Waking the Unconscious Demon Within

August 21, 2011

Recently, I wrote a post about Mao and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), and provided “overwhelming” evidence that Mao may have suffered from CPTSD. The reason I first thought of this is that I have lived with PTSD since I served in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. I am no stranger to this malady, and I know I am capable of barbaric behavior under the right circumstances.

Now, more evidence suggests that this demon becomes more difficult to manage as we age.

PTSD Forum had a post about the Dragon Brain – The Dark Side of the Lizard Brain, which along with a study at Stanford forty years ago may offer more insight of how Mao, starting out as a young sensitive poet and activist for the poor, was responsible for decisions later in his life that led to the failed Great Leap Forward then The Cultural Revolution.

The PTSD Forum says, “The down side (of PTSD) is a tendency to be more critical … to sense a threat where none may exist, or to sense a bigger threat than actually appears.”

Anxiety Insights.info says,” Post-traumatic stress, a condition that can cause patients to feel physical pain on remembering a traumatic event, is known to have a number of effects on the mind and body.”

In addition, PTSD may get worse as we grow older. In a comment on Veterans Benefits Network, Patrick428 says, “As we grow older there is a tendency to have less control of our frustrations and we anger more easily… This is why I say PTSD is much more problematic at an older age than was at a younger age.”

I suspect there may be a link between PTSD and a piece that I read in the July/August 2011 Stanford magazine — Six Days on the Dark Side -The Menace Within.

Forty years ago professor Phil Zimbardo (retired 2007) of Stanford’s psychology department conducted an experiment that was meant to run for twelve days but was stopped after six.  What the Stanford Prison Experiment (PSE) revealed was that ordinary college students were capable of doing terrible things under the right/wrong circumstances (like what happened at Abu Ghraib where Iraqi prisoners were abused and tortured by U.S. troops).

In fact, in the last decade, after the revelations of abuses committed by U.S. military and intelligence personal at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, the SPE provided lessons in how good people placed in adverse conditions can act barbarically.

After Mao’s death and during Deng Xiaoping’s Beijing Spring, it was the collective consensus in China that Mao liberated China and was a good ruler 70% of the time. It may be difficult for many in the West to accept that Mao liberated most of the people of China from a worse life, but he did.

Now we may look back in hindsight and see that Mao was a product of his environment. He was not only the leader of the  People’s Republic of China, but he was also making decisions (mostly during the last decade of his life) influenced not only by CPTSD but also what SPE revealed about how good people placed in adverse conditions can act barbarically.

That does not make him a monster. It makes him the victim of an environment he had little control over at a young age, and if you want to discover what that environment was, I suggest reading Mao and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the links provided that reveals some of his life.

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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.

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Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan and Ted Koppel – Part 3/3

July 11, 2011

NPR’s Neal Conan said the deaths from the Cultural Revolution were between 20 to 40 million, which demonstrated his ignorance since that many deaths took place earlier during The Great Leap Forward (1958 – 1960).

The Great Leap Forward was supposed to be a 5-year plan, but it was called off after just three tragic years. The period between 1958 and 1960 is known in China as the “Three Bitter Years”.

The loss of life during The Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) was about 2 (or more) million and many were suicides due to the denunciations and persecutions and the fact that society had been turned upside down. The Cultural Revolution deeply damaged the country economically and socially. Sociologist Daniel Chirot claims that around 100 million people suffered and at least one million people, and perhaps as many as 20 million, died in the Cultural Revolution but there is no way to prove this claim.

The deaths from the Great Leap Forward were mostly from starvation due to a famine, which may have been caused by a combination of Mao’s failed agricultural and industrialization policies and poor weather leading to crop failures and a famine. Since no one knows the exact number of deaths due to these blunders/weather, some have said 10 million while others have claimed 60 million. Most experts agree that the number was about 20 or 30 million.

What one believes about the results of The Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution has to do with prejudices, or personal political opinions. One thing most can agree on is that this period of China’s history was a failure and a tragedy.

During the interview, no one asked or mentioned how the Communist Party led by Deng Xiaoping after Mao’s death in 1976, repudiated the Maoist Revolutionary thought that was responsible for the tragedy, and then opened China to world trade, joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) and launched the Chinese Capitalist Revolution leading to the economic miracle China has become today.

If you are interested in hearing the entire interview, visit Henry Kissinger appearing on NPR’s Talk of the Nation or read the transcript.

Return to Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” – Part 2 or start with 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.

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.


Beware of Biased Rumors Masquerading as Truth

June 16, 2011

A Music Blog Post written by Caryn Ganz (posted May 13, 2011) reveals how often the Western media plays into the hand of rumors and misinformation. Bias has much to do with that as you may discover.

A 2010 Pew Global Attitudes Project revealed that unfavorable views of China in the West are legion.  The question Pew asked was, “Please tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of China.”

