China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 1/2

April 29, 2013

Since China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi (259 – 210 BC), a legal system was established that was relatively modern and forward-looking. Trained administrators were sent across the country to govern by statute. What was right and what was wrong was not subject to the whim of erratic autocrats or juries. Source: Anthropologist in the Attic

In general, ancient China’s legal system attempted to enforce filial piety, to uphold the respect of family ancestors, to avoid legal action when possible, to create deterrents to actions and to “control outbursts” (which may explain why China locks up democracy activists because they are shaking the boat). Source: Kwintessential.co.uk

No matter how much Westerners may disapprove of China’s ancient legal system, it had the acceptance of most Chinese because they understood the traditions behind the laws.


In May 2006, a short documentary of China’s changing legal system was produced.

As part of its economic reforms and policy of opening to the world, between 1980 and 1984, China established special economic zones in Shantou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai in Guangdong Province and Xiamin in Fujian Province and designated the entire island province of Hainan a special economic zone.

Many of China’s new laws were written after this happened.

The rapid growth in industry led to a large number of work related injuries. For example, In 1998, there were over 15,000 serious work related injuries and industrial accidents.

Zhou Litai, a Chinese lawyer, arrived in Shenzhen in 1995 to work on worker’s compensation cases. He says there are three reasons behind worker’s compensation cases in China.

1. The facilities are old and outdated. Some of the equipment was used in Taiwan, Hong Kong or Korea 20 years ago.

2. The workers don’t get the necessary training before they start work.

In fact, Zhou Litai says, “The government has clearly regulated that workers need to be trained before starting a new job, and working permits are required.”

3. The worker’s health deteriorated due to working overtime on a regular basis.

4. The government control isn’t strict enough (For more than two millennia the legal system avoided legal action when possible).

Many Western legal concepts are foreign to Chinese culture, and “thanks to China’s economic development, the commercial law in China is far more developed than other aspects of the legal system.” Source: Ultravires

Continued on April 30, 2013 in China’s Legal System in Flux: Part 2

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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.

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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.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top right-hand side of this page and then follow directions.

 

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.


India Falling Short

October 22, 2010

On October 13, I posted Comparing India and China’s Economic Engines, which referred to a flawed opinion piece in The Economist predicting that the future economic growth of India would eventually surpass China.

I felt that The Economist’s opinion was flawed because it was based primarily on a multi-party democracy being superior to the one-party republic in China.

However, reading that issue of The Economist painted a grim picture for India. It is as if The Economist were promising that India was going to sprout wings and fly – then the piece goes into a long list of facts that prove it cannot happen anytime soon.

The China Law Blog chastised me for being unfair to India. The Blog said, “that he wanted me to provide a super-quick summary of The Economist cover story comparing India with China, but it (I) did not,” which was correct.

In fact, I don’t see how I could have quickly summarized the complexity of India’s economy.

To create an in-depth profile of China, I’ve written hundreds of posts.  To talk about the reason India’s economy will not surpass China for a long time led to this post, which may be the longest single post I’ve written.

Sorry, it isn’t a super-quick summary. At thirteen hundred words, it’s just quick.

Next, Manjeet Pavarti challenged my opinion in a comment to the post.

It is obvious that Pavarti must be a nationalist who loves his country—an admirable trait except when a patriot is misguided and possibly misinformed.

In Pavarti’s last comment of October 16 at 01:33, he challenged my sources—a photojournalist (Tom Carter) with extensive experience traveling in China and India, and my use of evidence from The Economist.

To correct the shortcomings of the first post on this topic, I talked to Gurnam S. Brard, the author of East of Indus, My Memoires of Old Punjab. He agreed with my opinion and said there are many in India like Pavarti that refuse to see the problems that hold India back from achieving its potential.

I also talked to Alon Shalev, author of The Accidental Activist. Shalev told me of his extensive trip through India with his wife and his impressions were the same as Tom Carter and Gurnam Brard.

Next, is Foreign Policy magazine’s Prime Numbers, Mega Cities, where there are no opinions—just facts. I’m going to list “three” that are roadblocks to India future economic growth.

WATER — From National Geographic we have Mumbai’s Shadow City by Mark Jacobson—a slum holding 12 million people, who live in the middle of India’s financial capital.

Then there is Delhi with 17.3 million residents. One third of the city’s residents have little access to clean water. See Life in the Slums of Delhi, India

Foreign Policy magazine says, “In India, service delivery (of fresh water) will fall woefully short of demand in coming years across most urban infrastructure sectors.”

China, on the other hand, has long-term infrastructure projects and is drilling the world’s longest tunnel to carry water under hundreds of miles of mountains to reach Manchuria in the northeast from the Yangtze River.

