Don Tow's Website Wed, 19 Jun 2024 23:18:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10113122 A New Post on U.S.-China Relationship Wed, 19 Jun 2024 23:18:19 +0000 In the last (March 2024) article on U.S.-China Relationship, I mentioned that for a long time I have always thought that the best approach to U.S.-China Relationship is for the U.S. and China, as the world’s most important countries to work collaboratively to address the many critical problems facing the world, problems like poverty, diseases, unemployment, lack of education, disarmament, climate change, wars, nuclear arms race.

Instead of living together to try to improve the world, why would the U.S. try to create confrontations and adopt a foreign policy toward China that is so antagonistic that can easily escalate into wars? If U.S. and China work together to address the world’s major problems, then the U.S. would not be able to control the world and dictate their so-called rule-based order for the world to follow. Instead of creating a world with multi-modality, the U.S. wants to create a single modality world with the U.S. in the center and in control of that modality.  This answers a lot of questions, such as the U.S.’s position toward Taiwan, and why the U.S. wants to turn back the clock more than half a century.  It also answers the question why the U.S. government is adopting such a demonic eye toward its American citizens who are Chinese Americans who also want the best for the U.S. 

There is no reason for the U.S. to turn back its position that Taiwan has been part of China for several hundred years. There is no reason to believe a country like Japan who has looked upon Taiwan with a luscious eye to be part of Japan, and who has tried to keep others to think that way. Is the U.S.’s words worth anything?

Part of the U.S. strategy toward China is to use its allies (e.g., Philippino troops or Japanese or other troops) to fight its proxy wars against China. The Philippines has a deliberately grounded (since 1999) a Philippine naval ship (actually a former U.S. naval vessel) called the Sierra Madre (on a disputed island between the Philappines and China in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. However, most of the press coverage on incidents like these are very much pro-Western (or pro-U.S.); so it is difficult to find an objective analysis of incidents like this.

Similarly the U.S. has imposed many large sanctions against Xinjiang products, even though the U.N. Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan) has recently (5/17/2024) stated that “states should lift sanctions against China and also take strong action to curb sanction over-compliance by businesses and other actors under their jurisdistion. She also emphasized that “decline in business activities and the significant loss of global markets either due to unilateral sanctions per se or due to over-compliance with such measures by foreign businesses and entities have led to job losses with consequent disruptions in social protection schemes, by disproportionatly affecting the most vulnerable, particularly in labour-intensive sectors, including women, older persons, and all those in informal employment.” The U.N. Special Rapporteur is warning that such unitateral sanctions can do irreparable harms to many people and companies.

Again because the U.S.’s position so much dominates the press coverage around the world, it is difficult for others to get a fair and objective coverage of their situation. We want to urge the importance of the U.S.’s to adopt a valid and impartial assessment of its policies because it has large implications affecting people all over the world.

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Some Simple Techniques to Remember and to Respond in Times of Emergencies Tue, 26 Mar 2024 02:15:00 +0000 One of my Taiji students mentioned to me that several years ago, her mom was crossing the street in Taiwan when a car suddenly appeared behind her honked her horn.  She fell to the ground out of fear and was unable to walk due to the injury to her tailbone when she fell.  Because she also had Osteoporosis and poor kidney function, the doctor did not recommend surgery, and she could only lie in bed for about half a year, before she passed away.  Her mom was 91 at the time of the incident, and she passed away at age 92.

This caused my friend to ask “are there some simple techniques that could have helped an elderly person to respond in an unexpected emergency situation similar to what her mom encountered several years ago.

This led me to write the following article “Some simple techniques to remember and to respond in times of emergencies.”

The most talked about martial arts stance is the “horse stance,” as shown in the first photo below.  However. In terms of stability, that is not necessarily the most important stance, which is the stance as shown in the second picture below (the Chinese characters “Taiji Wild Horse Shakes Its Mane” refers to the name of that stance):

To go from the first photo (the horse stance) to the 2nd photo (wild horse shakes its mane), you make the following shifts:

  1. You shift from looking at the front by looking at your left
  2. You move your left foot over to your left from your right foot by about half-a-shoulder to a whole-shoulder-width
  3. Your left foot from the knee down should be straight
  4. Your right foot should be about one step behind your left foot with your weight evenly distributed between your right foot and your left foot
  5. Your body should be upright mostly over your left foot

Note that with this stance, your body weight is supported by both feet.  With your two feet separated by about a shoulder width, you are able to withstand a minor push to try to get you off balance or cause you to fall.  Furthermore, both of your hands can be used to block or defend yourself, or to use them to grab or hold on something, or even to counter attack if the occasion warrants it.

A similar stance (a mirror image of the second photo above) can also be used by looking to your right, instead of looking at your left.  Then instead of having your left leg vertical from the left knee downward, you have your right leg vertical from your right knee downward.

The above bodily arrangement is typical of Taiji in the sense that you don’t place your two feet along the same straight line, but your two feet are separated by a shoulder width which provides stability from being pushed.  Your bodily weight is firmly supported by your two feet.  Your hands are free to be used to grab hold of something, to defend yourself, or even to counterattack. 

I think with such simple adjustments, an elderly person, as well as anyone else, can be mentally prepared to handle similar unexpected emergency situation.  Of course, the person has to be properly trained so that when such an emergency occurs, the response should be automatic, instead of needing to remember what you might have learned in the past, thus leading to panicking.

Of course, due to her senior age and no previous experience or training, it is possible that such a technique might not have worked for my friend’s mom.  But for someone younger and with training in Taiji, the above technique could have avoided that terrible incident.

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Some New Perspective on U.S.-China Relationship Tue, 19 Mar 2024 02:10:00 +0000 We have discussed U.S.-China Relationship for some time.  In the past, that was under the assumption that being the world’s two most powerful countries, if the two countries can work cooperatively to address the most critically important issues facing the world, then that would create the most benefits for the world, and at the same time, that would also benefit both the U.S. and China.  It seems to be clearly the most winning strategy.  But why it has not happened?

I have raised this comment/question for a long time.  It finally dawned on me why it has not happened.  The reason is because the U.S. wants a unipolar world with the U.S. being the center of that unipolar world, and the U.S. sees that China is the main challenger keeping the world from changing from a unipolar world to a multipolar world.  Instead of looking at the world to see what is good for the world, the U.S. sees what is good for the U.S. even it is not achievable.

Now with this new perspective, we can understand why the U.S. is adopting that policy, i.e., a policy that is not good for the world.  Instead of living together to try to improve the world, why would the U.S. try to create confrontations and adopt a foreign policy toward China that is so antagonistic that can easily escalate into wars? If U.S. and China work together to address the world’s major problems, then the U.S. would not be able to control the world and dictate their so-called rule-based order for the world to follow. Instead of creating a world with multi-modality, the U.S. wants to create a single modality world with the U.S. in the center and in control of that modality.  

This answers a lot of questions, such as the U.S.’s position toward Taiwan, and why the U.S. wants to turn back the clock more than half a century.  It also answers the question why the U.S. government is adopting such a demonic eye toward its American citizens who are Chinese Americans who also want the best for the U.S.  It also helps to understand the recent U.S. government’s policy toward companies like TikTok.

In future issues of this website, we will elaborate on the consequences of this attitude of the U.S., and why that policy should change.


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U.S.-China Relationship Fri, 29 Dec 2023 02:46:00 +0000 The U.S. and China have the largest economies in the world.  They also are the most influential countries and have the most powerful militaries in the world.  Therefore, they are the most important countries to help the world to solve, or at least reduce, the many large and critical problems facing humanity, in areas such as food, health, education, jobs, climate change, war and peace, and disarmament. The U.S. and China should be cooperating to address these problems, and should avoid creating tension and fabricating charges and mass media propaganda toward the other.

This chapter will discuss several important “issues” between the U.S. and China.  We will recall and analyze history and see what history has to say about these issues.

The first issue is Taiwan:  Every one knows that Taiwan has been a province of China.  After China was defeated by Japan in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), China, besides being required to pay to Japan an extremely large indemnity to Japan, also ceded Taiwan to Japan.  After WWII ended with the defeat of Japan, all parties agreed that Japan should give up the territories stolen from China (including Taiwan) and returned them to China.  This was consistent with the 1943 Cairo Declaration [1], the 1945 Potsdam Declaration [2], and the September 2,1945 Japanese Instrument of Surrender [3].  After recalling this part of history regarding Taiwan, the issue of Taiwan should be closed, and Taiwan should be part of China.

