英文翻译:刘贤斌 –迟到的祭奠——纪念赵紫阳逝世五周年


迟到的祭奠——纪念赵紫阳逝世五周年

 刘贤斌

   赵紫阳离开我们5年了,他去世的时候我正因为参加民主运动而在监狱里服刑。在监狱里,每天晚上我们都要按政府的规定收看《新闻联播》,这是监狱对服刑人员的政治思想教育的重要内容。与外面的普通老百姓一样,许多服刑人员对国家大事并不是很关心,因此这样的政治思想教育对他们来说也只是走走过场。但是我在看《新闻联播》时却很认真,一是因为在监狱里面我深感资讯的缺乏,只有通过《新闻联播》才能了解外面的世界。二是因为我很会看《新闻联播》,我知道它长期报喜不报忧,是当局进行愚民宣传的重要喉舌,因此我看《新闻联播》时就采用反着看的办法,居然也能从中获得不少有益的信息。2005年1月17日,我正是通过《新闻联播》获悉了赵紫阳去世的消息,虽然它说得很简短,但我知道这是当天全国甚至全世界最重要的事情。泰山其颓,梁木其毁,哲人其萎,一颗巨星陨落了,一代伟人离开了我们。很多年里,我一直希望赵紫阳先生能够健康地活下去,活到“民主与法制”完全实现的那一天,活到自由民主运动在中国结出硕果,但是他终于还是去了。那天我没有悲伤,只有祝福,祝福他终于得到了自由,结束了15年孤独、幽暗的日子,祝福他终于大彻大悟,看清了邪恶者的本来面目。

20年前,紫阳先生来到天安门广场看望正在绝食抗议的学生,他满含深情地说:“你们还年轻,你们要活着,要健康地活着。我老了,无所谓了。”目睹此情此景,我被深深地感动了。我本以为中共的高官都是没有良心的政客,但那天晚上我却从紫阳先生身上看见了人性和良知无所不在,我看见了他的真情,也看见了他的无奈,看见了他对一场大屠杀不可避免要来临的绝望,看见了他对中国未来命运日渐暗淡的内心的凄苦。那天那夜,我幸运地躲过了被屠杀的命运,但20年来我一直觉得自己已经死了,那成百上千的死难者正是为我们而死。于是20年来我一直致力于推动中国自由民主的事业,即使两次坐牢12年也无怨无悔。20年前,紫阳先生做了他应该该做的事情,之后他被幽禁于北京富强胡同的家中,他不可能再为中国的自由民主事业做更多的事情,我们这些活着的年轻人当然应该接过他的接力棒,将中国的自由民主事业进行到底。但是20年来太多的人选择了犬儒主义,他们在专制主义的淫威下低下了自己高贵的头颅,他们抛弃了自己当初的理想和热情,短视地追逐着各种利益和诱惑,中国的民主自由事业就这样被无限期地推迟了,于是林牧、包遵信还有紫阳先生最后终于含恨而去,他们的离去竟然没有在这个不可救药的社会里激起一点涟漪。

出狱之后,我看了一些关于紫阳先生的文章和书籍,发现自己以前对紫阳先生有一些求全责备,我曾经责怪他性格软弱,缺乏决绝的勇气。20年前那场伟大的民主运动确实是中国实现宪政民主的一次难得的历史性机遇,我曾设想当初紫阳先生如果敢于像叶利钦那样爬上坦克振臂一呼,也许中国的自由民主事业就不会有如此坎坷的命运。但是现在我发觉自己想得太简单了,我低估了中国专制势力的冷酷和狡猾,我没有想到紫阳先生当时居然面临着如此凶险的环境,他能够为了拒绝开枪的命令而辞去总书记的职位甚至准备为之坐牢,已经尽到了他自己最大的努力。作为在一个铁一般的组织里生活了几十年并且身居高位的人,紫阳先生能够在关键时刻服从自己的良心而拒绝组织的命令,我们设身处地地想一想,他当时真的很不容易。这一刻,赵紫阳从一个中共领导人变成了中国良心和道德的化身,这一刻标志着赵紫阳已经真正超越了毛泽东和邓小平成为了中共历史上最伟大的人物,这一刻他获得自己灵魂的自由,这一刻他书写了人性光辉的范例。

紫阳先生去世后,人们对他的历史功绩已经做了比较全面的总结,在这篇迟到的祭奠文中,我不想再去说“要吃粮,找紫阳”的故事,也不想再去评价他对中国经济改革和政治改革的重大贡献,我只想揭示20年前他那勇敢之举对中国的宪政民主运动所显明的深刻意义。记得在上个世纪90年代,不知在哪本书里我曾看到过一篇文章,说在前苏联时期,一个检察官接到一个政治案件,上面要求他签署有关手续,以便将一个政治犯“合法”地流放到西伯利亚。但是这个检察官在看了案卷后,发觉这个政治犯所犯的“罪行”完全是正义之举,于是他在经过一番激烈的思想斗争之后,毅然决定拒绝签署流放这个政治犯的相关手续。后来这个检察官当然被撤职,而那个政治犯也仍然没有改变被流放的命运。我相信这个检察官不会因为这样做而后悔,因为他在那一刻获得了自己的自由,尽管他无法改变事情的最后结局,但他对得起自己的良心和判断,在那一刻他捍卫了一个公民和一个真正的人的尊严和权利,他维护了自己人格的清白。在一个专制强权的社会里,统治者总是想方设法让人民变成唯命是从的臣民,让人变成一部庞大机器上的一个螺丝钉,让所有的人因为受到胁迫而成为他们进行专制统治的帮凶。但人是上帝按照自己形象所造的有自由意志的高贵物种,我们不应当违背自己的意志而屈从于专制者的权力淫威,我们不应当甘心成为一颗受人摆布命运的螺丝钉,我们应当对得起自己的良心,我们应当对明显邪恶的事情予以拒绝。这种态度对于结束专制统治、实现宪政民主具有非常重大的意义,如果越来越多的人在现实生活中能够秉持这种原则,再强大的专制统治也不可能长久地维持下去。让我感到敬佩的是,紫阳先生在20年前的那个关键时刻勇敢地这样做了,我认为这是他的最伟大之处,他为未来中国的民主社会搁上了最坚实的一块基石,他为未来民主中国的公民们树立了典范。

与赵紫阳先生比较起来,那些奉行犬儒主义、企图得到当局赏识的知识学人应当感到汗颜,那些仍然迫于无奈而放弃自己的人格尊严为专制统治卖命的人应当感到羞耻。出狱之后,我与国保部门的人经常打交道,他们表面上对我们这些民运人士很客气,但真正遇到事情,他们却会毫不犹豫地执行上级的命令。说实话,他们也是很普通的人,他们要生活要工作,而且在内心深处他们对我们并不仇视,有的人甚至对我们还有一些同情,所以他们每次找我时都要表示歉意,说这是上面的命令,他们也没有办法。我虽然每次也会很体谅理解他们,但在内心深处我为他们的这种表现感到非常羞耻。耶稣说:主啊,饶恕他们吧,因为他们所做的他们并不知道。但如果他们明知自己所做的不对却还要坚持这样做,那么他们就必须为自己的行为承担后果。上级的命令应当服从,这是人类社会的一个一般性原则,但上级的命令却不能绝对地服从,如果上级的命令明显地错误或邪恶,那么下级就应当据理力争,就应当根据自己的良心做出正确的判断和选择,就应当对明显错误或邪恶的命令予以拒绝。其实,在当今中国这种经济多元化的社会,一个人按照自己的良心行事并不会给自己带来无法承受的后果,比如一个国保人员如果因为拒绝执行上级的命令而被开除,他要解决以后的生活或生存问题并不是特别困难,除非他想往上爬,他想捞取更大的政治好处或经济利益,否则“上级的命令”就不成其为助纣为虐的理由。所以在我看来,“上级的命令”只是一个推卸责任的藉口,每一个以“上级的命令”为藉口作恶的人在末日到来时都会受到上帝的公正审判,他们会为自己当初泯灭良心的行为承担哀戚号哭的命运。

其实要像赵紫阳一样对专制主义说“不”并不是很困难的事情,只要你不将富贵看得太重,只要你不贪恋手中的权力。古人云:君子有所为,有所不为。在我看来,有所为就是指一个人对合乎道义的事情要勇敢地去做,即使为此牺牲自己的生命、幸福也在所不辞,所谓“杀身成仁,舍生取义”指的就是这种情况。有所不为则是指一个人对明显不合乎道义的事情应当拒绝去做,所谓“不义而富且贵,于我如浮云”指的就是这种情况。显然,有所为是一种比较高尚的道德表现,一般人很难做到,只有那些真正为国家、民族和人民负责的仁人志士才能做到,对普通人我们不能对此寄以希望,也不能对他们提出这样的要求。但有所不为却是一种比较基本的道德表现,普通人应当能够做到,他们这样做并不会给自己带来无法承受的后果。所以在我看来,20年前赵紫阳没有像叶利钦一样去奋力制止一场暴行,他当时的表现称不上特别高尚,但他对这场暴行的拒绝态度也展现出了他的基本道德良知。叶利钦的表现一般人不容易效仿,但赵紫阳的态度却能够为大多数人效仿,因此在这个意义上来说,赵紫阳的行为模式对瓦解专制统治可能更为有效。所以在现代民主运动中,在反抗专制统治的斗争中,我们不必鼓励所有的人都义无反顾地去战斗、去坐牢,我们只需要鼓励所有的人像一个公民和一个真正的人那样去生活。只要大多数人能够秉持自己的良心、坚持自己的基本道德信念,对明显的恶予以拒绝,对专制统治的暴行采取不合作的态度,专制统治作为一种明显的恶就根本无法长期存在下去。这种对专制统治说“不”的态度就是公民不合作的精神的体现,这才是瓦解专制统治最有效的方法,这也是赵紫阳当年那勇敢之举的最深刻和重要的意义。

紫阳先生离开我们已经快5年了,他给我们留下了丰富的政治遗产,我们可以通过对赵紫阳现象的反思得到许多有益的东西。他虽然是一个中共党员,但他在那个关键时刻更像一个公民和一个真正的人,在长期以来讲政治、讲党性的共产党里面,他最后成为了一个异类。所以虽然直到今天中国的自由民主前景看起来还遥遥无期,但我却对中国的未来始终充满信心,我相信人性无所不在,我相信人们对正义和美好事物的追求会永不停止,所以我相信在共产党里面,以后还会涌现出无数个赵紫阳这样的人。

写于2009年10月20日四川遂宁“百盛家园”

北京之春2010年2月号

Liu Xianbin after his release from prison wrote this meditation on Zhao Ziyang the morality of saying “no” to an unjust regime — “A Memorial Long Overdue — In Commemoration of the Fifth Anniversary of the Death of Zhao Ziyang” 迟到的祭奠——纪念赵紫阳逝世五周年

Some of my colleagues did this translation of an article by Liu Xianbin who was convicted of subversion in Suining, Sichuan, China in late 2010.  这片不是我翻译过来的,是同事做的。 This article is one of the bases for the indictment of Liu Xianbin for subversion, so it is a good reminder of what counts for subversion in China.

The Chinese language original article is online on the Independent Chinese Pen Center website at http://blog.boxun.com/hero/201002/lxb/1_1.shtml
————-
英文翻译: Article by Liu Xianbin: “A Memorial Long Overdue — In Commemoration
of the Fifth Anniversary of the Death of Zhao Ziyang”]

It has been five years since Zhao Ziyang left us. I was in prison serving the sentence for participation in the democratic movement on the day of his death. In the prison, we were required by the government to watch the TV program Xinwen Lianbo [News Hookup] every evening. Watching Xinwen Lianbo was an important part of the political-ideological education for people serving sentences. Like ordinary citizens outside the prison, many people serving sentences were not particularly concerned themselves with the affairs of the state, so this kind of political-ideological education was nothing more than a formality to them. However, I was very serious about watching Xinwen Lianbo. One reason was that I felt deeply about the lack of access to information, and I could understand what was happening outside the prison only by watching Xinwen Lianbo. For another thing, I was very good at watching Xinwen Lianbo. I was aware that over an extended period the program has been reporting only what is good while withholding what is unpleasant. It is an important mouthpiece of the authorities to mislead the public under the policy of making the people ignorant.

Therefore, when I was watching Xinwen Lianbo, I always took an opposite view of what was intended to show and prove. In this way, I was even able to get a lot useful information from the show. On 17 January 2005, it was precisely through Xinwen Lianbo that I learned of Zhao Ziyang’s death. The news was very brief, but I knew it was the most important event for China or even for the world as a whole that day. A Great man has left us. It was the collapse of Mount Tai, the crumpling of a pillar, the passing away of a wise man, and the falling of a giant. For many years, I had hoped Mr. Zhao Ziyang would live in good health, until the day when “democracy and the rule of law” were completely realized, until the liberty and democratic movement yields rich fruits. Yet, in spite of my hopes, he had finally left. That day, I did not feel sad; I only prayed for him. I wished him the best as he finally earned his freedom and ended his 15 years of isolation and darkness. I wished him the best as he finally achieved great awakening and clearly saw through the true face of the evil.

Twenty years ago, Mr. Ziyang [Zhao Ziyang, a salutation indicating both closeness and respect] went to the Tiananmen Square to visit the students who went on a hunger strike in protest. He said with great emotion: “You are still young, and you must live in good health. It doesn’t make any big difference to me as I am getting on years.” I was deeply moved as I witnessed what was happening. From the start I had the misconception that senior officials of the Communist Party of China were all politicians without conscience. That night I discovered in the person of Mr. Ziyang the very human nature and good conscience and the truth that human nature and good conscience are omnipresent. I
saw his true feelings and also felt his sense of resignation. I felt his desperation as he saw the inevitable approach of a large-scale massacre and at the same time the misery he felt in his innermost soul at China’s gloomy future and destiny. That day and that night, I had the a good fortune of being able to escape from the lot of being slaughtered.

Yet, over the next 20 years, I always felt that I was as good as dead and those tens of thousands of victims all died on our behalf. Because of this, I have kept dedicating myself over these 20 years to the cause of China’s freedom and democracy and have willingly gone to the prison twice and stayed there for a total of 12 years with no regrets or complaints. Mr. Ziyang did what he was supposed to do 20 years ago.

Since then he had been under house arrest in his home in Beijing’s Fuqiang Hutong. He was no longer able to contribute to the cause of China’s freedom and democracy. We, the young ones who are still living, naturally should take over the baton from him and fight for the cause of freedom and democracy in China through to the end. However, during the last 20 years, too many people have chosen cynicism, lowering their once lofty head under the usurped power of the authoritarianism. They abandoned their ideals and zeal they once possessed and began to pursue with a short vision all kinds of interests and things that cater to their basic instincts. In this manner, realization of the cause of China’s freedom and democracy has been put off indefinitely. Thus, Lin Mu, Bao Zunxin, and Mr. Ziyang all died at the end, carrying with them their unfinished cause to the grave with great regrets. What was beyond comprehension was that their death did not even cause a ripple in this irredeemable society of ours.

After I was released from prison and had the opportunity to read some articles and books about Mr. Ziyang, I came to realize that I had been guilty of nitpicking Mr. Ziyang, demanding perfection of him and criticizing him for having a weak personality and lacking the courage to break away from the past. The great democratic movement 20 years ago truly created a rare historical opportunity for China to realize constitutional democracy. I had entertained this thought: Had Mr. Ziyang had the courage to climb up onto an armored car and raise his arm to issue a rousing call, as Yeltsin had done back then, perhaps the cause of China’s freedom and democracy might not have had the bumpy road it now has before us.

Today I realize that I was too simplistic in my way of thinking. I underestimate the callousness and craftiness of China’s authoritarian forces. I hadn’t expected Mr. Ziyang went so far as facing such a dangerous situation. In order to be able to refuse to issue the order to shoot, he submitted his resignation from his post as the general secretary and even prepared to go to prison. Actually he had done all he could. As a person in a high position who spent several decades in an organization with iron-like discipline, Mr. Ziyang followed his own conscience and refused to accept the organization’s order.

What he did at the time was really not easy, if we come to think about it by putting ourselves in his position. At that very moment, Zhao Ziyang had transformed himself from a Communist leader to the embodiment of China’s conscience and morality. At that very moment, Zhao Ziyang has truly surpassed Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping to become the greatest figure in the history of the Communist Party of China. At that very moment, he won freedom for his soul. At that very moment, he created the brilliant model of human nature.

Since Mr. Ziyang passed away, people have made a fairly comprehensive conclusion on his historical meritorious service. In this long overdue eulogy, I do not want to rehash the story about his great performance as Sichuan’s top leader which earned him the praise, “When you need grain, go find Ziyang.” Nor do I want to assess his major contributions to China’s economic and political reform. Instead, I want to explain the distinct, profound significance of his courageous action 20 years ago to China’s constitutional democratic movement. I recalled in the 1990s, I read an article from a book I now forgot its name, which tells the story of a public prosecutor during the era of former Soviet Union. The prosecutor was assigned a political case with the instruction asking him to sign all the documents and “lawfully” banish the political prisoner to Siberia. After examining the case, he discovered that the so-called “crimes” allegedly committed by the political prisoner were actually all just actions. After undergoing a fierce mental struggle, he resolutely turned down the request to sign the relevant documents to send the politica l prisoner into exile.

It goes without saying that the prosecutor was later removed from his post whereas the political prisoner did not escape from the fate of being banished. I believe that the prosecutor did not regret what he had done, because at that moment, he won his own freedom, even though he did not change the final outcome. He was worthy of his own conscience and his judgment. At that very moment, he defended the dignity and the rights of a citizen and those of a real person; he has safeguarded the purity of his personality. In an authoritarian and power-dominated society, the ruler always wants to try every means to turn the people into his or her obedient subjects, transform every person into a single screw on a gigantic machine, and force people by threats to become accessories in carrying out the authoritarian rule.

Yet, people are superior species created by God in his own image, who should not submit to the usurped power of the authoritarian against their free will. We must not willingly become a screw ordered about by others. We ought to live up to our own conscience, and we ought to reject the order that is clearly evil. This kind of attitude is vitally important to putting an end to the authoritarian rule and realizing the constitutional democracy. If more and more people could abide by this principle in their real life, no authoritarian rule, no matter how powerful it is, could last long. Mr. Ziyang courageously did this at the crucial moment 20 years ago, which has won my deep respect. I consider this his greatest as a person, which will serve as the strongest cornerstone in China’s future democratic society. He has set a good example for citizens of a future democratic China.

In contrast with Mr. Ziyang, those educated scholars who pursue cynicism in an attempt to win favor from the authorities should be embarrassed whereas those who abandoned the dignity of their personality to work themselves to the bone for the authoritarian rule should feel ashamed. After getting out of prison, I have had dealings frequently with people from the state defense departments [consisting of state security bureau, security department for state organs, state security department of the Ministry of Public Security, and special detachment of the People’s Armed Police]. In appearance, they were very polite toward us democratic movement figures, but when things went wrong, they were never hesitated to implement their orders. To tell the truth, they are also ordinary people who want to make a living and who are not hostile to us deep down in their hearts. Some of them even have certain degree of sympathy toward us. Because of this, whenever they came to me, they would say they were sorry to have to this or that as those were the orders and they had no other choice but follow. Even though I expressed my understanding of their action each time, deep down in my heart I really felt ashamed for their action. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. [from the Bible, Miles Coverdale’s Version, Luke 23:34, 1535]

But if they insist on doing so, knowing that it is wrong to do so, they must be held accountable for the consequences of their behavior. The order coming from the superior should be obeyed, and this is a general principle in human society. Yet, obeying the order from the superior must not be absolute. If the order from the superior is clearly wrong or evil, the subordinate should argue strongly on matters of principle, make a correct judgment and choice on the basis on their own conscience, and reject the clearly wrong or evil order. Actually, in China today where the economy is diversified, acting in accordance with a person’s own conscience will not bring unbearable consequences to
the person.

Take the action of state defense department personnel for example. If the state defense department personnel were fired for refusing to e nforce order, it would not be too difficult for the personnel to resolve the livelihood or subsistence issues. Except if the person wants to climb up the office ladder and wants to grab greater political gains or economic benefits, “orders from the superior” should not be an excuse to being accessory to a tyrant’s crimes. Thus, to me, “orders of the superior” is merely a pretext used to shirk a person’s responsibility. Anyone who uses “orders from the superior” as a pretext to do evil will receive a fair trial by the Lord in the Day of Judgment; they will have to assume responsibility for acts committed against their conscience that will make their next life miserable.

As a matter of fact, it is not something very difficult to do to say “no” to the authoritarianism as Zhao Ziyang did, provided you do not set great store by wealth and rank and do not cling to the power in your hand. There is an ancient saying: A gentleman is selective about what kind of things he will do and he will not do. In my view, “selective about what kind of things he will do and he will not do” means that a person must have the courage to do things that are in line with the moral principle and refuse to do those that run counter to moral principles, even if it means sacrificing his own life or his happiness. What was called “sacrificing one’s life to preserve one’s virtue” and “laying down one’s life for a just cause” precisely refers to this kind of circumstances. “A gentleman is selective about what kind of things he will not do” refers to a person refusing to do things that clearly runs counter to moral principles. The saying, “Wealth and rank unjustly obtained are like floating clouds to me,” precisely refers to this kind of circumstances.

Obviously, being “selective about what kind of things a gentleman will do” refers to a higher moral ground, which is difficult to take for ordinary people. Only those with lofty ideals who truly hold themselves accountable to the country, the nation, and the people are able to do that. We cannot place our hopes of doing this on ordinary persons, nor should we put this demand on them. On the other hand, “refraining from doing some things in order to be able to do other things” is fairly basic moral requirement that can be met by an ordinary person. Fulfilling this requirement will not bring them unbearable consequences. Thus, in my view, by failing to vigorously stopping the outbreak of violence 20 years ago, as Yeltsin had done, Zhao Ziyang’s action could not be called lofty at a high standard, yet his refusal to collaborate in the violence nevertheless demonstrated his basic moral character and good conscience. Yeltsin’s performance is difficult for other people to follow, whereas Zhao Ziyang’s attitude can be easily adopted by most people.

Therefore in this sense, Zhao Ziyang’s model of behavior could become a more effective means to causing the collapse of an authoritarian rule. As a result of this awareness, in modern democratic movement and in the struggle against an authoritarian rule, it is not necessary to encourage everyone to take up the arms to march bravely ahead at the risk of being put into prison and without any thought of turning back; it is only necessary to encourage people to live truly like a citizen, a real person. So long as the great majority of the people abide by their own conscience, uphold their basic morality and faith, reject things that are clearly evil, adopt an uncooperative attitude toward the violent authoritarian rule, the authoritarian rule as an obvious evil would not be able to exist for an extended period. This kind of attitude of saying “no” to the authoritarian rule reflects the spirit of the citizens’ refusal to cooperate with the authoritarian ruler, which is the most effective way to causing the collapse of the authoritarian rule. It is also the most profound and most important meaning of the brave action taken by Zhao Ziyang back then.

Mr. Ziyang has left us for almost five years. We can, by reflecting on the Zhao Ziyang phenomenon, draw a lot of benefits from the rich political legacy he left us. Although he was a member of the CPC, he acted more like a citizen and a real person at the most crucial moment. Within the ranks of the CPC, which has been stressing politics and party spirit, he ended up becoming an alien. Thus, even though the prospects of China’s freedom and democracy look impossible to fulfill in the foreseeable future, I am still full of hope about China’s future. I believe human nature is omnipresent. I believe people’s pursuit of justice and things beautiful will never end. This is why I believe that there will always be people like Zhao Ziyang emerging in large numbers within the ranks of the CPC.

Written at Baisheng Jiayuan in Suining, Sichuan on 20 October 2009

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