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Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Monday, September 21, 2020

I am not even sure when Blogspot started using labels for posts. I thought the idea was a bit redundant, since, if you type a word in the search box in the upper left corner, Blogspot will use the Google search engine to search only this blog for blog posts that contain that term. So I passed on it for a long time. But much has changed in the years since I started this blog in December of 2003. Many people use smart phones now to read blogs, and I saw that if you are using a smart phone, it is nice to be able to tap a label at the bottom of the blog post and see all blogposts having that same label. So I have started to use them, and then thought it would be nice if I could create a page where readers could see all the topics listed and then click on the label for the topics they were interested in persuing. It will take me some time to get this done--I guess I will be putting in a few topics a day.

I should also remind you that the permalink for a blog post can be obtained by clicking on the date at the bottom of that blog post.

A World Split Apart
This is the title of Solzhenitsyn's address to the graduating class of Harvard in June of 1978. This topic includes posts referring to that lecture. If you are just interested in the lecture itself, it is also listed in the title section.

Afghanistan
My interest in Central Asia really began with my trip to Kashgar in 2005. But my interest in Afganistan in particular began with the sad realization that so many, many kids in that country have very limited opportunities for education.

American Civil War
The American Civil War is the centerpoint of American history. Everything that happened before it was a cause of it. Everything that happened after it has been caused by it.

American Civil War
The American Civil War is the centerpoint of American history. Everything that happened before it was a cause of it. Everything that happened after it has been caused by it.

American Society
This is a rather large topic right now, because it includes all posts about America society. Since the blog is mostly about China, I think it will be alright for now. I may need to divide it later.

Animals
Posts about animals in China and how people relate to animals.

Apologetics
Apologetics is not about saying you're sorry. It is a term used to define arguments in defense of the Christian faith. So it would be a branch of philosophy, or at least incorporate philosophical ideas. I guess you could say it is the intersection of religion and philosophy, since religion is about what people believe, and apologetics explains why those beliefs are reasonable.

Assassination
Obiously, I hope this topic stays small.

Back to Jerusalem
These posts have to do with a movement in the Christian church in China (particularly the informal church) dedicated to bringing the Christian message "back to Jerusalem" by way of the Muslim countries between China and Israel.

Basic Law
The “Basic Law” is the law establishing the SAR under the “one country, two systems” arrangement.

Beihai
I taught extension courses in the spring semester for three years at Beihai College in Beihai during the years that I was teaching at Beihang University in Beijing. Beihai is a coastal city in the south of Guangxi Province.

Blindness
Sometimes we use the term "blindness" to describe someone who just seems adverse to the truth. Spiritual blindness. But physical blindness has a very different implication. So often blindness is used to emphasize extra sensitivity in some other area. For example, most church people who know who Fanny Crosby (distant cousin to Bing) is would tend to think of her as "gifted" rather than "handicapped."

Capitalism vs Socialism
In today’s China, it is no longer politically correct to voice Marxist ideology. But it is also not politically correct to publicly admit that we no longer believe what Marx teaches. So young people are confused, because they look around them and see capitalism, but they are told that it is socialism.

Censorship
Since the incident with the South China Weekly back in 2013, the Party has tightened its grip on the media in China. Up until that time, individual papers were given a measure of freedom to operate as long as they did not openly contradict the Party line. It should also be noted that every country has some censorship. So there is good censorship and bad censorship. But how do we draw the line between the two?

Chen Guangcheng
Chen Guangcheng is the blind “barefoot lawyer” from Shandong Province who helped poor people in their attempts to obtain redress of grievances. He was arrested, spent four years in prison and was then placed under house arrest in his village. He escaped, went to the US embassy in Beijing, and eventually got to America.

China Inland Mission
The CIM was the mission established by Hudson Taylor in the nineteenth century. After 1949 they changed their name to OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship).

China Missions
For a hundred years—from the first half of the nineteenth century to 1949, western missionaries brought Christianity to China. By the time they were kicked out after 1949, the church had already become quite well established and rooted in Chinese soil. Political events after 1949 forced the church underground, which resulted in an already established institution becoming deeply rooted in Chinese soil. So much so, that China today could not be China without Chinese Christianity.

China Youth University
I taught at CYU from 2011 until CYU merged with the China Academy of Social Sciences in 2017.

Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
China, as you know, is a one-pasrty state. But what does the Communist Party actually stand for today? The CCP has gone through so many changes. The pivotal year for worldwide Communism was 1989. But in China it did not result in the elimination of the Party as happened in the Soviet Union. Rather, it wass a slow, steady reform.