Another issue is Diaoyu Islands (or Senkaku Islands):  Most of the people of the world probably have never heard of these islands.  The Diaoyu Islands are a small set of unoccupied islands off the northern part of Taiwan in the East China Sea.  They have been part of China (part of Taiwan) for several hundred years (dating back to as early as 1403).  Since near the end of the 19th century, Japan has also claimed that these islands are part of the Ryukyu Islands (or Okinawa), as part of Japan’s attempt to steal the Diaoyu Islands from Taiwan.  More information on the background history of the Diaoyu Islands can be found in Chapter 19 “Experiencing the Worldwide Diaoyu Islands Students Movement” and the details will not be repeated here. 

The reason that the Diaoyu Islands is often cited as an issue involving also the U.S. is because the U.S. claims that the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty should also be applicable to the Diaoyu Islands even though the official position of the U.S. government is that the territorial sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands is still to be determined, thus  showing that these two positions [(1) that the Diaoyu Islands should be covered under the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty, and (2) the territorial sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands is still to be determined] are internally inconsistent. Therefore, it is not necessary for us to discuss again this issue besides pointing to Chapter 19 for the details.  Thus, after recalling history regarding the Diaoyu Islands, the issue of the Diaoyu Islands should also be closed, and the Diaoyu Islands should be part of China, and the U.S. has no justification to claim that the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty should be applicable to the Diaoyu Islands.

Another issue is the dispute over the South China Sea Islands:  Although one may often hear claims that China is doing a lot of illegal things in the South China Sea (in particular, the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands) such as stealing territories belonging to other countries, or building artificial islands, or blocking traffic over the international sea or air in the South China Sea area.  Often these people will bring in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to make accusations against China.

In particular, several years ago (around 2016), Philippines was involved in a case with the Arbitral Tribunal (AT) declaring that all of the islands in the Paracel or the Spratly area are rocks, and not islands that can sustain human habitation or economic life of their own under UNCLOS.  Although the Arbitral Tribunal (AT) is also under UNCLOS, it is clearly stated in UNCLOS that the AT should not rule in cases where the parties have territorial sovereignty/historical rights.  For China since historically China does own the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands [see, e.g., Ref. 4 and Ref. 5 for that part of history], from the very beginning, China declared in writing that it would not participate and not abide by the decision of the AT because this dispute involves territorial sovereignty/historical rights, which should not be arbitrated under the Arbitral Tribunal.

Furthermore, Taiping Island (the largest island of the Spratly Islands) is 0.9 mile in length and ¼ mile in width with an area of 110 acres and has a hospital and an airport.  It has fresh water, can grow vegetables, can support livestock, as well as the habitation of people permanently living there.  This is contrary to Philippines’ claim that these islands cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own.

The U.S. has often stated that China’s activities in the South China Sea have violated UNCLOS which was signed in 1994.  One of the accusations is that China has built landfills on some of these islands.  First of all, UNCLOS does not forbid building various facilities, including docks and airstrips, on the islands that a country has sovereignty over if those islands are not always submerged under water all the time.  Of course, we have all heard of the famous Palm Islands in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which involve massive landfills to build the large islands with residential, business, and entertainment skyscrapers.  But has the U.S., or anyone else, made protests on what Dubai has done?

Once again, history shows us that there is a lot of purposedly spread misinformation (another example of abuse of world power) creating a false image of China.  Thus, after recalling and analyzing history, the issue of the South China Sea Islands is also closed, and China is not doing anything illegal.

Recent talk on a rising power like China will inevitably have a conflict with the established power like the U.S.: Recently there is some talk whether a rising power like China will inevitably have a conflict with the established power like the U.S. that will lead to war.  We and others have analyzed this issue and the conclusion is a definite no. [6].  Interested readers can read the two articles mentioned in [6] for more details.  Basically the story is between Athens, a then rising power, and Sparta, the then established power.  Initially there might not have been a serious conflict between Athens and Sparta. But the conflict became serious when Athens became an imperial power with influence over many cities along both sides of the Aegean Sea. Furthermore, in the case of China and the U.S., the conflict is not due to China’s economic rise, but it is due’s to the U.S.’s economic decline. The U.S. should then take actions to correct its own economic decline, and should not blame China for something due to their own shortcoming.

In his book, Allison discussed how order was decided, or how does one decide whether one can keep your adversary in line. A rule that is often used is a “Two-Power Standard” announced in 1889 as the general method to maintain Britain’s naval primacy, that is to keep Britain on the top of the order hierarchy is to maintain a fleet of battleships equal to the numbers deployed by its next two competitors combined since naval supremacy was key to the battlefield in the past, including the 19th century and first part of the 20th century. This was a rule used by the British to ensure that the British had enough military power to help to enforce its rule-based order. This was used by Winston Churchill in his various positions as the British Secretary of state for War, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Prime Minister, as well as other positions. Similarly, it was also used by other countries in planning for conflicts or wars with potential adversaries.

In the imperialistic world, it was your military might that settled conflicts. The question of fairness was of secondary importance. In our current world with nuclear powers that can lead to the destruction of the whole world and end civilization as the world knows, we should not rely on the “Two-Power Standard” to keep your potential rival in its place and to maintain your rule-based order.

Why does the U.S. government continue to carry on a mass media campaign to demonize China and create a phobia in the public against China and the Chinese? It is especially important to ask this question when the U.S. and China are the two most important economic and political powers in the world, and as we have previously mentioned, it is crucially important for the U.S. and China to work cooperatively to address the many difficult global problems. 

There are many differences between U.S. and China, e.g., their histories, how the governments operate, the way freedom and people’s wishes are expressed and reflected in the government, how government policies are formed and carried out, the country’s strategic alliances with other countries, the conduct of foreign policies and treatment of other governments and countries. These differences could easily lead to conflicts between the U.S. government and the Chinese government, especially when the differences lead to different political orientations. However, such differences should not lead to the two countries getting to diametrically opposite opposing corners. For example, China’s Bell and Road Initiative (BRI) could help a democratic government that is based on free elections and also an autocratic government whose family basically controls the whole country. It could help to improve the livelihood of the people of both countries, and therefore, it should not lead to their foreign policies on China that are diametrically opposite to each other.

Why is the relationship between U.S. and China keep on getting more antagonistic when a better relationship can benefit the American people, the Chinese people, as well as the other people of the world? Why is that relationship moving toward more confrontations and even war?

To understand the answer to that question, one needs to take an unbiased assessment of the history of the U.S. and especially what it has done in its foreign policy toward other countries in the last 75 years, since the end of WWII.

The U.S. government always presents itself as a government that is democratic, respects human rights, treats other countries with peaceful intention, and helps to solve world problems. That is the image that the U.S. government and the U.S. mass media depict itself. In reality, the U.S. government doesn’t act that way. It is not a democratic government working for the benefits of all its people; it treats its citizens differently depending on race, sex, place of origin, wealth, social and political status, etc.; it involves in many wars and instigates numerous regime changes in many countries.

Just look at how the government of the U.S. behaves when former President Donald Trump has been charged in four criminal cases, including 44 federal charges and 47 state charges, all of them felonies.  In Washington, D.C., he faces four felony counts for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In Georgia, he faces 13 felony counts for his election interference in that state. In New York, he faces 34 felony counts in connection with hush money payments to a porn star. And in Florida, he faces 40 felony counts for hoarding classified documents after he left office and impeding the government’s efforts to retrieve them. [7] Numerous mass shootings and killings of innocent people, including children, occur frequently in the U.S., to the tune of 686 mass shootings incidents in 2021. [8]  U.S. Americans’ trust in their government has consistently fallen in the past 20 years and now fewer than two-in-ten Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right. [9] At the same time when the U.S. government has consistently trying to demonize China, and President Biden has as recently as November 2023 called President Xi Jingping a dictator. [10]

Furthermore, in many respects the U.S. government behaves contrary to what a democratic government is supposed to behave.  Not only that it often doesn’t get involved in solving various world problems. It sometimes drops out of critical agreements (e.g., Paris Agreement on Climate Change) and criticizes or even sabotages other countries’ contributions.”  The U.S. really needs to look inward at itself to have a real assessment of its government, its political leaders, and its actions and attitudes toward other countries and people.  Hopefully after such as assessment, the U.S. would look at the world differently and treat other countries and people differently and with more respect.

The conclusion is that the U.S. is not the same as what the U.S. government depicts itself.  I will now discuss the real conflict between the U.S. and China, and why that relationship is getting worse with more confrontations and possibly leading to war. 

