Ah Bing and “Reflection of the Moon”

October 26, 2011

To understand another country’s history and culture, one should listen to the music, read that country’s novels and watch its films.

This summer, my wife and daughter returned from China with dozens of original Chinese films on DVD.

Then I saw Reflection of the Moon, (ISBN: 7-88054-168-3), which is about Ah Bing (1893 – 1950), a famous master of the Chinese Erhu, who overnight—in 1950 shortly before his death—became a national sensation as radios throughout China played his music.

Fortunate for me, Ah Bing’s story had English subtitles, which were not of the best quality and true to form for a Chinese movie filmed in 1979 (shortly after the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976), the plot was melodramatic with traces of propaganda that favored the Chinese Communists.

However, to be fair, in 1950, the Civil War was over and the Communists, with support from several hundred million peasants, had won.

Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution would not begin for years and for those that survived the purges in 1949 and 1950 (mostly abusive land owners and drug dealers accused of crimes by the people they may have abused and victimized), Mao fulfilled his promises of land reforms.

To understand the era of Ah Bing’s life, much of China (including Tibet) was still feudal in nature, and the upper classes often took advantage of the peasants and workers as if they were beasts of burden treated as slaves.

This is one of Ah Bing’s masterpieces for the Erhu—Moon Reflected in the Second Spring (二泉映月)

Ah Bing’s real name was Hua Yanjun. His knowledge of traditional Chinese music and his talent as a musician went mostly unnoticed until the last year of his life in 1950, shortly after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

In 1950, two musicologists were sent to his hometown of Wuxi to record and preserve his music. At the time, he was ill and hadn’t performed for about two years. Six of his compositions were recorded that are considered masterpieces. It is said that he knew more than 700 pieces—and most were his compositions.

As “Reflection of the Moon” shows, the lyrics of some of his music criticized the KMT (Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government), and he was often punished for speaking out through his music. If you have read of The Long March, you know that the peasants did not trust the KMT, but they did trust the Communists and that trust was earned between 1926 and 1949—a period covering twenty-three years, and most rural Chinese of that era still think of Mao as China’s George Washington.

Before the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, China’s Communist Party treated the peasants and workers with respect while the KMT did not earn that trust.

In fact, Ah Bing’s story and music is still so popular that the Performing Arts Company of China’s Air Force performed Er Quan Yin, an original Western-style Chinese opera, in 2010. Source: China Daily

To discover more of the time-period that Ah Bing lived, see The Roots of Madness.


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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The KMT–CIA Heroin, Cocaine Pipeline to the US

March 20, 2011

The CIA, in an alliance with the Nationalist Chinese (KMT), addicted millions of Americans on drugs such as heroin and cocaine to finance a covert war against the spread of Communism.

The KMT’s leader was the brutal, authoritarian dictator Chiang Kai-shek of Taiwan, which the US still supports. Chiang Kai-shek ruled Taiwan with an iron fist until his death.

However, it wouldn’t be until the 2000 presidential election in Taiwan that the KMT’s hold on power came to an end there.

I first learned of the KMT-CIA drug pipeline into the US in the early 1980s when I read of Congressional hearings leading to the closing of Air America, a covert airline owned by the CIA that was one of the methods used to move illegal drugs out of Southeast Asia and into the hands of US citizens.

While writing of all things Chinese, I forgot about the Nationalist (KMT) Chinese generals that worked with the CIA during the Vietnam war to supply American troops in Vietnam and addicts in the US with heroin and cocaine in trade for weapons.

After the Chinese Communists under Mao won the Civil War in 1949, a large force of KMT troops in southern China fled to the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, which is located in Laos, Thailand and Burma. That’s when the KMT became involved in the drug trade with the CIA.

For reminding me of this dark chapter of America’s history (which evidence says is still an open book), I thank a ’21st Century Marco Polo, who is a committed and experienced human rights and legal education professional with a history of working internationally throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Kevin Ryan writing for 911 Blogger.com reviewed American War Machine written by Peter Dale Scott.

Ryan writes, “This book examines a wide-ranging number of covert US operations since World War II, and, among other things, demonstrates that many of these operations were intimately connected with, and dependent on, illicit drug trafficking….”

The Senophobic, American capitalist obsession with everything Communist led the US down this dark path that introduced an expressway of  heroin and cocaine into the US in what may contribute to the eventual failure of the most successful and powerful democracy in the history of humanity.

I have embedded a four part series of an audio transcript of a 60 Minutes broadcast of the CIA controlled drug trade.

