英文翻译:执政党要建立基本的政治伦理 ——国庆60周年前夕一位老同志的谈话

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执政党要建立基本的政治伦理
——国庆60周年前夕一位老同志的谈话

建国六十周年了,听说正忙着阅兵准备,我已经老了,腿脚不灵了,

可能去不了天安门城楼了。以前,我不分管宣传报道这一块,但我知道,为了六十年大庆,会有很多大规模的宣传,主要为了宣传国家的成就和进步,这是六十年来 的老办法了,一直没有变过。前些天,中央党校一位年轻的教授到我这里来聊天,他很年轻,很有思想的。他总说他是改革的一代,而我这样的老头子是革命的一 代,现在的年轻人思想很活跃,给我出的难题不少,有些看法好像冒犯了我们党的一些说法和做法。可是,和他们谈得多了,我就越相信,他们还是真诚的,没有乱 来的意思。有时候,我觉得被他们的问题冒犯了,这可能说明我本人还不如这些年轻人真诚,我只是经常告诉他们,年轻人要多知道一些历史。

前些天,他又来了,说要向我请教历史,问题还不是他提的,而是他教的那个地厅级干部班的学员提的,他说他回答不出来,就把问题提给了我。那些学员干部在讨 论时提出的问题是:建国都六十年了,我们国家的哪些东西没有变?为什么没有变?会不会变?他的意思我明白,六十年大庆的宣传报道天天向老百姓说发生了什么 样什么样的变化,能不能换个角度来想一下,一个国家让一个政党领导六十年了,也不算短的时间了,这六十年到底应该怎么来概括、怎么来总结,我们党有责任向 老百姓说清楚讲明白。一时说不清楚讲不明白,有疑问,也没有关系,重要的是要讲出来,公开讲出来,不要藏着不讲或私下里讲。建国都六十年了,还不能公开地 讨论一些问题,这六十年该当何论呢?我们是过来人,有责任说清楚讲明白,尤其是一些基本事实,一些基本道理,不能令已昏昏,也不能让人昏昏。

我告诉年轻教授,建国六十年了,我们这个国家没有变的东西还有很多很多。最基本的事实是,这个国家还是由中国共产党领导,这个事实谁都明白,但这个事实的 背后是什么呢?比如说,我们党有7000多万党员,是一个最大的党,而这个党至今还没有在社团管理部门登记过,这个事实背后又是什么呢?就是我们国家还没 有一部“政党法”,六十年了,还是空白,没有变,我们国家还没有现代意义上的政党制度。“国家还是党的国家”,而不是“党是国家的党”。六十年了,“党和 国家领导人”这个概念没有变。在财政上,党库与国库之间的那堵墙还没有建立起来。再看看,数百万军队还叫解放军,没有变,还不是真正意义上的国家武装力 量。军队的最高领导人还是党的最高领导人。党军一体没有被国家对军队的领导来代替。六十年了,这一点也没有变。即便在党内,六十年了,也没有建立起真正意 义上的竞争性选举制度,更不用说在国家范围内了。经常说到的协商,实际上还是战争时期的秘密运作传统。这都是一些基本的事实,它们能引伸出什么基本道理, 应该好好讨论。这些讨论离不开这些基本事实的,年轻人真应该多多了解历史。我记得建国初期,几个民主党派人士给中央写信,建议把中南海还给老百姓,这个皇 家园林最好作为公益文化的纪念物保存下来。80年代初,书记处又接到过类似的建议,还加了一条:党中央机关应该挂牌办公,办公厅、中组部、中宣部、统战部 等,都是执政党的机关,不是非法的地下机关,这个建议转了好几个书记的手里,最后没有上会讨论。这两件事,也是六十年来没有变化的。

后来,教授告诉我,他自认为对一些问题特别有研究,但还是没有想到怎么样来理解这么一些基本事实。我通过很多渠道知道这十多年来的新思潮、新提法,不管什 么样的理论什么样的流派,对国家六十年变化了的东西、没有变化的东西,先要搞明白基本事实。有些东西应不应该变、可不可以变、能不能变,要区分起来,比较 困难。要讨论问题,那就从搞清楚基本事实入手。我对年轻的教授说,你提那么个问题,我别无选择,只有说事实,基本的事实。基本事实搞明白了,有头脑的人就 会思考了,这种“没有变化”是一种政治优势吗?还是一种政治惯性?还是一种政治停滞?都要好好研究,要具体分析,不要下空洞的结论。

前些年,一位老同志病重,我去看他,他花了一个多小时向我说他对国家、对党的现状的种种担忧,说很想对中央领导同志直接谈。他说他没有这个机会了,我说, 我保证转达到。后来,一位常委同志来看我,我就传了话,我特别忘不了的是,这位老同志专门提到,革命了一辈子,到头来怎么向老百姓、向历史作个交代,还有 那么多疑点没有搞清楚,怎么交代才好呢?建国六十年了,我想,这是好机会,应该好好总结,好好讨论的。我是个老头子了,为国家为党也工作了一辈子,那种感 情是怎么也割舍不了的,可我一直就不同意“辉煌五十年”、“辉煌六十年”的提法。这不符合事实的。大跃进困难时期那三、四年,“文革”动乱那十年,总不能 说是辉煌的吧,宣传用的词,也要讲究精准,要符合基本事实。你不把那几年扣除,老百姓在心里会扣掉的,历史学家也会扣除的。普通党员也会那么做的。在90年代的那几年,我说过不止一次,政治宣传离事实太远,那叫什么?那就是不文明的,是野蛮的宣传。那几年治理码头车站上的野蛮装卸,这野蛮宣传也要治一治。 我的话没有人听。这六十年来,为什么这一点没有变,不但年轻人要想一想,我们这些过来人更要想一想,这叫反思。六十年了,应该好好庆祝了,也应该好好反 思。要举国反思,要举党反思。一个执政党,一个大国的唯一的执政党,执政了六十年的执政党,总应该有起码的反思勇气吧。这实际上是一种责任,是政党的责 任。这反思,肯定会引出许多不同的看法来,这有什么可奇怪的呢?要是搞得气氛紧张,搞一些封杀动作,这显得我们共产党人太没有气度了。在我看来,老百姓的 看法,民主党派人士的看法,专家学者的看法,政治上不得志的人的看法,这四类人的看法,尤其应该好好听听,封杀不得,六十年了,我还在这里说一些一千多年 前古人说过的那些道理,想起来让人感到很不舒服。