The Real Conflict Between U.S. and China:  In the last 40+ years, China has transformed itself from a very poor and backward country into the world’s second largest economy, lifted most of its huge population out of poverty, became basically the factory of the world, became the world’s third largest nuclear power, and has the world’s second strongest military, and can compete with the best of the world in science, engineering, bio-medicine, space explorations, and new patents, as well as gaining influences in world affairs. What is best for the world is for China and the U.S. to work cooperatively to address and solve the many difficult problems facing humanity. If the world’s two richest economies and the most powerful countries cannot work cooperatively, at least we hope that they don’t try to sabotage each other. Unfortunately, it seems that one country, the U.S., has been working hard to do just that.

Why? Instead of living together to try to improve the world, why would the U.S. try to create confrontations that can escalate into wars? If U.S. and China work together to address the world’s problems, then the U.S. would not be able to control the world and dictate their so-called rule-based order for the world to follow. Instead of creating a world with multi-modality, the U.S. wants to create a single modality world with the U.S. in the center and in control of that modality.

This may be surprising to many people, but it is consistent with U.S. policy in how it has been treating the rest of the world in the past century. Unlike the image that the U.S. government has been presenting to the world that it is a democratic and benevolent country trying to do the best for all the people of the world, unfortunately, that image has been repeatedly shown to be false, as illustrated by the large number of regime change activities engaged by the U.S. [11] [12] [13]

Some of the activities of the U.S. government have been so evil that it is almost unimaginable. An example of that is what the U.S. did in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, using island natives as guinea pigs to see the effects of nuclear radiations. [14]

Unfortunately, we have to face reality because the U.S. is not willing to give up its power to dominate the world, the U.S. is willing to create conflicts with China, even leading to a war between the world’s two most powerful military powers, possibly leading to a world war with the use of nuclear weapons. This is the essence of the real conflict between the U.S. and China.

In future releases of this website, we will discuss in more details how the world can address this issue. An important component must have the U.S seriously look inward at herself and figure out how it can improve herself, including its government structure and whether its government leaders are working to improve the welfare of the American people, or improve their own livelihoods or stay in power, and whether the U.S. treats other  countries and people fairly and with respect.  Another major component is to mobilize the pro-peace/anti-war movements of the world into a unified and formidable force.

References for Chapter 36

[1]    See, e.g., “The 1943 Cairo Declaration”:

[2]    See, e.g., “Potsdam Declaration”:

[3] See, e.g., “National Archives: Surrender of Japan (1945)”:

[4]    For the history of the South China Sea islands like the Paracel Islands (西沙群島) and Spratly Islands (南沙群島), please read Chapter 34 “South China Sea Dispute:  Abuse of World Power,” the contents of that chapter was also published by the author in China-US Focus, September 15, 2016.  The link for the English version is:  The link for the Chinese version is:

[5]   “Some Thoughts on South China Sea Dispute”:

[6] Recently there is some talk whether a rising power like China will inevitably have a conflict with the established power like the U.S. that will lead to war.  Graham Allison, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston-New York, 2018.  We and others have analyzed this issue and the conclusion is a definite no.  See “Review of ‘Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?’”:  See also Alan Freeman, “Is war between China and US inevitable?”, video broadcast by Thinkers Forum:, April 16, 2023. See in particular, the (5:10-6:50) segment of this video showing the map of Athen’s imperial power and Athen’s many potential partners and allies in the Aegean Sea.

[7]    “Breaking down the 91 charges Trump faces in his four indictments,” by Derek Hawkins and Nick Mourtoupalas, The Washington Post, August 23, 2023.

[8]    “Mass Shootings in the U.S.,” An Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund Analysis, November 2023 was last updated. 

[9]    Pew Research Center “Public Trust in Government:  1958-2023,” September 19, 2023.

[10]  After President Biden’s remark that his most recent discussion with President Xi Jingping on November 17, 2023 was one of the most interesting and productive discussions that they have had, President Biden then made the comment that Xi Jingping is a dictator.

[11] Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer, Times Books, Henry Holt and Company, LLC, New York, 2006. This is a book by veteran New York Times writer who reported from over 50 countries and served as the paper’s bureau chief in Turkey, Germany and Nicaragua.

[12]  United States involvement in regime change:

[13] “The U.S. tried to change other countries’ governments 72 times during the Cold War,” Lindsey L. O’Rourke, The Washington Post, December 23, 2016: According to the author, of the 72 times, 60 were covert operations and 6 were overt operations. And among the 60 covert operations, only 20 successfully brought the U.S.-backed government to power, and 40 failed.

[14] The Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Australia is part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under the administrative control of the U.S. after WWII. It was here that the U.S. tested nuclear weapons 67 times between 1946 and 1958. There are several documentaries on Marshall Islands and the sufferings experienced by the Marshall Islands natives from the numerous nuclear bomb testings there. The best one is probably the one made in 2011 by Adam Jonas Horowitz:  “Nuclear Savage:  The Islands of Secret Project 4.1.”  You can see a 7-minute summary of this documentary for free at

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Most Important Discoveries in Physics: A Personal View Fri, 29 Dec 2023 02:18:00 +0000

This article is my personal view of the most important discoveries in Physics. However, in light of some of the great mysteries mentioned at the end of this article, I believe that perhaps the greatest discoveries in physics are yet to be discovered. There are of course other items that could easily been included in this list, e.g., Dmitri Mendeleev of the Periodic Table and major discoveries regarding the origin and development of the universe.


I – Mechanical Laws of Motion:  The study of how objects move or do not move when forces act upon them is known as mechanics.  In 1687 Isaac Newton published his three laws of motion in the “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.”  Newton’s First Law of Motion: an object’s motion will not change unless there is an external force on it. (2) Newton’s Second Law of Motion: the force on an object is equal to its mass times its acceleration. (3) Newton’s Third Law of Motion: when two objects interact, they apply forces to each other of equal magnitude and opposite direction.

Newton’s Mechanical Laws of Motions describes mechanics completely and correctly for over 200 years until the early 1900s when Albert Einstein proposed his Theory of Relativity that led to some corrections to Newton’s classical theory of mechanics when objects are moving very rapidly (closed to the speed of light).

Besides Newton, other key contributors included Galileo Galilei,

II – Theory of Gravitation:  Because of an object’s mass, every object affects all other objects.  Because of their masses, predicting how do these objects affect each other is known as gravitation theory.  Newton created the theory of gravity around 1666 by proposing that every particle attracts every other particle in the universe with a force that is directly proportional to the product of the masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

Just like Newton’s mechanical laws of motion, Newton’s classical theory of gravitation described the physical world very accurately for over 200 years until Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (in particular, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity) that require some modifications when massive objects are involved.

Besides Newton, key contributors include Johannes Kepler and Nicolaus Copenicus.

III – Thermodynamics:  Thermodynamics is the study of the relations between heat, work, temperature, and energy. The laws of thermodynamics describe how the energy in a system changes and whether the system can perform useful work on its surroundings.

First law of thermodynamics: one of the most fundamental laws of nature is the conservation of energy principle. It simply states that during an interaction, energy can change from one form to another but the total amount of energy remains constant.

One such scientist was Sadi Carnot, the “father of thermodynamics”, who in 1824 published “Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire,” a discourse on heat, power, and engine efficiency. Most cite this book as the starting point for thermodynamics as a modern science.

Entropy is a scientific concept that is most commonly associated with a state of disorder, randomness, or uncertainty. The term and the concept entropy are used in diverse fields, from classical thermodynamics where it was first recognized, to the microscopic description of nature in statistical physics, and to the principles of information theory. It has found far-ranging applications in chemistry and physics, in biological systems and their relation to life, in cosmology, economics, sociology, weather science, climate change, and information systems including the transmission of information in telecommunication.

Besides the first law of thermodynamics, there are several other laws of thermodynamics, such as the second law of thermodynamics that states that the entropy of a system always increases, or heat does not spontaneously pass from a colder to a hotter body. or the third law of thermodynamics that states that a system’s entropy approaches a constant value as its temperature approaches absolute zero.

Key contributors to thermodynamics include Francis Bacon, Robert Boyle, Sadi Carnot, Rudolf Clausius, Lars Onsager, Benjamin Thompson, and others.

IV – Electrodynamics or Theory of Electricity and Magnetism:  Before the invention of electromagnetism, people or scientists used to think electricity and magnetism are two different topics. The view has changed after James Clerk Maxwell published A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism in the year 1873. The publication states that the interaction of positive and negative charges is mediated by one force. This observation laid a foundation for Electromagnetism which describes electrodynamics by Maxwell’s four equations.

Classical electrodynamics can be completely described by the four Maxwell’s equations which can be found in any undergraduate textbook on electrodynamics or electricity and magnetism.

