2003: Instant Messaging at the Time of SARS — Sarcasm and the Leadership

Instant Messages at the Time of SARS —  Sarcasm and the Leadership

Cell phone messaging relayed much information and misinformation throughout China during the 2002 – 2003 SARS epidemic . The government found that sarcastic attacks on government officials spread very quickly through cellphone instant messaging.   Up to that time, instant messaging  and the information services on it seemed much less controlled then the Internet was in China.  The Party and government learned its lesson from the SARS epidemic. Afterwards the media watchdogs turned their attention to cell phone messaging, adding monitoring, filtering and even at times “cool it” warnings and informative messages sent out by the local government or police to the populace.

Cell phone messaging had already become a big business in China. The cell phone companies even employed staff poets to create elegant sayings that people can exchange with one another. Incurring telecommunications charges, of course. This early cellphone poetry may have inspired others to turn their hand to it. The poem spread virally as many people waited anxiously at home.  Their distrust of official news media made the messages all the more credible.

Criticizing the regime is one thing, but laughing at it is probably even more serious.

Here are some examples of popular poetry/doggerel that circulated in China during SARS.

Beijing Voices on SARS: Instant Messages Translated

A translation of a collection of cell phone instant messages transcribed on emails now circulating in China.  Some of these class messages can be found in Chinese at http://chinese.wooster.edu/files/jokefolder/sars.gb.html

BEGIN TRANSLATION:

Beijing has already become an area that has “fallen” to SARS. The cell phone tribe doesn’t feel lonely for it exchanges instant messages of friendship, to please themselves and others, which reflect the feelings of Beijing people these days.

The Instant Message Closest to the Masses:

Until we met SARS we didn’t realize how valuable breathing free really is!
Until we wore a face mask, we didn’t realize how valuable our true face is!
Our thoughts during the emergency period show just how valuable friendship really is!

The Simplest Instant Message

White radish, tangerine skin, ginger, scallion bulb, and coriander stir out spirit. To help protect everyone’s respiratory passages, we resort to fire and water. We suggest everyone drink hot soup.

Most Classic Short Message (Lost Something in Translation):

A web citizen who buries himself in the classics discovered that China’s first reference to SARS [abbreviated feidian for “atypical” — literally not classic] is in the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. Cao Cao was suddenly attacked, but Dian Wei gave his life to save Cao Cao. After Cao Cao was out of danger, he realized that Dian Wei had no weapon. Cao Cao cried out. “Dian was awesome! If I had not Dian [feidian — SARS abbreviation] I would certainly have died!”

[For more on Dian Wei see http://www.kongming.net/novel/sgyy/dianwei.php ]

Most Melodious Rhyme [but not a melodious translation]

SARS is so very dangerous
Some are already afflicted
To avoid harm
We must wear a mask
But only by maintaining a calm state of mind
Can we avoid being harmed by SARS
Finally I wish you happiness each and every day.

Moonlight thick as wine
The colors of spring, the wind in the willows
The peach blossoms opened some time ago
Don’t know if you noticed
A virus very rare arose
Now chaos is everywhere!
Never mind. Just disinfect by washing your hands.

The Instant Message Most Like a Story:

The old lady who has heard so much about SARS [ pronounced feidian, the same pronunciation as “waste electricity” in Mandarin Chinese], said “If you don’t want to waste electricity, then don’t turn on the lights!” Beijing citizens, politically aware as they are, would not forget to look out for political trends even in the middle of the SARS epidemic. Here are a few examples:
Idealism chapter

[A parody of former Chinese Communist Party Secretary Jiang Zemin’s “Three Represents” philosophy — that the Chinese Communist Party represents advanced productive forces, advanced culture and the interests of the vast majority of the Chinese people.  For background on the Three Represents see http://www.iisg.nl/~landsberger/jzmt.html ]

The “Three Represents” of SARS

SARS represents the demand of a special virus for development.
SARS represents the advancement of a culture of terror
SARS represents the basic interests of the broad masses of wild animals

Political Chapter

The Center is so troubled
This has already brought some officials low
Too bad about the Minister of Health
His numbers were a bit too low
That Party Secretary Xuenong
Didn’t do his job well.
The core of the fourth generation leadership, Chairman Hu Jintao
Only wants the efforts to halt the epidemic to bear some fruit
But it is late! News of more cases arrives, with still more to come!