有一位八十年代初主持书记处工作的老同志,晚年在深圳住过几年,有一次我去看他,谈到他那曲折的人生经历,他说,对这个国家、对这个党,他有一大欣慰,两 大遗憾。欣慰的是,他亲手推动的华南地区的改革开放成为国家发展的先行者。一个遗憾的是,没有能为党的历史上一个重大冤案平反,另一个遗憾的是没有推动党 对不同意见的容忍政策。他的话不多,说完了,我们俩只是相对无语。建国都六十年了,新中国成立初期,有些政策有些政治上的理由,那也不至于六十年来都是如 此呀。那些理由现在还存在吗?还站得住脚吗?如果那些理由还站得住脚的话,那么,六十年的政权建设、思想建设、文化建设,还能用“辉煌”两个字来概括吗? 容忍不同看法的机制还没有建立起来,这只能说明,斯大林主义的那一套还在作怪:革命建设越成功,敌人的反抗就越严重。否则,何至于六十年在这一方面还没有 变化呢?那位老同志前几年已经故去了,他的夙愿还依然是个夙愿。这怎么向老百姓交代、向历史交代?从国共第一次合作分裂开始,到1949年我们赶走国民 党,国民党压制了我们22年,封杀我们的报刊,捕杀我们的党员,在学校里压制不同的意见。历史证明,他们失败了。我们绝对不能用类似的手段来对待不同意 见,对待其他人士。六十年对二十二年,这是一种什么样的时间概念?

我曾经是这个党的高级领导干部,现在享受着很高的政治待遇。我问年轻教授、由我来说出这些话,是不是让他觉得不可思议呢?他老实告诉我说,他真的不知道是 不是不可思议。我想要说的是,正因为是高级干部,就更应该从历史责任的高度来考虑问题,否则,高级干部就等于高级官员,这万万要不得。历史责任就是一个政 治伦理的问题,对一个政党要负责,就要好好想一想这个问题。
我这样说,是因为我对许多问题想了很久。记得七十年代末的时候,乔木同志有一次党内讲话时提到了政治伦理这个词,这是我第一次听到这个词。有一次开会休息 的时候,我专门向他请教,他说他经历了党内太多的风风雨雨,政治伦理问题真是一言难尽。可惜他后来再也没有谈过这个问题。是啊,到了建国三十年,党内才有 这么一位大秀才提了这么一句。之后,又不提了。又是三十年了,还是没有人再提。我是做具体工作的,没有那么高的理论水平,可脑袋里一个疑问转了三十年了: 我们共产党人就那么不堪谈政治伦理吗?我要说的是,人家封杀我们22年,我们就有必要花六十年时间以其人之道还治其人之身吗?这样的道理不就是政治伦理问 题吗?我们不公开谈,能阻止老百姓去想这样的问题吗?这么多问题,在那次深圳谈话以后,一直在我的脑袋里撞来撞去,赶也赶不走。说老实话,我还没有想明 白,这恐怕不能用“只缘身在此山中”来解释。这正是需要大家一起来好好研究的。

去年,在电视上看到我们的领导人在国庆那一天到天安门广场,向人民英雄纪念碑行礼献花。后人向过去为主义、为理想的献身者表达敬意,不正是一种基本的政治 伦理吗?没有他们的牺牲,就没有共产党掌权,这是基本的事实。可是,有谁站出来向老百姓解释一下,为什么过去五十多年就没有这样做?没有,连个简单的交代 都没有。看来,要一下子找回政治伦理也难。你属下几千万党员,你治下十几亿国民,五十多年了,连个庄重的致敬仪式都没有,是不是应该有个庄重的道歉呢。谁 没有做应该做的事情,谁做错了事情,谁就要站出来担责任的。这是起码的伦理。我们党有不少人总是习惯夸耀说现在做的一切都是正确的,同时,却对过去为什么 不做正确的事情连个起码的交代都没有。人们常说浪子回头金不换,这金不换要有前提,就是要有反思,要有承担责任。我们这么一个泱泱大国,这么一个堂堂大 党,总这样含混过去,成了什么样子!用人用错了,举荐的人不负责任,考察评价系统也不负责任,协商机制不负责任,纪律检查委员会也只管查处,不管用人过程 中的失察责任,把人关起来了或者枪毙了,就算了结了,还要说查处此人是伟大的成就。这样,这个国家不就成了没人负责任的国家了吗?我们的党不就成了没有人 负责任的党了吗?这么下去,这政治伦理又从何谈起呢?

仔细想想,我们党的那些重大失误都属于撞到了南墙上才回头的,这堵墙是自然规律、国家发展的客观规律,你违反了规律,就头破血流了。为什么会这样?六十年 了,我们国家没有成长起应该有的社会性力量来与我们共产党竞争,来提醒、来监督我们党,那些不同意见统统因为不能反映我们党的正确就听也不听。那么全权施 政,那就全权独担责任吧,又不是。六十年里有多少时间,国家发展受到阻碍,国民的发展机会失去了,宪法权利也得不到实现。这种现象是很不伦理的。那位让我 传话的老同志对我说过:你我都垂垂老矣,怕的是盖棺难定论呀!我已经走到了晚年的晚年了,这样的自责总摆脱不了。

人一旦有了伦理责任,肯定活得不轻松。一个国家,一个政党大概也是如此。我这么一个老人总想和年轻人在一起,就是要竖起耳朵,听听这些后来人怎么说我。这 位年轻教授对我说,六十年了,我们国家还没有出现完整意义上的选民,我们党也没有出现权利完整的党员,我们还没有建立起来容许其他人发挥政治作用的制度, 这些是不是您个人最大的不安?我和教授的忘年之交,是因为他通过我的孩子转给他写的一篇短文,他说他不为了发表,只是希望能在党内流传,引起讨论,文章说 的是“党章”上的那么多权利为什么落不到实处,为什么落不到实处却又不加修改。我就找他来谈了很多次。还是要从基本事实说起。从建党的时候起,我们党就说 自己代表了农工,四九年以后,又说代表了几万万中国人民,到建国六十年的现在,还是这么来讲。大家同时还看到,六十年了,并没有严肃严谨的政治程序来赋予 那种代表权,选举的、非选举的,都没有。

老家的一些省市长经常来看我,我总是对他们讲,你们的职位是需要选举才能得到的,要凭自己的本事来当选,不要老是寄希望于人大代表团中党组织的幕后作用。 靠这种作用选上的,脸要红的,对有选举权的党员进行党纪约束来统一贯彻党的决定,这就是“议会中的党员活动”,应该是合法的,可是,在很多情况下,这就变 成了压制不同意见的优势,哪里有像共产党这样大的党团呢?这不是平等竞争的机制,六十年来都是如此,没有变,很难说这样的程序是严肃的、严谨的。依照现在 的选举法,这没有违法之处,但却是违背政治伦理的,等于一家政党掌控了选举机器,民意要真正表达,就是一件难事了。这是谁都看得见的。

党校这位教授告诉我,六十年来,共产党应对各种危机,比如政治动荡、内部纷争、舆论压力、人事不正常变动,已经有了许多很定型的危机处置办法了,人才也聚 积了不少,有这么大的优势,为什么还没有打算搞平等的党际竞争呢?我说,我回答不了这个问题,但总觉得竞争选举是一个绕不过去的坎。现在还有人说,在中国 搞真正意义上的民主选举,条件不成熟,这好像是说,中国农民多,素质不高,中国没有民主传统,这都是劣势。可是,当这些劣势转变为优势了,共产党组织的优 势可能就没有了,到那时候,就又有理由不开放民主选举了。这政治伦理上的死结,什么时候能彻底解开?六十年已经过去了,还要再等几十年?

建国六十年了,应该回到一个最基本的问题上去。这个国家国民的意愿到底是什么?应该通过什么样的办法来表达真正的民意?这个问题,苏联没有搞明白,六十九 年就亡国亡党了,我从来就不是一个民粹主义者,凭我几十年的政治阅历,我敢说,表达民意是一个国家政治制度的“基础设施”,也是衡量一个国家进步、文明程 度的主要标准。我总能收到许多老百姓写来的信,我就让秘书挑一些让我看看,多年来都是这么做的。去年,接到山东一位农民的信,他问我:你们北京的领导到底 知道不知道我们在想什么、想要什么?我就想起六十年代困难时期,毛主席他老人家号召我们大兴调查研究之风,我下到农村,走了两个月,汇总起来报告给毛主席 党中央一大堆问题,其中就有这个问题。四十年过去了,这个问题还是让老百姓又问出来了。老百姓从我们的广播电视、报纸上找不到答案,就又问到我们头上来 了。当然,民意本身是很复杂的,有各种各样的人,就有各种各样不同的看法,这很正常。关键是,我们党是不是正视了民意,又在用什么样的制度来保证民意能获 得充分的、真实的表达。现在电视上报道了老百姓想致富想发展、想生活得好一些。这是一个进步,因为以前不让公开这么讲。这不让讲的责任,由谁来负?现在老 百姓老想发财致富吗?他们想参与更多的社会政治事务,想要有更多的权利,更多的发展机会。这些为什么不让公开讲?这不让讲的责任,又由谁来负?六十年了, 我们是不是应该说,在民意处理上的失误,是我们共产党最大的失误,这是要写进史书的。90年初那几年,有不少签名信、万言书、公开信,我说过多少次,不要 大惊小怪,不要乱查封杀,人家有话说,就让他说出来,有什么忍受不了的。我的话就是没有人听。一位管思想宣传的领导跑到我那里说,我不敢不管呀,中央说守 土有责,我是管这个的,不管就是失责,你看看,这就是他的责任观念,就是不对民意负责。

让我特别痛心的是,有许多人还把对民意的引导庸俗化、功利化。歪曲民意,挟持民意为“人质”,来抵制对改革的正当要求,抵制对一些错误决策的修正。这造成 很严重的后果,更是违反政治伦理的。九十年代末的时候,一些参加过抗美援朝的老同志给中央写信,要求禁止一些学者发表关于抗美援朝战争的最新研究成果,他 们认为,这些研究修正了过去的一些定论,让他们感情上受不了。这是民意吧,可这是什么样的民意呢?这些老同志到底了解那场战争多少?那些专家则不过是到前 苏联那里查了刚刚公开的档案,做了学术上的研究。这有什么错?有一个学者写信给我喊屈叫冤,我给有关领导转了他的信,最后还是石沉大海了。那些老同志脑袋 里的定论到底从哪里来的?还不是从外面灌输给他们的。要用事实来纠正他们的一些老观念,就说不行,就说要照顾老同志们的感情,就说“党史无小事”,这是什 么政治逻辑?

六十年了,许多应该变而且可以变的东西,在这样的逻辑下,就变成了不能变、不可变的东西,要树立起基本的政治伦理,还有许多障碍要克服。第一条,六十年 了,我们党把国家的治乱要系于一身,过去那么多年的折腾,没有不起因于我们党自身的折腾的。这让我痛心,我们党的折腾殃及了国家,殃及了老百姓。这么多年 了,我们告诉老百姓说,这个国家没有共产党的话,就会大乱的,老百姓真是怕折腾怕到极点了,他们对稳定的盼望,就成了我们党再单独执政下去的“民意”,这 一循环什么时候能够打破呢?

第二条,涉及到怎么样让老百姓认清历史、认清现实,就是要认清一些基本事实。六十年来,我们说得最多的一段话是“几千万革命先烈换来了红色江山”。这是关 于共产党执政合法性的最大理由之一。为了新中国,死了数千万人,这是基本事实。还有一个事实是,他们是为什么牺牲的?他们前仆后继,为的是当时我们中国共 产党设立的目标和理想,现在,有多少老百姓知道那时共产党设立了什么具体目标?我知道,90年时,出过一本书,书名叫《历史的先声——半个世纪前的承 诺》,很快被查封了。我让秘书找了一本我看看,用了一个周末的两天,我全部看完了,我还找了一些专门研究那段历史的专家来问了情况,他们告诉我,这本书里 收集的,全部是我们党在三四十年代公开发表的社论、评论、声明,没有一份是伪造的。当时,我们党向全中国人民做了承诺,要建立一个民主、自由、独立的国 家。那时,国民党不搞民主,不给自由,也没有能力让国家真正独立,才有共产党肩负那些承诺来取而代之。这些承诺的确吸引了无数志士仁人。那些牺牲的人就属 于这部分人。其实,那些承诺在毛主席三四十年代的许多著作中都有。可是,到了五六十年代都被那个毛泽东著作编辑委员会修改掉了。我看到过一份文献研究室送 来的原稿与修改稿,当时让我心里震动很大。现在,我能公开说出二十多年前我脑袋里就产生的疑问,这么个修改法,那几千万人不是白白牺牲了吗?那是白纸黑 字,确实推翻了当年我们党的承诺。说轻了,这是不尊重历史,本质上,这就是违反政治伦理,这就等于是把我们党执政掌权的基础建在沙滩上,这能牢固吗?历史 总会把真相还给老百姓的,六十年不行,七十年,七十年不行,八十年,老百姓总要知道的。91年的时候,有专家给中央写出苏联解体原因的分析报告,说是戈尔 巴乔夫的公开性毁掉了苏共、毁掉了苏联。我在这个结论下是划了大大问号的。照我看,不是公开性搞错了,而是搞迟了。在许多事情上,我们有一些人总是把经验 当教训,把教训当经验,这不改是绝对不行的。

建国六十年了,还有多少事情没有向老百姓说清楚,80年起草《决议》时,许多同志提出了许多疑问,后来都被一句“粗线条”打发过去了,这个原则在今天还在 起作用,被一些人用来做为掩盖真相、推卸历史责任的挡箭牌,让我们党的改革更加艰难。去年,纪念改革开放三十年的时候,一些当事人就那个历史转折的真相做 了一点披露,但还是被设置了许多规矩,以致“活人讳”、“圣人讳”成了一种习惯,难改。那一年我到广东视察,就有一些当事人向我聊起1976年月10月6日的一些事情,印证了我以前的一些道听途说,这一事件的内幕,我们的老百姓在去年的一份南方报纸上看到。在处理“四人帮”过程中,党的秘密情报机关起到了 特殊作用,难以说明、又不可缺少的作用,老帅要利用自己的亲属与情报机关作沟通打招呼。这一事实被隐瞒了整整三十二年。谁承担这种隐瞒的责任?一个执政党 的领导人运用亲属、情报机关、军队的力量来解决党内纠纷,这种“下不为例”的事情,真的下不为例了吗?周总理在建国之初就告诫过李克农同志,情报机关不要 卷入党内斗争,他的告诫防止了我们党内的那些不规范行为了吗?六十年了,执政党即使不方便向老百姓说清楚,至少也应该先向几千万党内同志讲清楚,在赞扬那 些为国家进入新局面作出了特殊贡献的人的同时,也应该明确地否定他们所使用的手段,这才符合基本的政治伦理。现在,还没有听到这种否定。一个执政党执政了 六十年还不注意这一点,要执政能力有什么用?没有政治伦理为基础的执政能力,会变成什么样的能力,我想,大家会认真思考这个问题的。

我们党执政六十年了,开始说到了决策科学化,开始说到了权力制衡,但做得到底怎么样?看来不说到政治伦理不行,光说到还不行,还要有办法、有制度来落实这 种伦理。毛主席在没有建国的时候,就提出了“为人民服务“,这是最高的政治伦理目标,可是怎么为人民服务,他老人家没有回答好这个问题。这“服务”不知要 比“执政为民”要谦卑、要诚恳多少倍,但做得怎么样呢?我的结论是,光有“为人民服务”、“执政为民”的宗旨,是解决不了问题的,这一宗旨也还是要有政治 伦理作基础的。有一个姓康的年轻学者前几年提出第三种合法性来源,说是一个政党只要发誓为老百姓服务,就有了执政的合法性,我看,这种看法是不成熟的,对 基本事实都没有搞清楚。

六十年了,只要关心国家发展前途的人,都会想到怎么样推进政治民主的问题,我们的老百姓、社会团体对国家政治生活既表达不了独立的看法,又参与不了实际政 治过程,又监督不了执政党,人微言轻,这种“三不”状态总不能这样延续下去吧,不能总是一成不变地讲话如仪、视察如仪、批示如仪吧。要多想想执政党对国 家、对老百姓、对历史应该承担的历史责任。

我这么老了,说了这么多。有些年轻人会骂我,在位的时候怎么不说,怎么不做,这种责骂是有道理的,我个人不能用客观环境、客观因素来推卸我应该承担的那一 部分历史责任。说了那么多政治伦理,我本人就要好好养成那种政治伦理。80年起草《决议》的时候,小平同志说,他最有资格来评价毛主席他老人家的政治品 质。可他却认为,这种评价应该让后人去做。这么一来,难题就留下了。如果后人既没有小平同志那种资格,又不讲基本的政治伦理,这事情又要赖给后后人了。总 要有人出来讲话的,我算是其中的一个吧。

(此稿由四次谈话整理而成,经谈话人审定。标题为整理者所加)

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The Governing Party Needs to Establish Fundamental Political Ethics

— A Talk by an Old Comrade on the Eve of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Founding of the PRC

执政党要建立基本的政治伦理

——国庆60周年前夕一位老同志的谈话

The sixtieth anniversary of the PRC is coming, I hear that now is a busy time preparing for military parades. I am old and can’t walk anymore so perhaps I won’t be able to go to the reviewing stand on Tiananmen. Although I was never in charge of propaganda work, I know that for the sixtieth anniversary of the PRC there will be a great deal of propaganda work done. The propaganda will concentrate on achievements and how much progress the country has made. That is the way it has been done for all these past sixty years. A few days ago a professor from the Central Party School, a very young person but someone has been doing some deep thinking, visited me for a talk. He said that he belongs to the reform generation and an old guy like me belongs to the revolution generation. He said that young people these days are very broad-minded in their thinking and so they ask me a lot of questions that are hard to answer. Some of their views seem to violate the ways of thinking about things and doing things that we have in the Party. However, the more I talk with them, the more I believe that they are quite honest in their thinking and they are not just thinking recklessly. Sometimes I am offended by their way of thinking, but perhaps that just goes to show that I am not as real and sincere as these young people. I keep telling them, you young people need to understand some history.

A few days ago, he came again, to tell me that he wants to ask me about history. The questions are not his own questions, but questions those local government bureau level cadres that he is teaching are posing. He said he can’t answer those questions and so wanted to pass them along to me. The question those student cadres wanted to pose are:

  • Over the past sixty years since the founding of the PRC, what hasn’t changed?
  • Why hasn’t it changed?
  • Could it change in the future?

I understood what he meant. For the past sixty years, the propaganda for the sixtieth anniversary is telling the people every day what great changes have been made. Could we look at things a little differently and ask, a country allows a single political party to lead for sixty years, that is quite a long time. Just how can those sixty years be characterized and summarized? Our Party has a responsibility to explain this clearly to the people. If at first we don’t explain it so they can understand, well, it doesn’t matter if there are questions, we can just explain again. We can publicly talk about it, we shouldn’t hide and not talk about it, or only talk about it with a select few. The country has already been established for sixty years so can’t we openly talk about some problems. Shouldn’t these sixty years be discussed? We are people who have had this experience so we have a responsibility to speak clearly so that we will be understood. There should be no order to keep some fundamental matters fuzzy, nor should we allow others to fuzzy about them.

I told the young professor that in the sixty years since the PRC was established, there are many things that haven’t changed. The most fundamental is that this country is still led by the Chinese Communist Party. Everyone know this fact, but what lies behind this fact? For example, with its 70 million Party members, it is the biggest party yet this party has never registered with the social organizations management department. What lies behind that fact? The fact that the PRC does not a have a “Law on the Government Party”. For sixty years, nothing, a blank page. That hasn’t changed. The PRC does not have a modern political party system. “The state is still the Party state.” and not the “Party is the party of the state.” For sixty years, the concept “Party and state leader” hasn’t changed. In finance, no wall has been built between the Party treasury and the State treasury. Look, millions of soldiers are still called the “Liberation Army”. That hasn’t changed. The military is still not a real armed force of the state in a real sense. The highest leader of the armed forces is the highest leader of the Party. The identification of the military with the Party still has not been replaced with an identification with the state. In sixty years, that has not changed. Even now, although sixty years have gone by, a truly competitive system of elections has not been established, not to mention at the national level.

Although there is talk all the time of consultation, in practice it is the same tradition of secret, behind that scenes manipulation that went during the war. These are all fundamental facts. They can be expanded upon to arrive a fundamental principles. They should be discussed openly. A discussion must involve these fundamentals and so young people must understand more history. I remember how in the early years of the PRC, some representatives of democratic parties wrote a letter to the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, suggesting that the Forbidden City of Zhongnanhai be returned to the people. This is an imperial garden and should be preserved as a public cultural memorial. At the beginning of the 1980s, the Party Secretariat also received suggestions like this, including the suggestion: the organs of the Communist Party Central Committee such as the Party Office, the Central Committee Organization Department, the Central Committee Propaganda Department, the United Front Department etc. should established offices with signs since they are the organs of the governing party and are not longer illegal underground organizations. This suggestion was passed down through the hands of many party secretaries, but was in the end never discussed. These two things are also something that hasn’t changed in sixty years.

Later, the professor told me that he believes that he has studies some issues at considerable depth but still doesn’t know how to handle these fundamental facts. From many different channels, I know that over the past ten decade or so there have arisen new ways of thinking and new formulations. However no matter what the theory or whatever the school of thought, when they consider what has changed and what has not changed over these sixty years they need to understand these fundamental facts. There are some things that should not change, that may or may not change, or that can or cannot change. Distinguishing which fundamental fact fit into which category is difficult. But when we want to discuss a problem, we need to first clearly understand the basic facts. I said to the young professor, you raised this question, so I have no alternative but to speak the facts, the basic facts. Once the basic facts are clear, intelligent people will be able to think about them. Is “no change” a good thing in politics? Or is a kind of political inertia? Or a kind of political stagnation? All these questions should be studied and discussed with reference to basic facts and not closed off with an empty conclusion.

A few years ago, when an old comrade was seriously ill, I went to see him. He talked with me for over an hour about his worries about the current situation of the country and the Party. He said he would very much like to talk about these things directly with a leader of the Party Central Committee. I promised to pass along his concerns. Later, when a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo came to visit me, I passed along what the old comrade had told me. What I remember best is how that old comrade who had devoted his life to the revolution was most concerned about how he could explain to the people, to make an accounting to history when he himself has some many doubts and so many things that he didn’t understand that he didn’t know what to say. The sixtieth anniversary of the PRC, I think, is a good opportunity. We need to summarized our experiences and have a good discussion. I am an old man who has worked for the state and the Party all my life. I cannot but be sentimentally attached to them, but still I don’t agree with formulations such as “Sixty Glorious Years” and “Fifty Glorious Years”. They are not true. The hard times of the “Great Leap Forward” lasted for three or four years. The chaos of the “Cultural Revolution” lasted ten years. Those years cannot be called glorious. Even with words used in propaganda, care should be taken that they are accurate and accord with the fundamental facts. If you don’t eliminate those years, the people will remove them from their hearts and the historians will also eliminate them.

Ordinary Party members will do the same. For several years during the 1990s, I said more than once, that political propaganda has strayed too far from reality. What does this mean? This is uncultured, barbarous propaganda. During those years there was also barbarous propaganda aimed at stopping the mishandling of goods on the wharves by stevedores. That kind of barbarous propaganda should also be rectified. Nobody paid attention to what I said. Why is it that things haven’t changed in sixty years? Not only young people should think about this but also we people who have lived through it should also reflect — in effect rethinking things. We should celebrate well the sixtieth anniversary and also rethink matters carefully. The whole nation and the whole Party should rethink things. A governing party, the only governing party of a great country, a party that has governed for sixty years should after all have the courage to rethink things. This is actually a responsibility and the people in the government and the Party are not up to the task. I believe that the views of the people, of the democratic parties, of the experts and the scholars, and people who have not fulfilled their political ambitions should be listened to especially carefully. These voices should not be suppressed. Sixty years. Here I am saying things that a sage of old said over one thousand years ago. When I think of that, it makes me feel very uncomfortable.

One old comrade who worked in the Party Secretariat in the early 1960s spent some of his later years in Shenzhen. Once when I went to visit him, he talked about the twists and turns in his career. He said that with respect to the state and the Party, he feels one part gratified, and two parts regrets. He personally pushed forward opening and reform in southern China and was one of the forerunners in reform in the entire country. One of his regrets is that he was unable to rectify a great injustice in the history of the Chinese Communist Party. Another regret is that he was unable to promote a policy of tolerance by the Party of people with different views. He didn’t speak long, so when he finished we two sat together in silence.

Sixty years have passed since the founding of the PRC. In the early years of New China, there were some political reasons for some policies but do those hold true for the entire sixty years? Are those political reasons still valid today? Are they reasonable? If these political reasons don’t make sense today, then how can the word “glorious: be applied to those sixty years of building state power, ideological construction, and cultural construction?

A system that tolerates dissident views still has not been constructed. That shows that this bit of Stalinism is still causing problems: “as the construction of the revolution become more successful, so too does enemy opposition become more serious”. If this were not so, how could it be that there has been no change in this area over the past sixty years? That old comrade died several years ago. His long-cherished wish still hasn’t been realized. That wish is how to make an accounting to the people and to history? From the breakdown of the first period of cooperation between the KMT and the Communist Party up until 1949 when we drove out the KMT, the KMT oppressed us for 22 years. They banned our publications, arrested and killed the members of our Party, and suppressed dissident view in the schools. History proves that they failed. We should not use similar means against dissident views and the people who hold them. Sixty years compared to twenty-two years, what sort of conception of time does that convey to us?

I was once a senior leader in the Communist Party. Now I enjoy excellent political treatment. I asked the professor, if it seems inconceivable that I could say these things? He replied honestly that he really isn’t sure that it is really inconceivable. I think I want to say these things just because I am a senior cadre and so should think about things from the perspective of historical responsibility. If not, than a senior cadre is the same thing as a senior official and that would never do. Responsibility to history is a problem of political ethics. Taking responsibility for a political party, that is an issue that needs to be thought about carefully.

I’ll put it this way, since I have been thinking about these problems for a long time. I remember how in the late 1970s, Comrade Hu Qiaomu in an internal Party speech mentioned the words political ethics. This is the first time I had ever heard these words. Once, during the break in a meeting, I went to him and asked him to explain it to me. He said that he has been through too many trials and tribulations within the Communist Party so the problem of political ethics is too difficult to explain in just a few words. Unfortunately, he never again discussed this issue. Yes, thirty years after the founding of the PRC, one outstanding talent finally brought up this issue within the Chinese Communist Party. After that, he didn’t bring it up ever again.

In the thirty years since, nobody ever brought it up again. I just do practical work myself and don’t have a high theoretical level. However, one idea has kept going back and forth in my mind these past thirty years. Could it be that we Communists just can’t stand discussing ethics? What I mean to say is, that others shut us out for 22 years and have we now for sixty years been using the tactics of those other to shut out others for sixty years? Is that itself a question of political ethics? We don’t discuss it openly but can we stop the people from thinking about this issue? Many questions have been bumping around in my head ever since that conversation in Shenzhen. I tried to put them out of my mind but I can’t. To be honest, I really don’t want to understand. I am afraid has to do with as the Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo wrote “only willing to see things from my viewpoint on the mountain and not seeing the mountain”. This needs to be studied carefully.

Last year, as I watched on television our leaders at the national day celebration in Tiananmen Square offer flowers at the Monument to the People’s Heroes. When the people of today pay their respects to people who died in the past for an ideology or an ideal, is that not a kind of fundamental political ethics? If they had not made their sacrifice, the Communist Party would not hold power. That is a basic fact. But who will stand before the people and explain why that hasn’t been done for over 50 years? No, not even such a simple explanation is made. It seems that restoring political ethics in a short time will be difficult. You would have under you tens of millions of party members, you who rule over one billion citizens, for over fifty years, you have not even made a serious expression of respect. Shouldn’t you make a serious apology? Nobody has done what they should.

Whoever has made a mistake should stand up and take responsibility for it. That is a basic moral principle. In our Party there are many people who like to brag that everything is done correctly now. But they don’t make even a basic accounting of why things were not done correctly in the past. People often say that when the prodigal son returns, he isn’t asked to give the money back. The precondition for not paying back the money is reflection and accepting responsibility. Our great and impressive country, our great noble Party, has been very vague about its past and that is why it is in its current state! It has abused its servants and been careless in choosing people for promotion. The system of examinations and evaluations is also not run responsibly. The consultative system is also run irresponsibly. The disciplinary and inspection committee inspectors only care for their investigations and prosecutions but do not consider the negligence of those who were supposed to supervise these people. Arresting people or execute them and then consider the case closed. But then discover the glorious accomplishments of these people. With all this, how could a country avoid becoming a country in which people do not accept responsibility. How could our Party not become an irresponsible Party? If things continue this way, how will we be able to even start to talk about political ethics.

Reflecting upon all this, I realize that these serious errors of our Party are all a matter of not being able to reverse course unless it runs into a wall. Those walls are the laws of nature and the objective rules of national development. If you break those rules, then your heads hits the wall and bleeds. Why is this so? For sixty years, our country has not developed a social force that can compete with the Communist Party, that can warn and supervise our Party. Those people with different views, because they do not reflect the correct line of the Communist Party, are ignored. But full powers to govern also means the responsibility of full powers. During these past sixty years, how many times has the development of the country been blocked and opportunities for the development of its citizens lost, and constitutional rights failed to be implemented. That situation is immoral. That old comrade who asked me to speak for him said, you and I are both getting old, what we worry about is that it will be hard to make an evaluation of us as we are laid in our coffins! I have already reached the latter days of my old age and cannot help but reproach myself in this way.

Once a man bears moral responsibility, he certainly will not live an easy life. A country and a political party are probably the same way. An old man like me, when he gets together with young people, always pricks up his ears to hear when these successors think of me. That young professor told me that over the past sixty years in our country there have not yet appeared voters in the true and complete sense. Our Party has not yet seen party members with full rights. We still have not built a system that allows other people to have a political function. Isn’t this what troubles you the most? I got to know this professor, despite the difference in our ages, because he sent to me through my son a short article that he had written. He said he does not plan to publish it, but wants it to circulate within the Party and stir up discussion. In the article he asked why many of the rights in the Party Charter have not actually been implemented. Why weren’t the parts that were not amended? Many times I invited him over for discussions. We need to start from basic facts. We need to start from the time of the founding of the Communist Party. Our Party said that it represents the peasants and the workers. After 1949, it said it represents all the hundreds of millions of people of China. Down to the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the PRC, its still says this. Everyone knows that for sixty years, it has not established serious and rigorous political processes to implement these rights whether through elections or other means.

Some old provincial governors and city mayors from my home province often come to see me. I always tell them, your position needs to be an elected one if you are to be able to do your job properly. You need to rely on your own abilities to get elected. You shouldn’t be relying as always on the behind the scenes work of the party organization department within the People’s Congress delegation. If you rely on that to get elected, you should blush. If you count on Party members with the right to vote by imposing party discipline to implement all the party’s decisions, that is just “party activities with the legislature”. That must be legal, but still, on many occasions, this becomes a method for suppressing dissident views. Just what other political party is there that compares in size to the Communist Party anyways? This is a system of unfair competition. It has been this way for sixty years. It hasn’t changed. It would be hard to argue that this system is serious and rigorous. According to the present election law, this is not illegal, yet it violates political ethics. It is the same as a single political party controlling the election process. This system makes it hard for the views of the people to be expressed. Anyone should be able to see that.

The Party School professor told me, that for the past sixty years, the Communist Party has responded to various crises including political unrest, internal disputes, pressure from public opinion, and improper personnel changes with a standard pattern of emergency response. The Party has also built up quite a lot of talent. With all these advantages, why hasn’t the Party been willing to engage in open inter party competition? I said that I can’t answer that question, but I do think that the problem of elections can’t be avoided. Today some people still say that conditions are still not ripe for Chinese people to have genuine democratic elections. That is just like saying that China has many peasants, many poorly educated people, and China doesn’t have a democratic tradition — all these are disadvantages. However, if these disadvantages were to turn into advantages, than the advantages of the Communist Party organization would disappear. When that happens, why not have a democratic election? When will this tangled knot of political ethics be finished with and untied? Sixty years have already passed. How many more decades will we have to wait?

Sixty years have passed since the founding of the PRC. I need to return to a fundamental issue. What do the citizens of this country want? What method should be used so that they can express their true desires? The Soviet Union didn’t know how to answer that question. The state and party collapsed after 69 years. I have never been a populist. One the basis of my decades of political experience, I dare to say that the expression of popular views is part of the “infrastructure” of the political system of a country and also a measure of the progress and culture of a country. I still get letters from many ordinary people. I ask my secretary to make a selection from them for me to read. I have been doing that for many years. Last year, I got a letter from a peasant in Shandong Province. He asked me, “Do you leaders in Beijing really know what we are thinking about and want?” This made me recall how during the difficult years of the 1960s, Chairman Mao called upon us to go to the countryside and do investigations. I went down to the countryside and traveled around for two months. I summarized them and made a report to Chairman Mao and the Central Committee.

Among them was this problem. Forty years passed and ordinary people are still asking this question. He did not get answer from the TV broadcasts and newspapers, so he asked me. Of course the views of the people are very complex, and there are all kinds of people with differing views. This is normal. The question is does the Party understand public opinion properly and what system can be used that will ensure that public opinion can be fully expressed? Television broadcasts report how people want to become rich and want to improve their lives. That is progress because before people weren’t allowed to say that openly. Who is to be held responsible for not having allowed people to speak? Don’t people today want to get rich? They want to get involved in more social and political matters, they want more rights, more opportunities to develop. Why aren’t they allowed to say this openly? Who will take responsibility for not letting them speak?

Sixty year have gone by, and shouldn’t we say that those errors in handling public opinion were the most serious errors the Communist Party has made. That should be written in the history books. In the early 1990s, there were many books of petitions, of interviews, and of open letters. As I have said many times, don’t make a big fuss about small matters, don’t make rough investigations and close things down. If people want to speak, then let them have their say. What is it that we can’t stand it? Nobody listens to what we say. A leader in charge of ideology and propaganda who came to see me said, I don’t dare not to interfere. The Party Central Committee says that the guardian has the responsibilities of his post, this post is mine, and if I don’t interfere, then I am negligent. You see — that is their idea of responsibility. But it is not being responsible to public opinion.

What especially pains me is that many people vulgarize the guidance of public opinion and use it for their own personal ends. Distorting public opinion and holding public opinion as a “hostage” to oppose reasonable demands for reform and to oppose calls to revise erroneous policies. The consequences are very serious and result in more violations of political ethics. At the end of the 1990s, a group of comrades who had taken part in the “War to Oppose America and Assist Korea” wrote to the Central Committee to request that scholars be forbidden from publishing the latest results of their research on the “War to Oppose America and Assist Korea”.

They believe that these research results revise the final conclusion that was previously established. They feel that they cannot accept that. That is public opinion, but what kind of public opinion? How much to these old comrades really know about the war? Those experts not only made use of the just-opened archives of the former Soviet Union and used these materials in scholarly research. What is wrong with that? A scholar wrote me a letter about an injustice that I passed along to a leader. But in the end, the letter was like a rock sinking into the deep sea. Where did that conclusion in the minds of those old comrades come from? Was it fed to them? If facts come along to revise some old ideas of theirs, should we say not, we should consider the feelings of these old comrades, say that “this history of the Party is an important matter”? What kind of political logic is this?

Sixty years have passed, there are many things that should change and may be changed, but that kind of logic makes the changeable become something that cannot be changed or may not be changed. If fundamental political ethics are to be established, there are many obstacles that must be overcome. The first is that for the past sixty years, our Party has made the state its own creature so that every one of the the twists and turns of all these years were all caused by the twists and turns of our Party itself. This pains me the disasters that the twists and turns of our Party brought to the state and ordinary people. All these years we told the people that if it weren’t for the Communist Party, there would be chaos. The people are very afraid of these twists and turns and want stability — this has became the “public opinion” as our party continued to govern alone. When will this cycle end?

