美国舆论重镇《华盛顿邮报》曾发表詹姆斯.曼（James Mann ）的文章：题为“中国的挑战：无自由的耀眼致富模式”（THE CHINA CHALLENGE： A Shining Model of Wealth Without Liberty）。作者声称，中国的发展模式是对自由民主模式未来的新挑战，并且赢了。他说：“对全球竭力抓牢自己权力不放的威权主义领导人而言，中国越来越适合当作蓝图。我们习惯于把中国当作一个经济奇迹，但它也变成了一个政治模式。北京已经显示，他们不必在权力和利润之间作出选择；他们可以二者得兼。今日中国展示，一个政权能够镇压有组织的反对派，而不需要透过选举来确立合法性；一个执政党可以维持对信息和互联网的相当大程度的控制，而不会放缓经济增长。并且它显示一个国家的精英可以被舒适公寓、赚钱机会和个人的重大升迁以及非政治性自由（服装、娱乐、性、海外旅游）所买断。”
上世纪前苏联的经济，从30 年代初到50年代一直维持高速增长，它那时的GDP增速比中国现在的增速还要高。认为苏联的共产制度开创了人类崭新的生活方式东西方评论家，比比皆是。而德国的希特勒则声言他要“拯救德意志农民，维持给养和生存基础！拯救德意志工人，向失业展开一场大规模的全面进攻。”他的确创造了消灭失业的经济奇迹，倒1938年德国失业率仅为1.3%，而同期美国、英国、比利时、荷兰的失业率分别为1.89%、8.1%、8.7% 和9.9%。从1932年到1938年，德国的国民生产总值增长了102%，国民收入增长了一倍。德国在上世纪三十年代的经济，呈急速膨胀，令世界瞠目结舌，忧惧交加。而南韩、台湾，在军政府统治或戒严状态下，从上世纪六十年代末至八十年代，经济起飞神速，在在令国际社会眩目不已。
本站刊登日期： Wednesday, March 11, 2009
关键字: 詹姆斯.曼 中国模式
Myth of the "China model"
How Unprecedented is the "China model"?
China's rise on the international stage continues to generate debate, in particular regarding the “China model” that is credited with this rise. But what is the “China model”? And indeed, what is the “real China”? The diversity of views on this subject brings to mind Akira Kurosawa’s famous film "Rashomon," bewildering the observer with an apparent variety of mutually exclusive versions of China.
The Washington Post published an article by James Mann entitled “The China Challenge: A Shining Model of Wealth Without Liberty.” In his article, Mann pronounced China victorious with its “startling new challenge to the future of liberal democracy.” He continued:
For authoritarian leaders around the world seeking to maintain their grip on power, China increasingly serves as a blueprint. We're used to thinking of China as an economic miracle, but it's also becoming a political model. Beijing has shown dictators that they don't have to choose between power and profit; they can have both. Today's China demonstrates that a regime can suppress organized opposition and need not establish its legitimacy through elections. It shows that a ruling party can maintain considerable control over information and the Internet without slowing economic growth. And it indicates that a nation's elite can be bought off with comfortable apartments, the chance to make money, and significant advances in personal, non-political freedoms (clothes, entertainment, sex, travel abroad).
James Mann is a veteran China scholar and writer who headed the Beijing bureau of The Los Angeles Times in the late 1980s. He is the author of several books in China, notably Beijing Jeep and most recently The China Fantasy, and he is currently an author in residence at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. Given his expertise and renown, Mann’s description of the China model as unprecedented and extraordinary in its aims and accomplishments is being taken very seriously. But I cannot dismiss nagging doubts over how trailblazing the China model really is.
History suggests a number of precedents to the China model. Several decades ago, dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, each at the height of their power, stressed their nations’ unique rejection of western democratic models of political and economic development. Hitler, for example, on the third day after taking office in 1933 issued a "Notice to the Citizens of Germany" in which he affirmed the Third Reich’s unique (anti-Western) national character, and its striking off on a path separate from those of England, France and the United States.
Even China’s rapid economic growth has not yet broken historical records. The Soviet Union maintained even more rapid economic growth from the beginning of the 1930s to the 1950s, while commentators around the world marveled at the new lifestyle that the Soviet system had apparently created for mankind. In Germany, Hitler declared that he would rescue German farmers and maintain their means of livelihood while simultaneously launching a massive all-out offensive to rescue workers from unemployment. He actually did resurrect Germany from its economic morass and virtually eliminated unemployment in Germany; in 1938, Germany’s unemployment rate was only 1.3 percent, compared with 1.89 percent in the Unites States, and levels ranging from 8 to nearly 10 percent in Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands. Between 1932 an 1938, Germany’s GDP grew by 102 percent, and its national income likewise doubled. As in the case of today’s China, the rapid economic expansion of Germany in the 1930s was regarded with awe and trepidation, just as the burgeoning economies of South Korea and Taiwan under their respective authoritarian regimes dazzled the international community from the late 1960s into the 1980s.