Chinese Media
This topic addresses issues re: the Chinese Media. You should know that published news stories are not necessarily directed by the party. But all media in Mainland China is under the Party, and thus must not publish something that does not have the Party’s approval. Hong Kong media is not under the Party, but there is talk that they practice a considerable amount of self-censorship to avoid offending Beijing.

Chinese Military
Primary areas of interest here have to do with China’s relationship with close neighbors and the muscle flexing that China sees as a needful part of its diplomacy. I think this saber rattling has often had the opposite of the desired effect.

Christianity
Broad range of issues regarding the history and current practice of Christianity in China.

Cold War
When we hear the term “Cold War,” we generally think of relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. But China was within the Soviet sphere until 1962, and long after that in the minds of many Americans who did not appreciate the significance of the split between China and the Soviet Union. We now know that Mao feared Russia far more than he feared America

Communication
This topic addresses communication in a general sense, not just in China, because communication is becoming so global. But there are particular issues with respect to China in particular that also need to be addressed.

Confucius
China without Confucius could not be China He is fundamental to everything that happens in China, and particularly how countryside people respond to every day situations.

Conservatism
What is conservatism? Why is it becoming such an issue today? What is the fundamental difference conservatism and liberalism?

Corona virus 2020
Blog posts dealing with the corona virus that started in Wuhan, either (as it now appears) at a virus lab or at a local wet market.

Corruption
Blog posts in this category address the problem of corruption wherever it may be occurring. This would be primarily government corruption.

Criminal Law
Posts having to do with criminal procedure, and criminal law as compared to other countries.

Cultural Revolution
The Cultural Revolution began in 1966 and lasted for ten years until 1976. I first read about it in my Weekly Reader in the boarding school for missionary children in northern Japan where I grew up. I was in sixth or seventh grade. For a long time, I misunderstood the Cultural Revolution. As a Christian and a child of missionaries, I knew that persecution of Chritians in China began long before 1966, and I was, of course, personally acuquainted with missionaries who had been kicked out of China. So I just assumed that it was more of the same. No. The Cultural Revolution was not primarily about Communists persecuting Christians. It was Mao's attack on the Communist Party regulars, many of whom had lost confidence in him due to the failures of the "Great Leap Forward" (the second five year plan)

Deadly Force
Use of deadly force by law enforcement and by citizens.

Democracy
Americans believe in democracy and tend to think the world would be a better place if everyone followed this path. But the divisiveness in American political life is a direct result of Americans giving credit to democracy for the freedom that God gave them instead of seeing democracy as a gift by God to a free people. In other words, democracy comes from freedom, not the other way around.

Deng Xiaoping
Rarely can the conqueror become the day to day administrator. Genghis Khan was the conqueror. But Kublai Khan was the ruler. In the same way, Mao was a very clever military strategist, but a horrible administrator. He ran the country into the ground. In sharp contrast, Deng’s policies pulled hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

Doublespeak
“Point at a deer and call it a horse.” There is a constant pressure in China to all something one thing while we know it is another. The common expression is “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” But as a professor from Peking University said in a lecture I attended, “Socialism with Chinese characteristics is actually capitalism with Chinese characteristics.”

Dynasties
Blogs having to do with the dynastic history of China.

Education
This is a topic I am starting on the nature of education in China and of students in China. What are their needs and what are their priorities?

Electricity
I have always been fascinated with electricity. Sometimes we we say electricity/electronics to distinguish between the ordinary flow of electricty through a wire, and the technology which involves the behavior of the electron in "souped up conditions," as my ninth grade science teacher put it. For me, it has meant electricity but also radio, and of course, computers.

Espionage
What really is spying? What are spies like? What motivates them and what makes them tick? What should be our attitude toward them?

Expat Life
There are many foreigners living and working in China. In large cities like Beijing and Shanghai, they live a sort of alternate lifestyle. In several other cities, such as Kunming and Chengdu, there are also a sizeable number of foreigners.

Family Churches
There are two basic types of Protestant churches in China. There are the Three-Self churches, which are under the Religious Affairs Bureau, and the family churches, most of which are actually just small unregistered churches.

Forced Labor
Forced Labor means labor that is not by the choice of the person doing the work. This would include slavery, but would not include indentured servitude.

Fragrant Hills
I moved to Beijing in the mid-noughties to teach in the Software College of Beihang University. After working there for six years, I was in formed that Beihang University will not sign a contract with anyone who has reached the age of 55. So I left the foreign teacher’s dormitory and moved to the western hills of Beijing, known as “Fragrant Hills.”

Health Care
Blogs about health care issues in China.

