The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 2/5

January 6, 2012

Another question Parfitt asked in in his comment to Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth was, What about China’s debt problem? Would that hinder it [China] in its supposed race against India?”

I doubt strongly that there is an economic race between India and China. If it is perceived that one exists, we may thank the Western media circus for that, since the media often compares the annual growth of India’s GDP with China’s.

The answer to Parfitt’s question leads to another question that should have been asked instead.

Will India’s corruption [50% of GDP], poverty [25%], literacy rate [61%] and debt problems hinder it in its supposed economic race with China? Source of facts used: CIA Factbook

By comparison, literacy in China is 92.2% and those living below the poverty line according to the CIA Factbook represent 2.8% of the population.

India’s GDP [Purchasing Power Parity – PPP], according to the CIA Factbook, was about $4 trillion dollars in 2010 but its public debt was 50.6% of GDP. It’s reserves of foreign exchange and gold was $287.1 billion [this is the same as a savings account], and its external debt was $316.9 billion, which shows us that India owes more money than it has in its savings account. In addition, it has been reported that corruption in India is worse than China.

By comparison, China’s GDP [PPP] in 2010 was more than $10 trillion and its public debt was 16.3% of GDP, its savings account held almost $3 trillion and its external debt was $519 billion.

Another point of comparison is the US GDP [PPP], which was $14.66 trillion with $14.71 trillion in external debt and a public debt of 62.9%, while its savings account holds $132.4 billion.

With these numbers, which country is in the best shape economically to face challenges at home and globally in the near future and in the long run?

I replied to Mr. Parfitt’s comments and there was another reply from Alessandro, a regular visitor to this Blog. The reason I’m writing this post is the IGNORANCE Factor, which plays far too large a role in the circus of American politics and public opinion, which is often inflamed by the biased opinions of individuals such as Mr. Parfitt.

Continued on January 7, 2012 in The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 3 or return to 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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The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 1/5

January 5, 2012

On December 30, 2011, Troy Parfitt, whom I debated in this Blog, left a comment to another post I wrote, Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth.

In our debate, one of Parfitt’s tactics was to often throw out short claims/opinions as if they were bullets from a machine gun while cherry picking the facts [also known as confirmation bias, my-side bias and verification bias] used to support his opinions, which he treated as facts.

If you doubt my claim, read the entire debate and see if even once Parfitt admitted his beliefs were nothing but his personal opinions subject to bias.  And mark my words, all opinions are subject to bias unless supported by a vast majority of facts that are not cherry picked.

Cherry picking is the act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.

Confirmation bias is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true. These biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs.

For this sort of bias to succeed in winning over others, it often depends on the ignorance of the people.

Mr. Parfitt said in his comment,  “So, if China is a republic, and Sun Yat-sen wanted a republic based on the American model, has SYS’s dream been realized in China? One of the tenets of Sun’s philosophy was democracy. Has China achieved democracy?”

My answer to this question is easy but the longer explanation to counter Parfitt’s misleading confirmation bias will appear later in this series of posts.

The short answer is YES, what Sun Yat-sen may have envisioned as a republic for China may have been achieved more by today’s Chinese Communist Party [CCP] than Taiwan.

In fact, we will never really know exactly what Sun Yat-sen wanted as a Republic in China, since he died in 1925 before he achieved his dream of unifying China.

However, we can gain a better idea of what his vision may have been by discovering what it was like in Hawaii and America at the time Sun Yat-sen lived in Hawaii before it was a territory of the US.

Readers may find it interesting that Hawaii was a Republic [1894 -1898] before it became a territory of the United States [1898 – 1959], and before it became a state in 1959.

In fact, a commission during the administration of President Grover Cleveland [1885–1889 and 1893–1897] concluded that the removal of Queen Lili’uokalani was illegal, and the U.S. government demanded that she be re-instated.

Then in 1993, a joint Apology Resolution regarding the overthrow of Hawaii’s Queen was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton, apologizing for the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Continued on January 6, 2012 in The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – 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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Yuan Shikai — the general who became China’s second president then emperor

December 28, 2010

For thousands of years, the history of China has been defined by wars, rebellion, power struggles and famine, which explains why today’s central government worries about famine and allowing dissidents a voice.