Beside James Clerk Maxwell, other contributors to electrodynamics include Andre-Marie Ampere, Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, Michael Faraday, Hans Christian Oersted, Alexandro Volta.

This is now known as Classical Electrodynamics, which describes electrodynamics accurately until we have to take into account quantum mechanical impacts when we consider electrodynamics involving subatomic particles.

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, we have seen two revolutionary developments which have completely revolutionized physics, and that is the development of Quantum Mechanics (or Quantum Physics) and Theory of Relativity.  We will discuss Theory of Relativity in Item 5 and Quantum Physics in Item 7.

V – Theory of Relativity:  Special Theory and General Theory:  The Theory of Relativity has two parts:  The Special Theory of Relativity that does not take into account the gravitation force, and the General Theory of Relativity takes into account the gravitation force. 

In Newtonian physics, different observers in different reference frames may observe different laws, but in the Special Theory of Relativity, the same laws of physics hold true in all reference frames; furthermore, the speed of light is the same for all observers, which is different from classical mechanics that states that it depends on  the speed of the observers doing the measurement.  One of the consequences of the Theory of Special Relativity is that the mass of an observer depends on the velocity of the object, and there is a relation between the energy of an object of mass m and its velocity v via the famous relationship of E = mc2.

Because the mass of an object increases with increasing velocity and it will take an infinite amount of energy to increase its velocity to pass the speed of light, the speed of light is the maximum speed of any object.

In the Theory of General Relativity where gravitation is taken into account, it states that any object will distort the geometry around that object by creating a geometric field around that object, the force that is around that object follows the geometry of the field created by that object.

There have been many confirmations of the predictions of General Relativity. The earliest ones were done in 1919 by Arthur Eddington during the solar eclipse of the sun on the bending of light due to the sun’s gravitation.

The Theory of General Relativity has deep significance in determining the behavior of objects, especially involving very massive objects involving large velocities.  That is why there are many significant implications in astronomy and massive objects such as neutron stars and back holes.

Besides Albert Einstein, other contributors to Theory of Relativity include Peter Bergmann, Herman Bondi, Arthur Eddington, Marcel Grossman, Steve Hawking, Leopold Infeld, Albert Michalson, Hendrik Lorentz, Herman Minkowski, Edward Morley, Robert Oppenheimer, Roger Penrose, Max Planck, Henri Poincare, Karl Schwarzschild, John Wheeler.

VI – Theory of the Nucleus and the Atoms:  The theory of the atom and the nucleus involved several discoveries.  It was John Alton who proposed that matter is made up of indivisible small atoms and all atoms of the same element are identical.  It was Ernest Rutherford who proposed that the core of an atom is made up of a nucleus consisted of electrically positive protons and electrically neutral neutrons.  It was Niels Bohr who proposed a theory of the hydrogen atom based on quantum theory that electrons move around a nucleus, but only in prescribed orbits, and If electrons jump to a lower-energy orbit, the difference is sent out as radiation.

Key contributors include: John Alton, Ernest Rutherford, Niels Bohr, Max Planck.

VII – Quantum Physics:  A big revolution occurred at the end of the 19th century  and the beginning of the 20th century with the discovery and formulation of Quantum Physics.  In 1900 Max Planck first proposed that atoms and molecules can emit or absorb energy in discrete quantities only. The smallest amount of energy that can be emitted or absorbed in the form of electromagnetic radiation is known as quantum. Then in 1913 Niels Bohr made use of Planck’s idea that some physical quantities only take discrete values, and electrons move around a nucleus, but only in prescribed orbits, and If electrons jump to a lower-energy orbit, the difference is sent out as radiation.

Several other people built on the quantum idea and made additional discoveries that led to the full development of quantum physics that revolutionized the world with all kinds of electronic gadgets build on quantum physics, such as the transistors, radar, computers, worldwide web.

Although Quantum Physics revolutionized physics, science, and introduced many wonders to the world, at the same time, Quantum Physics also introduced many mysteries to the world, such as wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, the act of observing nature can change what is being observed, the probability interpretation instead of the deterministic interpretation in classical physics.  Many people question whether Quantum Physics can be the real theory describing the world.

Besides Max Planck and Niels Bohr, there were many major contributors to Quantum Physics, including Albert Einstein, Louis de Broglie, Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Erwin Schrödinger, Paul Dirac, Arthur Compton, Clinton Davisson, Lester Germer, George Paget Thomson, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley, John Wheeler.

VIII – Quantum Electrodynamics (QED):  QED is the relativistic quantum field theory of electrodynamics. In essence, it describes how light and matter interact and is the first theory where full agreement between quantum physics and special relativity is achieved. QED mathematically describes all phenomena involving electrically charged particles interacting by means of exchange of photons and represents the quantum counterpart of classical electromagnetism giving a complete account of matter and light interaction.  QED has made the theoretical prediction of the magnetic moment of the electron to an accuracy of about one part in a trillion,making QED the most accurate theory in the history of science.

Key contributors to Quantum Electrodynamics include:  Paul Dirac, Richard Feynman, Julian Schwinger, Shinichiro Tomonaga, Freeman Dyson.

IX – Discovery of the Weak Force and Formulation of the Electroweak Force:  The weak force is the force that is involved in radioactive decay such as when a neutron inside an atomic nucleus undergoing an interactive decay and transforms into a proton plus an electron and an anti-neutrino. The weak force was discovered by Enrico Fermi in 1933 based on earlier work by Marie Curie. Weak interactions were involved in most of the reactions in the very early Universe by which particles changed from one sort to another. They are therefore largely responsible for the overall mixture of particles from which the current Universe is made.

in the mid-1950s, T. D. Lee and C. N. Yang proposed that weak interaction does not conserve parity, which shortly after was confirmed experimentally by C. S. Wu.  In the 1960s, Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg unified the electromagnetic force and the weak force by showing them to be two aspects of a single force, now termed the electroweak force.

Key contributors include Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi, T. D. Lee, C. N. Yang, C. S. Wu, Yoichiro Nambu, Sheldon Glashow, Leon Lederman, Martin Perl, Abdus Salam, Steven Weinberg, Gerardus ’t Hooft , Martinus J. G. Veltman.

X – Building Blocks of MatterThis isa long standing problem for physicists.  However, great progress seems tp have been achieved in the last half century plus, both theoretically and experimentally.  It is somewhat premature to claim that this is among the greatest discoveries in Physics until they have been completely proven.  At this time we only declare that this Item 10 and the next Item 11 “Standard Model of Particle Physics” to be potential candidates to be included as part of the greatest discoveries in Physics.  One reason our current understanding is incomplete is because the so-called “Standard Model of Particle Physics” (see next Item 11) addresses only the 3 forces (the strong force, the weak force, and the electromagnetic force), but it does not address the gravitation force.

Our current understanding is that matter is made up of atoms, consisting of a nucleus and electrons orbiting the nucleus.  The nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons.  Protons and neutrons are made up of quarks, and there are 6 quarks:  up quark (u), down quark (d), strange quark (s), charm quark (c), top quark (t), and bottom quark (b). The nuclear matter made up of quarks interact with each other by:

  • exchanging gluons when interacting via the strong force
  • exchanging photons when interacting via the electromagnetic force,
  • exchanging the W-boson or the Z-boson when interacting via the weak force.

Besides the electron neutrino, there are also the muon neutrino, and the tau neutrino.

A missing piece of the building block of matter is the Higgs boson, which was proposed in 1964 as a mechanism for some particles acquiring mass, and was finally discovered in 2012.

Key contributors include Murray Gell Mann, George Zweig, Yuval Ne’eman, Robert Brout-François Englert-Peter Higgs, Gerald Guralnik-Carl Hagen-Tom Kibble, Leo Lederman, Martin Perl, Federick Federick Reines, Melvin Schwartz, Jack Steinberger, Burton Richter, Samuel C. C. Ting, and many others (especially experimentalists).

XI – Standard Model of Particle Physics:  The strong force was proposed in 1935 by Hideki Yukawa, that governs the interaction of protons and neutrons inside an atomic nucleus (or interactions between different quarks which are the components of protons and neutrons).

The current theory of strong interactions is described by Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), which describes how particles called quarks (which are constituents of protons and neutrons) and leptons (which include electrons) interact to make up matter. It also explains how force carrying particles, which belong to a broader group of bosons influence the quarks and leptons.  QCD has two features:  One called “Asymptotic Freedom” which says that at high energies (or short distances) the interaction of quarks are essentially free, another called “Color confinement” that says that when the quarks are separated by large distances, there is a force confining them so that they cannot be separated, i.e. individual quarks cannot be found in nature.” 

