The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 2/5

January 1, 2012

It is a fact that China has done more to reduce severe poverty than any nation on the earth and 90% of global poverty reduction starting in the 1980s took place in China. In addition, the Chinese Communist Party, starting in 1949, was the first government in China’s long history to have an organized plan to reduce poverty in that country.

Even during Mao’s era, there were annual improvements in the economy, health, life span, mortality rates and lifestyles in spite of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

To create an in-depth profile of China, I’ve written more than a thousand posts and a half million words. To talk about the reason India’s economy will not surpass China for a long time led to this post.

Then, Manjeet Pavarti, an Indian citizen, challenged my opinions on this subject. 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 and/or uninformed.

In Pavarti’s last comment of October 16, 2010 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 cover “three” that are roadblocks to India future economic growth.

Continued on January 2, 2012 in The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – 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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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on October 22, 2010 as India Falling Short


The China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – Part 1/5

December 31, 2011

This post was originally a result of a comment on the China Law Blog, which chastised me because, “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 then.

Returning to this subject is because of my twelve-part debate with Troy Parfitt. Mr. Parfitt claimed, “Corruption in India isn’t germane to the debate.” In fact, most if not all of the facts and comparisons used during the debate were not relevant according to Mr. Parfitt unless those facts supported his opinions of China.

At one point, Mr. Parfitt mentioned reviews of his book in Publisher’s Weekly in defense of his book not being racisit. He claimed the South China Morning Post didn’t say that. Neither did Publishers Weekly, the Korean Herald, The Vancouver Sun… and none of the Amazon reviewers [that may change].

However, Publisher’s Weekly [PW] did say this of his book, “The result is mostly travelogue told from an outsider’s perspective, contextualized with overviews of major events in Chinese history. Parfitt argues that China will not rule the world, because as a nation it is more interested in the appearance of success than actual substance. He suggests that culturally, China has little to offer…” In addition, PW says, “his book lacks the precise facts and figures that he decries in other books promoting Chinese dominance.”

Basically, this is what the China Law Blog complained of in my post, Comparing India and China’s Economic Engines.

The facts and figures missing from Mr. Parfitt’s “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” are important as the China Law Blog says. To judge one country without comparing its government, economy and culture to other countries offers no balance for readers to make informed decisions.

Continued on January 1, 2012 in he China-India Comparison with Lots of Facts – 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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Note: This revised and edited post first appeared on October 22, 2010 as India Falling Short


On the trail of Dr Li Zhisui’s illusive Memories – Part 5/5

December 19, 2011

As you have discovered, while many in the West praised Dr. Li’s memoir of Mao as an accurate portrait of a manipulative egomaniac with little tolerance of dissent and a penchant for young women, the book was also criticized in China by those closest to Mao and by both eastern and western scholars of China.

In addition, many in the West have rejected or ignored what Dr. Li wrote about Mao and the famine during the Great Leap Forward.

According to some of the people that knew Mao best, most notably Dr. Li Zhisui, Mao was not aware that the situation amounted to more than a slight shortage of food.

Li wrote, “But I do not think that when he spoke on July 2, 1959, he knew how bad the disaster had become, and he believed the party was doing everything it could to manage the situation” Source: Answers.com

While many in the West believe most of what Li wrote of Mao in his memoir, those same people do not accept what Li says about the famine because to do so would be to admit Mao wasn’t the butcher of 20, 30, or 40 million people due to famine and starvation during the Great Leap Forward.

This is known as “cherry picking”, which is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position [opinion], while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.

This is also called “confirmation bias“, which refers to a form of selective thinking that focuses on evidence that supports what believers already believe while ignoring evidence that refutes their beliefs. Confirmation bias plays a stronger role when people base their beliefs upon faith, tradition and prejudice.

An example of this comes from Hong Kong-based historian Frank Dikotter’s book on the great famine where he claims that Mao was responsible for the famine and did nothing to save lives.

The point I want to make is if the West accepts the revised and sensationalized English version of Li’s memoir of Mao as accurate, how can anyone dispute what Li said about Mao not knowing the extent of the Great Leap Forward famine?  By 1959, Dr. Li had been Mao’s physician for almost three years and according to author Troy Parfitt was with him daily and knew intimate details of Mao’s life.

On the other hand, if we accept that Dr. Li’s memory was wrong about Mao and the famine in 1959, how many other claims in his memoir of Mao are inaccurate?

In fact, it was mentioned in Mao’s Alleged Guilt in the Land of Famines that Dikotter sensationalized his book [as Random House did to Dr. Li’s memoir of Mao] by increasing [inflating] the mortality numbers by 50% to allow for possible under-reporting and came up with a claim that 45 million died of starvation during the GLF famine when in fact, the numbers may have been much lower.

Is it possible that Mao’s image in the West has been unwittingly engineered by the media to be worse than it should be?