[Note: The reference Xuenong is to Meng Xuenong, the Beijing mayor who was fired along with the Health Minister to take the blame for the SARS cover up.]

Bureaucratic Chapter

The Party can’t stop officials from eating and drinking at public expense
but SARS did!
The Party can’t stop junketeering officials,
but SARS did!
The Party can’t stop endless futile meetings,
but SARS did!
The Party can’t stop the deception of superiors and the cheating of subordinates,
but SARS did!
The Party can’t stop prostitution,
but SARS did!

“党治不了的, 非典都治”
大吃大喝党治不了,非典治了;
公款旅游党治不了,非典治了;
文山会海党治不了,非典治了;
欺上瞒下党治不了,非典治了;
卖淫嫖娼党治不了,非典治了.

Epidemic Situation Message

Guandong got SARS then Beijing caught it
The government isn’t so strict now, so the media dares to speak up
Many people have SARS now, the hospitals are full
The doctors and nurses are having a tough time,
the front line shock troops confronting danger
The masses are scared out of their wits,
wearing masks to cover their faces
International organizations have come to take charge,
SARS will soon be brought under control
Take your Chinese medicine boiled in the pot,
be sure to get some exercise.

PRC National anthem [“Marching Song of the Volunteers” parody message]

Arise, you people who don’t want to get SARS, make our contributions an anti-SARS Great Wall. The Chinese nation is at the moment of its greatest peril, everyone must yell their loudest yell, Close our doors!, Close our buildings!, Seal off our city!

[The real “Marching Song of the Volunteers” a song of popular resistance to Japanese invaders that became the PRC national anthem.  A elderly Taiwanese man told me that some residents of Taipei sang it to welcome the KMT coming to Taiwan in late 1945 — only to discover later that it wasn’t a song the KMT liked to hear!]

Arise, Ye who refuse to be slaves!
With our very flesh and blood,
Let us build our new Great Wall!
The peoples of China are in the most critical time,
From each one the urgent call for action comes forth.
Arise!
Arise!
Arise!
Millions of souls with one heart,
Braving the enemy’s gunfire, March on!
Braving the enemy’s gunfire, March on!
March on!
March on!
On!    ]

Poetry Chapter

In the capital city Beijing
Sickness for one thousand li all round
The virus now spreads ten thousand li
Both within the city wall and without
People’s hearts are trembling
About the City wall there is a great clamor
People eat isastis root to fortify themselves
They eat their vitamins
The will to health and SARS test one another
No peaceful days
As I watch the gloves and the face masks
selling out so very quickly

Posted in History 历史, Literature 文学, Politics 政治, Society 社会 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2010: Ran Yunfei — “How I Lived My Life in the Year 2010”

I translated this 2010 online article by Chengdu writer Ran Yunfei 冉云飞 when I lived in Chengdu. Ran Yunfei’s writing cover a wide range of topics in literature, history, education and society. While he avoids direct commentary on Chinese politics, naturally as a moral person he finds it difficult to avoid the topic.

See for example,

How I Lived My Life in the Year 2010   检讨我的2010年

by Ran Yunfei

I have the habit of writing a diary and a blog every day. It is how I record everything and practice my writing. What I write on my blog isn’t just for my own benefit. I also hope that it can also help society in some small way. I have no great political ambitions, my attitude towards politics is that of Mr. Hu Shi — “I don’t have any interest in being interested in politics.” I don’t have any moral scruples against getting involved in politics. I am just not interested in it personally. I don’t believe that politics is dirtier than other fields of human endeavor, assuming that the political system is a fairly good one.