The Standard Model of Particle Physics refers to the combination of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) and the Electroweak Force theory of Glashow-Salam-Wainberg (as discussed in Section 9), and is used to explain three of the four fundamental forces of nature that govern the universe: electromagnetism, the strong force, and the weak force.

Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) is the theory of the strong interaction between quarks mediated by gluons.  The strong force, which is carried by gluons, binds together atomic nuclei to make them stable.  The strong force also governs the interactions inside a sun known as nuclear fusion. It is nuclear fusion that creates the energy from the sun that governs our solar system and the whole universe.  The weak force, carried by W and Z bosons, causes nuclear reactions that have powered our Sun and other stars for billions of years.  Electromagnetism is carried by photons and involves the interaction of electric fields and magnetic fields. The fourth fundamental force is gravity, but it is not adequately explained by the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

Both the Electroweak Theory and Quantum Chromodynamics belong to a type of quantum field theory that is based on the Yang-Mills non-Abelian gauge theory first proposed by C. N. Yang and Robert Mills in 1954.

Key contributors include Hideki Yukawa, Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam, Steve Wainberg, David Gross, David Politzer, Frank Wilczek, Robert Mills, C. N. Yang, the people mentioned in Item 10 “Building Blocks of Matter,” and many others, especially experimentalists (since modern experiments are carried out by large experimental teams).

XII – Bell’s Theorem and Experimental Confirmation of Quantum Physics:  Because of many mysteries surrounding Quantum Physics (QP), many people believe that Quantum Physics cannot be correct and it will be replaced in the future by a more realistic theory.  These people included Einstein, who made remarks like God does not play dice, or spooky action at a distance.   Many people thought that a “local hidden variable theory” (LHVT) will replace Quantum Physics.  However, in 1964 James Bell proved a very remarkable theorem that shows any LHVT cannot always have the same prediction as Quantum Physics, thus allowing experiments to determine whether QP or LHVT is correct.

Many experiments in the last half a century have been done, and they have all shown that QP is correct, and LHVT is incorrect, thus confirming that QP may be correct in spite of all its mysteries.

This has led to the beginning of building quantum computers, which with its fantastic speed of calculation, will revolutionize computers and lead to another revolution in industry and in our daily lives just like Quantum Physics revolutionized our world in the 20th century.

Albert Einstein, Edwin Schrodinger, Alan Aspect, John Clauser, Stuart Freedman, Antonio Zeilinger, John Wheeler, and others.


In spite of all the discoveries in the last half century, however, there are still several major mysteries:

  • Dark matter:  Dark matter is matter in our universe which cannot be seen, because they don’t interact electromagnetically, and they don’t interact through the strong force and maybe also through the weak force, but they interact through the gravitational force.  Ordinary matter make up only about 5% of the universe, but dark matter consist of about 27%.
  • Dark energy:  Dark energy is a theoretical repulsive force that counteracts gravity and causes the universe to expand at an accelerating rate, and it makes up 68% of our universe.
  • Matter-antimatter asymmetry:  Almost all of the matter we see in the universe is made up of matter, but matter and antimatter should have been created in equal amounts when the original universe is made up of energy.

Therefore, major discoveries are waiting to be discovered to answer these questions.

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Fa-Jin, Amazing Power, and Potential Application to American Football Fri, 29 Dec 2023 02:10:00 +0000

Qigong Demonstration from Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang:  First I want to give you some background information on Feng Zhiqiang (冯 志 强). Taiji has many styles. The two most popular or most-practiced styles are the Chen Style and the Yang Style. The originally created style was the Chen Style. In the 19th century after Yang Lu-Chan (楊露禅) went to the Chen village in Chenjiagou in Henan Province and learned Taiji, he formulated the Yang Style Taiji, which became very popular. At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a revival of the Chen Taiji, led by the then Chen style leader Chen Fake (陈发科) who became a famous martial artist, non only well known in China, but in the rest of the world. This led to the Chen Style and the Yang Style as the two most popular and practiced Taiji styles in China and the world.

Not only Feng Zhiqiang was a lead student of Chen Fake, he was also a student of the Xingyiquan expert and Qigong master Hu Yaozhen (胡耀貞), who was also an expert in traditional Chinese medicine.  Under the guidance of the two masters Chen Fake and Hu Yaozhen, Feng Zhiqiang combined Taiji and Qigong and synthesized a new Chen Taiji Style known as the Hunyuan (混元) Taiji.  Starting around the second half of the 20th century, the Yang Style Taiji and the Chen Style (either the traditional Chen Style or the Hunyuan Chen Style) became the two most popular and practiced Taiji styles in the world, with Feng Zhijiang as the leader of the Chen Style.

Now I want to show you a video demonstration of Qigong by Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang.  Below is a short demo I found on the web which shows his demonstration of Qigong breaking a glass cup and a glass ash tray. (shattering a glass cup)

or (shattering a glass ashtray)

The significance of this demo is to show that Qigong has the potential in healing when it is directed to a blocked artery, or a tumor.

For someone who has never heard of Qigong, the above demos may seem like fake.  However, for anyone who knows about Qigong and its health benefits, this demo is not a myth or fake.  For someone like Grandmaster Feng with his deep knowledge of Taiji, Qigong, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the ability to execute this kind of Qigong and power is completely believable.

Many expert Taiji masters or other martial arts masters can exhibit remarkable strengths and skills using a technique known as Fa-Jin which means to issue or discharge a large amount of power. Below are several videos of people who demonstrate their Fa-Jin power. (Lin Kuanchang) (Liang De Hua) (Adam Mizner) (Yap Boh Heong)

under the names of masters like Lin Kuanchang, Liang De Hua, Adam Mizner, Yap Boh Heong, and others, often in videos from “The Martial Man” Kieren Krygier.

In particular, I want you to focus on the first video by Master Lin Kuanchang, because he explains the technique that he uses to accomplish his Fa-Jin power.

In my opinion, applying the Fa-Jin method of force to an opponent should be able to be used in American football between offensive linemen and defensive linemen. The most difficult part of the technique is to relax the body in the proper way (i.e., “song”, or 放松 in Chinese). The key question is how long does it take for someone to learn that kind of technique and apply it effectively and consistently in a real situation of playing American football?  If that technique can be taught and learned in one year or two, then we could have a breakthrough technique of using the Fa-Jin method of martial arts to American football.  This could open up a huge application of Qigong/Chinese Martial Arts to areas not previously explored!

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The West Must Prepare for a Long Overdue Reckoning* Thu, 28 Sep 2023 15:39:26 +0000 Five major trends illustrate how the world is changing, and that the West must grapple with the reality that it can no longer impose its “leadership” on the world as it once did.

The post-Western, multipolar international order is coming to pass. As the world grapples with the implications of this shift in power, the foundations of a great reckoning are taking shape. This reckoning will challenge the long-held beliefs and structures that have sustained Western dominance of the world for the past few hundred years, exposing along the way the nature of the West’s perceived entitlement to lead the global pecking order. The end result will be a significant re-evaluation of international relations as we know it.

This great reckoning will be driven by five major trends, which are compelling Western nations to confron* This article is by Chandran Nair. It was first published in The National Interest on June 8, 2023.t and adapt to a future where power must be shared with the rest in a multipolar world. A failure to recognize, or attempting to strongly resist, these trends could pose significant risks not only to the West itself but also to global stability. Yet future conflicts can be avoided if this period of change is viewed as an opportunity to build a more equitable world, rather than as a crisis that threatens preferred and entrenched privileges.

* This article is by Chandran Nair. It was first published in The National Interest on June 8, 2023.

Five Trends to Consider:

What future awaits the West—a smooth transition toward multipolarity or a period of instability and potential conflict—will largely depend on how policymakers respond to the following five trends.

First is the unravelling of the hitherto telling of history. The West, across its colonial history, has practiced and perfected the selective interpretation and telling of events, choosing to portray itself as the originator of modern civilization and a benevolent guiding force. This is now changing; information technologies, such as the Internet and social media, have broken the monopoly over information and history once held by Western gatekeeping institutions (media companies, universities, book publishers, and more). As a consequence, people around the world are recognizing that history is no longer confined to Western interpretation—including its projection of benevolence.

A significant component of this has been the West’s frequent failure to acknowledge its own imperfect past. Despite amplifying the perceived wrongdoings of others, it has been silent about its own unsavory moments, such as early American pioneers’ destruction of First Nation cultures, European exploitation of the African continent, or Australia’s treatment of aboriginal peoples. Addressing these historical episodes matters all the more because they affect current behavior; Western nations also have problems admitting to contemporary mistakes and intentions.