Hong Kong
Blog posts about Hong Kong, my travels to Hong Kong, and issues related to Hong Kong, esepecially relations with the mainland.

Hui Muslims
Blogs about the Hui people. So why is the topic titled "Hui Muslims?" Because all Hui people are at least nominally Muslim. That means that they eat in the Muslim cafeteria when they are in university. But it doesn't seem to have much influence over whether or not they decide to join the Communist part--in contrast to Christians.

Hong Kong
Blog posts about Hong Kong, my travels to Hong Kong, and issues related to Hong Kong, esepecially relations with the mainland.

Human Rights
This topic is one of the most hotly debated when it comes to China. Don’t take anything for granted. China often complains that the western media is hypocritical in their treatment of this issue. I partly agree. But that does not mean that there are not human rights violations in China. Don’t swallow stuff whole. Do your own thorough investigation and reach your own conclusions. But be an informed student of China.

Individual Liberty
In my discussion of this issue, I often stress what I believe to be the most significant human rights issue: deprivation of liberty without due process. I tend to resist anything that obscures that issue, including references to “genocide” by western media. But there are other issues in addition to wrongful incarceration, such as freedom of worship to which we need to give attention.

Infrastructure
Infrastructure development in China is not without controversy, especially with respect to the Three Gorges Dam. But there is also a measure of controversy regarding the train system between the mainland and Hong Kong, and there have been very great concerns about the development of the high speed train in China.

International Churches
Basically there are three types of Protestant churches in China: family churches, Three-Self churches, and international churches. The family churches are basically unregistered house churches. The Three-Self churches are most often old mission churches that were taken over by the Party (by means of the Religious Affairs Bureau) after 1949. The international churches, or what I call “cocoon churches,” are run independently by foreigners on the condition that they do not admit Chinese people.

International Law
For five years, I served as assistant coach to the Jessup team at China Youth University. International Law is fraught with difficulties, because there is no central authority that everybody has to bow to. But increased cooperation will make the establishment and enforcement of International Law more workable.

International Trade
The issue of international trade has come to the fore because of the chronic trade imbalance between China and the United States. But the United States and China haveto get along. It’s not an option. They are just too interrelated. And of course Japan comes into the picture also. Millions of people travel from China to Japan to buy Japanese products in the country where they are made to be sure they are not getting something fake.

Islam
What is Islam? What do Muslims actually believe? Is it fair to blame all Muslims for the actions of a few terrorists. All members of the Klan in the United States must be Protestants. But does that mean that all Protestants are Klansmen? People with very different religious beliefs need to be able to dialogue, and that cannot be done if they do not understand each other.

Jews in China
The Jews came to China at three different times in history. They came first to Kaifeng during the Song Dynasty. At the beginning of the Twentieth Century they came to Harbin to help build the little village into a major railroad outpost. And they came to Shanghai to get away from Hitler and the Nazis. They lived in the Shanghai Ghetto, and thought they had it pretty rough. But then the war ended and they found out what had happened to Jews in Germany.

Joint Declaration
The Joint Declaration refers to the treaty signed by China and the UK which became the foundation for the Basic Law and the one country, two kingdoms system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-British_Joint_Declaration

Kaifeng
Kaifeng is an ancient and important city in Henan Province. It is the first of three places to which the Jews migrated during the diaspora. They came to Kaifeng during the Song Dynasty.

Kashgar
Kashgar is the the most western city in China. It is an old trading post on the Silk Road.

Kazakhs
One of the Muslim people groups in Xinjiang. The Kazakhs in Xinjiang are Chinese citizens, but their family roots go back to Kazakhstan.

Kindness
It's just amazing how a little act of kindness can not only brighten your day, but also completely change your perspective of a person, a people, and a place.

Kyrgyzstan
Blog posts about the country of Kyrgyzstan, the “Switzerland of Asia.” Particularly painful is the disturbing practice of bride kidnapping.

Language Learning
Posts having to do with how to learn language, some or the challenges involved, and how to improve the process of learning language.

Liberalism
There is such a divide now between liberalism and conservatism. But very few people understand what the words mean. What is the reason for an individual’s decision, or perhaps we could say inclination to be a liberal?

Literature
What is literature? What is the status of literature in a civilization in decline such as the United States? How can we make literature more relevant without changing it so much that it loses its meaning? Or should we try to make literature “relevant?”

Magna Carta
The Magna Carta is crucial to our liberty. In particular, I usually address the issue of “deprivation of liberty without due process.

Manchuria
Manchuria means “home of the Manchu.” The Manchu people breached the wall at the end of the Ming Dynasty and created what became the Qing Dynasty, which was the last dynasty in China before the revolution of 1911.

