China’s Bound-Feet Women

February 7, 2012

According to historical accounts, foot binding appeared in China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1276 AD).

The process of foot binding usually started between the ages of four and seven. Feet were soaked in a blood and herb mixture. Toes were broken. Then the arch was broken. There was extreme pain since no pain relief was used. It is estimated that in a thousand years about two billion women went through the process.


What would you do for beauty?

The Manchu leaders of the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911) tried with little success to stop foot binding, and Manchu women did not bind their feet. Mostly Han (the majority in China) women continued the practice.

In 1928, the Nationalist government announced plans to do away with foot binding. This attempt to end foot binding met with mixed success. In rural areas, large feet were still considered unattractive and unacceptable and the practice continued.

While working in China for National Geographic on a three part Marco Polo series, Michael Yamashita, a veteran photographer, went in search of women who had bound feet. He found them living in remote urban villages.

Even in 19th century San Francisco, there were Chinese girls and women with bound feet. Source: Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco

In most of China, social and sexual customs resist rapid change. For millions of women, the practice would continue until 1949 when the Communists came into power.

Then the popularity of foot binding to enhance a woman’s beauty ended.

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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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Note: This post first appeared November 7, 2010.

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Dissecting an American Conservative Spin Master – Part 4/4

November 7, 2011

Did you know Dennis Prager wrote on Creators.com that, “Consider the facts (I’m surprised he used this word): Tibet, at least 1,400 years old, is one of the world’s oldest nations, has its own language, its own religion and even its own ethnicity. Over 1 million of its people have been killed by the Chinese, its culture has been systematically obliterated, 6,000 of its 6,200 monasteries have been looted and destroyed, and most of its monks have been tortured, murdered or exiled.”

All of Prager’s emotionally driven claims such as “killed, obliterated, looted, destroyed, tortured, murdered or exiled” have been proven wrong, but most of Prager’s Parrots are not interested in the facts. I say that Prager owes China an apology.

In fact, Tibet was not a nation until 1911 when the British convinced the Dalai Lama to declare freedom from China, after having been ruled by China since 1279 AD during the Yuan Dynasty, then the Ming Dynasty starting in 1368 AD and last the Qing Dynasty until its collapse.

All the “facts” are there for anyone willing to trust the experts and sources such as Sir Robert Hart (1835 – 1911) and a piece written for the October 1912 National Geographic Magazine by an expert Western trained medical doctor named  Shaoching H. Chuan, M.D. that happened to spend two years in Tibet starting in 1907 after the last Qing emperor ordered him there to deal with a cholera epidemic.

In addition, Prager forgot to mention that there are more than sixty spoken languages in China and one written one. China has 56 minorities and each has its own language as the Tibetan minority does.  It’s been this way in China for more than 2,000 years.

In fact, by not mentioning America’s native minorities, it is my opinion that Dennis Prager is a hypocrite and deceitful.

North American native tribes and nations were free and governed themselves for more than ten thousand years (much longer than the 1,400 years he claims Tibet governed itself before 1950) before Europeans arrived and drove them from their land.

If you visit Native American Nations, you will discover how many spoke their own languages and many still do — the only difference is today native Americans live on reservations and the US Department of the Interior is responsible for the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.

One example is the Navaho Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the United States, which is in Arizona. The Navaho Nation covers 27,425 sq miles (71,000 km2) with a population of about 174,000.

The Navajo Nation, like Tibet, is a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory within the United States.

Another example is the Cherokee Nation, which had its own written language developed early in the 19th century by a mixed-blood Cherokee called Se-Quo-Yah, so the Cherokee Nation would be considered educated, literate and capable of governing itself as an equal, independent nation.

However, this did not stop the United States from breaking treaties and waging war with the Cherokee Nation to exploit the natural resources of their land.  It’s called conquest and anyone that studies history knows this is a natural part of the evolution of all species including man.

How is this situation different from Tibet and China? Native Americans had their own religions too and were not allowed to practice them by the United States, while China allows Tibetan Buddhists to practice their religion within a semi autonomous territory, which is administered by a CCP government agency similar to the US Department of the Interior.

