Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pass on the Torch of Life - Farming and Education (Reading) (耕读传家)

Scientists Have Observed Epigenetic Memories Being Passed Down for 14 Generations
For Chinese names, the family name is always first.  I want my children to know that the family comes first and individual freedom second. Ultimately, I tried my best to teach my sons to take care of each other, no matter what. They should never leave any family members alone and forgotten.  When family (country) is at risk, defend the family (country). When our Earth is at risk, defend the Earth. While enjoying an individual freedom, keep in mind the phrase 得意忘形 (dé yì wàng xíng), which means "one enjoys oneself to the point of forgetting oneself." Always rise above (as if you were a space traveler looking down our earth) and keep the big picture in the back of your mind to focus on the best solutions to problems to all sides long termsAlways remember that without the universe, without our solar system, without the Earth, there would be no countries, no families, and no individuals possible.  Everything has its limits, and everything is connected directly or indirectly.  Respect living things and their environment.
While suffering the most, remember the famous poet Li Bai (李白 701-762 in the Tang Dynasty) said 用,千 .” This means that “The Heavenly King made me good for something; thousands of lost gold (wealth) can be found again.” Li Bai was born in Central Asia or beyond, not sure where, but he was not Chinese by blood, and Chinese have been and will always accept him as Chinese. Since he grew up and spent a lot of time in Sichuan, most accept him as Sichuanese.  
Li Bai (李白 701-762 in the Tang Dynasty)
 Passing on the Hakka tradition耕读传家 Farming and Education (Reading)". It is very difficult to keep this tradition today, I did not find Chinese Hakka who stayed as farmer, Amish is a little like Hakka world except Hakka is open to the opportunities outside as well, leadership is encouraged.
Amish: A Secret Life 
As a member of the family, always remember this Chinese phrase "Bu Xiao You San, Wu Ho Wei Ta (不孝有三, 无后为大)," which means there are three sins (filial piety), having no heirs was the biggest. This was from Mencius (孟子372-289 BC). The full translation follows:
  1. Blind obedience, see the parents at fault rather than persuade them away from being wrong or unjust.
  2. When his family is poor, the parents are old and he does not even try to get an official position to support his parents. (In old China, studying hard to pass the official exams to become an official was the highest class, the second class the farmer, the lowest class the merchants and businessmen because they make a living from all the other people's work, banned to take a exams to become an official) After the Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars, 3% of the population remained as farmers in Europe and US.  China lost 20% farmers (total population1.4 billion)in the last 30 years, China's Urban Billion. Business and greed took over the World, life is at risk, and our mother Earth is at risk.
    The Power of Companies: Par 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Par 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10
  3. Not getting married and having children, no more descendants to continue the family name and to pray in front of the family altar, considered as the biggest of the three. 
The distribution of financial wealth in the world per person in 2012. Financial wealth is liquid net worth and excludes such things as real estate. The chart is divided into the top .001% (91 thousand people), the next .01% (800 thousand people), the next .1% (8 million people), and the bottom 99.9% (6 billion people)
The distribution of net wealth in the United States, 2007. The chart is divided into the top 20% (blue), upper middle 20% (orange), middle 20% (red), and bottom 40% (green). (The net wealth of many people in the lowest 20% is negative because of debt.)[17]  
The combined wealth of the richest 1 per cent will overtake that of the other 99 per cent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, Oxfam warned today ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.  According to U.S. statistics for the Year 1906, 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub, 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads and fuel for the car was sold in drug stores only. There are about 250 million cars in use in U.S. alone in 2010. The U.S. National Debt in 1910 was $1.15 million dollars and in May 2010 the debt is $12,948,162,318,646.39.
     Most people have become the slaves of business and greed. "Money talks" and money controls.  Business is business, not personal,  just take care of business as usual.  "Confidential Information..."  Sons and daughters are sent to fight and protect the interests of the owners in the world. Throughout ancient Chinese history, farmers (80%) always decided the fate of the Chinese emperors. Chinese have always had their own way to remember who they liked to remember. My mother's Chu was the biggest and strongest of the seven states; you would think the kings would be remembered, but instead, the loser Qu Yuan (屈原343–278 BCE) was remembered and celebrated every year to this day. 
     Since the mid-20th century, farming has been industrialized. Crops are watered by irrigation systems and livestock are indoors to remove the uncertainty of weather. Production processes were standardized, making fields and feedlots work like “biological assembly lines.” Today, agricultural markets are managed by a handful of large agribusiness corporations.  We no longer have capitalism in America; we have “corporatism.” Corporations are not people, and so they have no ethics or morals. Commercial fertilizers and pesticides are problematic for environmental degradation and food safety.  The widespread release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) threatens the genetic integrity of the natural ecosystem.  Americans once believed that we had the best quality, safest, most secure food supply in the world. Industry’s preoccupation with making foods that “taste good” with fats and sugar, and that “look good” by being artificially shaped, colored, or ripened, leaves out good nutrition and health. Widespread use of agrichemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and artificial food additives are problems for food safety.

