An Islamic Pilgrimage from China: Part 2 of 2

June 1, 2016

Al Jazeera introduces us to another devout Chinese Muslim in Xian who is proudly transcribing the Quran into Chinese using traditional Chinese brush calligraphy. He says it took him over a year to transcribe the entire Quran this way. Now he is working on a second copy.

Wanting to pass down this tradition to the next generation, he has also taught his son and his grandsons how to write with the Chinese brush .

His son says that every generation should try their best to transcribe the Quran with the Chinese brush, as it is also a good way to reinforce their faith.

The original copy of the Quran in this family is over four hundred years old, a priceless relic transcribed by the Chinese imams. There are only a few remaining copies left in the world.

Jia Wen Yi, a hajj pilgrim, says the trip to Mecca is important to him and his wife, an elderly couple. They have done a lot of preparation for the hajj, and Mr. Jia goes into detail about the planning.

Going on the hajj for Yi and his wife, Jia Wang Yi, has been a dream for over two decades as they saved to have enough money.

Mr. and Mrs. Jia will be part of a group of 250 pilgrims leaving for the hajj from the city of Xian. It was a matter of saving most of their lives until they could afford the trip.

Since these Muslims are considered a minority in China, they are not restricted by the one-child policy, as you would see in the video when the family and friends gather to say goodbye before Mr. and Mrs. Jia leave on the long journey to Mecca.

There is no direct flight from Xian to Mecca, so the pilgrims will take a train to Beijing where they will board a flight to Saudi Arabia.

Whenever pilgrims leave Xian to go on the hajj to Mecca, thousands of Chinese Muslims show up at the railway station to say goodbye. This is the first time Mr. and Mrs. Jia have left China. They have never been apart from their family before.

Return to Part 1

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

A1 on March 13 - 2016 Cover Image with BLurbs to promote novel

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An Islamic Pilgrimage from China: Part 1 of 2

May 31, 2016

The hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.

From Xian in China to Mecca in Saudi Arabia it is a distance of 6,812 km or 4,232.781 miles.

This post might be a surprise to many in the West that think there is no religious freedom in China, but China handles religious freedom similar to how Singapore does it. And Singapore is seldom if ever criticized in the Western media for its religious restrictions.

The U.S. Department of State says that Singapore’s government has broad powers to limit citizens’ rights and handicap political opposition, and it does. One of those restrictions is a limited freedom of religion.

For instance, Singapore bans the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Unification Church by making public meetings illegal. The Falun Gong, banned in China, also has problems in Singapore.

China recognizes five religions — Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism but has banned certain new religious movements that are considered cults. China does not recognize cults as religions.

In the video embedded with this post, Al Jazeera follows Chinese Muslims as they prepare to undertake the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca from Xian in China.

The ancient city of Xian in Shaanxi province is home to about 60,000 ethnic Chinese Muslims.

Xian claims it has a Muslim history going back more than thirteen hundred years when Islam was first introduced to China in 650 AD, and the oldest mosque in China was built in 685-762 AD in Xian during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty.

Chinese Imam Ma Yi Ping speaks both Chinese and Arabic. He studied at the Islamic University of Medina and has made the hajj several times. He was taught in secret to be a devout Muslim by his parents when Mao ruled China and the mosques in China were closed.

Despite the persecutions that took place during China Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) for all religons, Islam survived.

Ma Yi Ping says that after Mao and the Gang of Four were gone and China opened for trade with the world, he did not have to study the Quran in secret anymore.

Since the 15th century, Xian Muslims have been going to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage.

In the past, during the ancient days of the Silk Road, these journeys started and ended in Xian’s Muslim quarter. Today is no different.

Continued in Part 2 starting June 1, 2016

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 unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

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Making the Hajj from China: Part 2/2

May 28, 2013

Another devout Chinese Muslim in Xian is proudly transcribing the Quran into Chinese using traditional Chinese brush calligraphy. He says it took him over a year to transcribe the entire Quran this way. Now he is working on a second copy.