In other words, what I like best is to read books, write, travel, drink wine, and enjoying myself — as I said once in an interview with a Danish television station, what I really want to be doing is not criticizing the government. In a free country I would happily spend my life in the library doing research. But I live in a country where I cannot in good conscience merely live such a a life. I feel that I have no alternative. I have to voice my criticisms of our messed up social reality. Otherwise I would be uneasy. I would not be able to sleep well. I would feel that I was not paying my dues.

Naturally, as I just said, my reason for criticizing the government and the system is to be a free person to fight for my own rights. That is, every individual has for the sake of their own rights both the duty and the motivation to criticize. We should not expect other to stand up and fight for our own rights. If you do not fight for your own rights, you have failed not only in your responsibility to take care of yourself, but have created serious problems for society for you have, as a human being, failed to fulfill your own responsibilities. The problem is that some people lack the ability to criticize the government and to protect their own rights. The root of the problem is the government’s practice of oppressing and deceiving the people. Therefore people who have been able to see this clearly and people who have a better than average education have out their own good conscience and feelings of obligation, to keep working towards the goal that every will awaken to the need of defending their rights and have the ability to do so.

I don’t want to claim that there is some moral superiority in my motivations. I don’t want to exaggerate my own efforts but neither do I want to understate them. I explained before why I put such great effort into criticizing social injustice. The reason lies in myself. If I do not criticize social injustice, if I do not fulfill all my responsibilities as a citizen, then I will be allowing injustice to spread. If I did not criticize social injustice, I would not be fulfilling my responsibilities as a citizen and as an intellectual. If I did not fulfill my responsibilities, I would be passing the buck to someone else. That would be taking advantage of someone else. That I cannot in good conscience do. Therefore, I often criticize social injustice, the bad points of the system, and the evils of the government for the sake of my own inner peace.

As one individual, I cannot change the state of this society. Even if this society becomes worse, I will still make my best efforts. That is why I, in a China beset by a multitude of problems, other people are anxious, sleepless and fearful while can I can stay relatively calm and composed. Therefore, in order to reduce my own anxieties, sleeplessness and worry as well as any moral qualms, I must fulfill all my responsibilities and not foist them on other people. Constructing a system of freedom and democracy is not doubt important and perhaps indeed the most important thing of all. However, if I were to make achieving democracy and freedom the the goal of my life, I am afraid I would just leave myself disillusioned and broken down.

That is why I admire the saying of Mr. Hu Shi “If I give my all each day, it would all have been worthwhile” [ 日拱一卒,功不唐捐] . Even if I work hard for it but never life to see the achievement of democracy and freedom, I will not have spent my life struggling in vain. It is just as Mr. Szeto Wah says, “I don’t have to achieve the success but the success must be in me.” I admire the epitaph of Mr. Liu Binyan: “The Chinese buried here spoke the truth and did his duty.” I believe that a person who, living under a dictatorship, can speak those words (or can win such praise) has achieved something wonderful. If such a person can have such a epitaph engraved on their memorial tablet, illuminating one’s lives still yet to come, that surely would be a great encouragement.

During 2010 I did a lot of different things but didn’t have any great achievements. I just left a little trace of my passage, really, nothing glorious that could inspire the efforts of others. I just hope to be able to keep it up. I work every day, doing to the best of my ability what I want to be doing. Most of the time I am able to live that way.

1. I write a blog entry each day. I keep on criticizing the realities of our society in order to carry out my ideal of constantly perfecting myself through “Giving my all each day, and not expecting to achieve anything right away”. Since I spent half of this year in the hospital, this year I wrote fewer blog entries than in any of the past six years. It has been 15 days since I last wrote a blog entry. I expect to do what I can and to help society in my own small way.

2. I keep a diary each day. I meet many different kinds of people, see much of human affairs and read many books, so each day I write them down and think about them so as to leave a little trace of my passage through this life. This gives me a lot to reflect on, remember, and discuss. It is quite useful.