Here's Where Modern-Day Slavery Is The Most Prevalent

     Fatan 伐檀》 is a folk poetry from the State of Wei (403 BCE–225 BCE) that has played very important role at the end of each Dynasty.  Fatan is the revolution against the rich in power after the gap between the rich and the poor reaches its tipping point.  At the end of Qing Dynasty, most royals were the subjects of the Fatan, especially the kings who lived a luxury life but did not work. The poem strongly reflected the resentment of working people against the rich and powerful.
     Modern people think “science” gave us a “license to kill” since we do not like the world as it is. We lost the basic value of life. We want more and our desires are endless. When the pursuit started for the maximum of everything we wanted, we put ourselves at the center of the universe. We eliminated all those other life forms, germs, fungi, and bugs that make us uncomfortable or sick. The only thing is that we speed up their adaptations and mutations, and they come back hundreds and thousands generations later to fight our same generation. The longer we live, the less we adapt to change.
     Since the Industrial Revolution and capitalism took over the world, greed and mass production became a way of life. We forgot that we are part of nature, not above nature. We change how the crops grow and how the farm animals are raised for maximum profit, forgetting we are what we eat.  We eat fat and weak chicken fast grown in just a few months, and we become fat and weak. Life needs care, love, and freedom. Almost everything we eat has a life of its own; animals usually kill only when they are hungry and they have to work hard to get it.
     Food is the most important factor for all survival after fresh air and water. China had 80% of the people as small family farmers, and farming was the most important throughout Chinese history. China had a very strong tradition of putting agriculture first. Now, they are following Europe and America with only about 3% of the population as farmers.  Food production became a mass-cloning operation for maximum industrial production.  Fast food took over the world. Monoculture crops took over natural diversity because profit rules. We bred crops in which no pest was interested, or lethal to pests as if we are different than pests.  You cheat the food and the food cheats you in return.  More and more people became weak and fat; more and more people became allergic to foodAbout 3 million children in the U.S. have food allergies; peanut allergies doubled in children over a five-year period (1997-2002). Since the late 1990s there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of children reporting food allergies and a 69 percent rise in those reporting eczema and other skin allergies. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to limit serving sizes for sugary drinks. He said "It would be irresponsible not to try to do everything we can to save lives." The state's Supreme Court judge did not allow any change on serving sizes. 42% of US adults at least age 20 are projected to be obese by 2030, i.e., a body mass index of at least 30. Only 15% of US adults were obese in 1980 (source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine).  CVS wants the personal information on each of their employee's weight, body fat, glucose levels, and other vital statistics, or their employee would pay $600/year fine. More than 8.8 million US workers now collect disability benefits, a six-fold jump since 1970 that cost the government $135 billion last year. See the website for Global Cancer Incidence where the US annual cancer cases are 300/100,000 and China 181/100,000. The GDP in US is $46,760 per capita and China is $3,414 per capita, while  Health expenditure for the US is $7720 per capita and China is $157 per capita. I am surrounded by cancer, my neighbor across the street, the neighbor behind me and on both sides -- all have family members fighting cancer or died from cancer.  I am sad for the ones who are about my age or younger, especially with children.
     From 1973 to 2012, lung cancer cases in the province, Hebei,China’s Steel Country soared 306 percent, well above the national average, and accounted for almost a quarter of all cancer deaths, according to figures from the Tumor Hospital of Hebei Province. By 2012, the death rate from lung cancer in the province, which has 74 million people, or almost twice the population of California, was 35.22 per 100,000 people.
     For a shiny diamond or a lump of gold, we didn’t mind turning a huge mountain upside down. For our endless need of water, we used up most fresh clean water on the earth. For our endless desire for new things and comfort, we create new things everyday. We created so many things that our bodies had a hard time to recognize and adapt.  We trashed so much that we ran out of dumping ground. 
     We change our surroundings so much that our bodies and minds can not keep up.  We used to have more visible dirt but that was part of the natural process, such as soil from rocks, plants, and animal origins. Our body was made to process most of it. Now we create so much human-made material from industrial to household goods and altered the world we live in. Our body genes simply go crazy try to adapt, which may be the reason we have more cancer and other physiological imbalances.  Our poor body simply tries to adapt to every change in the world.
     People build large homes with constant temperature and humidity regulation. We drive in air-conditioned cars to air-conditioned shopping malls and so on. Wherever we go or stay, we spray, clean and clean, to make sure there are no germs, bugs, and so on. We do not realize that we are actually taking ourselves out of the natural world originally created for us. We create a whole New World just for our own needs and for what we think we need. We worked very hard to create a differing, distant route from the rest of the living things. We have already changed much of the gene pool leading us into the deep unknown and there seems to be no return. I just hope that we are prudent and wise in our creations even though so far it seems that everything we have created cannot pass the test of time; it keeps going astray or coming back to haunt us later.
     Other life forms are destroyed to satisfy our comfort. By building large houses, shopping malls, and indoor stadiums, etc., natural ecosystems have vanished and have been replaced by big concrete structures nearly entirely sealing the outside away by power, light, temperature, humidity, artificial fibers, and chemicals. We gradually set up our own standard of acceptance and rejection. We can’t even stand our own body odors, although it is crucial for animals.  We have to be covered with all kinds of deodorizers and perfume. That is maybe one reason why humans have become so confused about their sex.  Even babies have a whole line of products to eliminate their odors. In a word, we are not happy with who we are and we want to change ourselves from head to toe. We do not care about the cost, as long as we get whatever we want.  Humans wanted to be “god.”
     We should recall our great-great grandparents sweating more for a lot of things. They were more in control of their own bodies and minds. They got paid for their work, their sweat. Now, it costs us to work out and sweat whether you go to a health club or buy a treadmill or drive somewhere for a walk or run. We have machinery for all kinds of labor. We have computers to do all kinds of thinking for us especially after introducing “artificial intelligence.” Computers could do the job faster and better for us, jobs that would be impossible for us to do. We only needed to sit on the top, figuring out how to control them. So, we have a group of people working day and night to improve this machine to replace themselves. The groups of people already replaced by a machine sit around depressed, or desperately trying to find some way to feel worth living.  It has become a vicious cycle that no one could control.
     To solve the problems that we created, there are more antidepressant drugs. A whole institution of scientists either re-educate children or re-educate the losers. Every now and then, some madness came out of nowhere and the madmen basically wanted to destroy the whole world. Revenge has become a classic term because now we have random terrorist acts around and people die for random reasons.
     The most dangerous things are global pursuits of the same thing. Freedom is not free; nothing is free, someone has to pay.  We are part of nature, not above it and we are connected with everything around us. Everything we do will affect others (not just another human but everything around us). Everything would still evolve forward or backward, up or down with or without us. Knowing our limits, we could coexist with nature better. 

