Exporting Romance

April 22, 2013

When I first read Tom Carter’s guest post about Harlequin Romance Invades China, my first thought was China is doomed.

First, American fast food arrived and now China is having a weight problem leading to poor health and the explosion of China’s Fat Camps.

Then there is America’s car culture, which is catching on fast in a country that doesn’t have the strict environmental pollution laws that have existed in the US for decades, and most of urban China is choked with smog.

Now, I learn that romance American style has arrived in China as another blow to China’s ability to survive as a civilization. Weren’t the 19th century Opium Wars bad enough?

Eating fast food that destroys health, smoking cigarettes, reading Harlequin Romances and driving carbon-spewing cars cannot be a good thing.

Is this how “democracy” is going to make life better for the Chinese?

Since Harlequin romance novels flew into China on collagen-filled lips, attitudes toward love has changed.

“According to Enjoy Reading Era, a Beijing-based cultural company specializing in publishing romantic novels, 1,500 love stories by writers in the mainland were published last year, an all-time high. The same company exported 50 romance novels to Hong Kong and Taiwan, while it only imported three novels from Taiwan.” Source: Show China.org

Reading romance novels may explain the increase in the divorce rate in China and the high divorce rate in the US. After all, how can any real man compare to the ink and paper men on the pages of a Harlequin romance novel?

However, I may be wrong about what the West has exported to China. Thanks to romance novels, China may no longer need the one-child policy since all those wheezing, unhealthy fat people driving cars instead of riding bicycles or walking will be reading trashy romance novels instead of making love.

This may end China’s population challenges.

In fact, GM and Ford are making huge profits in China as is McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. Even Hooters is in China along with Wal-Mart.

Think of the profits these American corporations are earning to help make the rich richer.


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.

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The Copy-Cat Dietary Revolution

September 7, 2011

Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan reported from Beijing February 14, 2011, and said, “We are looking at one of the most amazing achievements in the history of mankind. In just one generation, China has managed to lift 500 million people out of poverty and many in China now have more than enough to eat.”

The reason for this is revealed by the CIA World Factbook, which says only 2.5% of Chinese live below the poverty line with a 7.8% illiteracy rate compared to India’s 25.0% living below poverty and 39% illiteracy rate.

However, since there is so much to eat in China, Chan says, “the one child policy encourages doting parents to stuff their children with all the things (meaning too much food) they were denied.”

This has resulted in an explosion of urban fat.

To make her point, Chan compared meat consumption in the U.S. with China revealing that China consumes almost twice as much meat as America. However, Chan points out, there are four times as many Chinese as there are Americans.

What lesson can the Chinese learn from the United States when it comes to eating too much meat and fast food?

According to the CDC, this consumption has resulted in one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) being obese while about 17% or 12.5 million children ages 2 to 19 are obese, and according to US-China Today, more than 74% of US adults age 15 and older are classified as overweight.

The difference between overweight and obesity is determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI).

BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat. An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. Source: CDC Defining Obesity

With an overweight percentage of 38% and rising, mainland China is home to a staggering 380 million-plus people with weight problems, and studies show that weight issues are becoming increasingly prevalent among urban youth (920 million Chinese are not overweight). Source: US-China Today (University of Southern California)

The US, on the other hand, has about 231 million Americans that are overweight leaving 81 million that are not.

This love of meat and fast food in the US and China has resulted in 11.1% of the US population to suffer with the lifestyle disease of diabetes while only 9.7% of China’s population suffers with it.

For a better idea of middle-class prosperity, meat and fast food, consider that in 1992, the rate of diabetes in China was only 2.5% (diabetes has increased in China almost 400% in 18 years) and the first KFC opened in China twenty-four years ago in 1987.

Today, KFC operates 3,200 fast food restaurants in China, while Pizza Hut has 510, McDonalds 850, and Starbucks 450.

Discover The Challenge of Rural Health Care in America and China


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.

Snowboarding In China

August 27, 2011

I haven’t gone skiing for more than a decade, and I probably should buy new boots and skis if I ski again, since my old pair of parabolic skis have been gathering dust in the garage far too long. I question if my aging legs will hold up.

Back in my powder days, I often skied two of Southern California’s more popular ski resorts, along with Mammoth Mountain in central California, in addition to Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood (both active volcanoes) in Oregon, and have had my share of days and nights skiing in blizzards far below zero.