He has also taught his son and his grandsons how to write with the Chinese brush wanting to pass down this tradition to the next generation.

His son says that every generation should try their best to transcribe the Quran with the Chinese brush, as it is also a good way to reinforce our faith.

The original copy of the Quran in this family is over four hundred years old, a priceless relic transcribed by the Chinese imams. There are only a few remaining copies left in the world.

Jia Wen Yi, a Hajj pilgrim, says the trip to Mecca is important to him and his wife, an elderly couple. They have done a lot of preparation for the hajj. Mr. Jia goes into detail about the planning.

Going on the hajj for Yi and his wife, Jia Wang Yi, has been a dream for over two decades as they saved to have enough money.

Mr. and Mrs. Jia will be part of a group of 250 pilgrims leaving for the hajj from the city of Xian. It was a matter of saving most of their lives until they could afford the trip.

Since these Muslims are considered a minority in China, they are not restricted by the one-child policy, as you would see in the video when the family and friends gather to say goodbye before Mr. and Mrs. Jia leave on the long journey to Mecca.

There is no direct flight from Xian to Mecca, so the pilgrims will take a train to Beijing where they will board a flight to Saudi Arabia.

Whenever pilgrims leave Xian to go on the hajj to Mecca, thousands of Chinese Muslims show up at the railway station to say goodbye. This is the first time Mr. and Mrs. Jia have left China. They have never been apart from their family before.

Return to Making the Hajj from China: Part 1

_______________

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.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

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The Controversy, Complexity and Reality behind China’s One-Child Policy

October 3, 2011

Louise Watt of the Associated Press writes of China’s wealthy wanting to leave China, and once again demonstrates the West’s ignorance of the one-child policy.

Pub Med Central provides a better history of the one-child policy.

“In 1979, the one-child family policy was developed and implemented in response to concerns about the social and economic consequences of continued rapid population growth,” Pub Med said, and, “implementation was more successful in urban areas than rural areas.”

Pub Med says, “It was hoped that third and higher order births could be eliminated and that about 30% of couples might agree to forgo a second child… In some of the largest and most advanced cities like Shanghai, sizeable proportions of couples already chose to have only one child (regardless of the law).

“As a result, it was not long before 90 percent of couples in urban areas were (easily) persuaded to restrict their families to a single child.”

However, Pub Med says, in rural areas of China the opposite happened, and 90 percent of women with one child went on to have a second (regardless of the law) and there wasn’t much the Communist Party could do to stop them.

AP’s Louise Watt writes, “Under China’s one-child policy in place for the last three decades to control population growth, couples can be penalized for having more than one child. In Beijing, the penalty is a one-off fee 3-10 times the city’s average income, a maximum of 250,000 yuan ($40,000).”

Watt also tells us that among the 20,000 Chinese with at least 100 million yuan ($15 million) 27 percent have already left China and 47 percent are considering it, and they want to leave so they can have more children on the cheap and buy land that does not belong to the government.

These wealthy Chinese Louise Watt writes of may be surprised to discover that if the U.S. wants to build a school, park, freeway or shopping center, and your house is in the way, it will be bought and bulldozed.

The law for this is called Eminent Doman and 60 Minutes at CBS News reported on possible abuses of this in the United States in February 2009. Rebecca Leung of CBS News wrote, “But did you know the government can also seize your land for private use if they can prove that doing it will serve what’s called ‘the public good’?”

In addition, it would be interesting to discover if some or all of the wealthy Chinese claiming to have left China to have more children and buy a home left for other reasons they are not talking of.

In The Danger of False Truths, I mentioned that thousands of corrupt Chinese officials stole more than $120-billion U.S. and fled overseas—and the U.S. was a top destination.

If so, the real reason many of these “wealthy” Chinese left China may have been to avoid going to prison or being executed.

In addition to Eminent Domain, if an American cannot pay the annual property tax or income tax in the United States, the house will be lost to the government.  I estimate that the property tax I paid since I first owned a home in 1973 would have paid the penalty for a dozen extra children in China.