Between 1911 and 1976, three men were responsible for much of the devastation and death that swept over China causing tens of millions of deaths — Yuan Shikai, Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung.

In 1911 when the Qing Dynasty fell, Yuan Shikai was a general and commander of the most modern military force in Imperial China. He kept his position by supporting the revolutionaries that brought down the Qing Dynasty.

After the Qing Dynasty fell, rebellion spread through the Yangtze River Valley before revolutionaries from fourteen provinces elected Sun Yat-sen president of a provisional (temporary) government and in January 1912, Sun announced the establishment of the Republic of China.

However, generals controlled China’s provinces and refused to give up power. China’s young republic was essentially the capital city of Nanjing.

On March 20, 1913, Yuan Shikai’s agents assassinated Sung Chiao-jen, who helped Sun Yat-sen become the first president. Sun demanded that those responsible be brought to justice.

Yuan Shikai resisted, sparking a “so-called” second revolution and on September 15, 1913, he ordered Sun Yat-sen’s arrest. To survive, Sun fled to Japan as a political refugee. He wouldn’t return to China until a few months after Yuan Shikai’s death.

Yuan Shikai, supported financially by the British Empire, became China’s second president, but after 1914, World War I caused a reduction in Britain’s financial support.

Weakened, Yuan Shaikai was forced to accept twenty-one demands made by Japan, which included giving up Chinese territory. He agreed on May 7, 1916, which is now considered National Humiliation Day.

Yuan Shaikai was unable to establish control beyond Nanking so he declared himself emperor. His attempt to replace the republic with a monarchy and him as emperor touched off revolts in southwestern China followed by uprisings of Sun Yat-sen’s followers in several other provinces.

This resulted in twelve years of warfare between the warlord generals of China’s provinces and the weak Republic of China.

Yuan Shikai died in 1916, then Sun Yat-sen returned to lead the republic. Sun Yat-sen died in 1925, which caused the Civil War between the Chinese Communist Party and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists.

Discover more from The Roots of Madness

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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.

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Religion’s “Cold War” with China – Part 1/3

December 20, 2010

The Economist’s December 11 issue wrote about The party versus the pope.  “The Communist Party is trying to tighten its control of the Catholic Church in China. Some of its members, as well as the Vatican, are fuming.”

The Economist says, “China forced its Catholic church to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, two years after the party seized power.”

Interesting language.

If the Communists “seized power”, in China, then United States revolutionaries seized power in America from the British Empire in 1776 and French revolutionaries seized power from the King of France in 1799.

However, there was no revolution in China between the Communists and the Nationalists. The Communist Party did not sieze power since Dr. Sun Yat-sen formed a coalition between the Communist Party and the Nationalists (KMT) to build China’s first republic with a two party system.

When Sun Yat-sen died unexpectedly in 1925, it wasn’t the Communist Party that broke the republic’s two-party system and plunged China into a Civil War that lasted until 1949.  Chang Kai-shek’s KMT army fired the first shots slaughtering thousands of communists in southern China then Shanghai.

The Communist Party had no choice but to fight since it was clear that Chang Kai-shek, a converted Christian, was going to have all the communists hunted down and killed.

The Civil War between the two political parties of Sun Yat-sen’s republic lasted for more than twenty years.  The facts do not support The Economists’ claim that the Communist Party “seized control”.

In fact, the Communist Party won China’s Civil War as the North did in America’s Civil War in 1865.

In Part 2, we shall see how the Catholic Church is not a religion but a religious nation with almost one billion members and the pope is a Christian dictator elected for life.

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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.

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Liu Xiaobo’s Manifesto, Charter 08 – Part 1/3

December 18, 2010

First, a question — how often in history has an established government stepped aside and allowed another political structure to replace it without a bloody rebellion?