Another fact that Prager conveniently left out of his opinionated rant of an essay is that after 1976, China rebuilt many of the Buddhist temples in Tibet that were destroyed during Mao’s Cultural Revolution when religions in China were banned and the entire population suffered.

Today, there are seven-major religions in China including Christianity and Islam.


Rush Limbaugh, the host of the number-one conservative talk-radio show, explains how talk-radio works.

Michael Orion Powell writes, “Prager is a good example of what happens when a commentator ties himself to one side of the political spectrum permanently.” By Seattle standards, Michael Powell calls himself a conservative, but by actual conservative standards (as defined by talk show hosts such as Dennis Prager), he says he is a raving liberal.

In addition, decades ago, I too listened to Rush Limbaugh and then deserted him for Dennis Prager.

I eventually fled Prager too, after I questioned his emotionally driven opinions and compared them to the facts of experts discovering that he was often wrong and misleading.  Now that I’m an ex-Prager Parrot, I guess that makes me a leftist-liberal prone to hysteria that fears death even though I support the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms (weapons such as rifles and pistols).

So, we either trust the emotionally-driven opinions of conservative talk show hosts such as Dennis Prager (with a major in Middle Eastern Studies and History who also studied about Russia), or trust 1,500 of the world’s most distinguished senior scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in science.

And the truth is, there is a chance the experts could be wrong about Global Warming, since it is only a theory supported by facts, but are we willing to risk ignoring them as Prager and his Parrots argue?

Return to Dissecting an American Conservative Spin Master – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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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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Spinning a Web – Part 2/2

August 17, 2011

Since The Opium War by Julia Lovell will not be released until September 2011, I do not know if Ms. Lovell will provide a balance in what she writes.

However, we could find citizens of any country willing “for a fee of course” to sell out their government and people. Why should some Chinese be any different, or are the Chinese judged by a different standard?

It will be interesting if Lovell mentions the Taiping Rebellion, which was one of the bloodiest civil wars in history between the Manchu dominated Qing Dynasty and millions of Christian, Han Chinese rebels led by Hong Xiuquan.

The Taipings had three goals: defeat and replace the Manchu rulers of China, rid China of Opium, and spread Christianity.

It is estimated that The Taiping Rebellion (1845 – 1864) saw about 20 million Chinese killed and the Taipings were not the only Chinese rebelling against the Manchu rulers of China.

For an example of some people willing to do anything “for a fee of course”, a United Nations publication of 1998, “Economic and Social Consequences of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking,” says,”With estimates of $100 billion to $110 billion for heroin, $110 billion to $130 billion for cocaine, $75 billion for cannabis and $60 billion for synthetic drugs, the probable global figure for the total illicit drug industry would be approximately $360 billion. Given the conservative bias in some of the estimates for individual substances, a turnover of around $400 billion per annum is considered realistic.” Source: World Statistics Updated in Real Time

In addition, in the American media, we often hear of the Mexican and Columbian Drug Cartels but seldom do we hear that if it were not for Americans doing the same thing that some Chinese did during the Opium Wars, it would be difficult and/or impossible to sell illegal drugs to Americans.

In the US, distribution and the sale of drugs are mostly conducted by extremely violent, nationally affiliated American street gangs.

Justice.gov says, “Street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs are the primary distributors of illegal drugs on the streets of the United States. Gangs also smuggle drugs into the United States and produce and transport drugs within the country.

“There are at least 21,500 gangs and more than 731,000 active gang members in the United States. Gangs conduct criminal activity in all 50 states and U.S. territories.”

Just because some Chinese cooperated and worked with the British, French and Americans (among other countries) that were selling illegal drugs to the Chinese people during the Opium Wars, that doesn’t mean that all Chinese were guilty. I hope Ms. Lovell makes that clear.

Return to or start with Spinning a Web – Part 1

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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.


Spinning a Web – Part 1/2

August 16, 2011

Is Julia Lovell spinning a web to deceive about the First Opium War (1839 to 1842)?

ACN Newswire posted a press release recently announcing the pending publication of The Opium War by Julia Lovell (available September 2011).

Lovell’s reason for writing this book was to “see whether things really were as black and white as the Chinese textbooks seem to say it was.”

“Seem!” Doesn’t Lovell know what the Chinese textbooks say?