     The ancient phrase 修身齐家治国平天下(207BC-25AD) by Dai Shen (戴圣) in today’s Henan (河南省商丘市) means the following: cultivating personal virtues, manage one's own home and family well, manage the country, and let justice prevail in the world. Although this is a very old wish, modern technology can help if we use it correctly. Remember our ancestors’ wishes. Let the dragon spirits pass on and make the families proud (长龙传家远, 大振家声). Someone said, "He who cares nothing about his ancestors will rarely achieve anything worthy of being remembered by his descendants."
Zhu Xi's family rules and Zhu Bei Lu’s Family Recommendations were printed in our Guan's hundred year old genealogy book and was followed by its descendants.  Zhu Xi’s Family Rules(朱子家训): English translation by Xiao En Group (孝恩集团)
  1. The father cherishes affectionate love of the son; the son cherishes filial piety to the father.
  2. The ruler cherishes benevolence to the people; the minister cherishes loyalty to the ruler and the country.
  3. The elder brother cherishes amiability with the younger brother; the younger brother cherishes respect of the elder brother.
  4. The husband cherishes harmonious relationship with the wife; the wife cherishes tenderness toward the husband.
  5. In serving the teacher, propriety should be emphasized; in making friends with others, trust should prevail.
  6. When meeting an elderly person, pay him respect; when seeing a child, give him love.
  7. Respect a person of virtue even though he is younger than you are, and stay away from a person good-for-nothing even though he is older than you are.
  8. Be careful not to talk about other people’s shortcomings or show off your superiority.
  9. Reconcile with your enemies through the practice of justice, and return others’ grumbles against you with sincerity.
  10. Feel at home and compose yourself wherever or in whatever circumstances you are.
  11. Tolerate others’ small faults and give reasonable advice to those who have made big mistakes.
  12. Do not overlook any good deeds or commit any evils however small they are.
  13. Try to help a person mend his mistake instead of publicizing it and always praise a person who has done a good deed.
  14. Put aside personal enmities when getting along with people and do not apply private rules when dealing with family affairs.
  15. Do not make gains at others' expense or grudge others’ abilities and successes.
  16. Do not get angry and turn irrational with those unreasonable persons.
  17. Do not transgress against nature and harm any living things.
  18. Do not accept any unrightful wealth; always follow the path of justice.
  19. Do not ignore school learning or be ignorant of propriety and justice.
  20. Educate your children and show sympathy for your boy servants.
  21. Respect the learned and the virtuous, and help those in difficulties.
  22. These are principles that all human beings must follow as a way of conforming to the values of propriety.
  23. By following these principles, you are fulfilling your duties as prescribed by Heaven.
  24. If you follow these principles, Heaven will reciprocate your effort. 
  25. Like clothes and foods and drinks to our body, they are essential to our daily life and therefore must be taken seriously!”
Zhu Bei Lu’s Family Recommendations (朱柏庐治家格言):
  1. Get up early in the morning and clean inside and outside. Check all the doors before you go to sleep at night. 
  2. Think about every meal before you eat and every piece of clothing before you dress. They were not obtained easily.
  3. Prepare everything first; repair the house before the rains. Do not wait until you are thirsty to dig the well.  
  4. Do not waste; saving is a must. Do not bring up the past while dining with your guests.
  5. Keep China dishes clean, even though they are made from soil; they are better than dishes made of gold and jade. Saving food makes the food precious, even though \ the vegetables are from your garden; they taste better than precious.
  6. Do not build luxury homes; do not be eager to buy beautiful gardens.
  7. Over-exposed beautiful women will not bring happiness home.
  8. Do not hire beautiful maids; wives should not have heavy makeup.
  9. Although ancestors left us a long time ago, memorials should be sincere. Although the grandchildren are slow to learn, they need to learn all the classics.
  10. Live a simple life; set a good example for the young.
  11. Do not take things that are not yours; do not drink too much.
  12. When doing business with small vendors, do not cheat. Help your poor neighbors.
  13. Wealth does not last long when you mistreat others; people who go against nature will not last.
  14. Family members need to help each other out. The rich need to help the poor. A family needs to have a set of strict rules; the adults need to maintain their principles for the young.
  15. Listening to women’s gossip will hurt the family; it will not make a good husband. Put money and property first; not taking care of your parents would not be being a good son.
  16. Do not ask for too many gifts while getting a daughter in-law or marrying a daughter out.
  17. It is a shame just to be nice to a rich man and bad to a poor man.
  18. Avoid confrontations, since there is no winner. Try not to talk too much; avoid things you do not mean to say.
  19. Do not take advantage of a widow and her son; do not kill animals just because you want to eat more.
  20. A person with self-pride can not get along with others, if unchanged, he is often not successful.  
  21. Do not get close to bad teens, it will bring you trouble sooner or later. Be humble to the experienced and problem solvers; they could help you when you are in trouble.
  22. Do not believe a person who comes to you to saying someone else is bad. When arguing with others, think hard because it might just be your fault. 
  23. When you help others, forget. When others help you, be sure to remember.
  24. Always leave enough room for others; when successful, be satisfied, not too greedy.
  25. When others celebrate, do not be jealous; when others fail or experience disaster, do not feel fortunate and happy.
  26. When doing a good deed for show, it does not make a nice person. When doing a bad thing to be hidden, it really makes an evil person.
  27. Whenever you see a beautiful woman and have bad thoughts, remember bad things could happen to your wife and daughter. Evil thoughts hurt people; they only hurt your offspring.
  28. Even poor without much to eat or wear and paying all taxes leaving nothing more, be nice to each other, because it still brings happiness.
  29. Study classics not for passing the civil examination, but for becoming a good citizen. When becoming an official, you need to put the country’s interests first, not yourself or your own family first.
  30. Do your everyday job; live your everyday life. God will take care of the rest.
  31. If one could follow all of the above, that would be close to the ideal person.
The Story of China