Like today’s China, these totalitarian and authoritarian regimes suppressed organized opposition and spurned the opportunity to establish legitimacy through an electoral process. Like today’s China, they were not forced to choose between a monopoly on power and economic growth; they had both. But how has history judged them decades later? The Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, these extraordinary challenger of liberal democracy – where are they now? Like the authoritarian regimes that ruled South Korea and Taiwan, these extraordinary and unprecedented models have crumbled into the dust of history, while the countries they ruled with iron fists have all shifted back to the mainstream of liberal democracy.
Looking back at history, it is hard to see China’s current “miracle” as truly unprecedented, and likewise difficult to believe in its inevitable “triumph” over liberal democracy.
"Five Freedoms" and a Complacent Middle Class
James Mann noted five freedoms that China’s urban elites now enjoy: The opportunity to invest and make money, to buy and wear what they want, to enjoy themselves, to see the world and to have love affairs. These freedoms certainly have more sparkle and pizzazz than the four homely aspirations of the Roosevelt era. Appearances would suggest that China’s elite have nothing more to ask for, and as a result, Mann observes, “the middle class supports or at least goes along with the existing political order; after all, that order made it middle class in the first place.”
There is little to argue with in Mann’s description of China’s middle class, which in its situation and attitudes is reminiscent of the Soviet elite during the late Brezhnev era; with their access to the best cars, homes, food and clothing, what reason should they have for dissatisfaction?
It is the complacency of China’s middle class that leads Mann to discredit the apparently naïve predictions of western leaders that affluence might bring democracy to China:
In 1997, President Bill Clinton said China was on “the wrong side of history.” Political change would come “just as, inevitably, the Berlin Wall fell,” he predicted. President Bush has repeated many of these same themes: “Trade freely with China, and time is on our side,” he once said. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said two years ago that he thought there was “an unstoppable momentum” toward democracy in China. Not quite.
But are Mann’s arguments strong enough to categorically rule out the validity of these western politicians’ judgments and predictions? I recall that 20-odd years ago, many western Kremlinologists ridiculed President Reagan’s speech calling for the toppling of the Berlin Wall. These scholars had observed the Soviet Communist Party’s stubborn survival through various crises, and saw the Soviet Union, with its formidable defense force, as a permanent fixture among the world’s superpowers. To these experts, President Reagan was hopelessly out of touch with reality.
But it is not Reagan whom history mocked: the dramatic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in 1989-1991 left almost all of those western analysts and experts scrambling for a new theoretical foothold.
As we now know, it was not external forces that defeated the former Soviet Union, but the Soviet Union that defeated itself. It was abandoned by its own people, led to a significant extent by its apparently complacent elite. Why did this elite contribute to the collapse of an empire that had brought them so much personal benefit? Because these intellectuals and other elites recognized where their long-term interests lay. The Soviet Union, like Communist China, was a fundamentally anti-intellectual regime intent on monopolizing power, inherently unable to trust its cultural and economic elite.
Yes, the elite class can temporarily be bought off with comfortable apartments, the chance to make money and significant advances in personal, non-political freedoms, but eventually elites will tire of their lack of representation in the public power structure, and their lack of voice and control over their own fates and interests. After all, if your benefits derive largely from the whims of the authorities, they can disappear just as quickly through the same whims. However comfortable their existence, the elites under a totalitarian regime know that their castles are floating on air without institutional support, and that lacking a stable foundation, they have no long-term future.
We’ve seen how many of those formerly listed among China’s wealthiest tycoons have already either been imprisoned or have fled into exile since being targeted by the Chinese authorities. Yang Bin, once listed second on Forbes’ list of Chinese tycoons, was arrested in 2002 on charges of tax evasion and was eventually sentenced to 18 years in prison. Yang Rong, once third on the Forbes list, fled to the U.S. in 2002 after being accused of economic crimes. Former movie star Liu Xiaoqing, who made a fortune in real estate, ended up in Qincheng Prison, and the enlightened Confucian merchant Sun Dawu has disappeared from public view after receiving a suspended three-year sentence for “illegally accepting deposits from members of the public.” Inclusion on the Forbes list is increasingly regarded as a kiss of death, and some entrepreneurs have been reported to have quietly requested to be removed from the list.
What leads the Zhongnanhai authorities to sometimes turn against the “red capitalists” to whom they have previously extended warm welcome? I suggest two main causes: 1) Beijing needs to confiscate the wealth of these tycoons in order to fill the huge gaps in the accounts of state-owned banks; 2) the government needs to acknowledge the grievances of China’s underprivileged regarding the growing gap between the rich and the poor.
The wealthy children of high-ranking officials, of course, manage to escape the noose, while even the most blameless private entrepreneurs can enjoy no feelings of security.
In an environment lacking constitutional guarantees of rights, and where bureaucratic whim can transform a golden mountain into a mirage, members of China’s wealthy elite and middle-class are forced to constantly reconsider their long-term interests. Under these conditions, political apathy cannot last forever, because only those with finely-honed political intuition will be rewarded. As Aristotle noted long ago, "Man is a political animal"; we have seen that even a place with a reputation for entrenched political apathy such as Hong Kong has become more embroiled in politics since reunification with the mainland. The reasons, I think, are self-evident.
Diplomatic achievements bringing China into the mainstream?
