Debating China with Timothy V.

May 14, 2010

“Again, as I stated in an earlier comment, the Chinese students at our local university paint a completely different picture of China than you do. So considering the fact that they were born and raised there and you weren’t, I’m taking their word over yours.” Source: Timothy V.

Timothy had more to say and so did I. This post is a shorter, edited and revised version. I didn’t edit Timothy’s quote—only my words appearing below. If you want to read the entire response, go to Left of the Right and scroll down until you find Timothy V’s latest with my response following his.

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Often, when I read complaints about shoddy Chinese products in the American media, the language makes China guilty as if the government of China gave orders for that to happen. That’s not the way things work.

For example, the president of the United States and the Congress are not responsible for tainted American meats or fruits and vegetables that make people sick. Click on this link to the CDC to discover how bad it is. In the United States, food borne diseases have been estimated to cause 6 million to 81 million illnesses and up to 9,000 deaths each year.

Or what about the murder and mayhem on our roads and freeways? More people die every year in car crashes in the United States than died fighting in Vietnam for more than a decade.

Or how about unnecessary deaths in American hospitals due to greed and carelessness.  The annual number of deaths in American hospitals should shock anyone.

In fact, like America, crimes in China are often traced to one greedy person or a group of individuals and when caught they often get a death penalty or kill him or herself.

The individual in China found responsible for the tainted infant formula killed himself before the trial.

As for the few Chinese students you know at your local university—sure they grew up in “today’s” China and I didn’t, but I believe the Chinese I know, who all grew up in China, are better sources than the few you know.  Besides being married to a Chinese woman who was born in China and didn’t leave until she was in her twenties, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know and talk to Chinese people of all ages in China and America. I’ve met Chinese from many occupations in both countries. I’ve even talked to a Tibetan refugee. In addition, I talked to a retired Communist official who fought in the revolution that Mao won.

Chiang Kai-shek

There was also the eighty-year old I met in his closet-sized room in Shanghai. With my wife interpreting, we talked for hours. Prior to 1949, he had been a Kuomintang police chief in a small town. He stayed behind when Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan with China’s treasury leaving the mainland broke. This former police chief was arrested in 1949 by Mao’s troops and spent half his life at hard labor in a prison camp close to Tibet. He knew about the gold from the treasury, because he was the one responsible to make sure it was loaded on the train.

He said about the prison camp, “Ten-thousand went in and five-hundred came out.” Today’s Communist government gives him a small pension—enough for rent and food. He was happy to be free again and didn’t hold grudges.

Discover more about this debate at Freedom’s Evolution

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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Freedom’s Evolution

May 11, 2010

A debate took place on Left of the Right, not by Devin Barber, the Blog’s host, but between me and another person who called him or herself Timothy. This person made comments calling me an asshole and a propaganda spewing scumbag among other insults, because he disagreed with my opinions regarding China even though I supported most or all of my opinions with facts. You may read the entire debate by clicking on the above link to see an example of Timothy’s conservative beliefs.

One of my last responses was a comparison between America and China and the trail to freedom that both counties have followed and are still traveling. What follows is a slightly edited version.

In 1781, the American War for Independence from the British Empire ended, but there was still slavery in the Southern States.

American Revolution

In 1861 to 1865, (eight-four years after America’s revolution) America divided and fought a bloody Civil War that ended slavery. More than six hundred thousand Americans died in that conflict. 

However, women still could not own property or vote. Women were considered chattel.  The women’s rights movement started in 1848. In 1920 (seventy-two years later), the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution granted women the vote.

American history is full of facts about how people of color were discriminated against and were second-class citizens until the Civil Rights Movement between 1955 to 1968.  It took one-hundred-and-three years after the end of slavery to end discrimination against people of color—at least legally.

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The bloody and painful evolutionary trail to freedom in China started in 1913 when warlords ended Imperial rule.  Eventually a dictatorship replaced the warlords.  The Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek was a dictatorship under martial law even in Taiwan until the 1980s when the first election was held there.

Another step back was World War II with the Japanese invading China that cost about 30 million Chinese their lives. That ended in 1945, followed by the revolution between the Communists and Kuomintang dictatorship.  Soon after Mao won that revolution in 1949 and took over China to become China’s modern emperor for twenty-seven years, he declared that women were equal to men.  Then there was the Great Leap Forward, which was more like two leaps back followed by the Cultural Revolution that cost another thirty-seven million Chinese their lives.

Chinese Revolution

After Mao died in 1976, the Communist Government under Deng Xiaoping’s guidance rewrote their constitution, repudiated Marxist, Maoist revolutionary doctrine and opened China to the world launching a market economy, which is on steroids today.

Since that new start, amendments have been added to the Chinese Constitution. Read it carefully and you will see that freedom of speech in China is limited by a constitution that is taught in the schools and in the factories. Although some Chinese dissidents have been arrested for speaking and jailed with other criminals, 98.8% of the population remains free and appears to have no problem obeying that law.

America’s journey to become a nation where ALL citizens are protected by the Bill of Rights took one-hundred-and-eight-seven years from 1781 to 1968.

China, after Mao, has had only thirty-four years to evolve.  Who knows where China will be in another century and a half. Timothy sees the glass half-empty. Since I watch China, I’ve seen the small steps that China has been taking, and I see the cup half-full and improving with time. I hope I’m right, because Timothy seems to believe that China is evil and will invade the United States in a few decades. What do you think?

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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Chinese Stereotype Alive and Rotten in America

April 29, 2010

I read a political opinion Column on Gather written by Devin Barber and ran into an example of the American manufactered Chinese Stereotype–not from Barber but from one of the comments to his column.

Devin Barber

To find that example, I suggest you read Devin Barber’s column “Left of the Right”. The particular column I was reading was TEA Partiers Say “It’s Time To Take Our Country Back” What Does That Mean?

I was enjoying myself (laughing at some of the inane comments from the ignorant and/or stupid people who keep bashing Obama and the Democrats as if they are devils) until I reached this from Bruce, “and then if we manage to survive I think we will either end up with a totalitarian regime where the citizens are slaves like China…

My response to Bruce’s comment started , “Bruce, what do you know about China?  The image or opinion of China that most Americans have stuck in the gunk between their ears is the China of Mao. 

“Mao died in 1976, and the Cultural Revolution ended. China created a market economy that keeps growing, and the people of China are not slaves. Actually, most of those that live in the cities have almost as much freedom as Americans in the US.  That is about five hundred million people. (Eight hundred million live in the countryside and are not as fortunate at those in the cities, but they are still not slaves.)” 

If you are interested in reading the rest, please go to Devin’s column and read the comments. Devin’s column is not about China but that one comment demonstrates the dangers that come with being an uneducated voter like Bruce. It’s scary that anyone may vote in America regardless of how globally ignorant or stupid they are. There should be a knowledge test before one earns the right to vote.

Learn more about The American Assault on China’s Currency

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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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