History Counts – Part 2/2

October 14, 2011

Under Deng Xiaoping, the People’s Republic of China announced a policy of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

John Gittings in The Changing Face of China quoted Deng Xiaoping as saying, “Planning and market forces are not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity.”

Soon after Mao died in 1976, Deng Xiaoping’s Beijing Spring was introduced. This was a brief period lasting from 1977 into 1978, and during that time, the public was allowed greater freedom to criticize the government, which wasn’t allowed under Mao.

An example of this may be seen in “The Awakening” (Su-Xing), a movie produced during this period starring Joan Chen (Chen-Chung) and Gau Fei. [ISBN: 978-7-88611-603-2]. There are no English subtitles so it helps to have someone that reads or speaks Mandarin watch the movie with you that can point out the subtle criticisms of the Party that appear in the film, which was considered controversial at that time.

There was also a new Beijing Spring between 1997 to November 1998 where the Chinese government relaxed some control over political expression and organization.

It was during this time that China signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is a permanent international criminal court, founded in 2002 by the Rome Statute to “bring to justice the perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humankind – war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide”, especially when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so.

However, on May 2, 2002 the United States stated that it did not intend to be bound by its signature to the ICC and that is has no intention to ratify it. President Clinton signed the ICC, but President G. W. Bush and the Republican-led Senate refused to ratify it.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea Treaty is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place from 1973 through 1982. The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.

The United States is one of seventeen countries that have signed but not ratified the UNCLOS. North Korea is also one of the seventeen countries that have not ratified this UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, China has signed and ratified it.

On December 18, 1979, the United Nations adopted The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which was the most comprehensive and detailed international agreement seeking the advancement of women.… The United States is the only industrialized country that has not ratified the treaty, putting the US in the company of countries such as Sudan, Iran and Somalia.


Slavery is not a thing of the past, as WFOR’s Jennifer Santiago discovered on a visit to West Africa. Over a million children are trafficked in the country of Benin alone. (CBS News)

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the UN in 1989, and is one of the most widely received conventions. The CRC has been accepted by 192 countries. The U.S. may soon be the only country in the world not to ratify the CRC.

Five years after the 1992 founding of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, over 143 countries met in Ottawa, Canada and signed a ban on anti-personnel mines. The United States has still not signed the treaty.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol legally bound industrialized countries by 2010 to reduce their collective emissions of six greenhouse gases by 5.2% compared to 1990 levels. One hundred forty-one (141) countries have signed the treaty, but the United States (the largest producer of greenhouse gases) has not.

There are more human rights treaties the US has not signed, and you may find this list at Feminist Majority.org.

In fact, No key human rights treaty has been ratified by the United States under the guidelines by which it was adopted and enforced by the UN General Assembly.

However, when there are alleged and unproven human rights violations in countries such as China, the US media is the first to accuse and complain causing an uproar of anger in America.

Do you believe history counts or do we ignore the past starting with yesterday? If you answer yes, shouldn’t other countries and/or cultures get the same privilege?

Return to History Counts – Part 1

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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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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared in February 2010 as An American Genocide, An American Shadow Over the Philippines, In a Dark Mirror Without Reflection, and After Mao.


The Before and After of Vin Chengzong

September 19, 2011

My goal with this Blog is to remove the western-Sinophobe stereotype of Communist China and the Chinese, which is why I post on such a diverse variety of topics from history, to music, the arts, politics, current events and occasionally on an individual such as Vin Chengzon.

Vin Chengzong (born 1941) is another example that reveals where China has been and where it is today.

To some, he is considered the Court Pianist to the Cultural Revolution.

Most in the West do not know that music was an important part of the new art, which Cultural Revolution leaders proposed to replace the old music.

Although European classics were banned, Yin managed to create music that was highly Western in its technique, harmonic structure, instrumentation, and emphasis on choral singing. While the piano became an example of the bourgeoisie (the capitalist corruption of Western culture) and was in danger of vanishing from China, Yin transformed the piano from a target of the revolution into a positive symbol of radical change in Chinese culture. Source: Google Books

To accomplish this during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) when all Western art and music were forbidden, Yin ingeniously created the piano-accompanied version of The Legend of the Red Lantern, one of the Eight model plays, the only plays, operas and ballets permitted during the period.

Yin and other members of a special committee arranged this work in 1969 based on the Yellow River Cantata by Xian Xinghai. In the final movement of the concerto, Yin incorporated the melody The East Is Red. The instruments used, the piano and the orchestra, were all Western, but the music was heavily influenced by Chinese folk melodies.

Considered one of the world’s leading pianists, Yin was born on China’s “Piano Island” of Gulangyu in Xiamen, Fujian Province. He gave his first recital at age nine. Three years later, he entered the pre-college of the Shanghai Conservatory, and then transferred to the Central Conservatory in Beijing.

In 1983, following difficulties with the new government that came to power after Mao died, due to his alleged closeness to the Gang of Four, Yin immigrated to the US, where he made his debut in Carnegie Hall. Since then, he has performed for audiences around the world.

In fact, his solo performances have been featured on China Central Television and CBS Sunday Morning.

In 2010, Yin toured China for a ten-city tour with the Portuguese Chamber Orchestra celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Yellow River Concerto.

Formerly a professor and artist-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Yin now lives in New York City.

You’ve Come a Long Ways, Babe is another example of an individual bringing about positive changes in China.

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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.


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.


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.