We know that memory is imperfect. Gore Vidal said, “A memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.” — from Palimpsest by Gore Vidal (Penguin, 1996).

In fact, “Memoir writers must manufacture a text, imposing narrative order on a jumble of half-remembered events.” — William Zinsser, “Introduction.” Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir. Mariner, 1998

However, in the case of China and/or Mao, many in the West do not trust what the Chinese claim unless told what they want to hear. Everything else is to be considered a lie.

Return to On the trail of Dr Li Zhisui’s illusive Memories – Part 4 or start with 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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On the trail of Dr Li Zhisui’s illusive Memories – Part 4/5

December 18, 2011

Troy Parfitt says, “To say Dr. Li Zhishui was bright, not to mention perceptive and articulate, would be an understatement. I would say he was exceptionally intelligent, and probably a gifted physician…  His book is mesmerizing, deftly penned, overflowing with interesting tidbits…”

However, Li cannot be credited with the “deftly penned” English edition of the memoir since the original manuscript written by Li was translated from his native Chinese into English by Professor Tai Hung-chao, before being edited by Thurston (whom Dr. Li later accused of cutting substantial parts of his original manuscript without his knowledge).

I was also told by a friend that read the Chinese language edition of the memoir that it reads as if it were an accountant’s ledger.

In addition, Professor Tai later said the English-language publisher, Random House, wanted more sensationalist elements to the book than that which Li had provided them, in particular requesting more information about Mao’s sexual relationships.

Despite Li’s own protestations, Professor Tai said the publisher overruled him, and put such sexual claims in the published text anyway.

Then there is the Open Letter published in April 1995, a statement protesting that many of the claims made in Li’s book were false and 150 people who had personally known or worked with Mao signed the letter.

Next there is Professor Frederick Teiwes, a western academic specializing in the study of Maoist China, who was also critical of Li’s memoir of Mao, arguing in his book “The Tragedy of Lin Biao: Riding the Tiger during the Cultural Revolution 1966-1971” (1996) that despite Li’s extensive claims regarding the politics behind the Cultural Revolution, he was actually “on the fringe” of the events taking place in the Chinese government.

Continued on December 18, 2011 in  On the trail of Dr. Li Zhisui’s illusive Memories – Part 5 or return to Part 3

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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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Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World” – Part 1/12

November 27, 2011

Note from Blog’s host: In this discussion, Parfitt has agreed to ask me five questions and I will ask him five. After each answer, a response and then a final word will be allowed. Since each question, answer, response and final word may run 600 to a thousand words, this discussion of China and its culture will be a twelve-part series.

At times during this debate, the reader may sense that ‘Responses’ and ‘Final Words’ are clipped and often incomplete. That may be due to the fact that Parfitt and Lofthouse agreed to limit the number of words for each answer to 350 and 150 words for each ‘response’ in addition to another 150 for the ‘final word’.

In that case, readers may weigh in with comments that may request either Parfitt and/or Lofthouse to respond further. However, comments that insult and are deemed vulgar will not appear and will be “censored“.

Post 12 concludes this discussion with two 500 word ‘Closing Statements’. Each author selected the embedded videos that support his position/opinions.

Part 1 introduces the two authors showing the different paths each took to gain an understanding and education of China’s history, people and culture.

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Troy Parfitt is the author of Notes from the Other China – Adventures in Asia and Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas— From Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, Troy has a background in American history and Canadian political science, as well as accreditation in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).

Troy lived and taught ESL in Seoul, South Korea for nearly two years and in Taipei, Taiwan for more than ten. It was in Taipei where Troy became interested in Sinology. He currently resides in Canada and is a writing consultant at a Canadian university.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of The Concubine Saga — In early 1999, he was introduced to China’s history and culture through the woman he would marry a few months later. That education has continued for more than a decade.

His wife was born in Shanghai and grew up during Mao’s Great Leap Forward and then the Cultural Revolution where she spent three years in a labor camp along with tens of millions of mainland Chinese youth to be educated in Mao’s attempt to erase the old culture and make China stronger to recover and survive the Western invasion of Asia. One of Mao’s first moves was to liberate women and elevate them to be equal to men when he famously announced that women held up half of the sky.

Since 1999, Lloyd has traveled extensively in mainland China with his wife as his tutor. In fact, he and his wife have a flat in one of the suburbs of Shanghai. He also spent about a decade learning about China through Robert Hart’s journals and letters (1835- 1911).

Hart is known as the godfather of China’s modernization. The Concubine Sage is the fictional story of Robert Hart’s early years in China and of his real-life love story with a Chinese woman, his concubine Ayaou. Lloyd’s reference library of China fills several shelves in his home office and he has written more than a half-million words about China for this Blog.

Continued on November 28, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 2

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – 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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