Family Roots run Deep in Israel and China

March 25, 2013

In 1967, I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. Between June 5 – 10, six months after I returned from Vietnam, Israel fought the Six-Day War defeating several Islamic nations that had twice the troops Israel had, more combat aircraft and many more tanks.

It was Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Kuwait, Tunisia, Sudan and the PLO against Israel.

Israel’s had a total of 264,000 troops with only 100,000 deployed. The Islamic nations had a total of 547,000 troops with 240,000 deployed. Israel had 800 tanks to 2,504, and 300 combat aircraft to 957.

After Israel’s victory, I remember saying, “We should let Israel fight the Vietnam War for us.  At least Israel’s leaders know how to fight.”

The Jews and the Chinese have four things in common—loyalty to family, a high respect for education, a willingness to work long hours for low pay, and a canny acumen for business. Because of these similarities, the Chinese have even been called the Jews of Asia.

The Jews have a long history with China. In China: A New Promised Land, by R. E. Prindle, an interview with David Grossman, Israel’s leading novelist talks about the Jews moving to China.

When a father goes to work in China, he works for his family—not himself. After the children grow up, they must care for their parents—not the other way around like in America.  In America, many parents tell their children to do whatever they want and be anything they want. Most children follow that advice even if it means getting a degree to become an artist or skipping college to chase dreams of acting, singing or sports fame while attending parties or visiting theme parks like Disneyland because mom and dad said, “We want you to be happy—to have fun.”

It’s different for many Jews and Chinese. Working hard and earning an education are important to both cultures.  A close friend of mine and his wife, both Jewish, took out a loan on their home so their son could become a doctor and their daughter a lawyer. They bought a condominium near the university their children attended as a place to live. Both the mother and father were teachers, who did not earn much, which shows that Jewish parents, like the Chinese, are willing to sacrifice for their children in ways many American parents would find unacceptable in the age of credit cards and instant gratification.

This willingness to sacrifice for the family and nation may have been the reason the Jews won the Six-Day War against overwhelming odds. Although the Chinese have the same values and are willing to make the same sacrifices for family, they did not know how to fight like the Jews—something the surviving Jews must have learned due to Nazi atrocities.

Will the changing China also change family values?

After Mao won China, he caused much suffering with the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution where the goal may have been to root out the weaknesses that caused China to become a victim to Western Imperialism in the 19th century and then Japan during World War II.

I wonder if the Chinese learned the lessons Mao taught them through suffering similar to what the Jews experienced from Hitler.  I wonder if China will fight like Israel if threatened again. Before Mao, China was a country of poets and artists who painted watercolors on rice paper.  Even Mao and his generals wrote poems. I do not believe the Chinese are a military threat to anyone who does not threaten them.

Like Israel, China may only respond if they feel they are going to be attacked, and if Mao left them ready to defend themselves against aggressors, then the horrors that caused so much suffering and death during the 27 years he ruled China might have been worth the sacrifice for the survival of this family focused culture.

Most America families were like that once before the industrial revolution and the self-esteem movement made the individual more important than the family. Back then, 95% of the population lived on small family farms near towns and hamlets instead of bulging cities dominated by corporate cultures and sexy advertisements. Today, most family roots in the United States do not run deep—not like the Chinese and Jews.

See The First of all Virtues


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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Mao and Snow

December 3, 2012

During one of our trips to Shanghai, China, my wife and I went to see a film called Mao Zedong and Edgar Snow.

Edgar Snow (1905 – 1972) was an American journalist known for his books and articles on Communism in China and the Chinese Communist revolution. He is believed to be the first Western journalist to interview Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, and is best known for Red Star Over China (1937) an account of the Chinese Communist movement from its foundation until the late 1930s.

The film was in Mandarin and wasn’t subtitled, so I had to watch carefully to understand what was going on. I Googled the move and found little about it on the Internet.

However, I discovered that Edgar Snow’s wife threatened to sue China if the movie was released but that didn’t stop the Chinese.

There’s no doubt that Mao had to have charisma to lead so many men in battle for so many years to win the civil war.

Edgar Snow and Mao

However, Mao changed after he became a modern emperor, and the power corrupted him. The evidence—the results of the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and the purges that killed so many.

There was a positive side too.  Mao’s success in the CCP’s war against poverty, the increase in life expectancy that almost doubled during Mao’s rule and the health programs that were implemented such as the bare foot doctors. The reason so many Chinese still think of Mao as the George Washington of China was because life after 1949 was better than life before the CCP won the Civil War.

Students of China may want to see this movie, but the only place one may buy a DVD of this movie is probably China.

When Edgar Snow came down with pancreatic cancer, Zhou Enlai dispatched a team of Chinese doctors to Switzerland to treat him.