Understanding the Emperor

Americans had a self-proclaimed Emperor Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.  Among many of his decrees, two good ones listed below:
  • March 23, 1872 – Decree by Norton I that a suspension bridge be built as soon as convenient between Oakland Point and Goat Island, and then on to San Francisco.
  • September 21, 1872 – Norton I ordered a survey to determine if a bridge or tunnel would be the best possible means to connect Oakland and San Francisco. He also ordered the arrest of the Board of Supervisors for ignoring his decrees.
     Chinese still prefer "Old Gold Mountains 舊金山" over San Francisco because of the Golden Gate Bridge for the Gold Rush .  Somewhere on the bridge is still a note to the traveler to please stop and thank the Emperor of the United States and Mexico "asylee" Norton I (reigned 1859-1880), since he had the foresight, conceived and ordered in the San Francisco Bay the construction of a bridge.   Over 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco to pay respect to Norton when he died among the homeless street people.        
        Chinese emperors used to seem so old and far away to me. I knew about them from watching movies and these depictions did not leave much good impression on me. In terms of dictatorship, they were the worst of all leaders. They killed anyone, anytime, anywhere, and owned everything. Even a few seemingly righteous emperors turned bad after they had become corrupted by power. When they fell from power, Chinese emperors always brought down the whole country along with them, then blamed it all on their lovers (mostly women) around them.  Kangxi (康熙) and Qianlong (乾隆) were the two strongest emperors for a little over 120 years. My Guan ancestors finally did accept the Qing Emperors, at least in the sense that they were working with them, not against them.
The Manchu people are a Tungusic people who originated in Manchuria. During their rise in the seventeenth century, they came to power in China, founding the Qing Dynasty with the help of defectors from the Ming dynasty. They ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911.
After the fall of Beijing and northern China to the Manchu in 1644, Yangzhou remained under the control of Ming loyalists. The city fell on May 20, 1645 after a brief siege. During a ten-day massacre, 800,000 people died, simply because Chinese refused Manchu's pigtail hairstyle, a test of loyalty to Manchu. The city's rapid recovery from these events and its great prosperity through the middle years of the Qing Dynasty were both due to the government’s salt monopoly. It was famous for literature, art, and the splendid gardens of merchant families, many of which were visited by the Kangxi and Qianlong during their tours in southern China.  My ancestors really looked up to the Qing emperors, with the exception of the first two; they were always eager to help the emperors and the country. Our four family history books did not list the first two Qing Emperors, but started with Emperor Kangxi's (康熙) father. They did not accept the first two invaders, but did accept the Kangxi. Zhu Xi (朱熹 1130-1200, Youxi, Fujian 福建) was a leading Confucian scholar of the School of Principle and the most influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in the Song Dynasty (宋 960-1279). His works included Analects of Confucius, the Mencius, the Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean (the Four Books), and his Famous Family Rules 朱子家训.  Emperor Kangxi had a lot of respect for him, as did my ancestors; after all, Zhu Xi was their hometown boy, he even wrote an introduction to our earlier Shangguan Zhu Pu in Fujian.  I visited his courtyard back in the 1980s, not knowing anything about him or my own family. His rules were listed right after the Emperor’s Sixteen Sacred Edicts.
When Qianlong (乾隆) was still a young prince, he ran into the room of an imperial concubine by accident while she was putting on her make-up. The prince decided to play a prank on the imperial concubine, tiptoeing behind her and scaring her. The concubine jumped and hit him with her comb; some say with her fist. This was a direct breach of imperial protocol and another court lady who was passing by witnessed her action. The imperial concubine was then promptly demoted and she hanged herself. Qianlong felt terrible and indebted to her, so he bit his finger and left his bloody mark on her neck, so he would recognize her in her next life. He could then pay her back. In 1775, when Qianlong was sixty-five years old, he noticed Heshen, a young, attractive Manchu guardsman. He looked very similar to the imperial concubine, so Qianlong thought Heshen was the reincarnation of the imperial concubine. He was born in the year of her death and even carried a red birthmark on his neck. Heshen became Qianlong’s favorite male companion. Heshen’s son later married Qianlong's tenth and favorite daughter. 
Heshen was not just attractive, but was also a very intelligent man. He spoke many languages, including Manchu, Han, Japanese, Korean, Mogo, Tibetan, English, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish. In addition, he took advantage of his power. He placed his people in key positions at every administrative level in the empire. He enjoyed complete freedom in the Palace. Heshen’s corruption was so great that after his execution ordered by Qianlong’s son Jiaqing in 1799, five days after Emperor Qianlong died, it was discovered that his personal fortune was greater than the imperial treasury itself. The country had been in decline ever since.
Daoguang Emperor (道光) was the sixth Emperor and first oldest son as a Emperor, his father the Jiaqing Emperor suddenly died of unknown causes at the age of 38 in 1820. His reign was facing external disaster and internal rebellion, the Sikh Empire attempted an occupation of Tibet which was defeated in the Sino-Sikh war (1841–1842), the First Opium War, and the beginning of the Taiping Rebellion. China lost the Opium War and surrendered Hong Kong by way of the Treaty of Nanking in August 1842, resulting more than 30,000 chests of Opium legally entered China. He was a poor emperor had to change his robe once a month (衣非三浣不易) and he had very simple meals. He was so humiliated and shamed that he could not face his ancestor. He asked not to enter the family altar in the Imperial Ancestral Hall (太庙). Daoguang died from heartbroken on 25 February 1850, at the Old Summer Palace (圓明園) which was destroyed in 1860 British and French durning the Second Opium War. The palace was completely ruined in 1900 during the Eight-Nation Alliance invasion.
The Imperial Ancestral Hall
  My mother’s family rose and prospered with Emperors Kangxi (康熙) and Qianlong (乾隆), then declined with the Qing Dynasty, foreign invaders made it worse. They finished their new addition of family Zhu Pu (族谱) in Daoguang (道光) year. The Guangxu Emperor (光緒 1871-1908) was a nephew of Empress Dowager Cixi. He was the second to last emperor of China, but it was in name only from age four until his death. The real ruler during this time was Dowager Cixi. Unlike EmpressWu in the Tang Dynasty, Empress Dowager Cixi did not declare herself Emperor. In fact, her nephew, the real Emperor and Empress were living with her; however, she drugged and controlled him, and he only kept his name. She did make herself a longpao (dragon robe), however, which is only worn by the Emperor. For some reason, she never wore it once, at least in public.
The only Real face of Wu Zetian (武则天 625-705) in her hometown Sichuan and the only female emperor in China. She started Wu Ju Ren (武举人)