60 Minutes on CIA Drug Smuggling – Part 1


60 Minutes on CIA Drug Smuggling – Part 2


60 Minutes on CIA Drug Smuggling – Part 3


60 Minutes on CIA Drug Smuggling – Part 4

To understand the impact on US society, Drug Rehabs.org says, “The trafficking of illicit drugs burdens various components of domestic financial sectors as individuals and organizations frequently engage in illegal activates to generate income in order to purchase drugs or finance drug trafficking operations. Mortgage fraud (think 2008 financial crises which originated in New York), counterfeiting, shoplifting, insurance fraud, ransom kidnapping, identity theft, home invasion, personal property theft, and many other criminal activates often are undertaken by drug users and distributers to support drug addictions…”

Did you know that Mao, after winning the Chinese Civil War (1926 to 1949) between the Communists and Nationalists, ended drug trafficking and drug use in China in about 24 hours?

Illegal drugs wouldn’t return to China until after Mao’s death when China joined the WTO and opened its doors to world trade.


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.

China’s Communist Revolution or Civil War

March 5, 2011

In Russia and Cuba, there were Communist Revolutions. In China, it was a Civil War. There is a difference.

Dictionary.com says a revolution is an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.

A civil war is a war between political factions or regions within the same country.

The United States of America fought a Revolution from 1775 to 1783. The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. Both fit the definitions.

PBS.org gets it wrong when it says, “Mao Zedong led China’s Communist revolution in the 1920s and 1930s.”

In fact, many Blogs and Websites get the facts wrong with it comes to China’s civil war. 

However, the PBS report clearly shows that in 1923, Sun Yat-sen, known as the father of China’s republic and the leader of the Kuomintang (KMT), allied with the Communist Party (CCP) to strengthen the republic and take China back from the warlords.

Then in 1927, after Sun Yat-sen’s death in 1925, the KMT broke from the CCP shattering the alliance that Sun Yat-sen had formed.

Chiang Kai-shek, the new leader of the KMT, launched a brutal purge to kill all Communists in China.

The CCP had no choice but to fight or be exterminated by Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT. With the support of China’s peasants, the CCP won the civil war in 1949. The US backed the loser.

In fact, both the CCP and the KMT honor Sun Yat-sen as the father of the republic.

In mainland China, the Memorial Hall for Sun Yat-sen is in Guangzhou on the southern slope of Yuexiu Hill and was constructed between 1929 and 1931.

Another memorial hall dedicated to Sun Yat-sen is in Taipei and was completed on May 16, 1972.

So, why do so many call it China’s Communist Revolution when it was a civil war between the KMT and the CCP? Could they be confused?


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.

Religion’s “Cold War” with China – Part 1/3

December 20, 2010

The Economist’s December 11 issue wrote about The party versus the pope.  “The Communist Party is trying to tighten its control of the Catholic Church in China. Some of its members, as well as the Vatican, are fuming.”

The Economist says, “China forced its Catholic church to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, two years after the party seized power.”

Interesting language.

If the Communists “seized power”, in China, then United States revolutionaries seized power in America from the British Empire in 1776 and French revolutionaries seized power from the King of France in 1799.

However, there was no revolution in China between the Communists and the Nationalists. The Communist Party did not sieze power since Dr. Sun Yat-sen formed a coalition between the Communist Party and the Nationalists (KMT) to build China’s first republic with a two party system.

When Sun Yat-sen died unexpectedly in 1925, it wasn’t the Communist Party that broke the republic’s two-party system and plunged China into a Civil War that lasted until 1949.  Chang Kai-shek’s KMT army fired the first shots slaughtering thousands of communists in southern China then Shanghai.

The Communist Party had no choice but to fight since it was clear that Chang Kai-shek, a converted Christian, was going to have all the communists hunted down and killed.

The Civil War between the two political parties of Sun Yat-sen’s republic lasted for more than twenty years.  The facts do not support The Economists’ claim that the Communist Party “seized control”.

In fact, the Communist Party won China’s Civil War as the North did in America’s Civil War in 1865.

In Part 2, we shall see how the Catholic Church is not a religion but a religious nation with almost one billion members and the pope is a Christian dictator elected for life.


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.

The Long March – Part 1 (1/6)

July 24, 2010

Mao’s Long March is considered one of the most significant military campaigns of the 20th Century and one of the most amazing physical feats ever attempted.

Surrounded by hostile armies, 87,000 Communist troops escaped and walked nearly 6,000 miles in one year. It was a desperate retreat for Mao’s Communist Chinese Army from the Nationalist forces (the KMT) of General Chiang Kai-shek. The KMT had a huge advantage with a much larger military force big enough to surround their enemy, the Chinese Communists.

Many say The Long March was a brilliant military maneuver. Others claim it was a series of strategic blunders. However, most historians agree that what was accomplished was astounding. In this documentary, the survivors reveal what happened.

In the 1920s, eighty percent of the 450 million Chinese people were poor peasants who lived in the countryside. Over half owned no land and often worked for little more than food for an absentee landlord.

The difference between the Communists and Nationalists was vast. The Communists wanted to give the land to the peasants while the Nationalists wanted to maintain the old social order.

See The Roots of Madness, which came before The Long March, or go on to The Long March – Part 1/2


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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