The next best thing would be to read Snow’s book about Mao, Red Star Over China and/or discover about Health Care During Mao’s Time.


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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A Coup in China? A Jasmine Spring?

March 26, 2012

Do a Google search on “News of a coup in China” and you may end up with as many hits as I had, which was more than 110,000,000 when I was researching the topic of this post.  Amazing!

I suspect this viral Internet topic has to do with dreams of democracy sweeping the world leading to global peace and prosperity for eternity, but that ain’t going to happen anytime soon.

The last time there was this much Internet excitement over revolutions was in December 2010 when the Arab Spring swept across the Middle East and North Africa toppling governments, but at what price.

In November 2011, US News and World Report said that 3,500 had died in Syria (and the fighting isn’t over yet), 250 in Yemen, a 100 in Bahrain, 30,000 in Libya, 900 in Egypt, and 300 in Tunisia.  In addition many more were injured/wounded.

Al Jazeera reported almost 11 months after the Arab uprising that “freedom is not free, and there are now some clear financial costs emerging,” and the cost has reached a grand total of $55.84 billion. (Source: International Monetary Fund)

However, as the Arab Spring blossomed and spread, in America and the West there was a sense of euphoria that democracy was sweeping the globe and would arrive in China, which did not materialize as life went on as usual in the Middle Kingdom.

Then, as if prayers had been answered, on March 19, 2012, there were rumors of a coup in China and the Blogosphere and the media exploded with speculation.

If anything happened in China on March 19, it was probably a political protest by supporters of Bo Xilai, who was yanked from his position of power that week, and Bo Xilai is and was not a democracy advocate.

In fact, what he advocated was closer to a return to the era of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Bo Xilai was also a populist figure and the last time China had a populist figure that was equal parts showman and strongman, his name was Mao Zedong, and he ruled China for twenty-six years and is infamously known in the West for his political purges, the failure of The Great Leap Forward and his closing act, The Cultural Revolution.

Hannah Beech of Global Spin, a blog about the world, its people and its politics, says, “Last May, I said on my blog that Bo Xilai wanted to become Mao Zedong,” Yang told me after Bo’s dismissal. “But he failed because in today’s China there is no need for a Mao.”

In the video, China analyst Jennifer Richmond dispels rumors of a recent coup attempt in Beijing and explores the intensifying political and economic reform debate happening in China ahead of its 2012 leadership transition.

Then the BBC reported, “Damaging coup rumours ricochet across China. Have you heard? There’s been a coup in China! Tanks have been spotted on the streets of Beijing and other cities! Shots were fired near the Communist Party’s leadership compound!

“OK,” the BBC says, “before you get too agitated, there is no coup. To be more exact, as far as we know there has been no attempted coup.

“To be completely correct we should say we do not know what’s going on. The fact is there is no evidence of a coup. But it is a subject that has obsessed many in China (and outside of China) this week.

“Photographs of tanks and armoured cars on city streets were flying around Twitter and elsewhere,” the BBC report continued. “On closer inspection though, some of the pictures seemed to be old ones from rehearsals for military parades, others did not even seem to be of Beijing, as they claimed, but different Chinese cities.”

Then in another report covering this rumor, said, “In other countries, you might see reporters offhandedly refer to their unnamed contacts inside the Prime Minister’s Office, or the White House, or whatever institution they’re covering. Even when I worked in famously enigmatic Russia, I had a few ‘Kremlin sources’ I could occasionally turn to.”

“Not in China,” Shanghaiist continued. “I know many of the foreign journalists based here, and more than a few of the Chinese ones. None have ever claimed to me, or their readers, that they have a contact inside, or even close to, the decision-making Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.”

Meanwhile, what about an update on the Arab Spring, the so-called democracy movement in North Africa and the Middle East that this post started with?

According to the “2012 Index of Economic Freedom”, said, “Corruption and Terrorism: Will They Undermine the Arab Spring? says, “Any kind of political instability has important policy implications for development in general, and for sustainable economic growth in particular. The recent turmoil in the Middle East is no exception…”

The study by Nahid Kalbasi Anaraki, Ph.D. asked three questions:

  • Is terrorism more likely to appear under more corrupt regimes?
  • Is there a long-run relationship between a country’s level of economic freedom and terrorism?
  • What is the impact of terrorism on foreign direct investment (FDI) and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita?

Anaraki says, “The results point to a high risk that the hopes of the revolutionary movements will founder on the rocks of terrorism and corruption.”