Wu Ju Ren Competition, the highest martial 武举人選拔圖

Photo of Empress Cixi (慈禧1835-1908) did not declare herself Emperor and she ended Wu Ju Ren (武举人)
The Guangxu Emperor (光緒) ordered a series of reforms in response to weaknesses exposed by China's defeat by Japan, not long after the Opium Wars. He tried the Hundred Days' Reform (百日維新); he believed this reform would make China more politically and economically powerful, since it would be following a constitutional monarchy like Japan.
Japan’s victory was a major shock to the Chinese. Japan had always been a tributary state of China, being much smaller and regarded as inferior. Most conservatives were awakened by foreign powers inside of China, and Kang Youwei (康有为) was allowed to speak with the Emperor. Some reforms would include:
  • Modernizing the old exam system
  • Elimination of positions that provided a salary for no work
  • Creation of a modern education system (added math and science instead of focusing on Confucian texts only)
  • Changing the government from an absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy with democracy.
  • Applying principles of capitalism.
  • Modernizing the military (learning from Western powers).
  • Industrializing China.
The Guangxu Emperor failed, however, and was put under house arrest until his death. He died a day before the Empress Dowager Cixi. Official court records from the time suggested that Guangxu indeed died from natural causes, but the illness could have been caused by a slow-working poison. Forensic tests showed that the level of arsenic in the Emperor's remains was 2,000 times higher than normal. Scientists concluded that the poison could only have been administered in a high dose at one time. Chinese historian Dai Yi speculated that Empress Cixi knew her death was coming and worried that Guangxu would continue making reforms after her death.
     Empress Cixi tried her best to keep the Chinese traditions and whatever she inherited from her ancestors. It was a great shame to her, as well as to all Chinese, that the Old Summer Palace was gone. She attempted to build a new Summer Palace, even if it meant taking the money from modernization of the navy (30 million taels of silver). She built a stone pavilion shaped like a boat at the Summer Palace -- the only boat that did not sink. For her construction was always better than destruction. 
Cixi's Marble Boat (36 m long) is here today and it will likely stay for few more thousand years in the Summer Palace 
     My family supported these reforms of course. My grandfather’s older brother’s name was Guan Wei Xin (新), which means reform, specifically "Hundred Days' Reform" (百日維新); a few of my ancestors worked on these reforms as well. This was stated in my family’s history book. 
     From the movies, I have always known that the Emperor killed three generations and ninth cousins if one family member was in trouble.  Both sides of my surname’s ancestors ran for their lives throughout Chinese history and were killed for no good reason.  I never knew the Emperor actually wrote this set of Imperial Edicts (皇帝制曰) by himself on a scroll of silk to award and promote each of our ancestors for three generations.  Three ranks higher than the one good son they brought up, one for his father and mother, one for grandfather and grandmothers, and one for great-grandfather and great-grandmother.  I would never believe it if it had not been for the black and white words printed with my ancestor’s name in his three imperial edicts (圣旨).  I could picture when the Imperial Edicts were presented in front of them while they knelt on the ground “奉天承运,皇帝制曰.”  This means that with heaven above, these are the Emperor’s Imperial Edicts.  I did not understand it word for word, something about three ranks higher was clear.  I was impressed.
      After looking into the history, I found out that the Guangxu Emperor (光緒) was only 10 years old when he gave my family promotions.  Therefore, they were from the Empress Dowager Cixi with the Guangxu Emperor (光緒)’s name.  I am not sure what was on her mind when she decided to award my Guan family ancestors.
China was in a volatile state with the Emperor and foreign powers made the situation worse. My family was no exception. My family history documented my first ancestors from 1400 during the Ming Dynasty in Fujian for nine generations. They then moved southward from their burial records. In 1724, Wen Gung brought his own boat up the Yangzi River and settled in Sichuan, the Western part of the country. His father lived on the coast of Fujian with two wives under Emperor Kangxi (康熙 1661-1772), who was one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history. My ancestors decided to follow the emperor’s call to “Fill Sichuan” in 1724 under Emperor Yongzheng (雍正). Our male member of the Guans lived close to eighty years old and their wives lived to around eighty-five years old with the oldest one living until ninety-three. Over 6 wives and over 2000 Guan in the Guan farm today still a miracle, all happened in my grandfather's generation. One of my cousins in the farm said "the real Shangguan is coming searching root", I asked him what he meat, his comment was rejected by the other elders right away.
     Close to the end of the Qing Dynasty, the Qing Empire had already fallen apart. The Guangxu Emperor died without an heir. Puyi (溥仪), who was only three years old, but had close ties to Empress Dowager Cixi, became the last Emperor of China. Puyi was expelled from the Forbidden City in 1924 by warlord Feng Yuxiang (冯玉祥). Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) then became the Founding Father of the Republic of China. Today, there is a question of where Sun Yat-sen was born, in China or Hawaii? He went to the same school that Barack Obama later attended. Legally, Sun Yat-sen was an American, but China and all the Chinese around the world accepted him as Chinese.
In the chaos, my family declined; adults were addicted to opium and the children were dying. My grandfather’s generation went down and lost the salt well business. 
China's Examination Hell: Video Lecture


