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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/7/17

China is Communist, Dammit, a Review

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Jeff J Brown has done it again: the man is obsessed with China, where he has spent a total of fourteen years, seven in the nineties, and seven more since 2010. During that time, he has made it a point to become fluent in Mandarin. His first book, "44 Days Backpacking in China" ( ) is the meticulous journal of an 8,000-mile journey, by bus, train and walking, which he took across China in 2012, one of the reasons being to perfect his Chinese by exposing it to many regional dialects. He then penned book number two of his China Trilogy, "China Rising- Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations" ( ), and now book number three, "China Is Communist, Dammit! Dawn of the Red Dynasty" ( )

Public Domain: Mao Tse-Tung, 1944 (NARA) | This image is bel. | Flickr500 ├-- 408 - 119k - jpg
Public Domain: Mao Tse-Tung, 1944 (NARA) | This image is bel. | Flickr500 ├-- 408 - 119k - jpg
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Having had many professions, starting as a livestock and grain expert for in the Middle East and Africa, Jeff has made bread in China, managed real-estate in the US, and a retail business in France with his French wife. For the last seven years in China, Jeff has been teaching in international schools, somehow finding time to write books and maintain a podcast.

His latest work traces the basic principle of Communism -- the responsibility of the government to ensure a decent life for all its citizens (which in contemporary China also includes foreign residents) -- all the way back to 1700 B.C. under the Shang dynasty. He does a wonderful job of describing the various periods of Chinese communism, seen against the yardstick of the Heavenly Mandate, which, like the American Declaration of Independence, states that if the people are not happy with their government, they can demand change. According to Brown, the system worked well for centuries, until Western nations got their foot in the door, exploiting the country and its people.

Mao Tse Tung's Long March was the drastic solution to Western -- and Japanese -- Imperialism, culminating in the defeat of the Kuo Min Tang led by US-supported Chiang Kai Shek, who ultimately retreated to the island of Taiwan, where a pro-Western entity exists to this day.

One of the most interesting customs described by Brown is the traditional effort by law enforcement to encourage the parties in a dispute to come to a compromise, thus avoiding the heavy hand of justice. He provides several examples of this practice, one of which involved him and his wife in a car accident.

Jeff's book is illustrated with many exquisite reproductions that will make it an attractive addition to any family library as Christmas looms. While children will be exposed to true exotica, adults will be reminded that the me-age was preceded by ancient dynasties that dwarfed those of Europe, and that China's progress toward becoming the biggest economy in the world is not surprising after all, given its enduring Heavenly Mandate, which Jeff affectionately refers to as Baba Beijing.

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Born in Phila, I spent most of my adolescent and adult years in Europe, resulting over time in several unique books, my latest being Russia's Americans.

CUBA: Diary of a Revolution, Inside the Cuban Revolution with Fidel, Raul, Che, and Celia Sanchez

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