If you check to see who runs ACN Newswire, you will discover it is an associate company of Japan Corporation News K.K., which may mean nothing or everything when it comes to a nonfiction book that aims to make the Chinese look as guilty as the British regarding the Opium Wars.

Julia Lovell says, “It wasn’t a clear-cut story of innocent Chinese on the one hand, and the British invaders on the other.”


British author Julia Lovell talks about writing her book.

“But even if you look at the time, what’s going on during the time of the war itself, the Chinese are supplying the British, they are navigating for the British, they are spying for the British, for a fee of course, so there is an extraordinary pragmatism,” Lovell says in the ACN Newswire press release. “They don’t necessarily feel the loyalty to the idea of the Chinese imperial centre or the emperor or anything else, they will go with where the smart money is. And the British couldn’t have won the war without this assistance.”

There are two key phrases of Lovell’s proving her theory is more complicated than she makes it sound. The first phrase says, “for a fee of course” and the second, “They didn’t necessarily feel loyalty to the idea of the Chinese imperial center or the emperor or anything else…”

In fact, little is “clear-cut” about the Opium Wars. Since the Qing Dynasty was not ruled by the Han Chinese (which represents 90% of the population), but was ruled by a brutal Manchu minority, many Han Chinese probably felt little or no loyalty to the Qing emperor.

Continued on August 16, 2011 in Spinning a Web – Part 2

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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.


Births and Deaths – Part 1/2

August 12, 2011

If we study history, it does not take long to discover that all empires have births and deaths.

To name a few, the Persian Empire survived from 550 – 330 BC then fell to Alexander the Great as he built his vast but brief empire that survived from 346 to 323 BC.

After Alexander, there was the Roman Empire (27 BC – 476 AD in the West and 1453 AD in the East) and China’s Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) followed by other great dynasties such as the Tang, Sung, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasty until it collapsed in 1911.

There was also the Mongol Empire (1206 – 1368 AD) followed by the British (1583 – 1997, when the British returned Hong Kong to China).

The concept of an American Empire was born in 1898, after the Spanish-American War and the annexation of the Philippines to the US.


You cannot run an empire without money.

However, some historians claim the process of expansion and empire for America dates to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, which doubled the size of the US.

Bill Bonner writes of America’s Imperial Suicide and offers compelling evidence that the sunset of another empire has arrived.

Bonner mentions that the end started under President Richard Nixon in 1971 when the US stopped backing the dollar with gold and replaced it with paper and the good intentions of a government that is now burdened by a National Debt well beyond $14 trillion.

Since the Chinese appear poised to become the next world empire, will they accept the crown or follow in the footsteps of Han Dynasty, which transformed itself into the Tang, Sung, Yuan, Ming then Qing Dynasties by not attempting to swallow or control a vast global empire with constant expansion and intimidation of others on a scale equal to the Romans, the British Empire and the United States.

Are the Chinese wise enough to avoid the mistakes made by the others that have blazed this trail of empire before them?

Continued on July 13, 2011 in Births and Deaths – Part 2

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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.


Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution (Viewed as Single Page)

August 6, 2011

Before reading this post, I suggest first reading China, The Roots of Madness to understand what led to Mao’s era in China (1949 – 1976). This link will take you to that post. When you finish, return.

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Mao’s era started October 1949 with victory celebrations in Beijing, as the country with the largest population saw a Communist government come to power.

Mao says, “The People’s Republic of China is founded today. China will be free of inequality, poverty and foreign domination.”

Before 1950, most Chinese lived as they had for centuries as part of a feudal system. Even after the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, warlords ruled much of China, and then China was torn by Civil War and an invasion by Japan during World War II.

For most Chinese, feudalism describes the “old society” that existed before “liberation” in 1949.

The following video shows what this life was like before Mao’s era.  It is estimated that about half the people in rural China lived in severe poverty and were in debt to landowners.


(When the advertisement appears, advance the video scroll bar to 2:00 minutes to avoid it.)

In the video, Hu Benxu, a peasant farmer from Sichuan says that in the past, there was justice for the rich but nothing for the poor.

Chiang Kai-shek believed that improvements would spread through the country (sort of like President Reagan’s trickledown theory, also known as voodoo economics or Reaganomics, which did not work in the US) as foreign investments poured into China.