3. I have benefited from the efforts of many NGOs and so I too participate in the little things they do to help society and to enlarge the space for civil society. I learn a lot from them. This not only helps me understand NGOs better but also to better understand the importance of NGOs in a normal society. As I have said, it is important that our society knows Hu Shi and Lu Xun but this is not enough. Society also needs to know about the work and efforts of people like Yan Yangqu and Tao Xingzhi who have enlarged the space for civil society. I hope that more Chinese intellectuals will get a better understanding of the essential role of NGOs in the transformation of Chinese society. They need to understand more than that NGOs have good people who do good works. That is why I have continued editing the “Civil Society and NGO Development Weekly”. Unfortunately thus far few people know about it.

4. I have been writing a history of a Buddhist temple from the perspective of economics, history and society “The Lungs of Old Sichuan: The Story of Daci Temple” (I didn’t discuss religious faith, firstly because I don’t understand much about it and secondly because it would be hard to write about religion and come up with anything original), which will be published next year. I also enjoying writing and researching ten long articles for the history portion of the Lonely Planet “Guide to Sichuan and Chongqing”

5. I continue to collect Chinese language teaching materials for the period 1900 – 2000. My collection of Tibetan language teaching materials has increased from several hundred to several thousand volumes. I completed the plan, rough outline and draft of my book “Changes in a Hundred Years of Chinese Language Teaching Materials”. This will be the foundation for this book which I expect to basically complete writing in 2011. I also made some preparations for editing this year four primary school Chinese language teaching materials for the Huacheng Publishing House.

6. I have edited the last six years of my blog entries into a two volume collection with the working title “China’s Ideological Revolt”. One volume has the working title “Chinese Bullets are Flying”. I did not finish editing these two volumes so that work will carry over into this year.

7. I read about 80 books and saw 50 movies. That is really no great number because I was preoccupied with many odd jobs and trivial tasks and was ill for two months.

My greatest joy this year was getting back in touch with friends I had lost touch with over the years. When my family hears about these things, they say that God on high must be looking out for me. I think this is true too so I will be reserved in my enjoyment of my good fortune. This is what I hope for this year:

1. I hope that my family with be health, safe and happy and especially that my daughter can get through her adolescence happily. I hope that I will be able to make up for lost time with those friends I had lost track of for many years and that we can spend more time together, come to understand one another better, love and help one another.

2. I hope that more people will be able to eat their fill and dress more warmly and comfortably. I hope that Chinese society will come to have a better conscience and that the breakdown of society will not get worse and worse.

3. I hope that my protruding lumbar vertebra problem will get better so that I will be able to complete my work in editing the four Chinese language teaching materials and the writing of the book “Changes in a Hundred Years of Chinese Language Teaching Materials”.

4. I hope that I will be able to use my knowledge and abilities to do more for the public good such as recommending books for organizations (I haven’t given up my task of helping with the Chinese Rural Library [立人乡村图书馆] , I am working on it now), help establish and make contributions to libraries (I have gotten a lot of help from nephew in this area), and the badly need cultural classes in many localities (last year Southern Weekend and the Bridgestone Corporation organized a “Rural Classes on Aesthetics” in which I enthusiastically participated, I gave a class on Du Fu in Kuizhou and assisted some others to my own great pleasure. I participated in those activities to the extent that they did not interfere with my life and work.

February 3, 2011 at 1403, the Lunar New Year in Chengdu.

