The land of famines and drought: China

April 9, 2014

For more than two millennia, imperial records show that China has suffered from droughts and famines on an annual basis in one or more of its provinces.  This history may explain why China spent several centuries starting long before the birth of Christ to build its thousand mile long Grand Canal that puts the Panama and Suez Canals to shame.

Today, China finds itself water challenged in the north and southwest.  The Daily Mail reported January 2014 that “The largest freshwater lake in China which covers an expanse twice the size of London has dried up because of an ongoing drought.”

Solve Climate News reports that drought had dried up areas of southern China.  Three-hundred-and-ten reservoirs, 580 rivers and 3,600 pools have been baked dry.

Older villagers say reservoirs and irrigation channels are dry for the first time in their lives.

Some blame Global Warming, while environmental activists blame China’s biggest hydro-engineering project, the South-to-North water diversion scheme, which is designed to channel water north to cities such as Beijing and Tianjin.

In fact, this couldn’t be true because the South-to-North water diversion will not be completed until 2050 and due to environmental concerns; the western line is still in the planning stages. Only the eastern and central lines are under construction. Source: Water Link International

CNN reports that drought in northern China is threatening crops in at least 12 provinces where more than 3.5 million people live, including about 2 million livestock. More than 200 million people live in northern China.

The only region of China that’s getting torrential, record rainfall is southeast China where floods have killed many and displaced thousands. Source Accuweather.com

Much of China’s water originates in Tibet. In southwest China, the Mekong River originates on the Tibetan plateau. The Yangtze and the Yellow Rivers comes from the glaciers and melt water of the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. However, the snow and ice in Tibet is melting and the region is turning into a desert.

_______________

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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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

View as Single Page

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.


China’s Great Famine (1958 – 1961) Fact or Fiction – Part 2/4

September 1, 2011

The other factors that may have contributed to China’s so-called Great Famine will be listed in order of influence with the most damaging factor listed first and the least damaging last.

The first factors that may have contributed to the famine were droughts, floods and general bad weather.

In 1959 and 1960, the weather was less favorable, and the situation grew considerably worse, with many of China’s provinces experiencing severe famine.

Droughts, floods, and bad weather caught China completely by surprise, and in July 1959, the Yellow River flooded in East China and directly killed,either through starvation from crop failure or drowning, an estimated 2 million people.

In 1960, at least some degree of drought and other bad weather affected 55 percent of cultivated land, while an estimated 60 percent of northern agricultural land received no rain at all. Source: Great Leap Forward – Climate Conditions and famine in China (Wiki)

In fact, droughts and famine are common in China. Between 108 BC and 1911 AD, there were no fewer than 1,828 major famines in China or one nearly every year in one or another province.

In the West, most if not all of what we hear about Mao is that he was a brutal monster responsible for the deaths of about 30 million people during the Great Leap Forward as if he pulled the trigger and ordered others to deliberately kill people by the millions as Hitler and Stalin did.

However, the facts do not support this claim.

The first time I heard that droughts and extremely bad weather also played a role in the so-called Great Famine was early July 2011 while I was researching another topic for this Blog and stumbled on that mostly unknown fact by accident.

Then I discovered another more insidious factor when I started working on this post, which may have contributed significantly to the early deaths of millions in China and no one in China was responsible for this one.

This factor was influenced by both American and Chinese paranoia generated by the Korean War (1950 – 1953), America’s involvement in Vietnam (1955 – 1975), McCarthyism‘s Red Scare (1947 – 1957) and the Cold War with Communist Russia (1945 – 1991).

Continued on September 2, 2011 in China’s Great Famine (1958 – 1961) Fact or Fiction – Part 3 or return to Part 1

View as Single Page

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.


China’s Great Famine (1958 – 1961) Fact or Fiction – Part 1/4

August 31, 2011

In America and the rest of the West, most people believe that Mao was a monster worse that Adolf Hitler or Stalin and is responsible for killing at least 30 million people during what is known as China’s Great Famine.

In fact, many Chinese also believe that millions died of starvation during The Great Famine (1958 – 1961) due to Mao’s demanding production goals during China’s Great Leap Forward.

Until recently, I also believed this without doubt since that is all I have ever heard.

The details that may have caused this famine are not common knowledge and no attempt by the Western media has been made to reveal them.

