Why Blaming China is Wrong

March 14, 2011

It wasn’t until I finished reading Jonathan Fahey’s piece for the Associated Press of a new drilling method opening vast oil fields in the US that I discovered more evidence of how wrong many Americans are of China.

North Americans that blame China for lost jobs react from “ignorance” and “anger” — not facts.

Most are incapable of understanding the complexity of America’s suffering economy and are unwilling to sacrifice so the US can compete globally in manufacturing.

Unable and/or unwilling to understand, these people need a scapegoat so politicians running for office give them one — China.

The clue came when Fahey wrote, “At today’s oil prices of roughly $90 per barrel, slashing imports that much would save the U.S. $175 billion a year. Last year, when oil averaged $78 per barrel, the U.S. sent $260 billion overseas for crude, accounting for nearly half the country’s $500 billion trade deficit.”

What happens in China is not the reason for lost US jobs.

In fact, most of what China earns in global trade from exports is spent in other nations such as Australia, Pakistan, Brazil, Myanmar and South Africa until Chinese exports and imports are about even.

That $260 billion the US spent for imported oil that added to the deficit revealed the truth. Many in the US are unwilling to sacrifice for the good of the country.

However, as the Amy Chua Tiger Mother debate reveals, the real culprit of the trade deficit in the US is illiteracy caused by the average parent focused on the child’s daily fun instead of his or her education and the work it takes to earn it.

Begin to Read.com says, “Many of the USA ills are directly related to illiteracy.” Then the site provides a few statistics to make its point.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

  • Literacy is learned. Parents who cannot read or write pass along illiteracy. (Did you notice there was no mention of teachers getting the blame? As long as parents blame someone or something else, illiteracy in the US will not improve.)
  • One child in four in the US grows up not knowing how to read.
  • Forty-three percent of adults at Level 1 literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at Level 5
  • Three of four food stamp recipients perform in the lowest two literacy levels
  • Ninety percent of welfare recipients are high school dropouts—according to NumberOf.net, there are about 50 million Americans collecting some form of welfare.
  • Over 70% of the more than two million inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.

According to literacy fast facts from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), literacy is defined as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

Studies say that about 13% of the adult population was at or above proficient in literacy. Since there are about 230 million adults in America that means only 30 million are proficient.

A CBS report on The Future of Jobs in America said,Education has to be the final part of the strategy for job growth.”

Illiteracy is America’s “real” culprit and it is not the fault of China or America’s teachers. It is the fault of parents and middle-class Americans unwilling to sacrifice by changing spending and lifestyle habits.

Until most Americans face the facts, nothing is going to change. It is only going to get worse until there is no one left to blame but the face in the mirror. By then, it may be too late.


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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Eating Bitterness

January 15, 2011

Mainland Chinese are different. They are willing to eat more bitterness than others to learn.

The reason I’m writing this post is due to Amy Chua’s Essay in The Wall Street Journal and a response from Funny Little World where Nang Ngot wrote in a comment, “You can have a system like China that churns out smart but obedient drones. There, the collective behavior guides the intellect.”

Mainland Chinese are not obedient drones any more than all Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or Hindus are obedient drones within their cultures.

Within every culture, each person is an individual. In China, the difference is how the individuals see themselves in relation to the whole. That does not make them drones.

There’s even an ancient Chinese saying that supports being disobedient, which explains why the central government in Beijing is having so much trouble with corruption at the local level. “The emperor lives behind high walls and is a long ways from our village.”

In simple language this means, “What the emperor doesn’t know won’t hurt us.”

Where Jews and Christians have the Bible and Islam has the Quran, the Chinese have a culture governed by a mixture of Confucianism, Taoism and in part by Buddhism.

The Chinese do not need a temple, church or mosque to tell them what to believe and how to act.

Although there is no Confucian bible, the basic guide that Confucius left behind is as significant as the Ten Commandments, the Bible and the Quran.

In Chinese culture, those guidelines were designed for living a moral life and the family teaches the children as the child grows into an adult.

The Chinese family has done this for thousands of years until it became part of the culture, as Christianity is to the West and Islam is to the Middle East.

Stanford.edu says, “A hallmark of Confucius’ thought is his emphasis on education and study.”

Nicholas D. Kristof, writing for the New York Times, says, “Perhaps as a legacy of Confucianism, its citizens have shown a passion for education and self-improvement — along with remarkable capacity for discipline and hard work, what the Chinese call “chi ku,” or “eating bitterness”.

Kristof  is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and then studied law at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, graduating with first class honors. He later studied Arabic in Cairo and Chinese in Taipei.

Kristof writes, “China used to be one of the most sexist societies in the world — with female infanticide, foot binding, and concubinage — but it turned a corner (in 1949 when Mao said women hold up half the sky) and now is remarkably good at giving opportunities to girls as well as boys….”

At China Education Center.com, I learned that many scholars believe the history of education in China started in the 16th century B.C., and Confucianism has had the largest impact on education for more than two thousand years of Chinese history.

In fact, during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 219 AD) a form of public education was established. Not only for the elite but also for the common man so both would become better gentlemen.

In contrast, it wasn’t until 1918 that all states in the US had laws requiring children to attend at least elementary school. In 1900, only 6% of children graduated from high school. By 1996, 85% were graduating from high school.

Compared to China, the importance of earning an education in the United States is relatively new and doesn’t have as strong of a cultural component.

Discover more on this topic at Mean Chinese Supermoms are Right while Positive Self-Esteemism is Wrong


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.