I have never snowboarded but former students tell me it is easier than skiing. Maybe one day I will find out and I might do that in China.

Sexy Beijing’s reporter Rachel Dupuy went to Nanshan to see what was up in China’s newly forming snowboarding scene. What we discover from Beijing Beat: Riding China (the embedded video) is Beijing’s Nanshan ski area the winter of 2008 with a snowboarding competition that included $25,000 in prizes.

It appears that along with fast food such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut, China is adopting Western sports. In Tiger Woods smiles big while golfing in China, I wrote about China’s growing number of golf courses and mentioned Chinese golfers numbering more than 100,000 and taking to the sport with enthusiasm.

As for snowboarding and skiing, Fresh Peaks.com says, “Prices in China are still reasonably cheap…”  However, “the decent ski resorts in China can be tricky to get to… If you say you want to go skiing or snowboarding in China, you have to really mean it.

“Getting to China’s largest ski resort (Yabuli) in Heilongjiang Province, for example, involves a 90-minute internal flight from Beijing, a two and a half hour train ride and a bus transfer.”

Board the World.com reports skiing in China is a relatively new activity; its first ski resort opened its doors to the public in 1996. Since then the industry has been rapidly growing, especially recently due to China’s new economic prosperity. New ski areas are opening up all the time and … sees a 30% increase in customers each year.”

If you are a dedicated “powder monkey”, for more information about skiing in China, I suggest clicking Fresh Peaks and Board the World.


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.

China’s Expressway Dilemma and the Solution – Part 1/2

August 9, 2011

China may not know what it is getting itself into by copying the U.S. as far as linking all of its cities with Expressways.

About a year and a half ago, Shanghaiist reported that China had more than doubled the length of China’s expressway system.  Shanghaiist said, “It’s so long, in fact, that it should soon overtake the interstate highway system of the United tates as the world’s longest.”

China’s road building frenzy is linked to the same goal that includes having a population ratio between urban and rural areas that already exists in Europe and the US, which may create the largest consumer driven middle class in the world.

In addition, there is the parallel frenzy of multinational fast food corporations such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and KFC opening thousands of fast food outlets in China.

In fact, China is quickly becoming another automobile, consumer driven culture similar to the United States, but it may not be a good idea to become a duplicate copy of the U.S.

China has a plan but the United States does not.

If you click on this link and study the chart from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, you will discover what China’s future fate may be and that fate, if it becomes a fact, will lead China into wars such as the two the US is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Due to U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products, America’s national interest and economy are linked to countries that supply oil to the US.

In January 2010, the Center for American Progress reported that Oil Dependence is a Dangerous Habit, and said, “The United States is spending approximately $1 billion a day overseas on oil instead of investing the funds at home, where our economy sorely needs it. Burning oil that exacerbates global warming also poses serious threats to our national security and the world’s security.”

Yet, there is little to no sign that the U.S. government is moving to break its addiction to foreign oil. Instead, the partnership between America’s federal government and big oil appears stronger than ever.

If China continues down the same expressway toward a consumer car culture that mimics the US, it too may face a similar fate with a middle class addicted to gas and diesel powered cars and trucks.

However, Shai Agassi’s Better Place, a company that had its start in California, offers a solution.

Continued on August 9, 2011 in China’s Expressway Dilemma and the Solution – Part 2


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.

The Democracy Risk

August 3, 2011

That “old” friend of mine, the neoconservative, evangelical Christian libertarian (NEO-ECL), sent me an e-mail with a link to a post by Mark J. Perry on Carpe Diem.

NEO-ECL is a man of few words.  His average e-mail is usually a one-line opinionated statement with a link to another opinion as support. This e-mail was no different.  NEO-ECL wrote, “Imagine how much better we’d do if the U.S. did what Chili did.”

I clicked on the link to Mark Perry’s post and read it.  Perry’s conclusion, “The ‘Chilean economic miracle’ demonstrates that free market capitalism and free trade are the best paths to prosperity and a long life.”

Perry based this theory on the fact that Chileans increased life expectancy from 57 to 78.7 years in half a century after signing free trade agreements with more than 50 countries around the world.”

Any fool can take numbers and use them to fit any foolish theory.  To prove my point, I am going to offer a foolish theory too.