“Charter 08” is Liu Xiaobo’s Manifesto calling for democratic reforms in China that would sweep aside the established political system opening the door to chaos and anarchy — a return to the first half of the twentieth century.

To understand what would happen to China if Liu’s Manifesto for democracy were implemented, it helps to know some history.

I’ll start with the Communist Manifesto.

Online Schools.org says, “The Communist Manifesto is considered one of the most influential political manuscripts ever written…. it was composed by German communist thinkers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto, also known as the Manifesto of the Communist Party, was published on February 21, 1848.

The Communist Manifesto led to the bloody Russian, Chinese and Cuban revolutions and eventually to the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. To replace old political structures with what the Communist Manifesto proposed cost tens of millions of lives and much suffering.

Even the American and French Republics were born in the 18th century of bloody revolutions and China has already been through one bloody revolution between the Communist and Nationalist (KMT) parties that lasted from 1925 to 1949 soon after Dr. Sun Yat-sen died. To discover more of this era, learn from The Roots of Madness

I admit that I did not know much about the crime that Liu Xiaobo was guilty of that landed him in a Chinese prison for eleven years. I knew as much as most in the West that he was an advocate for democracy and earned an eleven-year prison sentence for his beliefs.

However, to learn more about why a Chinese court sentenced Liu Xiaobo to eleven years in prison for subversion, Google led me to a New Zealand site where I learned about Liu Xiaobo’s Manifesto.

Since the Western media seldom goes into detail beyond the fact that Liu Xiaobo is an activist for democracy in China, I was ignorant of the history behind Liu’s movement.

If you are interested in seeing the list of the demands Liu Xiaobo’s Manifesto makes, visit Charter 08 at Wikipedia.

In Part two, I will examine how Liu Xiaobo broke China’s laws and earned a prison sentence. Click here to go to Liu Xiaobo’s Manifesto, Charter 08 – 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 Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) – Part 2/2

December 14, 2010

The Yongzheng Emperor ruled from 1722 to 1735. He was frugal like his father, the Kangxi Emperor.

Yongzheng created an effective government and used military force to preserve the dynasty’s position as his father had. Under his leadership, he continued the era of peace and prosperity by cracking down on corruption and waste while reforming the financial administration of the empire.

The Qianlong Emperor (birth/death 1711 – 1799) ruled China for much of the 18th century (1735 – 1796). He subdued about ten rebellions known as the “ten successful campaigns”, which drained the Qing Dynasty’s treasury. These rebellions stretched from 1747 to 1792.

However, when the Qianlong Emperor died, China was unified, at peace and strong. He was a brilliant military leader and expanded the empire further into Mongolia and Tibet.

During the rule of the Qianlong Emperor, Manchu and Chinese armies proved the Qing sovereignty over Burma and Nepal.

Chinese settlers in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan and Taiwan dealt with rebellions of the aboriginal tribes that could only be subdued by military force. Muslim people also resisted the Qing regime in Gansu and Xinjiang.

During the 19th century, the two Opium Wars started by Britain and France weakened the Qing Dynasty.

Besides the Opium Wars, there was also the Taiping Rebellion, which lasted more than a decade and cost about 20 million lives.

In 1900, The so-called Boxer Rebellion (known as “I-ho Chuan” or the “Righteous and Harmonious Fists”) was originally started against the Manchu Qing Dynasty but the Qing government managed to redirect this rebellion against the foreigner invaders that had defeated China during the earlier Opium Wars.

This ended in a worse defeat after the foreign powers formed an alliance and marched on Beijing slaughtering the rebels.

The driving force behind the revolution of 1911 that ended the Qing Dynasty was Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

However, once the Qing Dynasty fell, warlords tore China apart and it would take years of struggle to reunify China under one government in 1949 after the Communist Party defeated the Nationalists, who fled to Taiwan with much of China’s imperial treasures and gold.

Return to The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) – 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.

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 Greatest Emperors

November 25, 2010

China’s longest lasting dynasties survived due to one or more great emperors.

After China was unified by Qin Shi Huangdi (221 – 207 BC), there were only five dynasties that survived for long periods — the Han, Tang, Sung, Ming, and Qing Dynasties.