It should be acknowledged that Beijing has actually scored some significant diplomatic points in recent years. James Mann observes:
China's single-party state offers continuing hope not only to such largely isolated dictatorships as Burma, Zimbabwe, Syria and North Korea but also to some key U.S. friends who themselves resist calls for democracy (say, Egypt or Pakistan) and to our neighbors of Cuba and Venezuela… Repressive regimes elsewhere are increasingly looking to Beijing. And often the sympathy flows both ways: China has, in recent years, helped to prop up Zimbabwe, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and North Korea.
There is much truth in Mann’s observations. Chinese civilization is well known for its focus on relationships and “face,” its emphasis on the difference between “insider” and “outsider" and on the need to maintain appearances. Chinese officials nurtured in this atmosphere naturally develop exquisitely fine-tuned diplomatic skills. Zhou Enlai represented the pinnacle of China’s achievement in this respect as he established and developed the CPC's basic diplomatic practices. China’s economic boom has provided it with additional financial incentives to offer prospective allies, greatly enhancing Beijing’s image of diplomatic prowess at a time when the United States has gained an increasingly negative international reputation.
Does this diplomatic situation, however, really indicate that Beijing has created a new and attractive institutional model, or a new set of universal values to compete with those of democracy, freedom, human rights and rule of law?
Let us be frank about exactly what image is created by the partnerships Beijing has formed with the regimes of countries such as Burma, Zimbabwe, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Cuba. I think it is fair to say that the majority of Chinese people would be ashamed to acknowledge these “friendships,” and the elite even more so. Is this really how Beijing plans to make China part of the “international community”? Everyone is familiar with the saying “Birds of a feather flock together,” and if China has any real aspirations on the world stage, it will need to extend its partnerships beyond rogue nations. In any case, while the United States is constantly criticized for acting like “the policeman of the world,” whenever a crisis develops, even China’s “little brothers,” North Korea and Vietnam, are more likely to turn to the U.S. than to China for help.
In the final analysis, the fact remains that since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the years 1989-1991, China has become an island, albeit a very large one, in the vast international mainstream. And it remains a deviant, for all that it is a smiling deviant, just as a monkey retains its basic nature, even if dressed up in a smart little tuxedo.
A nation of slaves
The crux of China’s problem is internal. As a veteran observer of China, James Mann is certainly aware of the recent Shanxi kiln slavery incident, which shocked and horrified China and the rest of the world with its revelations that migrant workers and many children and teenagers were through deception and abduction forced to work under horrific conditions at brick kilns in the backwaters of Shanxi and Hebei provinces. This was not a recent phenomenon, but one that had been ongoing for some years over a broad geographical expanse. This case, along with the June 4 massacre and the SARS incident, has exposed China’s profound systemic flaws and raises real questions about the fundamental nature of China’s rise. It alerts us to the need for China to reshape its system through a constitutional order capable of genuinely protecting basic rights of life, liberty and property.
If the Chinese government is confident that its model is really so desirable, why does it feel compelled, as James Mann observes, to “maintain considerable control over information and the Internet”? Why has it built its massive "Golden Shield" to block the flow of information from the outside world? If the Chinese have developed a winning system, why have so many CPC leaders jettisoned their offspring and assets to the “outmoded” systems of the United States and other western countries?
Beijing’s presentation of its “successful model” as a preferable alternative to universal human values merely delays the inevitable moment of truth. At present, China’s “successful model” is constructed from two main elements: first, China’s control of information and packaging of its image to the outside world, and second, the lessons China has learned from the collapse of the former Soviet bloc and other totalitarian regimes regarding the need to quickly plug every leak in the dike of social control, rapidly address every symptom of discord and nip all buds of unrest. The root systemic causes of popular discontent, meanwhile, are largely ignored. But a dike can only be built so high and requires constant upkeep. The danger remains that the floodtides of unrest in China will continue to rise faster than Beijing can build new levees, threatening a social deluge of Katrina-like proportions and even more lingering and far-reaching fall-out.
What then of this lustrous model of wealth without liberty?
1. JamesMann’s article can be read in full at http://www. washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/
2. A full English translation of Hitler’s proclamation isposted at http://www.humanitas-international.org/
3. Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms,” outlined in aspeech on January 6, 1941, were freedom of expression,
freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedomfrom fear.
4. For themost recent Forbes list of “China’s 400 Richest,” see http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/74/biz_06china_
5. See “Yang Bin Convicted of Fraud, Sentenced to 18 Years, ”People’s Daily Online, July 15, 2003, english.peopledaily.
6. See “Yang Rong Sues Liaoning Government,” Epoch Times,August 19, 2003, http://en.epochtimes.com/news/
7. See “Actress Arrested for Tax Evasion,” Shanghai Star, August 1, 2002, http://app1.chinadaily.com.cn/star/2002/
8. See Qin Hui, “Two Tycoons, Two Fates: Zhou Zhengyi and Sun Dawu,”China Rights Forum,No. 1, 2004.
Date Posted： Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Keywords: James Mann China model
(博讯记者：蔡楚) (博讯 boxun.com)(本文只代表作者或者发稿团体的观点、立场)