2011年2月3日14:03分农历大年初一于成都

 

冉云飞先生是当代中国的杰出的作家。 因为他的思想跟中国执政党不一致, 他成了一个思想犯。我看了他的博客,推特与他送给我他的一本书之后,我不理解他的思想犯罪在那里。他今年春节写这篇探讨他一年来的工作有可能提供大家一些线索帮助我么了解到他为什么他是个思想犯。我还没发现冉云飞是个思想犯的理由。所不定虽然我是从很远的地方来, 我还是读不了这里的神圣的文件。

高大伟

检讨我的2010

冉云飞 @ 2011-2-3 14:08 阅读(4794) 评论(15) 推荐值(204) 引用通告 分类: 贡献常识

http://www.bullogger.com/blogs/ranyunfei/archives/374782.aspx

我每天有记日记和写博客的习惯,全当记事和练笔。博客上的练笔,不仅有利于自己,而且客观上能为社会有小小助益,是我之所愿。我没有什么远大的抱负,对政治从来都抱着胡适先生的“对政治是没有兴趣的兴趣”的态度。我对政治没有道德洁癖,只是个人对此并无兴趣,我认为政治并不比人类的其他领域更肮脏,前提是只要有比较好的制度的话。换言之,我最喜欢做的事,是读书、写作、旅游、饮酒,快意适己——这就像我有次接受丹麦一家电视台时所说,我的爱好并不在批评政府,在一个自由的国家我乐意一辈子在图书馆做研究——但我生在一个不能只做这些便可以安心的国家,没有办法,不对当下糟糕的社会现实做出自己的批评,就于心不安,就睡不好觉,就心有亏欠。

当然,话又说过来,批评政府及制度,其目的在于做一个自由的人,为自己的权益起而奋斗。这样说来,每个人都有为自己权益起而批评的义务与动机,都不应该寄望于别人来为自己争取权益。即你不为自己争取权益,不仅没有尽到自己照顾自己的责任,而且为社会带来了不少麻烦,从做人底线来看,自己是没能尽到责任的。但问题又在于,有些人缺乏批评政府、维护自己权利的能力,其根源在于政府的高压及愚弄,所以先觉者和受到较好教育的人,应该尽一点自己的良知与义务,不停努力,达成所有人维护自己权益的觉醒和能力的培养。

我不想圣化自己做事的动机,不想高看自己的所有努力,但也不低看自己的努力。我曾说自己为什么要为批评社会不公做出自己的努力,其原因在于从自身出发。若我不批评社会不公,是没有尽到一个公民应尽之责,即放任不公的蔓延,就是没有尽到自己作为一个公民或者知识分子的责任。自己没尽到责任,就把自己应尽之责推到别人头上去了,这是占了别人的便宜,这是我所不能心安理得的。因此我常常说我批评社会不公、制度不良、政府之恶,是为了自己内心平安。我一个人固然不能整体改变这个社会的态势,但这个社会再糟糕,我也尽了自己的努力,这是我为什么在问题丛生的中国,别人焦虑失眠、恐惧不安,我却能较平和的原因。因此为了减少自己的焦虑失眠和道德不安,就得尽量尽一份自己责任,而不把责任推给别人。一个民主自由制度的建立固然重要乃至是绝顶重要,但把争取民主自由当成自己一生修练,恐怕才使自己不至绝望而崩溃,这也就是我为什么赞赏胡适先生日拱一卒、功不唐捐的原因。即令我的努力没能见着民主自由的实现,也不枉我一生努力过,就像司徒华先生所谓:成功不必在我,成功我在其中。我很欣赏刘宾雁先生的墓志铭:躺在这里的中国人,说了他该说的话,做了他该做的事。我认为一个人能在独裁制度下坦然说出这样的话(或者得到这样的评价),本身就是一项不可企及的绝大成就。墓碑上能刻着这样的话,照耀着自己的往生,真是太给力了。

2010年自己所做之事不少,但并无多么了不起的成就,只是个人的一个留痕,绝不存拿来炫耀并指导别人的用心。我只是希望能坚持不懈,每天都在工作着,尽量在做自己喜欢的事,而事实上我大部时间亦能如此。

一:每日一博,不停地批评社会现实,实践我“日拱一卒,不期速成”的自我修练的理念。由于我今年住了半个月的院,因此今年是我写博客六年来,缺博较多的年份,大约有十五天没有写博客。我只期望自己能尽责,对社会有涓滴之助。