The Blue-Eyed Chinese, My Mother's Guan

I looked through my whole family history book (Zhu Pu). Although there were some rare Chinese names from marrying into the Guan family, unlike my American husband's family history which includes height, hair color, and eye color, there were no descriptions about anyone’s appearance or where they came from on the wife's side in 18 generations, in four volumes.  As if they were not important, the only important thing was when and where and what time they were born and died to the minute (no mentioned how or why died), and what they did to help the family, neighbors, and country. A woman married into the Guan family had only a surname; sometimes family background was included if she was from a famous noble family. When daughters married outside of the family, it did include the husband’s full name, titles, or family background.
They are my grandfather’s Xuan (选) generation as old as my mother. They are from younger wives since they used to have as many as six wives on this farm. My grandfather died in the 1960s.

I am not sure where the blue "eye-ring" (central iris heterochromia) gene came from and when; my grandfather’s generation did have very strong Eurasian facial characteristics. My mother's generation has two and none in our generation.  There were no colored pictures from previous generations and our family’s history book did not record anyone’s appearance, only how successful the person was. My grandfather’s older brother’s son did have blue eyes.
One of the wishes our ancestors left in the generation poem was bringing martial arts to perfection (武功丕显). Our family book mentioned that the Guans were good at marital arts and scholastics. Guan Zhao Liang’s (朝良) daughter married martial arts Master Wang Zhen (王针), who was a Wu Ju Ren (武举人), the highest level after competition. Wang Zhen was one of the last of the Wu Ju ren (武举人). The Wu Ju Ren was started by Emperor Wu Zetian (655–683 the only female Emperor in Chinese history) in the Tang Dynasty, and ended by Empress CiXi (1835-1908) in the Qing Dynasty after two Opium Wars were lost to the West. Over 1000s of years old tradition started with a woman and ended with a woman. There are many martial arts movies based on the Wu Ju Ren (武举人) which I have always found fascinating. I never dreamed to have one in my own family. I have to say that I love watching the art form of martial arts performance more than any other sport. It is simply beautiful.
Wu Ju Ren Competition 武举人選拔圖
One Guan married a girl from the Lu (绿) family. Lu (绿) was a rare Chinese name which means “green.” Some said the Lu was once a royal member of the Qing dynasty, but somehow got kicked out. Others said the name was following the color of green literally. There is not much information on the name “Green.”
Another Guan married a girl with the surname Shi (施). Xi Shi (西施 506 B.C.- ?) was one of the Four Beauties of ancient China. She lived during the end of the Spring and Autumn Period in the capital of the ancient State of Yue. Legend has it that she was leaning over a balcony to look at the fish in the pond; the fish were so dazzled by her beauty that they forgot how to swim and sank to the bottom. She did, however, have big feet, so she always wore a long dress to cover them. The state of Wu took over the state of Yue, and Yue became a tributary to Wu. In this way, the state of Yue offered Xi Shi as a gift to the king of Wu as revenge. The king of Wu then forgot all about his state affairs and killed his best advisor. He built Guanwa Palace in an imperial park on the slope of Lingyan Hill, about fifteen kilometers west of Suzhou. The Yue launched a strike against Wu and the Wu lost everything. He regretted killing his best adviser Wu Zixu so much that he committed suicide.
The surname Shi () could also be from the surname Fong ().  Fong was in trouble with the law, running away from the Emperor’s killings or perhaps the Emperor had used this surname for something else. Fong () did not want to lose its surname, so they would try to hide it. They changed their name to Shi (施), because the strokes of Shi mean “the person is Fong 方人也.” When one’s life was in danger, one could change one’s surname and usually leave a clue for one’s descendants.
My great-great grandmother Zhang married into the Guan family back in 1700. The two families kept intermarrying for generations. These were listed as generation marriages (世姻). I saw many generation marriages in our Zhu Pu. For example, a Guan married Youngsen Zhang Len (内江庠生世姻晚张龠) from the same Zhang family seven generations later. The Zhen (曾) family was another family that my ancestors had intermarried with for generations (世姻曾慶昌). The rule was that it was allowed as long as the couple did not share the same surname. The Zhu Pu was very important to keep blood relatives away. Of course, all marriages were carefully arranged on the basis of past, present, and future alliances. Love was something you grew into after marriage, except when the couple happened to be in love already, since the families likely knew each other for generations.