The response—sixty-one percent (50 million) of those that responded in Germany had an unfavorable opinion of China; France 59% (39 million); Turkey 61% (45 million); Spain 38% (17.5 million); United States 36% (112 million), and Britain 35% (22 million).  More than 285 million minds and mouths may have a negative opinion of China. To see the entire list (for other countries), click the link for the Pew Project.


Mao died in 1976 and the Communist Party guided by Deng Xiaoping repudiated Revolutionary Maoism. When anyone mentions Mao, they are talking of history—not today.

Just to make clear what an “opinion” means, here are a few definitions: judgment or belief not founded on certainty or proof; the prevailing or popular feeling or view (public opinion); an opinion formed by judging something

Just because people believe something that does not mean it is a fact.

With this in mind, consider that many of those people that have unfavorable opinions of China are publishers, editors and reporters working in the Western Media spreading rumors and misinformation in what they write and report.

For example the media rumor mill reported Bob Dylan was refused permission to perform in China.

In fact, Western newspapers and magazines made all kinds of incorrect claims that Bob Dylan played to half-empty audiences, and the Chinese government censored what he would play when he performed in China

Bob Dylan was not pleased. In fact, Bob Dylan wrote on his Website, “Allow me to clarify a couple of things about this so-called China controversy which has been going on for over a year. First of all, we were never denied permission to play in China….”

Dylan said, “According to Mojo magazine, the concerts were attended mostly by ex-pats and there were a lot of empty seats. Not true. If anybody wants to check with any of the concertgoers they will see that it was mostly Chinese young people that came.… Out of 13,000 seats we sold about 12,000 of them, and the rest of the tickets were given away to orphanages.”

“As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing…. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play.”

If you are interested in everything Bob Dylan said, I suggest you visit his Website (the link above).

For those readers with open minds, if we are to learn anything from this,
“It is to take with a grain of salt everything you hear or read in the World about China.”  Most of it will be opinions written as fact based on bias, which shows us that Yellow Journalism  is alive and well in freedom land proving that in the West we have the freedom to lie and pretend it is the truth.

To discover the possible truth about other opinions of China, learn from What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square? and/or 2/28 Massacre in Taiwan

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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.


China is Not Red White and Blue – Part 1/2

May 9, 2011

The last time I looked, which was a moment ago, the US flag was red, white and blue with 50 stars and 13 stripes; many in the US love football, baseball, basketball, mom and apple pie and eighty percent of its citizens are Christians. The founders were men such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

The Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the US Constitution were written for the United States of America.

If you are an American, do you have a copy of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? I do. Have you read it and if you have, how much do you remember besides ‘the Pursuit of Happiness’, which many in the US want the US government to pay for these days?

China may start with the letter “C” as California does, but it is not part of the US, and its founding fathers were men such as Sun Yat-sen, Mao, and Deng Xiaoping and about 3 to 7% of Chinese are Christians while more than 60% belong to no religion.

CNN ran a piece on its CNN Wire service of a Chinese artist and citizen of the People’s Republic of China, (PRC). His name is Ai Weiwei.  The title of the piece was, “China says Ai Weiwei is being held for economic crimes“.

If you read the entire CNN piece, you will discover that the artist was taken into custody in route to Hong Kong. The piece quotes his wife and mother, who both believe he is innocent and he was arrested and locked up because he refused to listen to warnings that he should stop his “reckless collision against China’s basic political framework and ignorance of China’s judicial sovereignty to exaggerate a specific case…”

Ai Weiwei is also one of China’s best-known artists. He helped design the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympic. Ai Weiwei is more than an artist. He is also a democracy activist and a critic of his government. The US Constitution protects US citizens when they criticize the government.

However, the Chinese Constitution does not offer the same protections. In fact, most countries don’t. In Saudi Arabia, woman cannot work or drive and criminals are often executed by beheading—a practice once common in China but no more.

In fact, the American CIA has taken advantage of foreign laws such as those in Saudi Arabia and Egypt when terrorists have been sent for torture and questioning without the due process of law as guaranteed in the US (not outside of it).

Continued on May 10, 2011 in China is Not Red White and Blue – Part 2

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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 “Turkish Solution” Applies to China

March 17, 2011

I read an interesting post at Pajamas Media written by Stephen Green.

In Egypt Should Employ the ‘Turkish Solution’, Green explains what confuses many in the West and especially Americans.

The gulf between American beliefs and the reality of the developing world is often wide and foggy.

In fact, the average American cannot understand why the rest of the world isn’t up in arms demanding democracy such as the one that exists in the US today.

It is as if the average American is ignorant of their history, which is probably true.

In 1776, the United States was not what it is today. Many act as if all it takes is to flip a switch and the citizens of any country may form a democracy similar to those in Europe and North America without consideration that it took more than two centuries for the US to evolve from a republic into the democracy it is today.