二:每天写日记。我交往各色人等比较广泛,所见人事和阅读书籍比较多,因此每日记下和反刍自己所作所为,作为留存于世的一点痕迹,于自己反思、回忆、检讨,总是比较有用的。

三:受惠于诸多NGO组织的努力,自己也参与他们做些微小的助益社会和扩大公民空间的事,自己颇受教益。这种教益不仅使我对NGO的认识更加深透,也更见深刻地理解到NGO对于一个正常的社会之重要。我曾说过,一个社会只知道胡适、鲁迅,固然重要,但还不够。必须知道晏阳初、陶行知等人的实践与努力,他们扩大了公民的行动空间。我希望中国更多的知识分子从较深的角度来认识NGO对中国社会转型的巨大作用,而不是对NGO仅停留于好人好事的认识上。这也就是为什么一直坚持编辑《公民社会与NGO发展周刊》的原因,可惜的是,至今有如此认识的人还不多。

四:写作了一本从经济、历史、社会角度来研究一座寺庙的书《古蜀之肺:大慈寺传》(我并没有探讨信仰问题,一来对此了解不多,二来探讨这个不容易出新意),在年后即能出版。给lonelyplanet《四川和重庆》一书撰写“历史部分”等长文十几篇,自己得到写作和研究的快乐。

五:继续搜集19002000之间的中国语文教材,使自藏语文教材增至几百种上几千册,将《百年中国语文教材变迁》的旨意和粗纲,基本写作完毕,并为2011年基本完成此书做足了前期准备。并为今年花城出版社即将编的四本民国语文教材,做一系列准备。

六:为自己六年的博客编两本文集,一本暂名为《中国的思想起义》,一本暂名为《中国的子弹在飞》,两本书的编辑工作仍未完毕,是为跨年度工作。

七:大约读书八十本,看电影五十部。这样的阅读和看碟量并不算大,因为今年杂事丛脞且有一两月在病中。

去年最高兴的事,是找到了失散多年的亲人。家人听到这件事,说上天眷顾我。我亦认为是如此,所以人之一生应当惜福。今年我期望的事是:

一:我希望家人健康平安,快乐高兴,特别是我的女儿能开心度过她的青春期。希望失散多年的亲人,能弥补前面未能往来的遗憾,常相往来,增进了解,爱与互助。

二:希望更多的人能吃饱饭、穿得暖和点,希望中国社会能有一些良性的改进,庶不至于社会的崩溃愈演愈烈。

三:希望自己的腰椎盘突出能有较大的改善,以便今年能完成编语文教材四册、写作《百年中国语文教材变迁》的工作。

四:希望用自己的知识和能力能做更多的公益之事,如给有关组织机构推荐书籍(承蒙立人乡村图书馆诸位不弃,正在做)、帮助建立和捐赠图书馆(此方面得到舍侄们的大力资助)、或者至需要的地方上文化课(如去年南方周末和普利斯通公司组织的“乡村审美教育”就很可我之意,我讲杜甫在夔州,助益了别人,自己也很享受)。但一切都要在不影响自己生活和工作的前提下。

2011231403分农历大年初一于成都

© 日拱一卒,不期速成。非商业性转载,请全文转载并署作者名。商业性使用,请联系作者。欢迎访问我的独立微博客 http://ranyunfei.shoutem.comranyunfei.shoutem.com 和推特:http://twitter.com/ranyunfei

 


Posted in Famous Chinese Political Court Cases 中国政治名案, Literature 文学, Society 社会 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2008: The Populism of the Lower Social Strata and the Intellectuals 翻译摘要:底层与知识分子的民粹主义

The Populism of the Lower Social Strata and the Intellectuals

By Tang Xiaobing 唐小兵

南风窗 4/2008 issue

http://www.nfcmag.com/view-582.html

Tang Xiaobing  唐小兵 a scholar at Shanghai’s East China Normal University 

(http://college.usc.edu/faculty/faculty1008212.html ) in a recent issue of Nanfeng Chuan outlined the development of populism in China during the Twentieth Century.