Non-Western nations can now make clear that their own countries and communities have long histories that not only exist despite Western interpretation, but these histories need to be explored, understood, and told. The West must grapple with this trend and its implications, rather than continue to obscure it in denial. Consider the ongoing diplomatic efforts of the Indian government to compel Great Britain to return the treasure stolen from India, including some of the crown jewels.

The second trend is the re-evaluation of the” rules-based” international order. Policymakers in Washington may not like hearing it, but the concept is the subject of much derision around the world and is widely regarded as a tool used by the West to control global affairs and maintain hegemony. There is ample resentment growing against Western nations given the repeated breaching of their own rules, meaning that the legitimacy of this order is being questioned despite its positive aspects.

Coinciding with this growing frustration is the reality that the distribution of power across more nations is transforming the current world order and creating new opportunities and challenges. China has assumed a more prominent position, offering global public goods such as peacemaking and addressing climate change in a manner Western nations are not willing, or able, to do. Similarly, India is beginning to assert itself, as are other smaller nations, like the UAE and Indonesia.

As more countries determine their own trajectories in the twenty-first century, the West must recognize that the international balance of power has shifted. It cannot continue to impose its will on others—the rise of China and other nations is evidence of such. The West must come to terms with this new reality and recognize that a new, more pragmatic, and multipolar approach is needed, where nations pursue foreign policies committed to co-existence, driven by their own best interests rather than aligning themselves with “one side” or the other.

Third is the unmasking of Western “peacekeeping.” Despite portraying itself as the guarantor of global security, much of the world now views the United States‚ and Europe to a lesser extent, as profiting from war rather than being interested in promoting authentic peace. The Western military-industrial complex—particularly the United States’—is so powerful that it is now well-known to drive U.S. foreign policy to the extent that it perpetuates conflicts to thus profit from war.

At present, the United States and its NATO allies are driving the rise in global military spending, with America spending more on defense than the next ten countries combined. It is similarly well known that almost half of the Pentagon’s budget goes to private contractors each year, and the military-industrial complex donates millions of dollars to U.S. Congressional races, resulting in state capture and significant increases in defense budgets.

The rest of the world has realized that the West alone cannot be trusted to lead global peace efforts, especially if a significant portion of their economies are geared to profit from conflict. In light of this, a positive change is occurring, with China brokering ground-breaking peace agreements—between Saudi Arabia and Iran, for example—while world leaders like Indonesia’s Joko Widodo, India’s Narendra Modi, and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva pitch peaceful resolutions to modern conflicts.

The fourth trend underway is the dethroning of the Western financial superstructure. That the West makes ample use of its financial might for geopolitical advantage and purposes is no great secret—policymakers and experts openly talk about the “weaponization of finance” and applying sanctions on countries that do not comply with Western intentions. Likewise, the ability of the United States and its allies to freeze and even confiscate the reserves of sovereign states—Afghanistan, Venezuela, Russia—sent shock waves across the world.

Because of this and the West’s own track record of financial greed and impropriety—which resulted in devastating crises such as the 2007–2008 financial crisis and the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which has had global reverberations—distrust in and a rejection of Western financial structures is growing.

Efforts are now underway to dismantle the exorbitant privilege bestowed on the United States via its currency. De-dollarization is very much happening, with the currency’s share of global reserves falling to 47 percent last year, down from 73 percent in 2001. Additionally, countries are seeking alternatives to the SWIFT system, which also has been used in aid of Western-based sanctions and thus alarmed the global majority. As countries with stable currencies gain influence, a more multipolar economic order emerges, reshaping geopolitical alliances, economic diplomacy, and the balance of power within international institutions. This change may grant developing nations greater flexibility in managing their currencies and monetary policies and limit the West’s capacity to unilaterally impose sanctions. Moreover, BRICS nations have recently surpassed the G7 in terms of GDP, signaling a redistribution of economic power and hinting at a future of cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure, and development assistance.

Fifth and finally, there is the notable collapse of the Western press’ credibility. This comes at a critical juncture, as repeated shortcomings in the last few years have heightened global awareness of Western media’s role in perpetuating the West’s preferred aspects of the current world order—often to the detriment of other countries.

For instance, persistent China-bashing in Western headlines has perpetuated an unproductive and fear-mongering narrative of Beijing as a threat to its own citizens and the world at large. The geopolitical contexts of Hong Kong and Taiwan, though complicated affairs, have been particularly and selectively drummed up to push an “us vs. them” narrative, rather than encouraging understanding between the West and China.

Similarly, overwhelmingly one-sided coverage of the Ukrainian conflict regularly overlooks national and regional geopolitical complexities in the long-standing Russian-Ukrainian relationship and the history of NATO expansion in Europe. A lack of reporting on the Nord Stream bombing, which many believe was perpetrated by a Western nation—with reporting to back this claim up—is a glaring hole that has contributed to the lack of trust in Western media from both non-Western and Western readers alike. Only months later is the Western press quietly admitting potential Western culpability, or at the very least, knowledge.

Moreover, inadequate, and biased coverage of non-Western conflicts, such as those in Yemen, Myanmar, and Palestine, has led to global accusations of neglect, bias, and even racism.

The Writing on the Wall

Western governments operating in an echo chamber of denial need to reach out to their friends across the world and realize what is obvious to everyone except to themselves: that the world is not like what it was in the post-Cold War era. The old ways are finished, and the West simply does not have the political and financial power, not to mention the international legitimacy, it once did. Western nations must adapt to this changing international environment, rather than stubbornly insisting upon business as usual. Failure to do so will make the world a more dangerous place and erode the credibility and influence of the West even further.


* This article is by Chandran Nair. It was first published in The National Interest on June 8, 2023. Chandran Nair is the Founder and CEO of the Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT), an independent pan-Asian think tank based in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur focused on advancing a deeper understanding of global issues including the shift of economic and political influence from the West to Asia, the dynamic relationship between business and society, and the reshaping of the rules of global capitalism.

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The Untold Truth About Taiwan’s Real Legal Position* Thu, 28 Sep 2023 15:35:48 +0000 The daily Western presentation of Taiwan as a functionally independent nation on the verge of being “invaded” by China flies in the face of the actual facts, as specified by global agreements recognized and codified by people on both sides of the strait.

  • China’s governing constitutional instruments specify that the mainland and Taiwan are one country;
  • And so does the constitutional document of Taiwan, Republic of China – it ALSO specifies that the two entities are a single, indivisible country;
  • To this day, the ROC Constitution ostensibly applies not just to Taiwan but to the whole of China, indicating the Taipei-based government’s control over Tibet and other parts;
  • China’s “Nine Dash Line” under which the country claims a large portion of the South China Sea is actually a reduced version of Taiwan’s “Eleven Dash Line”, which Taiwan still applies to the same waters;
  • Journalists correctly mention that some countries (193) legally support China while others (13) legally support Taiwan; but they omit the key fact that both groups (read the small print) legally support the principle that mainland China and Taiwan are a single country;
  • While some in Taiwan’s DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) openly push for independence, the party would have to rip up or massively amend Taiwan’s own constitutional document to do so.

Professor of Law Richard Cullen reports on the actual legal situation, and how it evolved, to clear up the widely circulated myths about the relationship between mainland China and Taiwan.

AMIDST THE ACUTE geopolitical debate about the status of Taiwan, the clear constitutional consensus that there is One China, which includes Taiwan, is largely overlooked. 

We need to examine some key historical developments in order to comprehend how this has come to pass; and why this agreement endures. 

It will also become plain, as we investigate these events, why certain parties, today, find this agreed cross-strait fundamental legal perspective to be a notably awkward component of the foundations that lie beneath the acrimonious geopolitical debate.


Taiwan was formally established as a part of China well over 300 years ago, in 1684, when the Manchu, Qing Dynasty annexed Taiwan, following the Manchu defeat of the Ming Dynasty.

Taiwan is close to the province of Fujian.

Subsequently, Taiwan was absorbed as a colony within the rapidly emerging new Japanese Empire, as a war prize, after Japan defeated Qing Dynasty China in 1895, in the First Sino-Japanese War. 

After the dropping of American atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945.  One consequence of this surrender was that Japan’s imperial rule over Taiwan was essentially terminated with immediate effect (subject to the completion of handover procedures) in August 1945. 


By October 1945, the then globally recognized Chinese Government – the Republic of China (ROC) Kuomintang (KMT) Government – began to re-occupy Taiwan.  By May, 1947 the KMT had established, in accord with the ROC Constitution, a Province of Taiwan Government in Taipei.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taiwan. Image by Rovin Ferrer/ Unsplash.

