部分翻译:陈杰人:不完美的改革和完美的保守

Singapore’s United Morning News has a analysis of the People’s Daily commentary from Chen Jieren of  Zhongguo Zhengfa Daxue at  http://www.zaobao.com/yl/tx120225_001_2.shtml  作者是中国政法大学研究员

I  translated selected paragraphs and interlaced them with the original text.  The original text is that the URL above and copied below.

The United Morning News is one of the most interesting Chinese language newspapers outside mainland China that is not blocked inside the mainland, so this article could reach even Chinese who do not use proxy servers.

Chen Jieren: Imperfect Reforms and Perfect Conservatism

Chen Jieren is a researcher at China University of Political Science and Law

中国政法大学法治新闻研究中心研究员陈杰人

陈杰人:不完美的改革和完美的保守

● 陈杰人

  20年后的今天,虽然在全中国上下,那些倍感改革阻滞之苦、饱受既得利益集团压制的官员和民众,都深深意识到中国亟需“再改革”,必须再次突破意识形态的顽固阵地,才能解决当前的顽症,推动中国继续向前发展;但是,一方面有既得利益集团的重重阻碍,另一方面又缺乏像邓小平那样有魄力有威信的强权政治人物发号召,所以,一股“改革已死”的悲伤,在中国大地蔓延、再蔓延。

Twenty years after [Deng Xiaoping’s trip to southern China] all over China people feel the pain that the lagging of reform has brought. Many officials and regular people are tired of oppression by the special interest groups. They are very well aware that China badly needs “to reform once again”. It needs to once again break through the stubbornness of conservative ideology to treat the chronic diseases that afflict it today and push forward towards continuing development. But on the one hand they face the elaborate obstacles created by the special interest groups and on the other the absence of a strong call for reform from an audacious, prestigious leader who towers over China’s power politics like Deng Xiaoping. Thus, the sad conclusion that “reform is already dead” has been spreading throughout China. …..

  让人稍感意外的是,在此沉寂之际,作为中共的喉舌,《人民日报》于223日发表了题为《宁要微词 不要危机》的评论部文章,这是该报计划推出的“深化改革认识论”系列评论的第一篇。

在笔者看来,这是时隔20多年后,中国官场主流舆论场又一次振聋发聩的呼声,它的意义和价值,至少表现在三个方面:

  首先,该文直击当前中国决策层和思想界的命门与认识短板。长期以来,中国上下强调“稳定压倒一切”,这个原本特指社会治安和秩序稳定的词汇,渐渐演变成意识形态中“保守”、“怕变”、“维护既得利益”的概念。在“维稳”思维之下,改革的动力变得极其微弱。在决策层,大家对问题心知肚明,却只能将矛盾击鼓传花,让危机跑在改革之前,酿就了更大的危机。

It came as something of a surprise that out of the silence [on reform] came the voice of the Chinese Communist Party, “People’s Daily” with a commentary department article entitled “Imperfect Reforms are to Be Preferred to the Crisis Caused by No Reforms” in People’s Daily’s the first of a series of articles on “Epistemology of the Deepening of Reform”.

It seems to me, coming twenty years after Deng Xiaoping, that this is a loud cry to awaken the deaf in the main discussion forum of China’s officialdom. It is important and significant in a least three ways.

First of all, it is a blow in their most sensitive spot to China’s decision-makers and ideologists, pointing out the consequences of their serious limitations. For a long time, China at all levels has stresses “maintaining stability is more important than anything else”. These words, originally referring to “social stability and order has come to mean ideological “conservatism”, fear of change, and “protect vested interests”. Under the influence of “protecting social stability”, the impetus for reform has become very weak. All decision-makers know what is going on, but they can pass along the contradictions. Crisis is running ahead of reform and fermenting into a greater crisis….

该文通篇不提“维稳思维”,但以多角度围剿的方式,无情地批判了既得利益集团借“维稳”之名阻碍改革的心态,还有决策层回避矛盾、不思进取的保守意识,同时也向社会各界再次普及了“变则通、通则久”的哲学思维。文章告诫人们,所谓维护稳定,实乃“幻象”。

This article did not discuss “maintaining stability thinking” but did from multiple angles criticize without reservation the mentality of the vested interests who in the name of “maintaining stability” block reform. Moreover, there is the mentality of the decision-makers who without thinking just adopt the conservative way of thinking of avoiding contradictions, all the way propagating to the general society the philosophical principle that “should adapt to change in order to find solutions”. The article warns us that so-called “maintaining stability” is in fact just an “illusion”.