Marriage
Posts having to do with the subject of marriage, especially marriage in different cultures?

Marxism
Does Marxism actually exist? Is there even one true Marxist left in China? These posts explore those questions.

Materialism
This is a critical subject if you want to understand the differences (and similarities) between Communist and non-Communist materialism.

Melissa
Blog posts by my youngest daughter, a joyful, creative writer.

Migrant Workers
"Mingong" they are sometimes called. Migrant workers. Traveling from the countryside to the city to get work. Moving from job to job. Sometimes getting paid, sometimes not getting paid.

Mongolians
Who are the Mongolians? Where is Mongolia? Basically, Mongolia comes in two parts. One part used to be dominated by Russia (Soviet Union), but is now an independent republic. The other part exists as the province of Inner Mongolia in China.

Obfuscation
Simply put, obfuscation means to "muddy the waters." To create doubt or uncertainty regarding corrupt acts that does not prove innocence, covers information that would enable certification of guilt. It can be seen by the clear attempt to cover up information that would normally not be hidden.

Persecution
This is a difficult thing to categorize. The reason is that for the most part, Christians in China are very apolitical. They have discovered that if they stay away from political stuff, they will be largely left alone. I grew up during the Cold War when Christians in China were being persecuted just for being Christians. Christian pastors like Wang Mingdao, Watchman Nee, and Samuel Lamb were put in prison for 20 years. That is not happening today. So when a pastor becomes political and gets arrested, sometimes other Christians may tend to think that he is not being persecuted. But that is not really accurate. Political persecution is still persecution. But western Christians make the mistake of thinking that all persecution is religious persecution. This is because westerners, especially Americans, believe in democracy religiously. So they tend to put suffering for the cause of democracy in the same category as suffering for the cause of Christ.

Qing Dynasty
During the Qing Dynasty, China was ruled by the Manchus, the very people the Great Wall was built to keep out. I lived in a village in Fragrant Hills for ten years, so Qian Long is my neighbor, but his tomb is actually near Tangshan. The Qing Dynasty was ended by the revolution that put Sun Yat-sen in power, but actually created a century of upheaval, and the instability of the change invited many challenges to the new repubic. To this day, the Republic of China (on Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China (on the mainland) have not officially resolved who is going to be the ruler to take over from the Qing emperors.

Racism
What is racism? What is a racist? In recent years this word has become a label for anyone or anything you dn't like. That attitude has the effect of trivializing evil. So what, really, is racism?

Refugees
Posts about the plight of misplaced persons who are victims of the endless conflicts among nations.

Russia
Russia is viewed as America's traditional enemy. So any suggestion that Russia my possibly be a country Americans can learn to respect is viewed as hostile to American values.

Second Sino-Japanese War
This is the war between the KMT and the Communists, which is actually still going on. The Nationalists are holed up on an island (Taiwan) now, but they are still refusing to surrender, and still insist (officially) that they are the legitimate government of all of China.

Taiwan
The Taiwan question has plagued China since 1949, when the KMT left China and fled to the island of Taiwan. In fact, there is no country that calls itself "Taiwan." The country that occupies the island of Taiwan calls itself the "Republic of China," and claims sovereignty over all of China (including Tibet and Mongolia) and not just Taiwan. But this, of course, clashes with the Beijing government's claim to be the only legitimate government of all of China. So how to resolve this? This is the eternal question. I believe the best approach for now is to support the status quo and constrain both sides from acting unilaterally to change it.

Technology
Perhaps we should call it, "Applied Science." What is technology, and why is it important. This has been a primiary interest of mine since I was a child, as referenced in my profile. During the late nineties and early noughties, my hobby became my profession. That is not directly the case now, but somehow my life is never far from it.

Transportation
There are several posts in my blog about different modes of transportation. This label concerns mainly the transporting of people, and does not include every article about travel or flying. Blog posts under this label are about various means of getting people from one place to another.

Travel Gansu
Gansu Province blog posts. I mostly traveled to the southern part of the province, called "Gannan, specifically that part of the Tibetan Plateau where Gansu and Sichuan meet."

Travel Guizhou
Guizhou is known in China as the "park province." In the city of Guiyang, monkeys tarzan in from the countryside because the physical borders are invisible.

Travel Hulunbuir
Hulunbuir is the northernmost corner of Inner Mongolia. I spent five weeks in Hulunbuir during the summer of 2013

Travel Sichuan
Travels in Sichuan Province, which includes Chengdu, and used to include Chongqing. Since Chongqing used to be a part of Sichuan Province, I have included it under this topic.

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