By late 1949, the Communist Party of China (CPC) had defeated the KMT in the Chinese Civil War, which re-commenced in 1945-46, once it was clear that Japan faced defeat in the Second Sino Japanese War (and WW2).  The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established by the CPC on October 1, 1949.  The KMT – and, thus, the ROC – meanwhile, retreated to Taiwan. 

Staunch American support – including the threat of using atomic weapons against the PRC – helped ensured that the CPC was prevented from taking over Taiwan in the 1950s.  But it also became clear that the KMT aim to make China one, again (including Taiwan) under the ROC Constitution, was not going to happen.


But what were the origins and fundamental scope of that ROC Constitution?

Following the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, the Republic of China was established in 1912, when a Provisional Constitution for the ROC was drawn up.  Further Provisional Constitutions were promulgated, including one in 1931.  After extensive drafting and debate, the original version of the current ROC Constitution took effect on December 25, 1947, almost two years before the defeat of the KMT in the Chinese Civil War.

Page one of the original constitution, drafted 1946, ratified 1947.

Since then, the ROC Constitution has been amended a number of times, but its essential structure has not been altered in the sense that it remains, to this day, a constitution that ostensibly applies not just to Taiwan but to all of China.  Given that when this constitution was first applied, the KMT was globally recognized as the government of all of China (including Taiwan), this is not surprising.


Thus, within the ROC Constitution, as it currently applies, there are repeated references to the geographical-political constituent parts of China, including Provinces, Mongolian Leagues and Banners and Tibet.  Meanwhile, Article 4 states that the territory of the ROC cannot be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly. 

In fact, the list of ROC, nominal, territorial disputes with jurisdictions on the Asian mainland (including, Afghanistan, India, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan and the USSR) remained quite extensive for some decades after 1949.

Taiwan’s documents assume leadership over all China, including Tibet. Photo by Daniele Salutari on Unsplash.

The PRC, meanwhile, resolved most of its continental, international territorial disputes, with India being the key exception.  (The PRC negotiated treaties settling these border disputes on behalf of China were typically not recognized as legitimate by the ROC (which maintained Taipei’s claim to represent all of China.))


Both the ROC and the PRC maintain largely overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.  Thus, the contested “Nine Dash Line”, which underpins PRC claims to extensive jurisdiction of large parts of the South China Sea is, in fact, a reduced (in favour of Vietnam) version of the earlier ROC, “Eleven Dash Line”, which Taiwan still applies

Both the PRC and the ROC also strongly contest Japanese control of the Diaoyu (or Senkaku) Islands in the East China Sea.

This Taiwanese military emblem shows the island, not as a separate country, but as part of the whole.


A further indicative aspect of how the ROC Constitution has been applied (within Taiwan controlled territory) since 1949 is that until 1998, the Taiwanese governing system comprised a National Government based in Taipei – and a separate Province of Taiwan Government – with each government essentially having jurisdiction over the same geographical area. 

From 1957 to 2018, this was the Taiwan Provincial Government. Image: Vegafish/ Wikimedia Commons.

The ROC on Taiwan also once supported a separate, operating but largely nominal Province of Fujian Government, which came into existence due to the KMT maintaining political control over certain small offshore island groups (Kinmen and Matsu) geographically part of Fujian Province on the Mainland.  (These islands are located in the Taiwan Strait very close to the Mainland.)

Until late 1971, the claimed but nominal ROC jurisdiction over all of China was widely recognized internationally – and especially by the United Nations.  The ROC, representing China, became one of the Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council (holding a veto power), along with Britain, France, the US and the USSR (now Russia). 

Eventually the geopolitical tectonic plates shifted, however, and, in late 1971, the United Nations voted by a large margin to stop recognizing the KMT Government in Taiwan as the government of all of China and switch that recognition to the PRC Government based in Beijing.

Subsequently, many countries began to accept that the sole legitimate government of China was based in Beijing, including Australia in 1972 and the US in 1979. 


Today, Beijing maintains full diplomatic relations, on this same basis, with the overwhelming majority of UN Member States.  The ROC on Taiwan now retains full diplomatic relations with just 12 of the 193 UN Member States – plus the Holy See, which governs Vatican City.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is the current governing party in Taiwan and Tsai Ing-wen is the DPP President of Taiwan.  The Voice of America recently confirmed, the DPP favours independence for Taiwan.  


Awkwardly, as we have seen above, the ROC Constitution, under which the DPP governs Taiwan, insistently supports the unity of all of China – including Taiwan.  Indeed, the ROC Constitution would require massive amendment if it were to be transformed into a constitution which could provide a Basic Law for a constitutionally independent Taiwan.  Any such move would, in turn, cross a critically bright, PRC political red-line, triggering plainly foreseeable, grave consequences.

The agreement that Taiwan is part of China is universally acknowledged.

Taiwan’s own constitution, the ROC Constitution, has, thus, created an entrenched, major formal deterrent to any reckless political action aimed at undermining the shared, cross-strait constitutional consensus that there is only One China – including Taiwan.

The misleading “western lens” view is pushed by many journalists critical of China, including some in Hong Kong.

This has established a thorny underlying, ultimately geopolitical problem for the DPP – and for Washington (along with other China Threat devotees) even as the US continues to play the Taiwan card as part of its massive project to try and contain the rise of China.


Although it is most unlikely that the then ROC President, Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT could have envisaged, in 1947, the particular, impulse-controlling – and unifying – influence of the remarkable ROC Constitution over 75 years later, we can surely be thankful that it continues to have this constructive, long-term impact. 

Richard Cullen is a Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong and a popular writer on public affairs.

  • Reprint of article by Richard Cullen, who is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong. This article was published in “Fridayeveryday” on June 28, 2023.
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Short Summary of History of Chen Taiji and Yang Taiji Thu, 28 Sep 2023 15:29:11 +0000

Original Style:  Chen Style:  It is more likely that Taiji was invented about 350-400 years ago near the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) or the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), associated with Chen Wang-Ting (陈王庭, 1600-1680), a former military officer who lived in the Chen village in Chenjiagou (陈家沟) in Henan Province (河南省).

Existence of Yang Style Taiji (Yang Lu-Chen):  There are many different styles of Taiji.  The original style is the Chen Style, which gave rise to the Yang Style, when Yang Lu-Chan (楊露禅, 1799-1872) from Hebei Province (河北省), went to the Chen village to work, and then also learned Taiji from Chen Chang-Xing (陈长兴) for an extended period (about 7 years).  Then Yang went back to Beijing in Hebei Province and taught Taiji.  Because many of his students were from the imperial court’s aristocratic class, instead of laborers, farmers, and soldiers, he modified the Chen Style Taiji to make it less physically demanding and more suitable for the aristocratic class, but not necessarily decreased its effectiveness as a martial art. Yang-Style Taiji which is mostly soft and slow became popular and spread. As a matter of fact, Yang Lu-Chan and some of the subsequent masters of the Yang-Style Taiji were superb martial arts fighters who were among the best fighters of their period.  During the next hundred or so years, several other leading practitioners of Taiji made their own modifications and extensions of the Chen Style Taiji and gave rise to the Wu Style (吴式), Sun Style (孙式), and Wu/Hao Style (武/郝 式).  The Yang Style became the most commonly practiced Taiji style in the world.

Reemergence of Chen Style Taiji (Chen Fake):  In the early 1900 there is a reemergence of Chen Style Taiji when Chen Fake became the most dominant martial artist and taught many people around China and the world.  There is an interesting story about Chen Fake.  He was the son of a Chen Style Taiji teacher in Shandong province, but he was weak and in poor health.  When he was 14 in 1901, he overhead from his relatives criticizing his weakness. That served as a wakeup call that he might not be able to carry the tradition of Chen Style Taiji.  So over the next 3 years, he diligently practiced the various forms of his Chen family Taiji and became well known and famous by winning many impromptu competitions where there were no rules and could be very dangerous.  His fame spread and he had many students in China and around the world and resulted in the reemergence of Chen Style Taiji until his death in 1957.  With a mixture of fast and slow movements, as well as a mixture of hard and soft movements, the Chen Style Taiji reemerged again as a popular martial art.  Therefore both the Chen Style Taiji (characterized by a mixture of fast/slow movements and a mixture of hard/soft movements) and the Yang Style Taiji (characterized by mostly slow and soft movements) were practiced by many people in China and around the world throughout the twenty century.  Some of the disciples of both styles of Taiji also became superb martial arts fighters.