  其次,该文明确提出了改革的“风险”与价值的关系。多年以来,中国官场求稳怕乱的保守意识,导致了整个改革停滞不前。文章以客观理性的思维,指出改革必然面临风险,这实际上帮一部分意欲改革的官员放下了思想包袱。更重要的是,文章对比“有微词的改革”和“酿就危机的不改革”,指出了改革停滞将使国家进入“死胡同”和“转型期陷阱”的巨大风险。 

Moreover, the article pointed out the link between considering reform “risky” and values. For many years, the Chinese officials have held to the conservative ideology of seeking stability and fearing chaos to the extent that reform has stagnated. The article in an objective, rational way noted that reform involves risk. This can help some officials contemplating reform set aside their qualms. Even more important, the article compares “the veiled criticisms of reform” against the “crisis brewed by not reforming” and points out the great risks that the stagnation of reform will be — it would put China onto a dead-end road and fall into the “pitfalls of transition”.

再次,该文明确指出了阻碍改革的力量来自既得利益集团。多年来,越来越多的人们已渐渐醒悟到,所谓“维护党的地位”、“警惕和平演变”之类的口号,不过是中国体制内极少数既得利益者用政治恐吓的手段,维护自己的利益而阻碍改革,但是,这些观念可以在私人聚会上讲,可以在学者讨论时谈,惟独不能在党的喉舌上义正辞严地说。这次,《人民日报》以如此严肃的口吻,从宏观到微观,都指出了既得利益集团是阻碍中国改革的根本力量。这无异于向既得利益集团发出战斗檄文。

… Moreover, the article pointed out that the blockage to reforms comes from special interests. For some years now, more and more people have gradually come to realize that slogans like “Uphold the position of the Chinese Communist Party” and “Beware of peaceful evolution” are just a means for a very small group of people with special interests within the Chinese system to use political intimidation to maintain their interests by blocking reform. However, people can discuss this in private gatherings or at scholarly conferences. Only the Chinese Communist Party’s voice for justice could not discuss this. That the People’s Daily can adopt such a tone, and such a thoroughgoing discussion on this matter, demonstrates that vested interests are the main obstacle to China’s reform. This article is a declaration of war against special interests.

改革难免会遇到困阻,改革势必触动部分人的奶酪,甚至,改革也会在某些领域和技术问题上发生错误,这是改革的风险,也是改革的“不完美”之处,可以说,任何改革都是不完美的。不管是中国古代的历次变法,还是美欧日近代的多次改革,都存在同样的问题。更大的问题在于,是否因为改革存在风险就因噎废食?

中国当前最大的问题恰恰在于此:一方面,既得利益集团通过操控舆论工具,竭力强调和传播改革的风险和危害。比如,他们对党内就强调改革可能招致政权丧失,以拉拢更多的官员加入反改革集团;对民众就以“维稳”的口号和夸大苏联、东欧的剧变阵痛,以吓唬民众,使他们乐于守旧;另一方面,保守派官僚则以求稳怕变的心态和击鼓传花的动机,不自觉地配合着既得利益集团的意识形态,活生生地把改革的不完美描绘成魔鬼,而把因循守旧美化为“稳定”或“幸福”。

China’s biggest problems today are on the one hand, vested interest groups control mass media and use it to stress and spread the view that reform is risky and dangerous. For example, to party members, they stress that reform could lead to the loss of political power in order to draw more officials into the anti-reform group. With regular people, they use the slogan “maintain stability” and exaggerate the difficulties the pain that tremendous changes brought to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in order to frighten them into being happy to live with their old ways. On the other hand, conservative bureaucrats with their fear of change and motivated by the desire to just pass problems along, take an ideological stance that unconsciously serves special interests. They vividly depict imperfect reforms as terrible monsters and ennoble the protection of the old ways with words like preserving “social stability” and “happiness”.

在强力的舆论态势下,保守成了完美的政策选择,而注定不完美的改革,反而成了罪不可赦的冒进。这就是中国目前亟需打破的思维定势,也是改革力量和保守势力角力点所在。

  好在,当越来越多的人们厌恶了所谓“完美的保守”政策之后,大家日益渴望清新的空气。当此邓小平南方谈话20周年之际,虽然世上已无邓小平,但借他之魂,中国的改革思路似乎开始找着了北。接下来的问题,是如何进入实践环节。

Under the situation of public opinion created by brute force, conservatism has been made out to be the perfect policy choice. And reforms, which are doomed to be imperfect, are made out to be unforgivably reckless. This is a way of thinking that China badly needs to break out of, and is the battlefield between the forces of reform and for forces of conservatism.

The bright spot is that as more and more people have come to detest the “beautifully conservative” policies, with every passing day people have a stronger and stronger desire for fresh air. On this 20th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping’s trip to southern China, although Deng is no longer with us, but let us in his spirit, China’s thinking about the path to reform is starting to get its bearings. The next question is how to put the details into practice.

作者是中国政法大学研究员

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