In fact, due to property tax, no one really owns their homes in America and everyone is just a tenant, and the U.S.  Government is the landlord. In China, they call it like it is, while in the US, most people believe in fairy tales.

I suggest you read what Foreclosure Warehouse.com has to say on this topic.

And if you were worth $15 million dollars and wanted a second or third child, $40,000 a child would not dent that fortune.  In addition, in China when someone buys a house for that 70-year lease, the property tax is paid only once at the time of the purchase and currently there is no law that says you have to pay any property tax again unless it is an investment property.

When these rich Chinese arrive in the US and buy a million dollar house, they will be paying property tax annually. Taxes on land and the buildings on it are the biggest source of revenue for local governments.

In California, for example, property tax for a million dollar house costs about $10,000 a year, and forty years of property tax would cost about a half million dollars, which is much more than $40,000 for the second child and another $40,000 for the third child.

Maybe Louisa Watt should have also mentioned that U.S. citizenship is for sale for foreign millionaires and the details may be found at All Voices.com, and most Americans could not afford this legal bribe (sorry, I meant deal).

In fact, there’s a lot about China’s one-child policy that Louise Watt isn’t revealing, and what she writes may have to do with America’s busy-body, do as I say morality, which interferes as often as possible in the domestic philosophies and affairs of other countries—something China does not do.

For decades, China’s one-child policy has been criticized in America and/or the West mostly by evangelical, fundamentalist Christians that represent one of American’s squeaky wheels with a political agenda to force their beliefs on others.

However, what these critics do not know may shock them, but I doubt if it will deter their misguided zeal.

In the September/October 2011 issue of Foreign Policy magazine, Phillip Longman wrote The World Will Be More Crowded With Old People, and said, “Another related megatrend is the rapid change in the size, structure, and nature of the family. In many countries such as Germany, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, the one-child family is now becoming the norm (without a law)… Today about one in five people in advanced Western countries, including the United States, remains childless.”

AP’s Louise Watt also doesn’t tell us the one-child policy does not apply to the hundred million people in China that belong to one of the fifty-six minorities or many of the Han Chinese living in rural China where most Chinese don’t pay property tax, rent or a mortgage payment since the land is owned collectively and may not be sold.

Since minorities in China are a small segment of the population, China’s government practices flexibility with the minority birth rate in order to keep minorities an important part of China’s culture.

For example, Tibetans may not live the feudal, nomadic lifestyle with the 35-year lifespan they once had under the Dalai Lama (the average lifespan in Tibet today is more than 60 without the Dalai Lama), which they had before Mao sent the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into Tibet in 1950.

Isn’t it horrible how the Tibetans were forced to give up that shorter average lifespan and feudal servitude?

However, as a minority, Tibetans may have as many children as they want and the penalty Louise Watt writes of does not exist for them.

We often hear of the Uighur Muslims since this minority has an Islamic separatist movement in the northwest near Afghanistan where the US is fighting a war against a similar insurgency, but the Uighurs are a minority so the one-child policy also does not apply them, and they are not the only Muslims in China.

The Hui are unique among the fifty-six officially recognized minorities of China in that Islam is their only unifying identity. They do not have a unique language as the other minorities do and often intermarry with Han Chinese.

In fact, many live outside the Hui autonomous region. Since the Hui are considered a minority, the one-child policy also does not apply to them.

The Chinese government says if it weren’t for the one-child policy, there would be another four-hundred million mouths to feed and provide shelter for. Instead of 1.3 billion people in China, there would be almost 2 billion—more than six times the population of the US, and China cannot grow crops on about 90% of its land.

France 24 International News reported another recent exception to China one-child policy for Shanghai.

Chinese law allows married couples in Shanghai that are both the only child of their parents to have two children even if they are Han Chinese.

To make sure these married couples are aware of this exception, China provides support from government run family planning centers that check on women’s health and inform them of their rights and responsibilities to have more than one child.

