Doing the Environment the Western Corporate Way

August 15, 2010

Michael Wines wrote in the Environmental section of The New York Times about China downplaying environmental disasters.  However, according to his conclusion, China is improving.

The problem is that his piece is missing balance, which isn’t surprising since the “New York Times” is famous for reporting bad news about China, but to be fair, most of the Western media is guilty of that.

Maybe Wines’ piece was published so most Americans, who are famous for having short memories, might forget the Gulf of Mexico oil spill now that it is capped.

How long did it take the public to learn that BP didn’t install the back-up safety system just to save a little money?

There’s also a movie, Erin Brockovich (based on a true story), about an unemployed mother who becomes a legal assistant for a lawyer and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply and trying to hide what was happening.

Let’s not forget the Niger Delta—that is if you’ve ever heard of it. CNN reported a spill there in 2006, but we should be hearing about the Niger Delta daily since there have been 7,000 oil spills there adding up to more than 13 million barrels of oil.

What about Bhopal, India where seven men held accountable for the 1984 Union Carbide pesticide plant accident are still out on bail. Twenty-five years later, no one has spent time in jail and 500 thousand residents continue to suffer from birth defects, blindness, early menopause and a host of other horrid illnesses.

Next up on our pollution list is the Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian rainforest in 1964, where eighteen-billion gallons of toxic run-off were discovered in the river. Texaco defended this by saying it was, “within industry standards.” 

Maybe it is time to change the standards?

The list is long: the Love Canal in the United States, Minamata Bay in 1956 Japan, Probo Koala in the Ivory Coast, Ok Tedi in Papua New Guinea, Esperance in West Australia, Exxon-Valdez, 3 Mile Island in Middleton PA, Chernobyl in Russia, Savesco in Italy, and the Sandoz Spill where toxic waste was released into Germany’s Rhine River. Source: Business Pundit

If anything, China learned from the British, French and the US, who taught the Chinese that by starting two 19th century wars in China, huge profits were made selling Opium to the people.

Then more than a century later, Deng Xiaoping said, “Getting Rich is Glorious.”

See Oil Spills


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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Media Demons

April 2, 2010

When I read it, I laughed. To me, it was obvious.

Definition for propaganda: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause; also: a public action having such an effect (Merriam Or—manipulation of information to influence public opinion.

In 1948, the CIA established Operation Mockingbird, a program designed to influence the American media to play an important role in the propaganda campaign against the spread of Communism. The CIA recruited journalists, who wrote for The Washington Post, New York Times, Time Magazine, New York Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Miami News, Chattanooga Times, etc.  By 1953, this CIA network had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies (like the Associated Press and United Press International).

Evidence suggests that Operation Mockingbird (or something like it) exists today. If so, whom would this operation target? After all, Cold War Communism is gone.

The reason I mention Operation Mockingbird in this post is because of something I read in the New York Times today—Journalists’ E-Mails Hacked in China. The first few paragraphs of this piece infer that China’s government is responsible. Later, the piece indirectly mentions there is no way to know who did it. In the last paragraph, we are not sure if Google is partially responsible. As a journalist, why organize the piece this way?

See Google Recycled

Peter Hessler, an expatriate, on China

March 30, 2010

Peter Hessler is a Beijing correspondent for the New Yorker. He has lived in China for fifteen years. After leaving the Peace Corps, Hessler freelanced for Atlantic Monthly and the New York Times before returning to China in 1999 as a Beijing-based freelance writer.

I agree with Hessler when he said in a CNNGo interview, “People in China are not forthcoming like Americans; they don’t like to tell you their personal story. It’s a type of modesty, I think, in a culture where people are not encouraged to see themselves as the center of the universe.”

I have an American born-again Christian friend who has bragged about Christianity being the fastest growing religion in China. I wonder what he’d say if he read what Hessler had to say here, “The Chinese relationship with religion is pragmatic and fluid; people often change their faith very quickly. And I don’t see them following religion to a degree where it’s clearly not in their self-interest….”

On happiness, Hessler says, “At this particular moment I think that Americans…might be less happy than Chinese people. The Chinese can roll with the punches…. Everybody in China has seen ups and downs; if they get laid off from the factory, they just go back to the village and play mah-jong….”

