A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 2/6

September 28, 2011

When you discover the roller-coaster ride of corruption, protests, shootings/assassinations, and military coups/dictatorships that have taken place in the Republic of (South) Korea [RoK], it makes Japan look honest in comparison and provides more evidence of why the West and America, in particular, wants China to become a similar multi-party democracy.

On August 14, 1948, Syngman Rhee became the first president of the RoK. In May 1952, Rhee pushed through constitutional amendments, which made the presidency a directly elected position. To do this, he declared martial law, arrested opposing members of parliament, demonstrators, and anti-government groups.  In 1954, Rhee regained control of parliament by fraudulently pushing through an amendment that exempted him from the eight-year term limit.

Then in 1956,  Rhee’s administration arrested members of the opposing party and executed the leader after accusing him of being a North Korean spy.

The U.S. Department of State says, “President Syngman Rhee was forced to resign in April 1960 following a student-led uprising.”

The Second Republic under the leadership of Chang Myon ended one  year later when Major General Park Chung-hee led a military coup. Park declared martial law, dissolved the National Assembly and suspended the constitution, which resulted in mass protests and a return to democracy.

Park’s rule, which resulted in tremendous economic growth and development but increasingly restricted political freedoms, ended with his assassination in 1979, when a powerful group of military officers, led by Lieutenant General Chun Doo-hwan, declared martial law and took power.

Then on May 18, 1980, students at Chonnam National University protested, which led to the Gwangju Massacre with estimates of the civilian death toll ranging from a few dozen to 2,000. Later, a full investigation by the civilian government reported nearly 200 deaths and 850 injured.

It wouldn’t be until October 1987 that a revised Constitution would be approved by a national referendum leading to the direct elections of President Roh Tae-woo in the first direct presidential election in 16 years.

In 1997, the country suffered a severe economic crises leading to the next civilian president, Roh Moo-hyun being impeached in March 2004 on charges of a breach of election laws and corruption. While under investigation for bribery and corruption, he committed suicide.

Roh’s successor was Lee Myung-bak, who was inaugurated in February 2008 and is still in office.

The CIA says 15% of the RoK’s population lives below the poverty line, while poverty in the United States in 2009 was 14.3%.

In August 2011, CBS reported that 20 percent of American children lived in poverty.

In fact, Homelessness in America remains an issue of deep concern. The American dream is a distant one for about 2.3 million to 3.5 million Americans that do not have a place to call home and about 1.35 million of the homeless are children.

Continued on September 29, 2011 in A Snapshot of Democracy in Asia – Part 3 or return to Part 1


SIDE NOTE: The Gwangju Massacre (1980) in The Republic of (South) Korea—a strong ally of the United States—is the second massacre “I never heard of” while writing this Blog.

However, annually, the media and American politicians remind us of the so-called Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, which I wrote of in The Tiananmen Square Hoax after learning from Wiki Leaks that a massacre never happened.

In addition, the protests in Beijing in 1989 were never a democracy movement, which was revealed by a BBC documentary. I wrote of this in What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square?

Then there was the first massacre “I never heard of” until I stumbled on it by accident while researching another post. I wrote of that massacre [by a strong ally of America] in the 2/28 Massacre in Taiwan.

Why is it that the world knows so much about the Tiananmen Square Incident while hardly anyone knows about the Gwangju Massacre and the one in Taiwan?


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 Long History between China and Korea

February 23, 2011

Due to China’s long history with Korea, China has been asked many times recently by the US to put pressure on North Korea to get them to back down and not be so aggressive.

However, China’s response has been for the “relevant parties” to “calmly and properly handle the issue and avoid escalation of tension.” Source: Politics News

One reason for this response might be that China has a history with Korea going back to the Tang Dynasty in 688 AD, when there was an alliance with Silla, a Korean state.

Then it could be because Chinese culture, written language and political institutions have had an influence in Korea since the 4th century.

In the 14th century, Korea came under the influence  of Confucian thought influenced by Buddhism and Daoism (Taoism). 

A 1,700-year old relationship might have more weight than the one China has with America that isn’t even forty years old yet. However, measuring that weight may also depend on the trillion or more US dollars China has invested in America.

Discover Nixon in China


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.


Note: This post first appeared with a different title on iLook China on May 27, 2010 at 16:00 PST as post # 361. This edited and revised version reappears today as # 1080.

Buddhism in China

May 24, 2010

During the Han Dynasty in the first century B.C., trade with Central Asia introduced Buddhism to China.  Over the centuries, interest in Buddhism grew.  However, due to Confucianism and Taoism, the Chinese adapted Buddhist scripture to fit the Chinese culture creating the Mahayana sect, which spread to Korea and Japan.