Emergence of the New Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji:  One of the best students of Chen Fake was Feng Zhiqiang (冯 志 强) (1928-2012), who besides being a student of Chen Fake, was also a student of the Xingyiquan expert and Qigong master Hu Yaozhen (胡耀貞), who was also an expert in traditional Chinese medicine. Under the guidance of two superb martial arts masters Chen Fake and Hu Yaozhen, Feng Zhiqiang practiced diligently Taiji and Qigong, and synthesized both techniques in a new Chen Taiji Style known as the Chen Style Hunyuan (混元) Taiji.  Feng Zhiqiang became perhaps the most well known Taiji master in the world.  His reputation grew in China and around the world, especially in Japan where he had been challenged many times by karate, judo, and other martial arts experts and successfully met those challenges.  Today the Yang Style Taiji and the Chen Style Taiji (either the traditional Chen Style or the Hunyuan Style) are the two most popular and practiced Taiji forms in the world.

Who Is Carrying on the Tradition After Feng Zhiqiang: After Feng Zhiqiang’s death in 2012, Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji is continued to be taught in Beijing under the leadership of Feng Zhiqiang’s daughter and grandson.  In the U.S. it is taught under the leadership of Wang Feng-Ming, son-in-law of Feng Zhiqiang and who accompanied Feng Zhiqiang in many of his oversea training and teaching trips.  After leaving Beijing in 1994, Mr. Wang taught Taiji in Europe, especially in Finland, for more than a decade, with many students all over Europe. Then around 2007, he moved to the U.S., with his base in central New Jersey.

Form Names of the Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji 24 Form: The two most popular form sets for Chen Style Hunyuan Taiji are the 24 Form and the 48 Form.  The names of the forms in the 24 Form are given below:

1. Commencing Form
2. Warrior Pound Mortar
3. Leisurely Tie Coat
4. Six Blocking Four Closing
5. Single Whip
6. White Crane Spreads Wings
7. Walk Obliquely and Twist Step
8. Lift Hands and Raise Knee
9. Wade Forward and Twist Step
10. Cover Hand Punch
11. Shield Body Punch
12. Lean with Back
13. Green Dragon Emerges from Water
14. Double Push Hands
15. Three Change Palm
16. Reverse Roll Arm
17. Step Back and Press Elbow
18. Middle Winding
19. Flash the Back
20. Ground Punch
21. Chest Level Punch
22. Snap Waist and Press Elbow
23. Head Punch
24. Closing Form
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Review of “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? Mon, 26 Jun 2023 03:09:29 +0000

This article provides a review of the recent book [1] Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucdydides’s Trap? by Graham Allison. The book discusses whether a situation with a rising power facing a ruling power will likely end up in war. In the book, Allison analyzed several such world situations, it argues that the answer is more likely, although not necessarily, and the book asked the important question, known as Thucydides’s trap, whether the current situation of China as a rising power and the U.S. as a ruling power will end up in war. That is the purpose of this article. The answer to the question of Thucdydides’s trap is not a simple and straight-forward answer, as discussed below.

Sparta Versus Athens in the 5th Century BC or BCE (Before Common Era): Before the Persian invasion of Greece in 490 BCE, in the Greek peninsula known as the Peloponnese, the city-state of Sparta, highly militaristic with a powerful army where their sons were enrolled in military academies starting at age of seven, had been the region’s dominant power for more than a century. Athens, another city-state in the Peloponnese area, was a port city and interested always as a trading nation with merchants who crisscrossed the Aegean Sea, and had developed a vast navy, was interested in culture, history, philosophy, and democracy, but at the same time had no reservations about interfering in the affairs of other states.

Athens was a rising power and Sparta was a ruling power. As Athens’ power and influence continued to grow, there were even thoughts of a preemptive attack by Sparta on Athens to remind the entire Greek world who was number one. To reduce the tension and avoid a series of all-out conflicts known as the First Pelonponnean War, Sparta and Athens agreed to a peace treaty in 446 BCE that laid the groundwork for a regional peace treaty that lasted for about 30 years. However, later a conflict between two smaller partner states of Sparta and Athens escalated to a conflict that neither side wanted to back away from and let to a war between Sparta and Athens. This gave rise to Thucydides’s Trap that a rising power would lead to war between the rising power and the ruling power.

Initially there might not be a serious conflict between Athens and Sparta. But the conflict became serious when Athens became an imperial power with influence over many cities along both sides of the Aegean Sea and trying to convert them to become Athens’ allies or colonies. The American historian and economist Alan Freeman gave an excellent video broadcast “Is war between China and US inevitable?” discussing the conflict between Sparta and Athens, Thucydides’s Trap, and the current conflict between the U.S. and China. [2] See, in particular, the segment (5:10-6:50) of his video broadcast showing the map of Athen’s imperial power and Athen’s many potential partners and allies in the Aegean Sea. However, in the case of China and the U.S., the conflict is not due to China’s economic rise, but it is due’s to the U.S. economic decline. Furthermore, the U.S. should be responsible for taking actions to correcting its own economic decline, and should not blame China for its own economic decline.

What Is the Likelihood of a Rising Power Leads to War with a Ruling Power? Actually even in Graham Allison’s book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, Allison did not conclude that the answer is a definite yes, although when he and his team at Harvard studied 16 historical cases between a rising power and a ruling power, they concluded that the answer is yes in 12 of the 16 cases they studied. However, their conclusion can leave a lot of room for debates, as in the discussion of Sparta and Athens. Furthermore, history in the world has a lot more cases that can be studied that could lead to the answer to Thucydides’s Trap as no. We next discuss how was world order decided, then follow with a discussion of the current U.S.-China conflict.

How Was World Order Decided? The book often mentioned how order was decided, or how do you decide whether you can keep your adversary in line. A rule that is often used is a “Two-Power Standard” announced in 1889 as the general method to maintain Britain’s naval primacy, that is to keep Britain on the top of the order hierarchy is to maintain a fleet of battleships equal to the numbers deployed by its next two competitors combined since naval supremacy was key to the battlefield in the past, including the 19th century and first part of the 20th century. This was a rule used by the British to ensure that the British had enough military power to help to enforce its rule-based order. This was used by Winston Churchhill in his various positions as the British Secretary of state for War, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Prime Minister, as well as other positions. Similarly, it was also used by other countries in planning for conflicts or wars with potential adversaries. In the imperialistic world, it was your military might that settles conflicts. The question of fairness was of secondary importance.

The Current U.S.-China Conflict: In the current world, the U.S. is the world’s richest country and the most powerful country, with the world’s most number of inventions and patents, with the best built infrastructures, and with the best universities. Therefore, the U.S. is the ruling power in the world. China is the second most productive country in the world, with the fastest growth in the last 30+ years, with the greatest reduction in poverty, and leads or nearly leads the world in inventions and patents, and has become the manufacturing center of the world, and leads the world in modern infrastructures. Therefore, China is the world’s rising power. This leads to the question of Thucydides’s Trap whether the rising power China and the ruling power the U.S. will lead to conflicts and war.

What makes this question even more urgent is that the U.S. is declining in power. The U.S.’s economy is relatively stagnant, its infrastructures are getting old and not being rapidly replaced, its manufacturing capabilities are migrating overseas, and its people and government do not seem to have the same urgency or zeal. At the same time, China’s economy and manufacturing capacities seem to continue to grow, its infrastructures are rapidly expanding, its education system seems to continue to improve and grow, and its people seem to work with more urgency. Will this lead to more conflicts between U.S. and China? It could, but on the other hand, the U.S.’s declines are not due to China, and it must revitalize itself and should not blame China. Furthermore, synergy can come if the sides are willing to collaborate and help each other, and the rest of the world as a whole can also improve.

There is, however, one important question that has not been brought up for discussion. In all past conflicts, it was possible to have a winner. However, with countries now owning hundreds, if not thousands, of thermonuclear weapons that can annihilate a country, the world, and humanity, there may not be any winner after a war. Therefore, that could alter all our plannings and strategies, as we contemplate Thucydides’s Trap.

Concluding Remarks: There seems to be several major issues in the conflict between the U.S. and China, at least from the eyes of the U.S., in particular Taiwan, South China Sea, and East China Sea islands. Since all these issues have already been discussed in my other articles in this website, I will not address them further in this article, except to point out their references. See, e.g., Ref. 3 and references referred to in that article.



[1] Graham Allison, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston-New York, 2018.

[2] Alan Freeman, “Is war between China and US inevitable?”, video broadcast by Thinkers Forum:, April 16, 2023. See in particular, the (5:10-6:50) segment of this video showing the map of Athen’s imperial power and Athen’s many potential partners and allies in the Aegean Sea.

[3] “It Is Time for the U.S. to Acknowledge History”:, as well as articles referenced in that article.

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