That’s why Stephen Green’s “Turkish Solution” is worth reading.

The United States started with leaders such as George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  No other country applied pressure on the US to become a republic. It was an internal decision.

Like Atatürk, the father of Turkey’s Republic, Deng Xiaoping was the father of China’s current one party republic. Under his guidance, China wrote a new Constitution in 1982 setting term and age limits for officials serving in the Communist Party, which has more than 70 million members.

Today in China, decisions are made by consensus and not by one man as they were under Mao’s leadership for twenty-six years and China is building a legal system that did not exist 30 years ago.

In the early 1980s, China also embarked on a goal of improving education and raising literacy to well above 90%. That goal has not been reached yet but China is close to achieving it.

Deng Xiaoping was correct in 1989 when he said China wasn’t ready to become a democracy.

In 1976 when Mao died, 80% of China’s population could not read yet literacy is vital to the success of a democracy.

Ignorant citizens do not make good decisions when they vote.

The next challenge China faces is to find leaders with the vision of a Washington, Atatürk or Deng Xiaoping.

Democracy is not born from outside pressure. It must come from inside China as it did for America and Turkey and it is best if democracy arrives peacefully and not on oceans of blood.

China has already had its century of madness where it was bathed in blood. Enough is enough.

Discover Dictatorship Defined

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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.


New Year’s Recap

January 1, 2011

There’s much about China that I did not know when we started this journey on January 28, 2010. 

We visited China’s early dynasties (the Xia, Shang and Zhou) before Qin Shi Huangdi became the first emperor and unified China.

Then we visited the Han, Tang, Sung, Ming and Qing Dynasties while learning of the chaos and anarchy between the dynasties.

We met Confucius and Wu Zetian, China’s only woman emperor during the Tang Dynasty.

We discovered China’s music, art and opera while meeting one of China’s national treasures, Mao Wei-Tao.

Learning about the 19th century Opium Wars started by the British and French opened my eyes to evils I had not known of.

What shocked me most was how the West forced China to allow Christian missionaries into China along with opium.

One reader challenged me in a comment saying that couldn’t be true then didn’t respond when I provided links to the evidence that missionaries and opium were included in the same treaty, which forced the emperor to accept against his will.

Then I sat spellbound as I joined Mao and the Communists on the Long March where more than 80,000 started out and about 6,000 survived — the only choice was to fight or die.

Along the way, I learned that Sun Yat-sen was the father of China’s republic and how Chiang Kai-shek started the Civil War in 1925 when he ordered his army to slaughter the Chinese Communists.

I didn’t know that the Communist and Nationalist Parties were the two political parties of China’s first republic and how it was the US supported Nationalists that fired the first shot that shattered Sun Yat-sen’s dream for China.

After the Communists won the Civil War in 1949, I saw the suffering and death from Mao’s mistakes during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution that ended in 1976.

Then we learned how Deng Xiaoping saved China from the Revolutionary Maoists and launched the Capitalist Revolution, which led to the Tiananmen Square incident then China’s Sexual Revolution.

And there was my continued attempt to explain China’s Collective Culture. One comment basically said, “Yea, sure!” as if there were no such thing as cultural differences such as this.

We also were introduced to other Blogs about China such as the China Law Blog.

Of course, with more than a thousand posts in a year, what I have mentioned here is but a small part of the 2010 journey of 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.


The Fear of Mao Buying the World

November 22, 2010

The cover of The Economist’s November 13 issue plays on fear to sell magazines.

I haven’t read Buying up the world, The coming wave of Chinese takeovers yet, which is the feature piece. I’ll probably write another post about that once I do.

Instead, I’m writing about the magazine’s cover, which is taking advantage of the West’s PTCSD (Post Traumatic Chinese Stress Disorder) that has roots in the “history” of a fear of the word “Communist”, the Korean Conflict and the Cultural Revolution.

I’m sure most Sinophobes that see this cover will have flashbacks of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the rest of China dressed in drab Mao jackets marching across the world to take possession of everything China buys.

However, Mao isn’t the proper man to adorn The Economist’s cover.

Deng Xiaoping or one of China’s recent presidents (there have been four since the 1982 Constitution) would have been more appropriate.

Why? Because after Mao died in 1976, Deng Xiaoping and his allies rejected Maoist Revolutionary thought and embraced CAPITALISM in a very big way.

In fact, surviving Maoists consider the Party that rules China today to be traitors to Mao and the revolution.

Do you remember the 1980s, when wealthy Japanese spent billions buying property in America then a real estate bubble burst, Japan lost a lot of money, and its economy has been limping since?

If anyone should be afraid, it should be the Chinese fearing spending habits in the US, Canada and Europe where debt and plastic rule.

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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