The Shanghai government encourages married couples eligible to have more than one child to do so, which, in Shanghai, means most married couples.

The Shanghai Family Planning Commission first promoted this policy in 2009. The reason for this campaign lies in Shanghai’s population demographics.

Because of the one-child policy, Shanghai has been particularly hard hit by an age disparity, and 22 percent of the citizens of Shanghai are over sixty and these numbers are expected to grow.

Xu Xihua, the director of Shanghai’s Aging Development Center says that by adjusting the one-child policy in Shanghai, this disparity in ages can be partially reduced and giving couples an opportunity to have two children is part of the plan.

However, the central government stresses it is not abandoning its family planning policies or its control over the number of births. Fear of overpopulation and potential famines remains high in a country that has a history of droughts, floods and famines, which is something the U.S. has not yet experienced in its brief history.

France 24 International News also reported how one Chinese couple wanted to have more than one child and the couple took advantage of loopholes in the one-child policy to have three.

The mother’s first child was a boy, and she was desperate to have a girl.

Since fines are less for a second child if delivered in a remote rural province, the couple moved south.

However, the mother discovered she was pregnant again soon after the birth of the second child, which was a girl, and the doctor told her that because of health reasons she couldn’t have an abortion.

And recently, authorities in China’s most populous province have asked Beijing to ease the one-child policy.

In addition, wealthy Chinese businessmen, television and movie stars often avoid the one-child policy since they have money to pay the fine Louise Watt writes of in her AP piece, and ten percent of rich Chinese have an average of three children and this practice is spreading among the upper-middle class. Since they stay in China, these wealthy Chinese avoid paying annual property tax in America.

Peng Xizhe, dean of social development and public policy at Fudan University, says “In the Maoist era everyone was controlled by his work unit. It’s over now. Many workers are independent. It becomes more and more difficult for the government to pressure people to having only one child.”

In fact, according to some experts, China will adopt a two-child policy in several years.

However, unexpected problems besides an aging population may have developed from the one-child policy, which is explained by a NPR All Things Considered report by Louisa Lim’s Lightning Divorces Strike China’s ME Generation.

Lim says Beijing has the highest divorce rate in China with 39 percent of all marriages ending in a split.

One Beijing woman, Cheng, tells Lim of her six-month marriage that ended as fast as it started. Cheng blamed the divorce on belonging to the generation of spoiled singletons (one-child), known as the post-1980’s generation.

Dr. Perry, a professor of economics and finance in the US, agrees that the upsurge in China’s divorce rate is because of the selfish and narcissistic generation of spoiled one-child children in China (have you already forgotten that many of these urban parents decided to have only one child before or in spite of the law).

But hold on, there may be another explanation why Beijing’s divorce rate is soaring. Eight years ago, a married couple needed permission from their work unit to divorce. Today, couples have the freedom to divorce in China without asking.

Although it may be difficult to link China’s changing divorce rate to the one-child policy, there is another outcome that cannot be denied.

China may have cut off a foot to save its stomach from starvation.

Studies predict that China will soon be short 24 million wives. It doesn’t matter that it is illegal in China to take a test for non-medical reasons that determines the sex of the fetus.

Since China’s culture traditionally prefers boys to girls, many parents go to underground private clinics to find out what the sex of the fetus is. If it is a girl, many terminate the pregnany with an illegal abortion.

The results is a growing shortage of women leading to illegal forced marriages and prostitution (sex slaves), which is a challenge for the police and courts to deal with.

After you learn more of the details of China’s one-child policy, you discover that it was a law without many teeth and didn’t deserve the criticism it received, which leads to the conclusion that the American and/or West’s reaction is due mostly to racist Sinophobia.

______________

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.

Note: Information that appears in this post first appeared on March 7, 2010 in One Child, on March 18, 2010 in The One-Child Tragedy, on November 5, 2010 in Exemptions in China’s one-child policy,  on November 28, 2010 in Reversing China’s one-child Policy, and on November 29, 2010 in Avoiding China’s one-child Policy.