Although China’s civilization survived, the country’s history is rampant with rebellions, palace coups, corruption among palace officials, and insurrections. Between the five longest dynasties, the country usually fell apart into warring states as it did after 1911.

The most successful emperors managed to stabilize the country while managing wisely as the Communist Party has done since 1976.

Emperor Han Wudi (ruled 141 – 87 B.C.) of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 219 A.D.) was fifteen when he first sat on the throne.

Wudi is considered one of the greatest emperors in China’s history. He expanded the borders, opened the early Silk Road, developed the economy, and established state monopolies on salt, liquor and rice.

After the Han Dynasty collapsed, China fell apart for almost 400 years before the Tang Dynasty was established (618 -906). The Tang Dynasty was blessed with several powerful emperors.

The first was Emperor Tang Taizong (ruled 627-649).

According to historical records, Wu Zetain, China’s only woman emperor also ruled wisely.

Emperor Tang Zuanzong , Zetain’s grandson, ruled longer than any Tang emperor and the dynasty prospered while he sat on the throne.

After the dynasty fell, there would be short period of about 60 years before the Sung Dynasty reestablished order and unified the country again.

The second emperor of the Sung Dynasty, Sung Taizong (ruled 976 – 997) unified China after defeating the Northern Han Dynasty. The third emperor, Sung Zhenzong (ruled 997-1022) also deserves credit for maintaining stability.

The Sung Dynasty then declined until a revival by Sung Ningzong (ruled 1194 – 1224) After he died, the dynasty limped along until Kublai Khan defeated the last emperor in 1279.

After conquering all of China, Kublai Khan founded the Mongol, Yuan Dynasty (1277-1367). Not long after Kublai died, the dynasty was swept away.

In 1368, a peasant rebellion defeated the Yuan Dynasty and drove the Mongols from China.

The Ming Dynasty (1271 – 1368) is known for rebuilding, strengthening and extending the Great Wall among a list of other accomplishments.

Historical records show that the rule of the third Ming Emperor, Ming Chengzu (ruled 1403 – 1424), was the most prosperous period.

After Chengzu, the dynasty would decline until 1567 when Emperor Ming Muzong reversed the decline.

His son, Emperor Ming Shenzong, also ruled wisely from 1573 to 1620.

After Shenzong’s death, the Ming Dynasty quickly declined and was replaced by the Qing Dynasty in 1644.

The Opium Wars started by England and France and the Taiping Rebellion led by a Christian convert in the 19th century would contribute to the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.

The Qing Dynasty was fortunate to have three powerful, consecutive emperors: Emperor Kangxi (1661 – 1722), Yongzhen (1722-1735) and Qianlong (1735-1796). For one-hundred-and-thirty-five years, China remained strong and prosperous.

After the corrupt Qing Dynasty was swept aside in 1911 by a rebellion led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, China fell apart and warlords fought to see who would rule China.

When Sun Yat-sen died, the republic he was building in southern China fell apart when Chiang Kai-shek broke the coalition that Sun Yat-sen had formed between the Nationalist and Communist Parties. Mao’s famous Long March shows how the Communists survived.

Then Japan invaded, and China would be engulfed in war and rebellion until 1945 when World War II ended. After World War II, the rebellion between the Nationalist and Communists ended in victory for the Communists in 1949.

This victory was made possible because the Communists were supported by China’s peasants that hated, despised and distrusted the Nationalist Party, which represented China’s ruling elite.

The Communists gained the support of the peasants by treating the peasants with respect and promising reforms that would end the suffering.

Then Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution extended the peasants suffering.

However, since the early 1980s, the Communist Party has been working to fulfill the promises made during the revolution, and the lifestyles of China’s peasants are slowly improving.

There are many impatient voices in the West and a few in China that are not happy with the speed of China’s reforms or how the Party has handled them.

In fact, China has modernized and improved lifestyles in China since the early 1980s at a pace that has never been seen before in recorded history.

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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 third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline