Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Not Rule the World” – Part 8/12

December 4, 2011

Seventh Question [Lofthouse]:

How would you describe the differences between urban and rural China?

Answer [Parfitt]:

In some respects, urban-rural differences are not unlike those in North America. In others, they are profound. People are generally more sophisticated in Chinese cities, especially along the coast. I found country folk to be friendly (one family put me up for the night in their home in the middle of nowhere), but impoverished. I spent a day driving through the backwaters of agricultural Hunan and never saw a single piece of farming equipment. Something else that struck me was the voluminous countryside pollution, which some Chinese will tell you is mist or fog. Apparently, Chinese mist and fog smell like turpentine.

I’m aware that in some villages, Party officials listen to local concerns and try to make improvements, but there’s so much graft in this “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” that rural people regularly lose out. Sure, they can migrate to cities, but the hukou, or household registration, makes this illegal (China does not have mobility rights; the hukou creates a sort of caste system), and migrant workers are often discriminated against and denied state services.

Naturally, many of China’s peasants are not happy with their situation or local cadres. A lot of “mass incidents” – riots, protests, strikes – transpire in rural areas, and, from the Ministry of Public Security’s own admissions, we know these number in the tens of thousands per annum. And this is the flipside to China’s glorious development, its Tom Sawyer cleverness in turning itself into the world’s factory floor: farmers forced to irrigate crops from factory-poisoned rivers decide to complain one day and are rounded up, beaten up, locked up, tortured – perhaps in an illegal or “black jail.” This is what China has become. Cadres seize land, sell it to developers, force citizens out of their ancestral homes, pay them a pittance, and threaten them to shut up. Scenarios like this play out literally hundreds of times a day, and except for the occasional corrupt-official-show-trial-and-execution the people are the losers. What the Party calls socialism is really state-capitalism, kleptocracy, Orwellianism, and coercion.

“If there is hope,” wrote Orwell, “it lies in the proles.”

Here’s to hope.

Response [Lofthouse]:

Graft in China exists at the provincial and local level, but is not as bad as India where corruption/graft is estimated at about 50% of GDP and those living in poverty [more than ten times China] are worse off.

The hukou Parfitt describes exists but to understand why requires one to know China’s history before 1949 when life in rural China was worse.

David C. Schak’s paper on Poverty in China points out social unrest in rural China was also common during the 19th century, which had to do more with an unsustainable population than anything else did.

Schak says prior to 1949, marauding armies often confiscated crops and forcibly conscripted men leaving the peasants with no resources, and he describes factories hiring day laborers by throwing the number of tallies for the number of workers they wanted into the crowd of job seekers and letting them fight.

Final Word [Parfitt]:

Corruption in India isn’t germane to this debate.

A June 29, 2011 article in The Atlantic reports the People’s Bank of China announced “17,000 Communist Party members and state functionaries… illicitly obtained and… smuggled out of China… $124 billion from the mid-90s until 2008.”

One would hope that the CCP made rural life better. When it came to power (1949), things couldn’t have been much worse. China was broken, having experienced 22 years of warfare. This is part of what makes the Communists-as-heroes-of-the-people argument so weak; this, and the mayhem, murder, and neglect ushered in by Mao, whose desire to transform China into a socialist utopia resulted in a famine that caused the deaths of millions.

How anyone could purport to love China and its people, and downplay or deny such an event, as Mr. Lofthouse does on his site, is a grave insult to China and its people.  [Referring to Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines]

Continued on December 5, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 9 or return to Part 7.

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 1

______________

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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Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Not Rule the World” – Part 7/12

December 3, 2011

Sixth Question [Parfitt]:

Governments and human-rights groups have heaped criticism on China about human-rights issues. Is such criticism justified?

Answer [Lofthouse]:

No!

The evolution of human-rights is mostly a Western political phenomenon based on individualism dating back to the Greek City States hundreds of years before Christ and the Western Roman Empire (27 BC – 476 AD).

The timeline of the Ongoing Struggle for Human Rights in the West shows the first mention of an alleged human rights violation in China (according to Western values) was the 1989 (so-called) Tiananmen Square massacre.

However, you set the record straight on your Blog, June 4, 2011 in The Tiananmen Square Myth and I have written of this issue in  What is the Truth about Tiananmen Square? and The Tiananmen Square Hoax.

Examples of the slow progress of the evolution of human rights in the West may be seen in 1791 (fifteen years after the U.S. Declaration of Independence), when the U.S. Bill of Rights incorporated notions of freedom of speech, press, and fair trial into the new U.S. Constitution.

In fact, in 1920, the League of Nations Covenant required members to “endeavor to secure and maintain fair and humane conditions of labor for men, women and children,” but it took the US twenty-one more years before stricter laws banning the employment of underage children was declared constitutional in 1941 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Note, none of these early gains in the political arena of human rights took place in East Asia.

In addition, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) did not join the United Nations until 1971.

Since then, in human rights issues, the PRC has been increasingly successful at maintaining their positions. In 1995, they won 43 percent of the votes in the General Assembly; by 2006 they won 82 percent.

SFGate.com quoted Li Junru, deputy director of the China Society for Human Rights Studies,  who said, “Since China adopted [its] reform and opening-up policy in 1978, the country has witnessed the second great liberation of human rights, as…reform in [the] economy, technology, education, culture, (and) politics…”

Since all of East Asia including China are collective cultures, the face of human rights may not fit the West’s definition of it.

Response [Parfitt]:

China’s culture isn’t collective. China is fond of saying it’s collective, that’s its strength, and the West should take a lesson, but if there’s one overarching rule in the Chinese universe, it’s this: the more you hear something, the more you can be assume it to be untrue.

‘Collectivism’ is a euphemism for ‘subservience.’

The Foshan incident highlights China’s awful individualism; 20 people ignoring a small girl hit by a truck. Western individualism may be extreme, but Westerners can act collectively when it counts. They often assist people in crisis, for example.

Cultural moral relativism argues there is no absolute truth, and no matter how dreadful circumstances become, they are forever valid. Cultural moral relativism isn’t unlike Orwell’s doublethink: “to hold simultaneously two opinions that cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it.”

China’s human-rights: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China

Final Word [Lofthouse]:

Regarding collective cultures, ERIC.ed.gov, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U. S. Department of Education, offers a definitive definition.

ERIC says, “The remarkable differences between the East Asian cultures of China and Japan and the American culture make acculturation of East Asians into the mainstream of United States society extremely difficult.

“Characteristics of individualistic cultures include: the individual as an autonomous entity; egalitarianism; competitiveness; and self-reliance.

“Characteristics of collective cultures include: individuals as interdependent entities; hierarchism; cooperativeness; and self-denial (sacrificing one’s own desires or interests).”

In Litigation Nation, I explained why the behavior of a few individuals during the Foshan incident cannot be used to judge a nation.

A better example would be the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which affected almost 46 million Chinese in 10 provinces.

In Recovering from a Beating by Mother Nature, I compared China’s recovery to how America dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Continued on December 4, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 8 or return to Part 6.

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 1

______________

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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Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Not Rule the World” – Part 6/12

December 2, 2011

Fifth Question [Lofthouse]:

Pearl S. Buck [1892 – 1973], the winner of the Pulitzer and Noble Prizes for Literature, expressed her dissatisfaction with Chiang Kai-shek’s policies while remaining anti-Communist.

The FBI classified her as a Communist sympathizer and kept a file on her that ran in the hundreds of pages. The Chinese Communists [CCP] under Mao called her a “running dog” of capitalism. In China, Buck was critical of both the Nationalists and the Communists.

However, she said the Chinese people would be better off with the CCP than being ruled by Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalists.

What was it about Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT that caused Buck to believe this?

Answer [Parfitt]:

I can’t speak to Buck’s thought-process, but I agree with her appraisal. I don’t know how anyone could read 20th century Chinese history and not, during the second phase of the Civil War (1945-1949), root for the big Red boot. Although Mao was a heartless bastard, he was right when he likened the KMT to a toilet that, no matter how many times flushed, still stinks.

It wasn’t that Mao won the Civil War so much as Chiang lost it. Whole armies defected when generals realized the Generalissimo was up to his old tricks. Chiang’s post-WWII China-rule was aptly described by one US diplomat as “one of the biggest carpetbagging operations in history.”

It had taken the Nationalists six years to even face the Japanese in battle. Chiang’s officers were yes-men, his troops poorly trained and press ganged. At war’s end, the Nationalists deemed anyone residing outside the wartime capital of Chongqing a traitor, never mind they had left 40 percent of the populace at the mercy of Hirohito’s merciless army, defeating that army only once.

The KMT forced citizens to hand in all money and valuables. Hoarders were publicly executed. The KMT intercepted international aid and sold it on the black market, unsurprising given it had sold US military equipment to the Japanese.

Chiang Kai-shek was an inept, extortionate, dictatorial thug responsible for the deaths of millions of Chinese.

The KMT has always been very “business-minded.” It controlled the opium trade, and once extorted every bank and enterprise in Shanghai. The party’s collection agency was the Green Gang. Not keen on extending a “loan” to China’s new government? Perhaps you’ll have a change of heart when your own coffin is delivered to your door.

The Nationalists remain hopelessly corrupt, but at least in Taiwan they ended martial law and allowed for democratic reforms. For that, they deserve a medal, and can probably forge one from gold stolen from China.

What Buck couldn’t have known was that China’s peasant liberators were led by a madman whose reign was an exercise in revenge and would turn the nation on its head.

Response [Lofthouse]:

From what I’ve learned of Pearl S. Buck, I’m sure she would agree with your assessment of Chiang Kai-shek. However, she may have disagreed with the description of Mao as a totally heartless bastard and lunatic.

A better description would be that Mao feared China would revert to its Western dominated feudal past, and this paranoia contributed to Mao’s disastrous blunders.

If Mao had been “totally” heartless, there would have been no improvement of living standards in China as PRB.org reports, “For three decades after the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, China’s economy grew and stabilized, and the living standards of most Chinese citizens greatly improved. But China remained a very poor country…”

Mao was a product of the era. To understand how a sensitive, young idealist turned into the man that launched the Cultural Revolution, I suggest reading Mao and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Final Word [Parfitt]:

China does not have a “Western dominated” past. How could it? Europeans didn’t arrive until the mid-16th century. China’s modern history has been influenced by the West, but – to reiterate – that theme is just one of dozens.

Mao’s personal physician, Dr.  Li Zhishui, a man who knew Mao intimately and saw him nearly every day he was in power, wrote a 736-page biography about the ruler called The Private Life of Chairman Mao. In it, Li decribes Mao’s thought-process as “prescientific,” adding that Mao himself was “incapable of love and devoid of human feeling.” Numerous health issues are mentioned and explained, but nowhere does Li mention anything resembling PTSD.

To understand Mao, one must read books.

I arrived at my assessments of Mao, Chiang, China, etc. by reading copiously about the nation’s past; a broad spectrum of books, mainly by academics, none of whom, to authenticate their claims, cite themelves.

Continued on December 3, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 7 or return to Part 5.

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 1

______________

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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Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Not Rule the World” – Part 5/12

December 1, 2011

Fourth Question [Parfitt]:

Apart from business and trade, what does China have to offer the world?

Answer [Lofthouse]:

The PRC was the first Chinese government to attempt systematically to reduce both inequality and poverty offering the world a lesson on how to reduce poverty and illiteracy on a scale unmatched in global history.

In addition, the respect accorded to teachers and the merit-based educational system offered to the world a lesson when 15-year-old Shanghai students placed first in every category in the 2009 International PISA test. The only Western nation that came close was tiny Finland.

These achievements may be attributed to Confucius’s teachings.

Henry Kissinger says it best, and I agree. “China’s exceptionalism is cultural. China does not proselytize; it does not claim that its contemporary institutions are relevant outside China.”

However, China’s accomplishments to improve the quality of life since 1982 offer many lessons to learn from.

Chinese culture is mostly about the collective mindset of the family. Western culture focuses on the self-esteem and happiness of the individual to the exclusion of long-term cultural survival as Niall Ferguson points out in Civilization: The West and the Rest.

Ferguson says, “The West’s reign is coming to an end as it loses faith in itself.”

A better explanation may be found from a Gallup study by Richard Burkholder and Raksha Arora that concluded, “With greater levels of affluence, the importance of the capitalist work ethic begins to erode, and the end becomes self-expression…”

For these reasons, many in China want nothing to do with the evolution of the West’s political and cultural institutions.

Emperor Qianlong’s 1793 letter to King George III demonstrates what most Chinese believe. “As your Ambassador can see for himself, we possess all things. I set no value on objects strange or ingenious.”

In this letter, Emperor Qianlong points out the differences between the West and China and that the West has nothing to offer China.

That changed after the Opium Wars in the 19th century due to the West gaining a slight technological advantage in weaponry.

Today, we see China catching up and when it does, will it say that the West has nothing to offer China beyond technology already gained?

Response [Parfitt]:

The PRC reduced inequality (A) and poverty (B), offering the world an unparalleled lesson on how to reduce poverty (B) and illiteracy (C)?

In terms of GDP per capita, the IMF lists China in 94th spot, with $7,519. What, then, does China have to teach the 93 countries above it about poverty reduction? Ditto that question for literacy, where the UN lists China in 68th spot.

The CCP has made great strides toward improving the lot of its citizenry, and may have something to teach the developing world – but not the developed one. China is not a developed nation. It’s listed on the UN’s Human Development Index (a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and living standards) in 101st spot.

Moreover, though the CCP has worked to reduce poverty and inequality, it has adopted an economic model that, by its own admission, has created the world’s sharpest rich-poor divide.

Final Word [Lofthouse]:

The answer for “C” should be “ALL OF THE ABOVE”, which is correct.

I find the rankings you list interesting but meaningless.

In fact, a better measurement compares China’s poverty reduction with India, the world’s largest democracy. For example, the CIA Factbook says “absolute poverty” in China is 2.8%while India is listed at 25%.

In addition, the CIA says China’s public debt is 17.3% of GDP while India’s is 50.6%.

Even more shocking, the CIA reports 15.1% of the US population lives in poverty while the US public debt is 61.9% of GDP.

Another example would be to discover what life was like in China before the CCP became the only government in China’s history to set goals that have reduced both inequality and poverty dramatically. To learn more, read a poverty study of China written by David C. Schak, an Associate Professor at Griffith University in Australia.

Continued on December 2, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 6 or return to Part 4.

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 1

______________

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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Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Not Rule the World” – Part 4/12

November 30, 2011

Third Question [Lofthouse]:

In your book trailer, you claim that China has nothing to offer the world culturally and in a stereotyped blanket statement say that the Confucian hierarchy of China’s culture causes businesses and industries to have a rigid chain of command that exerts total control over the people below them. Due to this, you say it leads to inefficiency and a lack of coordination.

However, how do you explain that under the same collective, cultural Confucian hierarchy you criticize, China was the wealthiest, most powerful and technologically advanced nation on the planet for more than two thousand years until the 19th century?

Answer [Parfitt]:

In addition to directing the reader toward a particular conclusion, begging-the-question language assumes a premise has already been established. However, it hasn’t been established that China was the world’s greatest nation from the Qin (221 BCE) to 1800. Was China really wealthier, more powerful, and more technologically advanced than the Roman Empire (44 BCE – 1453 CE)? Says who?

Most cultures devise a gilded-age myth. Conspicuously, China’s gilded-age spans two millennia, from the First Emperor to the Opium Wars. It speaks to patriotism and victimization, and is a Communist Party fabrication. An eighth-grade social science textbook begins, “Our motherland… was once an advanced and great nation… but after the invasions of the… capitalist powers, a profound national crisis occurred.”

Specious and hyperbolic declarations only obscure a reasoned analysis of China’s contributions. A relevant example is Gavin Menzies’s 1421: The Year China Discovered the World. China’s 15th-century age-of-exploration is truly remarkable, but Menzies overreaches to where the Chinese built a Danish granary in America and a Loyalist farm in Canada. Like many Sinophiles, he specializes in mythomania. The Cambridge scientist Joseph Needham (1900–1995) is guilty of overstatement, too. Needham accurately noted China had made contributions to science never documented, but he grossly inflated their scope and importance, explicating that the Chinese had invented virtually everything – only to forget it all just before the Europeans arrived.

In Jonathan Spence’s The Search for Modern China, no gilded-age appears and European presence is not treated as the prevailing theme. Chinese civilization is portrayed as highly complex but infinitely troubled, by poverty, lawlessness, chaos, violence, warlordism, rebellion, warfare, despotism, etc. Spence, the foremost China scholar, does not indicate China represented the most advanced nation, nor does he propose its achievements were the result of Confucian values.

China’s achievements have occurred despite Confucian values. Overwhelmingly, Confucianism works only to stifle creativity, stymie critical thinking, and nullify questioning. It is a form of authoritarianism, tyranny of the mind and soul. If the Chinese wish to genuinely advance, they must scrutinize this antediluvian rubric. They must ask if it has served to advance them, or kept them subjugated.

Response [Lofthouse]:

Spence is not “the” foremost China scholar. At best, he is widely recognized as “a” leading scholar of Chinese history, among “many” others.

As for China’s Han Dynasty being superior to Rome during Emperor Marcus Aurelius time (161- 180 AD), Discovery Channel’s Neville Gishford and Archaeologist Charles Higham, a world famous authority on ancient Asia, sets the record straight in Xi’an (Chang’ an).

In ‘The Indiscreet Charm of Tyranny’, Buruma writes, “Confucius, and especially Mencius, believed in the people’s right to rebel against corrupt rulers,” and the Chinese people are aware, explaining The Mandate of Heaven.

In addition, “Ancient Chinese Inventions” published by Cambridge University Press reveals that China gave birth to numerous scientific and technological inventions, and for centuries led the world in such innovations.

In conclusion, Spence explored ‘Why Confucius Counts’ and said, “In the hands of major current thinkers it (Confucianism) is neither farce nor fraud.”

Final Word [Parfitt]:

Whether the Han dynasty was “greater” than Marcus Aurelius’s Rome has nothing to do with the claim that China represented the greatest civilization on Earth.

I don’t deny China’s scientific achievments; I have read about them and Science and Civilisation in China, the pertinent, authoritative work. Chinese innovations should not be disregarded. However,  it must be asked why so few have appeared in modern history. Of the 976 Nobel laureates to date, only 1 has been a citizen of China: Liu Xiaobo, awarded the 2010 Peace Prize while in prison for subversion.

If Confucius had focused more on reasoned thinking than tautology, and encourged his compatriots to question and investigate rather than imitate and obey, the Chinese might not have a government working under the directive of an inanimate entity with a dubious existence. The Mandate of Heaven is no more meaningful than the Mandate of Earth, Wind, or Fire.

Continued on December 1, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 5 or return to Part 3.

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 1

______________

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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Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World” – Part 3/12

November 29, 2011

Second Question [Parfitt]: You (Lofthouse) mention Mao Zedong in your first question and reference his statement that women hold up half the sky. The Chinese Communist Party’s official line about Mao’s rule is that it was 70 percent good and 30 percent bad. What’s your assessment of Mao’s reign?

Answer [Lofthouse]:

A Museum of Tragedy near China’s port city of Shantou offers evidence of why most Chinese decided Mao was 30%”bad”.

The “bad” refers to Mao’s Cultural Revolution [1966 – 1976] leading to the many suicides of those that could not cope, as Mao’s teenage Red Guard waged war on Confucianism and persecuted people accused of bourgeois tendencies.

In addition, there were millions of deaths by starvation mostly in 1960 caused by droughts and food shortages during Mao’s Great Leap Forward.

Opinions of how many died of starvation from 1959 into early 1961 vary dramatically, and it is a controversial hot-button issue.  Claims range from 16.5 million to a high of 60 million.

For example, Henry Kissinger on page 184 of “On China” says, “From 1959 to 1962, China experienced one of the worst famines in human history, leading to the deaths of over twenty million people.”

Judith Banister’s work, China’s Changing Population [Stanford University Press – 1987], agrees with Kissinger’s quote.

In fact, Banister shows that the greatest loss of life took place in 1960 and returned closer to normal in 1961.

It didn’t help that the US had a complete embargo of China (1949 – 1963), which was designed to cause suffering among the people leading to an overthrow of the Chinese Communist Party and a return to power of Chiang Kai-shek.

If Australia, Canada and France had not shipped wheat to China in 1961, the loss of life would have been worse.

What Mao did to earn the 70% “good” rating is due to his early land-reform policies ending feudalism in rural China, in addition to improving health care, which led to dramatic improvements in life expectancy.

In 1949, the average life expectancy was 36 years.  By 1970, during the Cultural Revolution, average life expectancy was almost 62 years — a 71% improvement.

Today, life expectancy is 74.68 years.

Facts show that more people benefited from Mao’s “good” policies than those that suffered from the “bad”. However, critics in the West prefer to focus on a glass almost empty instead of admitting the glass was more than half-full.

Response [Parfitt]:

Chinese people believe the reign of the former Communist Party chairman was 70 percent good and 30 percent bad because that’s what the Communist Party tells them.

Historian Jonathan Spence tells a different story, one not muddled by contemporary life-expectancy statistics or charges against America. According to Spence, Mao’s land reform involved the brutal seizure and redistribution of property, with Mao admitting 700,000 “evil gentry” were justly killed.

The program didn’t put a dent in private ownership, but was a violent failure resulting in Party scorn.

Mao responded with his Hundred Flowers Movement and Anti-Rightist Campaign, part one in his trilogy of campaigns, which, along with the Korean War, may have caused 70 million deaths. Since Mao’s death, the Party has made significant strides in material development, the welfare state, national security, and prosperity, but locating a valid academic source concluding Mao’s reign was more beneficial than not is impossible.

Final Word [Lofthouse]:

Proving China prospered [on average] under Mao at the same time it suffered due to his Anti-Rightist Campaigns was easy.

Professor Stephen Thomas [University of Colorado at Denver] wrote for the World Bank’s Forum on Public Policy, “In 1949, the newly established People’s Republic of China designed and carried out economic development policies that led to an annual average economic growth rate of about 4 percent from 1953 to 1978, among the highest in the developing world…

Then, Compton’s Living Encyclopedia says, “After the Communist revolution in 1949… Private ownership of land was abolished, but each peasant family was given a small plot to farm. Health care improved. The fluctuations in the food supply leveled off and life expectancy increased.”

I do not dispute landowners were tried, convicted and executed by the peasants they allegedly abused and exploited.

As for Mao’s policies killing 70 million—”MAY HAVE CAUSED” proves nothing.

Continued on November 30, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 4 or return to Part 2.

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 1

______________

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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Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Not Rule the World” – Part 2/12

November 28, 2011

First Question [Lofthouse]: Since 1949, Taiwan and mainland China have followed significantly different paths. While Taiwan held onto the old culture, the mainland went through a painful metamorphosis to rise from the ashes of the Civil War (1926 – 1949) as if it were a phoenix to be reborn.

One example of these differences may be found in the written language. While Taiwan held onto the old style of writing Mandarin, which goes back thousands of years, Mao simplified the language and instead of writing vertically from bottom right in columns toward the top left, the written language on the mainland was simplified with fewer strokes and is written from the top in horizontal lines from left to right ending in the lower right corner as Western writing does.

In addition, Mao saw Confucianism as a weakness that led to China’s decline in the 19th century as the world’s wealthiest and most technologically advanced nation on the earth — a position it held for about two thousand years. To rid Communist China of this weakness, Mao declared war on Confucius.