The Role of Religion

March 26, 2011

While reading Religion flourishes in political and historical titles by Henry L. Carrigan Jr. in ForeWord magazine, I thought of China’s history with religion, and saw no comparison as to how religion has influenced beliefs and politics in the West.

Carrigan wrote a seamless piece mentioning fourteen titles that deal with atheists and religion in America. After reading the piece, it’s obvious why Western religion plays such an important role in US politics.

However, in China, religion has never had a role and probably never will. In fact, religion never had an impact on China until after the First Opium War early in the 19th century. The result was the Taiping Rebellion led by a converted Christian known as God’s Chinese son.

More than twenty million died due to God’s Chinese son. Imagine how that influenced opinions regarding Christianity in China. The first major contact with a Western religion ends in bloodshed and much suffering.

The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt took place around 1504 to 1254 BC about the time of the Shang Dynasty (1783 – 1123 BC). A few Jews (not enough to establish the religion in China and have a lasting impact) would reach China almost twenty-four hundred years later.

In 312 AD, Constantine adopted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, and he did it for political reasons.

Next came the rise of Islam after Mohammad proclaimed the message of believing in one God about 610 AD.

Freedom of religion in America wouldn’t be guaranteed until July 4, 1776.

The evolution of religion in the West spans thousands of years, yet China’s Western critics expect the Chinese to accept these religions and allow them to have an important role in Chinese culture almost overnight.

Carrigan writes, “Over the past decade, most polls have consistently found that 95 percent of Americans say they believe in God…”

However, more than a billion Chinese do not belong to any organized religion. It is estimated that the number of Christians in China number 40 to 100 million depending on whom you believe. If the high number is correct, that’s still less than ten percent of the population compared to America’s 95%.

In fact, religion in China has mostly been family-oriented for thousands of years.

Some scholars doubt the use of the term “religion” in reference to Buddhism and Taoism, and suggest “cultural practices” or “thought systems” as more appropriate.

Generally, the percentage of people in China that call themselves religious is the lowest in the world compared to America, which is probably the highest number.

______________

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.


A Road to the Hajj from China – Part 2/2

November 30, 2010

Another devout Chinese Muslim in Xian is proudly transcribing the Quran into Chinese using traditional Chinese brush calligraphy. He says it took him over a year to transcribe the entire Quran this way. Now he is working on a second copy.

He has also taught his son and his grandsons how to write with the Chinese brush wanting to pass down this tradition to the next generation.

His son says that every generation should try their best to transcribe the Quran with the Chinese brush, as it is also a good way to reinforce our faith.

The original copy of the Quran in this family is over four hundred years old, a priceless relic transcribed by the Chinese imams. There are only a few remaining copies left in the world.

Jia Wen Yi, a Hajj pilgrim, says the trip to Mecca is important to him and his wife, an elderly couple. They have done a lot of preparation for the hajj. Mr. Jia goes into detail about the planning.

Going on the hajj for Yi and his wife, Jia Wang Yi, has been a dream for over two decades as they saved to have enough money.

Mr. and Mrs. Jia will be part of a group of 250 pilgrims leaving for the hajj from the city of Xian. It was a matter of saving most of their lives until they could afford the trip.

Since these Muslims are considered a minority in China, they are not restricted by the one-child policy, as you would see in the video when the family and friends gather to say goodbye before Mr. and Mrs. Jia leave on the long journey to Mecca.

There is no direct flight from Xian to Mecca, so the pilgrims will take a train to Beijing where they will board a flight to Saudi Arabia.

Whenever pilgrims leave Xian to go on the hajj to Mecca, thousands of Chinese Muslims show up at the railway station to say goodbye. This is the first time Mr. and Mrs. Jia have left China. They have never been apart from their family before.

Return to A Road to the Hajj from China – Part 1 and/or discover The Kaifeng Jews

______________

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.