The second has to do with how to enable the people to understand history and understand the true facts. We need to make clear some basic facts. For the past sixty years, the words we have used most is “The lives of tens of millions of martyrs paid for the red mountains and rivers”. This is one of the main reasons for the legitimacy of the Communist Party as the ruling party. Tens of millions of people died for New China. This is a basic fact. Another basic fact is why did they make this sacrifice? They came one after another, taking the place of fallen comrades, because the Communist Party had established goals and ideals. Today how many ordinary people know what goals the Communist Party established? I know.

In 1990, a book was published entitled “Heralds of History: Promises Made Fifty Years Ago”. The book was quickly banned. I had my secretary get me a copy. I finished reading it in a weekend. I then asked some people who had studied that historical period. They told me that the documents assembled in that book were all editorials, commentaries and declarations of our Party during the 1930s and 1940s. They were all authentic. Our Party at that time made promises to the Chinese people that it would establish a free, democratic and independent country. At that time the KMT was not democratic, did not allow freedom and did not allow the country to be truly independent. The Communist Party made these commitments and replaced it. These commitments attracted many people with lofty ideals.

The people who were sacrificed belonged to that group. In fact, these commitments can be found in Mao Zedong’s writings from the 1930s and 1940s. However, during the 1950s and 1960s, the editorial committee of Mao Zedong’s works edited them out. I saw an original and revised version sent from a document research office. In those days it gave us a big shock. Today, we can openly speak of the questions that arose in our minds over twenty years ago. But these revisions and the sacrifice in vain of these tens of millions of lives? It is all there in black and white, clearly repudiating the commitments that our Party made at that time. To speak plainly, we don’t respect history. In essence, this is a violation of political ethics. This is equivalent to building the foundations of the legitimacy of the party’s rule on a pile of sand. Can that be solid?

History will eventually reveal the truth to the people. If not in sixty years, than in seventy, if not in seventy years, then in eighty years the people will know. In 1991, the some experts wrote a report for the Central Committee that analyzed the dissolution of the Soviet Union. According to the report, Gorbachev’s opening destroyed the Soviet Communist Party and the Soviet Union. I would put a big question mark after this conclusion. I would say that it wasn’t that he did opening the wrong way but that it came too late. In many matters, there will always be people who will take an experience as a lesson and take a lesson as experience. That must change.

Sixty years have passed and there are still many things that have not been clearly explained to the people. When the “Decision” was drafted in 1980, many comrades raised many doubts. They were silenced by the issuance of a “rough outline”. That principle is still used today by some people who want to hide the truth and as a shield from taking responsibility before history. This made reform of our Party much more difficult. Last year, when the thirtieth anniversary of reform and opening was commemorated, some people who were involved in this turning point in history made some revelations but still observed many rules since the “taboo about criticizing living persons” and the “taboo about criticizing sages” had become a habit that is hard to break. That year I went to Guangdong Province on an inspection trip where some people involved told me about October 6, 1976 that confirmed some of the things I had heard from different sources. Just what happened behind the scenes our ordinary people could read in an issue of a south China newspaper.

In handling the matter of the “Gang of Four” the Party’s secret intelligence organs played a special role that is hard to explain but was indispensable. An old marshal used his own relatives to communicate with intelligence organs. That fact was hidden for twenty-two years. Who bears the responsibility for hiding this fact? That a leader of the governing party uses his own relatives and intelligence organs and military force to settle and in internal party dispute. This kind of thing that “is not to serve as a precedent” but will it truly not serve as a precedent? Premier Zhou, when the PRC was founded, warned Comrade Li Kenong that intelligence organs are not to be used in struggles within the party. Did his warning stop that violation of norms within the Party?

Sixty years have gone by, and the governing party still finds it inconvenient to explain matters to old comrades. It should at least also explain the facts clearly to the tens of millions of party members that while it praises this special contribution that enabled the country to achieve a new situation, it clearly condemns the methods they used. Only this way accords with political ethics. Today, we still haven’t heard any condemnation of their methods. A party that has governed the country for sixty years still doesn’t pay attention to this. What good is simply wanting the capacity to govern? Just what will become of a capacity to govern that is not founded on political ethics? I think that everyone should think carefully about this issue.

Our party has governed for sixty years. At the beginning it said it would make decision-making scientific and the balancing of powers. But what did it actually do? It seems that considering political ethics is indispensable. Talk is not enough; there need to be methods and a system to put it into practice. Chairman Mao before the PRC was founded put forth “Serve the people”. This is the highest goal of political ethics but how are the people to be served. Old Mao never was able to answer that question well. This “service” may be more modest that “govern for the people” but it is much more honest. But how is it to be put into practice? My conclusion is that making “Serve the People” or “Govern for the People” a slogan cannot solve problems. This slogan needs to be built on a foundation of political ethics. A young scholar named Kang a few years ago proposed that there are three sources of legitimacy. To say that a political party merely has to swear to “serve the people” and thus becomes the legitimate governing party seems immature to me and leaves some fundamental questions unaddressed.

Sixty years have gone by. Anyone who is concerned with the development of the country will be concerned with how to promote the development of democracy. Our ordinary people and social organizations are not able to express their own independent views with respect to the political life of our country. Neither can they truly participate in the political process or exercise oversight over the governing party. The words of the lowly carry little weight. This “three noes” situation cannot last for long. We can just keep going on with ritual talk, ritual inspections, and ritual approvals. We need to think more about how the ruling party can assume the historical responsibility it has towards the state, towards the people, and towards history.

I am so old and I have spoken so much. Some young people criticize me, that I didn’t speak up when I was in power, that I didn’t do anything. They are right to criticize me for this. I cannot myself use the objective situation and objective elements to reject the historical responsibility that I should bear. I have spoken so much about political ethics, yet I myself need to work on building up my own political ethics. In the 1980, while drafting the “Decision”, Comrade Deng Xiaoping said that he has the best credentials for evaluating the political character of Chairman Mao. Yet he also believed, that that kind of evaluation should be left to the future. In that way, the problem has come down to us. If successors don’t have the qualifications of Comrade Deng Xiaoping, and do not have basic political ethics, things will be dragged out until someone in the future addresses them. There will always be people who will have something to say. I am one of them.

( This manuscript was prepared on the basis of four conversations and approved by the person interviewed. The title was added by the person who prepared the text.)

This entry was posted in Ideology 思想, Society 社会. Bookmark the permalink.

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