However, after discovering what happened in China and the world during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, what was once a certainty (at least to me) is now a mystery and possibly another hoax equal to the hoax that Tibet was never part of China before 1950 and there was a massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989, which Wiki Leaks recently proved wrong.


No mention of drought, floods and severe weather that cut crop yields, and the number of deaths quoted in the video cannot be supported with evidence. Evidence that does exist supports half the number.

Why Mao may have become scapegoat or victim of a hoax is worth examining.

The reason I say this is because in 1949 when Mao came to power, life expectancy in China was about 35, and then in 1960 life expectancy improved to about 60 or almost double what it had been in 1949, while the population of China increased by 19.5% with child mortality rates improving dramatically.

If Mao’s policies were responsible for these improvements in life expectancy and population growth, how could he also be the monster responsible for causing a famine that may have killed millions?

If a famine did occur, my research revealed that other factors may have contributed to the deaths and all but one of those factors did not deliberately cause people to die of starvation.

After learning of these other factors and completing the puzzle, it is obvious (at least to me) that Mao and the Communist Party did not order the deaths of 15 to 70 million people (the numbers quoted in the West vary widely because different people have made different claims without valid evidence to support those claims. There is evidence that supports the lower number.).

Before I started researching this post, I believed that Mao’s agricultural reform policies were mostly responsible for the famine, and then I learned that drought and severe weather also played a role in the famine.

Continued on September 1, 2011 in China’s Great Famine (1958 – 1961) Fact or Fiction – Part 2

View as Single Page

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-right of the screen in the menu bar.


Drought in China

November 3, 2010

China finds itself water challenged in the north and southwest.

Solve Climate News reports that drought had dried up southern China.  Three-hundred-and-ten reservoirs, 580 rivers and 3,600 pools have been baked dry.

Older villagers say reservoirs and irrigation channels are dry for the first time in their lives.

Some blame Global Warming, while environmental activists blame China’s biggest hydro-engineering project, the South-to-North water diversion scheme, which is designed to channel water north to cities such as Beijing and Tianjin.

In fact, that couldn’t be. The South-to-North water diversion will not be completed until 2050 and due to environmental concerns, the western line is still in the planning stages. Only the eastern and central lines are under construction. Source: Water Link International

CNN reports that drought in northern China is threatening crops in at least 12 provinces where more than 3.5 million people and about 2 million livestock live. More than 200 million people live in northern China.

The only region of China that’s getting torrential, record rainfall is southeast China where floods have killed many and displaced thousands. Source Accuweather.com

Much of China’s water originates in Tibet. In southwest China, the Mekong rivers originate on the Tibetan plateau. The Yangtze and the Yellow Rivers comes from the glaciers and melt water of the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau.

However, Tibet is melting and turning into a desert.

Learn more at Water – Two Countries Tell a Tale

______________

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.


Speed on Rails and the Three Gorges Dam Makes News

November 2, 2010

While the Globe’s number one debt-ridden super power talks about building bullet trains and coastal wind farms and doesn’t plan to replace outdated coal burning, polluting power plants, China builds them.

From Yahoo News and the Associated Press comes news of the bullet train from Shanghai to Hangzhou.


Bullet Train from Shanghai to Hangzhou – Mandarin News

However, the big news was the mighty Three Gorges Dam, which holds as much water as Lake Superior in the US. The dam is capable of producing 18 gigawatts of electricity equal to about 40 nuclear power plants.

China is the world’s largest producer of hydroelectricity, followed by Canada, Brazil and the United States. Since no fuel is needed to run a hydroelectric plant, there is little pollution.

Although there was controversy about moving the 1.4 million people who lived in the area behind the Three Gorges Dam, those still waters may save many lives during times of drought and flood.

One example of the controversy comes from a 2007 piece in Time Magazine, which mentions the project has been mired in controversy ever since it was first proposed by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (1866 -1925), the founding father of China’s republic.

In fact, floods along the Yangtze killed more than 300,000 people during the 20th century but there was no mention of that in the Time piece.

Taking into account the loss of life from floods and the threat of droughts in China, why did the Western media spend so much effort publicizing the controversial resettlement project without mentioning the potential benefits to hundreds of millions of Chinese?

______________

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.