However, the opposite happened. As the country industrialized, the gap between the rich and the poor widened because the rich held on to money and wanted more and protests about working condition in the factories were met with death from Chiang Kai-shek’s troops.

Meanwhile, at the same time, Mao promised land reforms, and his troops treated the peasants with respect.

When Mao won China, he said, “We Chinese should work hard. The country is poor. Our people are uneducated. We must make China a modern industrialized state.”

However, there would be many mistakes and much suffering during the next 27 years. After two thousand years of an Imperial system of government, China was embarking on a journey of reinventing a country and a culture without foreign influence.

Mao held more power than anyone since the emperors, and he wanted China to be a purer, fairer more progressive state than the Soviet Union, so the peasants were the first to benefit.

As Mao promised during China’s Civil War (1926-1949 – with a break during part of World War II), there were land reforms.

Luo Shifa, a party official in Sichuan, tells his story about what happened in 1950. Rural property owners were judged enemies of the people (by the people) and hundreds of thousands were executed.

Changes in urban areas were not as violent. The owners and managers of factories were needed to keep things running but all property was signed over to the state. Factory and business owners who resisted were executed.

Women were given new rights at work and in marriage and foot binding was abolished. Literacy was also important. Before 1949, illiteracy in Mainland China was 80% and life expectancy was 35. When Mao died, the average life expectancy had increased to 55 and today it is 76 (while literacy is now more than 90% and China has done more to reduce poverty than any country on earth).

To deal with disease, the Communists launched programs to improve health care that had never existed before. Millions were inoculated against the most common diseases.

The nation went on a cleaning spree. Posters said everyone had to help exterminate pests. Songs were sung, “Pest free areas are glorious. Let’s wipe out the flies, bugs, mosquitoes and rats.”

Sparrows were considered pests since they were accused of eating crops. Whoever killed the most sparrows in each village was rewarded.

However, exterminating sparrows led to insect populations exploding, which endangered crop yields.

Then the people were told to watch for capitalistic or counter revolutionary behavior and to denounce suspicious people.

In 1958, Mao’s boldest program was launched. He wanted to out-produce industrialized nations in manufacturing and crop yields. The land given to the peasants in 1949 was confiscated and people communes of 100 thousand or more were created.

Mao believed that more people working together meant larger projects. By the end of 1958, 700 million people had been placed into 26,578 communes.

Ironically, one of the key factors in food production in China was the weather and 1958 had particularly good weather for growing food.

Then in 1959, things started to go wrong.

The excellent growing weather of 1958 was followed by a very poor growing year in 1959. Some parts of China were hit by floods. In other growing areas, drought was a major problem. The harvest for 1959 was 170 million tons of grain – well below what China needed at the most basic level.

Soon, in parts of China, starvation occurred and millions died.

In addition, political decisions/beliefs took precedence over commonsense and communes faced the task of doing things which they were incapable of achieving.

Mao said, “Revolutionary enthusiasm will triumph over all obstacles.”

To achieve Mao’s goals, the Communist Party encouraged competition between communes. Instead, overproduction caused crops to rot in the fields and the communes hid the truth by faking records.

Huge construction projects began without proper planning leading to accidents and deaths, which were hidden by the project managers. No one wanted Mao to discover the lack of proper revolutionary enthusiasm.Some critics claim that Mao was aware of what was going on but others argue he had no idea of the extent of the problems until late 1959.

During this time, steel production was to double in one year. Instead of producing steel from industry, Mao wanted the peasants to build small furnaces.

Again, there was competition between teams of peasants, and forests were cut down to fuel the crude furnaces the mostly illiterate peasants built.

All over China, people were neglecting the fields and crops to produce steel because the people were told they had to listen to Mao. All metal was melted — including cooking woks, but the steel produced using these methods was useless.

While the peasants were producing this useless steel, the crops rotted in the fields. Then in 1960, there was a drought and food production fell more than 25% and millions died from the resulting famine (no one knows the exact number — estimates run from 10 million to 45 million or more).

Having failed, Mao publicly admitted he had been wrong and stepped aside to let someone else run the country.

The large communes were abandoned in 1960, and the peasants returned to their villages and were given land again.  At the time, Mao was still popular with the people but he still resigned as the Head of State.