For more on this, Professor Timur Kuran of the Cline Center for Democracy said, “A striking feature of these uprisings is the lack of an existing opposition or charismatic revolutionary leaders. These have been truly popular revolutions. While the popular character adds legitimacy to the ideals and aspirations of these uprisings, it may also prove a weakness on the path to actual democracy. Due to decades of severe oppression, the opposition forces in almost every transforming country in the region lack recognized leadership, partisan organization, and coherent political ideology. In fact, the only organized political force in this region comes from conservative Islamist groups. Meanwhile, the emergent transitional governments are being formed under the tutelage of defecting, formerly authoritarian elites and their militaries.”

In conclusion, an Arab Spring leading to democracy, a Jasmine Revolution in China, or any revolution by any other name does not guarantee an American and/or Western style democracy will emerge in time.  The only guarantee is that people in Western democracies will get excited and then soon forget they were excited as the next sensation appears, since attention spans and memories in the West are often short and opinionated.

In fact, to many in the West, the Arab Spring and rumors of a coup in China were entertainment, and the same people will soon switch to American Idol or another show such as America’s Next Top Model or maybe Survivor.

Note: Other posts and comments that focus on the 2012 transition of political power in China may be found at Breaking News – a Warning for the CCP from Premier Wen Jaibao and China’s Translation Sensation.


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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Americans doing Business in China – Part 10/16

March 1, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: The Wall Street Journal reported, “Beijing Brews Up Its Own Craft Beers… With the recent opening of Slow Boat Brewery in Beijing, the city’s number of American-style microbreweries officially doubled — to two. Mr. Jurinka and Slow Boat co-founder Daniel Hebert are looking to open a tap room and sell their beer directly to local bars and restaurants… The other brewpub in town is Great Leap Brewing, set in a classic hutong in Beijing’s Gulou neighborhood… Great Leap’s owner, Carl Setzer, has been living in China and Taiwan for eight years… U.S. microbrew beer exports to China hit a record in 2010, with sales reaching $546,000, five times the level just five years ago…”


Guest Post by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption, an international online magazine.

As I write about my personal experiences in China, I again want to note that they are strictly that—my “personal” experiences. I am certain there are people, who have visited China who could contradict everything that I have, or will write. The products I imported perhaps did not lend themselves to the typical “Sweat Shop” stereotype in terms of the factories that produced them.

However, I never saw or visited any factory that, in my mind, would fit that definition.

If the factories were not what I would call “modern”—they were certainly clean. The employees (factory workers) wore uniforms at most places I visited. They seemed proficient in their work and the products produced, and for the most part, were without quality problems—certainly no different from products produced in other countries.

Most of the factories tended to be in Industrial Parks that were quite large. Usually, the factories were a “small city” into themselves. There was housing provided for the employees on the factory grounds along with areas for recreation. I don’t suppose there was another way of doing it, but I saw a lot of laundry hanging from outside the housing units plus commercial apartments buildings I saw throughout China.

Most factories had certifications that were either the same or similar to those held by US factories. I saw elaborate R&D sections in most of the factories I visited. The office space was usually as modern and pleasant as any I had visited in the US.

A ritual that I truly enjoyed was at every meeting when hot tea was served. Sometimes the owner or general manager had tea to make in their office and other times it was brought in. However, I can’t recall a meeting where tea was not offered.

Being a non-smoker, another ritual I did not enjoy was in almost every meeting I attending most of the parties present smoked. I heard a figure once that 85% of Chinese men smoked. I can attest that this is probably a good estimate. Once inside the office or meeting room, the smoke became quite thick and uncomfortable for me; however, I was their guest and felt I could put up with the discomfort in the course of conducting my business affairs.

I have fond memories of my factory visits and discussions. I think the fact that I came to China, and met with the factory personnel aided my business immensely versus doing business in name only.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued March 2, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 11 (a guest post) or return to Part 9


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 guest post first appeared on March 5, 2010

The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 4/5

January 3, 2012

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—”

The World Hunger Index [GHI] says, “India is home to the largest number of poor in the world. The latest estimate suggests that over 400 million people live below the official poverty line… Given the nature of rural Indian economy all shades of poverty can be found in India—from moderate under-nutrition to extreme starvation.”

In fact, while China’s Communist Party and Mao are often accused and criticized for killing or allowing millions [estimates range from 16.5 million to 45 million based mostly on inflated numbers] to die of starvation in 1959 during the Great Leap Forward, “According to the 2010 GHI report, India is among 29 countries with the highest levels of hunger, stunted children, and poorly fed women.”

UNICEF reported in 2006 that, “10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths.”

If “the Indian subcontinent has nearly half the world’s hungry people,” as Think says, then about two and a half million children die from malnutrition and hunger related diseases annually in India equaling twenty-five million deaths every decade or about 130 million deaths since the 1959 famine in China. In addition, the Times of India reported, India tops world hunger chart.

Continued on January 4, 2012 in The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 5 or return to Part 3


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 on October 22, 2010 as India Falling Short