Like most major religions, there are subdivisions within Buddhism but most may be classified into three. This is why Southeast Asian Buddhists differ from the Chinese.  The Theravada  form of Buddhism is found in Southeast Asia in countries like Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

Tibetan Buddhism incorporates other beliefs, and there are four principal schools or types of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of one of the four, the Yellow Hat sect.

Buddhism in China reached its high point during the Tang Dynasty, 618 to 907. However, in 845 AD, the Tang emperor suppressed Buddhism and destroyed thousands of monasteries, temples and shrines.

Soon after Mao and the Communists won China, Buddhism flourished for a time but was repressed during the Cultural Revolution along with all other religions. Many monasteries and Buddhist texts were destroyed. After Mao, many of the major monasteries were rebuilt. Today, Buddhists represent the largest religious group in China between 100 to 200 million. Source: PEW Forum

Discover 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.

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves.


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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

In the National Interest

March 1, 2010

In World War II, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and woke the sleeping tiger, America.

Then in the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy, during the Cuban missile crises, brought the United States to the brink of nuclear Armageddon. He did this believing it was in the National Interest.

Last night (2/28/2010), I watched an episode on 60 Minutes about a Taiwanese man in the pay of China gathering information about the 6.5 billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan. Does that make China evil? This morning, I had my answer.

From the dawn of rival civilizations, there have been spies.  It’s all about survival and the national interest. Robert Hart (19th century), who knew the Chinese better than any Westerner, wrote, After China picks its conquerors’ brains; it will be a super-power again. I don’t know what they will do when that times comes. They will decide to either get along with the world or seek revenge for what the world did to them.

In the 19th century, France, England, Germany, Russia, Japan, and the United States attacked China in a series of wars. The devastation visited on a peaceful China started with the Opium Wars and ended with World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Those wars woke the sleeping dragon.

America supports Taiwan—China’s Cuba. The difference is that China sees Taiwan as part of the mainland. What would America do if Hawaii separated from the union, and China supplied the islands with weapons to defend itself? Don’t be surprised if China responds the same way over Taiwan.

The China Americans learned about in school has changed. See Deng Xiaoping’s 20/20 Vision


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. 

Wearing China’s Shoes

February 4, 2010

“Beijing – China suspended military exchanges with the United States and threatened sanctions against American defense companies Saturday, just hours after Washington announced 6.5 billion in planned arms sales to Taiwan.” by Cara Anna, Associated Press Writer

The private sector’s American Military Industrial Machine thrives on wars like KoreaVietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Military industrial tycoons would have strokes if America didn’t have any enemies to scare the public with. Without fear of the boogieman, would America need the second-largest military on earth? Would America need to spend more money on weapons than the rest of the world combined? These Military Industrial types are like greedy Christmas morning kids who pout when there aren’t enough presents to open.

Don’t read me wrong. We need to fight the nasty Al Qaeda terrorists (the ones hiding in Pakistani caves like flea ridden Neanderthals) who want to burn our underwear and sink our cities from global warming.

Now, slip into China’s shoes. During the 19th century, China was the victim of Western Imperialism. The Chinese emperor didn’t want his people to have access to opium. The West did, and the British and French waged war against China forcing China to allow opium in. American merchants benefited from those wars too. Then China fought with Russia, Germany and Japan and lost more territory. Then along came WWII and a Japanese invasion that cost at least thirty million Chinese their lives.

Is it any wonder that China is upset that the United States industrial military machine is selling Taiwan $6.4 billion in weapons. Geez, these industrialists should be making enough off Iraq and Afghanistan and this “war” (oops, we aren’t supposed to say that—political correctness you know) on terror. Prior to 1949, Taiwan was part of China. After the Nationalists lost China, the people in Taiwan lived with martial law under a dictator for thirty years before being forced to hold democratic elections.

Think about this from the Chinese point of view. The Chinese want was lost to Western Imperialism in the 19th century and the early 20th century. Check China’s maps to see what was lost. Mao reclaimed Tibet, and China has been badmouthed in the Western media ever since. With this history, how would you feel if you were Chinese?

How many wars has China started with other countries in the last century?  Make a list and compare it to the wars started by the other major powers (don’t forget America). Once you finish the list, tell me who should worry the most?  China or America.

Of course, the Chinese could change the name of their political party to Republican or Democrat. They could do away with the yellow stars on their flag and replace those symbols with a red ass or a blue pachyderm. They could even vote to join America as the next state, but that would make the dreaded double “L” happy.  No, not me—Lawyers and Lobbyists.  Right now, China has about 110,000 lawyers for 1.3 billion people while America has more than a million to rob less than a quarter of China’s population.

Isn’t it bad enough that we’ve already given China fast food and Ford?


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.