I asked NEO-ECL to explain why Greece, which is a country that is financially on the rocks, has a life expectancy of 79.5. I also threw in China. Under Socialist Maoism between 1949 and 1976, life expectancy in China went from 35 to 64.3 and by the time China threw open its doors to capitalism that number was above 66 and has continued to climb steadily to where it is today at about 73.

Under Maoism, life expectancy in China improved 84%. However, under capitalism with its influx of fast food and the American middle class lifestyle (McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, etc), life expectancy only improved 13.5%.

And what about crime? If we look at INTERPOL data for Chile, we soon discover that between 1998 and 2000, crime increased dramatically after Chili became a multi party participatory democracy.

The murder rate increased by 39.3%, rape by 13.9%, robbery by 53.6%, burglary by 16.5% and larceny by 30,771.4%.

In conclusion, in a democracy such as the United States we are protected from persecution by our government due to our First Amendment freedom of expression rights but have a much higher risk of being a victim of private sector crime such as larceny.

In fact, for each of these crimes, the rates were higher in America and the US has the largest prison population in the world and brought us the 2008 global financial crises leading to more than $40 trillion in global losses.

Usually, I provide links to all the data I use to support my opinions. However, since Mark J. Perry only had one link in his post to support his opinion, that is all I will provide. But, if anyone searches for the facts to see if what I used is real, I’m not worried.

Discover Dictatorship Defined


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.

The Danger of False Truths – Part 3/3

July 23, 2011

In another e-mail, this “old” friend questioned China’s behavior in Asia and mentioned the disagreement between Vietnam and China over some offshore oil fields that both countries claim.

He felt this was a sign that China would wage war on other countries and inferred this would not happen if China were a democracy similar to the US, since “no democracy has ever gone to war with another democracy” (his words).

Soon after I received that e-mail, I used Google and found Democracies Do Not Make War on One Another … or Do They? by Matthew White, who does a great job throwing ice-cold water on another false truth.

White says, basically, it depends on the definition of democracy and that individuals will shift the meaning of the definition to fit what he or she wants to believe.

To come up with a set of probabilities, White studied the wars that took place in 1967 and came up with these results:

White wrote, “Now, 1967 is just a single year, but I’ve spent a good deal of this Atlas counting democracies. I can state with reasonable certainty that 44.5% of mapable sovereignties during the WW2-Y2K Era were full democracies. This calculates out to…

  • The odds of 2 random democracies going to war: 19.8%
  • The odds of 2 random non-democracies going to war: 30.8%
  • The odds of a random democracy going to war with a random non-democracy: 49.4%

He also mentions an interesting theory that “no two countries with a McDonald’s Restaurant have ever gone to war with one another”, which seems to indicate that as countries are incorporated into the global economy by trans-national corporations, they stop waging war on one another.

This theory is an individual truth that most of us might want to believe since there then should be no worry that the US and China will ever wage war.

In 2009, the US had 13,381 McDonalds and in 2010, China had almost 1,000 with thousands more planned. In addition, China has thousands of Pizza Huts, KFCs, Starbucks and the Chinese love to drive Buicks and Fords. Wal-Mart is even building stores in China.

However, I discovered the McDonald’s theory might be another false truth.

Pakistan has 25 McDonalds and the first one was built in 1998. India has 192 with the first built in 1996, and the last Indo-Pakistani War was in 1999.

Return to The Danger of False Truths – Part 2 or start with Part 1


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.

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.

Eating Gourmet in Shanghai

May 25, 2010

I wrote about the Blog post in the “Lost Laowai” in my last post about the sunken South Korean navy ship.

There was another funny facetious remark about China sharing a distaste for McDonald’s that was a cause for smiles.

Maybe China’s government doesn’t care for McDonalds, but many Chinese see McDonald’s and Pizza Hut as gourmet restaurants.  McDonalds is even planning to increase the number of outlets in China to 2,000 by year’s end.

Multi-story Pizza Hut in Shanghai

Several years ago, my sister-in-law hired a Shanghai ballerina to model for a photo shoot.  Afterwards, the ballerina called her husband on a cell phone and told him to meet her at the large, two story McDonalds in the middle of Shanghai to celebrate earning the extra cash.

In addition, we have often seen long waiting lines outside a swanky Pizza Hut on Shanghai’s Nanjing Road, and crowded pedestrian mall.

To discover more about Shanghai visit:
Shanghai Huxinting Teahouse
Shanghai Huangpu River Tour
Shanghai’s History & Culture
Chinese Pavilion, Shanghai World Expo


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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