by any organization or individual is prohibited. Source: Chinese Constitution

I asked my wife, “How can China use the term dictatorship in Article 1 if China isn’t ruled by a dictator?”

She replied, “In Chinese, ‘people’s democratic dictatorship‘ means the people have the power. It’s a translation error.”

I then Googled dictatorship and discovered Parade’s Annual list of…the World’s 10 Worst Dictators.

Parade’s definition of a dictator says, “A ‘dictator‘ is a head of state who exercises arbitrary authority over the lives of his citizens and who cannot be removed from power through legal means.”

Hu Jintao, China’s president, was number six on Parade’s list.

Since the Chinese Constitution rules China, Hu Jintao does not exercise arbitrary authority over the lives of his citizens. In fact, I doubt if he makes any legal decisions since the Chinese Constitution puts that power in the hands of China’s legal system. Discover more at China Law and Justice System

Parade is also wrong that China’s president cannot be removed from power through legal means.

Article 79 says, “The term of office of the President and Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China is the same as that of the National People’s Congress, and they shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.”

Article 59. The National People’s Congress is composed of deputies elected by the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, and by the armed forces.

Article 63. The National People’s Congress has the power to recall or remove from office the following persons:

(1) The President and the Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China;

(2) The Premier, Vice-Premiers, State Councillors, Ministers in charge of Ministries or Commissions and the Auditor-General and the Secretary-General of the State Council;

(3) The Chairman of the Central Military Commission and others on the commission;

(4) The President of the Supreme People’s Court; and

(5) The Procurator-General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.

If China is anything, it is an autocratic, one-party republic that makes decisions by consensus within the Communist Party of more than 80 million members.

How’s that different from the US of 1776 when there were no political parties when George Washington was president and about 10% of the population was allowed to vote—white men that owned property?

Discover No Political Machine

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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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