In my family history books (Zhu Pu), there are a total of twenty-two Tai Xiue Shen (太学生). Most of our Guan daughters married officials’ sons who held one of the following titles in Chinese: ivy student (国学生) in Ge Zi Jian (国子监) in Qing Dynasty, ivy student (太学生) in Tai Xuie (太学) in Ming Dynasty, 贡生, local level student (庠生), Jian Shen (监生), Juren (举人) and JinSi ( 进士) passed the test and were candidates for officials. Old China study required passing an official test to become officials. Officials meant “power, wealth, and high class.”
Reading through our family history book (Zhu Pu), I found that two Guans in my mother’s generation Ju (举) married Hans (韩), an even trade. My father, a Han, married my mother, Guan Ju Fen (官举芬), and my mother’s cousin Guan Ju Yong (官举庠) married a Han (韩). We do not have contact with the other family and do not know where this cousin is. Nevertheless, I searched for Hans in Sichuan and found this Han Ja Da Yuan (韩家大院) in Ya'an (雅安). I wished that I had known this when I was there for college. This Han was also from Sha’anxi (陝西), but rich and powerful. They had six salt wells in Zigong; they also traded timber, tea, and silk. The family had Wu Ju Ren (武举人) and Wen Zong Yuan (状元).
The Han’s family courtyards were built in 1824 with the design of a seven-squared courtyard. The building style was called Seven Stars Embrace the Moon (七星拱月). This Han shared the number seven just like the Guan’s fortress. Just like Zigong’s salt museum, which was also built by Shaanxi salt merchants, this building was constructed entirely of wooden interlocking structures. The building’s code was for Qing officials of the third rank. They actually engraved Emperor Kangxi’s edicts (聖諭十六條) on the wooden wall for the family to follow. The same edicts were printed at the beginning of our family history books (Zhu Pu).
The Hans were the richest family in town (上里) and they brought the Shaanxi lifestyle to their town as well. You could find northern-style food and northern traditions everywhere on the street. Just like our family, this Han family went down because their descendants became addicted to Opium. They used up all their money and took whatever was worth money in the house to sell.
One of Guan Chao Xi’s daughters (朝熙女) of the Ting Generation (廷), married Yan KeXi (颜克希), who was a civil official of Ya’an (威邑雅安司选员), who shared the same generation name (克) as the Giant Salt Merchant Yan XinYu (颜心畬/克塾). According to the Yan family’s generation name Ting, Hua, Zhong, Li, Ke, Shao, Xian, Xian, Xuie “廷华仲昌礼克绍先贤学” (海丰颜铁军提供) from the Yan family, our Guan daughter and Yan Ke Xi were both of the seventh generation in Sichuan.
I was able to reach one of the descendants in the Yan family who was organizing their Zhu Pu. I asked him about Yan KeXi, who was in our Zhu Pu married to our Guan daughter. He said Yan Xian Young’s (颜宪阳) daughter in the next generation (绍) married our Guan Bei Fu (官伯孚), Guan Bei Fu was simply his courtesy name. His real name was Guan Xuian Tei (官选特), my grandfather's generation; his father was Guan Ting Kuen (廷锟) and his mother was from the big salt merchant Li family (李举人新柱女). They had eight kids together; the youngest son was born blind. The two family’s children used to play together. Guan Bei Fu was in charge of the Neijing Young Tong Bank (永通钱庄) from the Young Tong Salt Well (永通井) (owned by my grandfather’s oldest brother TaiBa before 1949) and used to issue Yongtong Salt Notes (盐票). I was able to talk to his son Guan Ching-Sen (官庆生), who graduated from Sichuan University. He later became a math teacher in Shu Guang High School (蜀光中学) until he retired. He knew my youngest aunt Guan Ju Hua, who was working at the Department of Education in Zigong. I told him that my grandmother was the tenth child; they called her Mann-nong, since Mann means number 10. He said that his family also used the same word for the number ten. They called their mother and grandmother the same way we did. We had quite a lot in common.
  A descendant of Yan told me that smoking opium was common in his family, just like today’s cigarettes. Gambling was very popular as well. His grandfather Yan Xing Yu (颜心畬) told him that losing an amount of money worth three new cars today overnight was common for them. His grandfather always won and my poor grandfather always lost. Now, I knew why my family went down.
Marriages of the Guan family were from the same background or were sisters or daughters of civil officials, such as 知县,郎中. Guans were connected with people from the East Coast, Fujian and Guangdong through marriages for generations. One of Chao Xi’s sons, Guan Ting Yu (朝熙子廷諭), married the daughter of the famous Ju-Ren Zhen Qing Chong (内江名举人曾庆昌). Zhen’s family was likely from Fujian or Guangdong, as my ancestors were. Ting (廷) was the Guan family’s seventh generations in Sichuan. Guan Ting Hao (廷誥) married the granddaughter of Chengdu’s education minister Den Tao-lin (邓兆麟,成都县教谕, 治今成都青羊区).

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Haplogroup H is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup that likely originated in Southwest Asia[1] 20,000-25,000. DNA Reveals Modern Europeans Had Middle Eastern Origins

Guan Han-zi (官寒知) and Zhang Da-Qian (张大千)