However, piety, which is a result of Confucian ethics and morals since the Han Dynasty, remains strong in both cultures. Since you lived in Taiwan and taught ESL for ten years and then traveled as a tourist through mainland China, how would you describe the differences you observed between how piety is practiced in mainland China and Taiwan?

Answer [Parfitt]:

First, as the term pertains to Taiwan, there is no such thing as mainland China. There is China, and there is Taiwan. The word ‘mainland’ denotes a connection, but there isn’t one and never really has been. The Dutch, not the Chinese, were the first to establish controls over Taiwan. When the Dutch arrived, there were a few thousand Fujianese farming families living on the Western plains (they had fled China despite a Qing ban on emigration) and aboriginals living in the mountains. The Dutch were eventually sent packing by the Ming loyalist, Koxinga, who in turn was toppled by the Qing. The Qing asked the Dutch if they wanted Taiwan back. They didn’t, so, mainly to prevent the island from falling into other foreign hands, it was annexed in 1885. The Qing, remember, were Manchus, considered foreign rulers by the Han Chinese.

Even today, the Chinese commemorate their demise. The Manchus admitted they held no jurisdiction over half of Taiwan. The other half they ruled badly.

In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan, and though the Japanese exploited it, living standards exceeded any province in China.

In Cairo, in 1943, Chiang Kai-shek argued that Taiwan had been stolen by the Japanese and ought to be returned.

Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin agreed, hence the mainland myth, perpetuated to this day by the Communists and the Nationalists. Approximately 90 percent of Taiwanese want nothing to do with China, and why would they?

In addition to retaining some of the finer aspects of traditional Chinese culture, such as complex characters, Taiwan has liberalized through democratization and represents a major step forward for Chinese civilization.

As for the Confucian concept of piety, it is a core cultural component, virtually identical in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau. This is unfortunate because Confucianism is dogma. “The plague of heterodox theories can be eliminated by fierce attack,” says the Analects of Confucius. Until people realize the Analects represents only stone-age logic and dictums posing as wisdom, they will remain slaves to tyranny and history.

In China, I was no mere tourist.

Response [Lofthouse]:

The history of Taiwan is interesting.

However, if history decides who rules a territory, the US would not exist, and Hawaii’s native population would still rule an independent country instead of being the 50th state.

Taiwan’s fate was decided by Chiang Kai-shek (a Han Chinese) when he ordered KMT troops to slaughter Taiwanese natives. He ruled Taiwan as a dictator before and after he lost China’s Civil War.

As for democratization, America’s Founding Fathers despised democracy and saw it as a path to mob rule.

Regarding Confucianism, — under Mao, it was seen as a weakness and a brutal war was waged on the philosophy during the Cultural Revolution.

Indeed, Confucianism is but one element of China’s culture, which is a blend of Face, Guanxi, Confucianism, Legalism, Taoism , and Buddhism, etc.

In addition, the Mandate of Heaven plays an important role that often cancels out the negative aspects of Confucianism.

Final Word [Parfitt]:

Taiwan’s history has been irrevocably altered by Chiang Kai-shek, but its fate regarding China has not been decided.

Face is a puerile concept, a license to behave however one pleases.

Guanxi is important in all societies. It only seems more prevalent in China because people discuss it.

Confucianism, Legalism, and Taoism are enlightened philosophies to those who’ve never read them. The essence of Confucianism is obedience. Legalism is Machiavellian. “A weak people means a strong state…” says The Book of Lord Shang. The Tao Te Ching urges rulers to eradicate knowledge and desire. The strains of despotism in these native ideologies speak to communism’s appeal.

Nowhere in Jonathan Spence’s Mao does it say Mao’s Cultural Revolution had to do with waging war on Confucianism. Spence notes Mao “never wrote a single comprehensive analysis of what he intended to achieve by the Cultural Revolution, or… how he expected it to proceed.”

Continued on November 29, 2011 in Discussion with Troy Parfitt, the author of “Why China Will Never Rule the World – Travels in the Two Chinas” – Part 3 or return to Part 1.

See Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – 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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