Then in Tibet, China is building reservoirs to catch water from glaciers that are melting due to global warming while building villages to relocate Tibetan nomads who discover that the high altitude grasslands they once depended on to feed their herds has dried up and turned to desert due to lack of rainfall.

LITERACY — For a republic or democracy to thrive and survive the population must be literate to understand the issues and support a complex modern society.

However, only 66% of India’s 1.2 billion people are considered literate—that’s more than four hundred million people who cannot read.

In China, literacy is 93.3% up from 20% in 1978.

“Prior to 1978 … Adult literacy was given first priority in literacy campaigns designed to ‘sweep away illiteracy’ (saochu wenmang). Because 80% of adults were illiterate, they were targeted as crucial for securing new China’s economic security.”

It may sound cliché, but reading was (and continues to be) power, and leaders knew that the literate could have considerable influence.” Source: China Philanthropy

The World Illiteracy Map says, “Illiteracy is one of the major hindrances that come in the way of economic growth. Literate manpower helps a country in developing.”

POVERTY & THE MAOIST REVOLTForeign Policy magazine reports that rural poverty in India is turning a Communist Revolt in to a raging resource war. “For India this is no longer rural unrest, but a full-fledged guerrilla war.”

“Economic liberalization has not even nudged the lives of the country’s bottom 200 million people. India is now one of the most economically stratified societies on the planet… The number of people going hungry in India hasn’t budged in 20 years.…

“New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore now boast gleaming glass-and steel IT centers and huge engineering projects. But India’s vaster hinterland remains dirt poor—”

China, on the other hand, has managed to contain the Falun Gong problem and the Tibetan and Islamic separatists over the objections of Western human rights activists that cannot stand how China manages unrest.

Due to what many in the West would call brutal measures, harmony and economic progress continue as planned for the vast majority of Chinese.

In addition, in rural China, “Living standards soared in the early 1980s—average incomes doubled in both the cities and the countryside, while there was a boom in both food consumption and the availability of consumer goods.” Source: Socialist Review Index.org.uk

“Growth in (China’s) peasant income, which had reached a rate of 15.2% a year from 1978 to 1984, dropped to 2.8% a year from 1986 to 1991. Some recovery occurred in the early 1990s, but stagnation of rural incomes marked the latter part of the decade.” Source: Asia Times

In fact, the last five-year plan extends electricity to rural China and subsidizes the cost of appliances for rural villages once the electricity is turned on

Tom Carter, one of my sources for this post, is currently living in a small rural village in the tea-producing region of China near Hangzhou and has internet access from a village of twenty people.

I agree that India has the potential to surpass China, but I doubt that will happen in the next few decades due to the economic long-term problems that have to be overcome.

I don’t know where Manjeet Pavarti lives, but I suspect it isn’t outside of the gleaming glass and steel cites like New Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore.

People living inside these economic growth bubbles may have no idea how serious it is outside and probably don’t care or India would be dealing with these challenges as China has been doing since Mao died in 1976 when Deng Xiaoping and his supporters ended the Cultural Revolution and rejected Maoism.

India became a democracy in 1947, which means it has had more than sixty years to solve these problems, while China has had less than thirty since 1982 when the Republic got its new constitution.

Isn’t it ironic how the West seldom hears about India’s problems but always hears about every bit of negative news that happens in China.

See Democracy, Deceit and Mob Rule and Two Republics

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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.


Sinophobia and the Nation With the Soul of a Church

July 1, 2010

An old friend of mine once wrote in an e-mail that Communism was evil and if China didn’t do what America wanted, the US would spank them. That and his endless born-again preaching bruised about five decades of friendship. Now, we don’t communicate much.

The definition for Sinophobia is one who fears or dislikes China, its people or its culture—in other words, an ignorant, brainwashed bigot (my opinion).

This morning, I finished reading  An Exceptional Obsession by John Lee, which was published in The American Interest. On page 42, Lee wrote, “Above all, Chinese leaders are anxious about having to deal with a society so different from their own, and by different we don’t mean a superficial contrast between communism and capitalism.  China’s is a communal culture; America’s is individualist. China is rooted in its land longer and more deeply than any society on earth. America is an immigrant society and an unprecedentedly mobile one at that. China has never institutionalized the rule of law; America is fundamentally based on it. China has never experienced deistic religions; America, as Chesterton once said is “a nation with the soul of a church.”

Lee’s comparison reminded me of the few shallow Communist haters and Sinophobic people I’ve run into on the Internet, who live in this nation with the soul of a church. Occasionally, one crawls out of the woodpile on a thousand legs.

Discover Power Corrupts

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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.