Xiong Yong-zhi (熊永志) wrote an article about a local painter: Guan Han-zi (官寒知1896-1937:“书画之乡”不应忘记的人 ) in the “Neijing Daily” on March 1,2009. Guan and Zhang Da-Qian (张大千), along with his brother Zhang San-zi (张善子), went to Shanghai to study painting. While there, he communicated with some Japanese-Chinese painters. There he met Pu Bei-ying (蒲伯英), who was skilled at Chinese calligraphy. In this way, Pu’s Chinese “蒲字” and Guan’s painting “官画” received good reviews in Shanghai. Guan's paintings were considered among “Neijing’s Three Best (民国时期称为“官狗儿”的官寒知,他与“张老虎”(张善子画虎),“陈美人”(陈石渔画仕女)三人各具特色的绘画,被称为“内江三绝”).” Zhang San-zi (张善子) died in 1940. Although the Guans were talented at painting natural scenery with mountains, flowers, and birds, Guan Han-zi was best at painting dogs; they looked so real and so alive. A local collector had Guan Han-zi’s self portrait, plus a poem written by Han WenJia (韩文畦1885-1983). I am not sure if he was related to our Han family, although he had the same generation name as my father. His poem was the best description of Guan Han-zi who passed away in 1937 (Guan Zhong Pu's 众仆 translation in Chinese):
朗朗官君吾所与,玉润其衷霓霞举. (明朗、清亮的官君是我的好朋友,胸怀美玉举止高雅)
Long long gentleman Guan understands smooth jade rises above to morning sun.
造化在手随心挥,山灵水仙集毫楮. (随手就可以画出宇宙万物的玄奥与奥秘,所画山水有灵性,有仙风)
The soul of the mountains and goodness in water are all under his creative hands.
象形应物惟一真, 精诚所至凝于神. (既追求形似, 更致力于神似)
His lively paintings are filled with true spirit.
月石云泉出胸臆, 烟林鱼鸟交相亲. (画中的月石云泉都是官君胸中块垒, 画出的烟林鱼鸟无不让人感到可亲可爱). His thought flows like water among stones under the moon, among the fishes and birds in the forest.
绝诣早惊两川士, 妙誉方传天下人. (令人叫绝的造诣早就已经让四川人吃惊了, 全中国也正在称赞叫好官君的画). His talents shocked people in Sichuan, his painting passes onto the world.
谁能写子莫若子, 长松逸鹤宜天民. (谁能画好官君的像?没有哪个比得上官君自己画自己, 高大的松树,超凡脱俗的仙鹤正配得上我们的天之骄子). Who could paint like he painted himself. Graceful cranes and the strong pines, only makes the son of haven proud.
气敛思索发新趣, 点细研精万灵里. (一敛气思索就总会画出有趣的新作品来, 一笔一点都画出了灵性). His creations were always full of spirits, full of life.
何以赞之难为词, 颊上三毫今再遇. (怎么称赞官君的这幅画我很难找到中肯的词语, 三两笔就画出一个人脸部的神韵今天我算又一次见识了). How difficult to write praises, three thread hairs are left when we meet again.
Han Wenjia was also a friend of many other artists, such as Chen Gu Zhi 陈古枝, Liu Si Liang 刘师亮, and Fan Chong Jiang 范长江. In 1927, the March 31st Chongqing Incident resulted from a British warship on the Yangzi River bombing protesters in Nanjing, which resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 civilians on March 24th. Liu Xiang (刘湘) was trying to disperse the protesters, resulted in the deaths of 137 civilians and thousands wounded.
       Han Wenjia then became the chief editor for Border Politics Monthly (边政月刊). General Liu Wen-Hui (刘文辉), a cousin of Liu Xiang (刘湘), was the King of Southwest China. He asked Han WenJia to take charge of the army’s affairs and become governor of the county, but Han refused. Han became the head of state education and Liu Wen Hui was the governor of Xi Kong Province (西康省 where I went to college for four years). Liu Wen Hui’s fifth brother, Liu Wen Cai (刘文彩) was portrayed as the worst landlord and had a big family courtyard that I visited while I was in high school. Now, I understand why my grandmother was upset after I had told her what I saw because she did not believe what I saw. Many of her brothers were landlords, the farmers that they hired had their own families just like everyone else. It looked like the Guan, Liu, and Zhang families were all very close.
       Sadly, Guan Han-zi died at age forty one in January 1937. Our ancestors' paintings were likely painted by Guan Han-zi or his father. His second brother, Guan Su-Kong (官叔康), was a classmate of the famous educator Li Zhong Quan (李仲权). Guan Su-Kong graduated from Chengdu Foreign Language School and later taught English in Chongqing, Zizhong, Neijing, Zigong, and Zenshou (重庆, 资中, 内江, 自贡, 仁寿). He was the president of Neijing Teaching College (内江县师范) and the principal of Da Zhou High School (大洲中学校长). A local collector had Guan Su-Kong’s beautiful Chinese calligraphy of Chairman Mao’s Poems put on Zhang Da-Qian’s personalized painting paper (with his name and his flower grass marking the corners). The Guan and Zhang Da-Qian families were very close. I am not sure if Zhang Da-Qian was a descendant or related to the Zhang family who married our first generation’s grandfather, Yen Huei, back in 1724.

 Zhang San-zi's Flying Tiger (张善子的飞虎图), a gift for Claire Lee Chennault
The Tigers' shark-faced fighters are among the most recognizable of any combat aircraft of World War II. They resulted in tactical victories when the US news was little more than stories of defeat at the hands of the Japanese forces.

Guan's self portrait (官寒知自画像) and Han WenJia (韩文畦)'s poem.
The above note on the top of Guan's self portrait (官寒知自画像)


     Zhang Da-Qian (张大千) was in Beijing right after Japan surrendered at the end of World War II.  He planned to buy a King's Courtyard (a small city) with his 500 liang gold. Instead, he bought "Night Revels of Han Xizai 韩熙载夜宴图" by Gu Hongzhong (顾闳中937–975).  Emperor Li Yu sent Gu to spy on Han Xizai's private life. Li Yu wanted to know why Han refused his offer to make him the chancellor. Han Xizai was also always late or missing early-morning meetings with the emperor. It was Han Xizai's (韩熙载) way of protesting emperor Li's government partying every night.
First half section of the Night Revels of Han Xizai, 12th century remake, view from right to left
Second half section of the Night Revels of Han Xizai, 12th century remake
Night Revels of Han Xizai
《国画大师 张大千》