Discover The Influence of Confucius


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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Walking Barefoot on a Double Edged Blade

March 27, 2010

From what I’ve learned, when Mao died, many Chinese were tired of the Communists because of  the Cultural Revolution. If Deng Xiaoping hadn’t introduced a market economy resulting in decades of growth and prosperity, China may have fallen into chaos to emerge with a dictator similar to what they had with the Kuomintang.

Nichols Kristof

Nicholas Kristof wrote, China & Google (New York Times, March 24, 2010), an opinion piece that gets closer to the truth about China. Kristof seems to know what he is talking about when he said, “They (ordinary Chinese) don’t gripe  a lot about the regime imprisoning dissidents, who mostly have a negligible following around the country.”

It’s probably true that many in China want to have free access to the Internet, but I doubt it is serious enough to cause concern. The biggest concern is raising the standard of living for the 800 million rural Chinese who have not cashed in on the prosperity.

When there are accusations from Washington that China isn’t playing fair with currency control, China has a choice. Give in and wait for hundreds of millions of unhappy Chinese to rebel or stand firm and continue to grow the economy.

As far as Google is concerned, China has Baidu (with more than 60% of the market) and shedding Google probably feels like passing gas in public.

Sounds like China

March 24, 2010

“But everything I’ve experienced … and heard from journalists there, suggests control over the message has reached obsessive proportions. Even background (anonymous) interviews morph into ‘background with authorization,’ so that a quote from ‘an official’ must pass the review process lest ‘an official,’ should misspeak.”

The West often criticizes China for censoring the Chinese Internet and the media. What they don’t tell us—this is the way it has been for more than a thousand years.

“Chinese media have been tightly regulated since the presses started running some 1,200 years ago …. When Mao Zedong founded People’s Daily as the official mouthpiece of the CCP in 1948, he basically just followed in his predecessor’s imperial footsteps.” Source: Around The Block by Stephani Elizondo Griest

That quote at the top of this post sounded like a  criticism of China, didn’t it?  Wrong.  That quote came from an opinion piece in the New York Times and Roger Cohen was writing about Washington D.C.

You may also want to read American Hypocrisy


More on Hacking Google

February 24, 2010

It seems that Global Voices Online has a lot to say about the accusations made implicating China in cyber attacks against Google and others.

If you want to read the conversation, click here. Making Fun of Charges for Hacking Google

I’m sure that those in America that have already made up their minds that China’s government is guilty of everything they read and hear about them will claim this conversation was contrived by the “Communists” to mislead.

Anything is possible, but prove it. According to the conversation, this technical school trains students to repair cars like programs found at two-year community colleges in the United States.

If you haven’t read the original post on this incident, check out what I wrote about Google.

Hillary Clinton

If the facts in this conversation are correct, shame on the New York Times, shame on Google and shame on Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton for finding China guilty before the facts could be verified. The only thing China may be guilty of is calling their one political party (with seventy million members) “Communist”.

Shadow Land

February 21, 2010

It seems that students in China may be modeling themselves after a Jackie Chan movie and playing catch-me if you can.  Harking back to a piece I wrote about Google being hacked, more evidence has been revealed that the real perpetrators may be high school students.

Now, the New York Times says, “the attacks came from China but not necessarily from the Chinese government, or even from Chinese sources.”

The NSA traced some of the attacks to servers in Taiwan.  Then a United States military contractor that faced the same attacks as Google has also led investigators to suspect a link to a specific computer science class, taught by a Ukrainian professor at a vocational school in east China’s Shandong Province. Last week, in another hacking incident, the trail led through China to Germany where that other attack originated.

What is most disturbing is the knee jerk reaction that took place when shortly after Google went public with its accusations against China without evidence, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton challenged the Chinese in a speech on Internet censors, suggesting China’s efforts to control open access to the Internet were in effect an information-age Berlin Wall.

This is not the way to build trust with other governments. The wise thing to do would have been to wait until all the evidence was in before deciding who was guilty. It’s also interesting to know that this vocational school is operated by a company with close ties to Baidu, the dominant search engine in China and Google’s competitor.


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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