However, fearing a return of capitalism and exploitation of the people, Mao’s supporters printed a book with his quotations and slogans.

The goal was to break the thinking and attitudes of old China. Using film, a propaganda campaign was launched so Mao could regain power. Then in 1966, the Cultural Revolution started.

By 1966, Mao’s Red Book of quotations was being used as a textbook in the schools.

Shao Ailing, a head teacher in Shanghai says, “The pupils began to realize that all the changes taking place in their families, in school, in Shanghai and China were because of Chairman Mao.”

Mao encouraged students to attack authority and the leadership of the Communist Party that did not agree with his beliefs.

This advice was coming from a man considered to be the “George Washington” of China, the man who had delivered on his promises to the peasants in 1950 and brought them medicine and land reforms—something the emperors of Imperial China and Chiang Kai-shek had never done, and Mao was still popular with the vast majority of the Chinese people.

Zhang Baoqing, an early Red Guard member in Beijing, says, “Chairman Mao started the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) to keep up the momentum for change. We thought if we followed Mao, we could not go wrong.”

Mao motivated millions of students from speeches in Tiananmen Square. This time it wasn’t the rural peasants that suffered the most during the Great Leap Forward (1958 – 1960). This time he looked for support from China’s urban youth that did not remember or were not aware of Mao’s earlier mistakes.

Urban student anger focused on Mao’s rivals, President Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. Even small children were taught to denounce Liu. Then anyone in power was denounced. The structure of the Communist Party collapsed. Schoolteachers were attacked and tortured by their students. More than a million were killed or driven to suicide.

The anarchy caused by Mao’s Cultural Revolution spread. Schools and hospitals closed. Offices and factories were in chaos. Qi Youyi, who was a factory worker in Beijing, describes how bad it was. Production stopped. No one knew when he or she might be denounced and arrested. Many workers committed suicide.

After two years (by 1968), the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was called in to restore order and reestablish the Communist Party. Then to bring peace to the streets, millions of members of the teenage Red Guard were sent to the countryside to learn from the peasants.

However, the Cultural Revolution did not officially end until 1976 when Mao died.

After his death, Mao’s closest supporters, the Gang of Four, were arrested and Maoist revolutionary activities were abandoned. In an attempt to hold the country together, the Communist Party used propaganda and the PLA to maintain control.

Deng Xiaoping replaced ideological fervor with economic activity so the people would be motivated not by dreams of equality but by money. In the 1980s, the new message was “to get rich is glorious”.

This post first appeared as a six part series starting June 21, 2010 as China’s Great Leap Forward – Part 1.

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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.

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

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A Brief History of Parenting – Part 1/3

June 11, 2011

The Chinese did not develop the parenting style Amy Chua described in her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In fact, the Chinese may have learned this method of parenting from the British, French, Germans, Russians, Portuguese and Americans since this method of parenting was first developed in the West in the 18th century.

The 19th century invasion of China by Western powers during The Opium Wars explains what happened, and it was a British citizen from Northern Ireland that may have introduced this style of parenting to the Chinese.

This man was Sir Robert Hart, known as the godfather of China’s modernization. It was Hart, the main character in The Concubine Saga that guided the Qing Dynasty to restructure China’s educational system to compete with the superior, Western style of education of the time.

If you recall, the  West was going through the Industrial Revolution then.

Recently, I discovered that the one-star critic’s reviews of Amy Chua memoir of raising children the Chinese way had gone too far when another anonymous reviewer calling itself Tiger Indeed left this one-star review, “There once was a nation that fully endorsed these principals (referring to Amy Chua’s parenting methods). It was called the Soviet Union. Enough said.”

This wasn’t a book review. It was an ignorant, opinionated condemnation of the way Amy Chua raised her children.

Digging further, I discovered that Tiger Indeed has only reviewed one book. I’m sure you guessed the title: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Then I discovered Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist who’s pioneering work in the 1940s – 1960s identified the different methods of parenting.

Baumrind described Amy Chua’s parenting method but the way Chua raised her daughters wasn’t from one method as there is some crossover between Authoritarian and Authoritative.

Continued on June 12, 2011 in A Brief History of Parenting – Part 2

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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.

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.