[Translator’s note:I originally translated the term mincuizhuyi as national chauvinism, since populism does shade over into national chauvinism and it seemed to fit better there, rather than the conventional translation of mincuizhuyi as populism. Now I changed it because Tang Xiaobing, who knows English well, told me he prefers and meant populism. I am reminded of my old French professor who told us one day that translation is like imposing two screen with whole of different dimensions on each other. Nothing really quite matches. And of the French expression “traduire, c’est trahir” – to translate is to betray. End note]

Summary translation follows:

Chinese populism flows from two sources. The first came to China from Russia in the early 20th century from the writings of [Note: the 19th century utopian socialist and inspiration to Lenin] Nikolai Chernyshevsky and others who called on intellectuals to go out amongst the people for it is among them that all that is pure, noble and worthwhile is to be found. The other root of Chinese populism comes for the radically anti-traditional current in Chinese tradition “discard the sages and cast aside all wisdom” 绝圣去智慧

Populism has been extremely influential on Chinese society at all levels during the 20th century. Especially interesting is how populism got such a strong hold on Chinese intellectuals. We can divide this story into three parts.

First, there is radically anti-traditional May 4, 1919 movement that called for the wholesale importation of western ways. Slogans calling for Democracy and Science were common. While totaling rejecting the elite Chinese culture of the day, the May 4 movement looked for inspiration among the folk culture of the lower strata in Chinese society. In Shanghai, the Left Wing Writers’ Group, which was under the political and social influence of the Chinese Communist Party, in publications such as Shenbao, came a great wave of writings, calling for people to go down to live with the people and to become one with them all the way criticizing cultural elites for being very corrupt and being mere servants of the authoritarian rulers of traditional society. True goodness and truth was to be found among the oppressed and exploited people at the bottom of society.

Later, during the anti-rightist period [Note: Great Leap Forward of 1957 and later] , the movement to sent young educated people to the countryside, and the Cultural Revolution, this kind of populism reached a peak and many intellectuals were “brainwashed”, so there they would experience in the depths of their souls a revolution would break out as they renounced their previous system of thought and cultural values. At the time, China’s workers and peasants were regarded as the people who were the most moral and were the most able members of society. Intellectuals were likened to devils and snakes as the worst kind of political criminals.

From this we can see that after populism appeared amongst Chinese intellectuals, it has been used mostly as a means of political and cultural control.

Today, after there first two stages, we see populism appearing once again among Chinese intellectuals in China today. It most extreme expression is in accusations that China’s intellectual elites have been all deceived by the market and interest groups. Intellectuals who urge liberal economic reforms are particularly distrusted or even hated. People who think that way believe that only they themselves stand with the lower strata in society and represent their needs and interests.

For the past several years in periodicals such as Tianwa and Shanghai Wenxue (Shanghai Literature) intellectuals have been discussing the “lower strata” 底层and “lower strata literature” . In the controversies that break out, one side says that there is a pure, natural and diverse “voiceless lower strata” , they cannot be spoken for by intellectuals, since any intellectual trying to speaking for them is just a distortion and a selfish use of them. The other side seems to be deliberating just how to give the lower strata their own voice and some even seen themselves as the spokespersons for the lower strata. The problem of the lower strata is not simply an “academic problem” of how to describe them in literature or how the intellectuals can represent the lower strata in addressing issues of “virtue”. It is a matter of how intellectuals handle problems in the space between morals and politics.

Populism is well represented on the internet. The “people” has become a sensitive word that cannot be criticized, because the people are the one repository of moral goodness that has been harmed by the interests pushing reforms. Whenever there is a conflict between the rich and the poor, no matter who is in the right, the students and other people on the web in their vast majority stand on the side of the weaker one. They are very critical of intellectuals who want to look at an issue dispassionately. Writings by economist Mao Yushi “Speaking for the Wealthy, Handling Affairs for the Poor” “ 为富人说话,为穷人办事” and scholar Xu Jilin’s reflection on graduate student education “Why are graduate school entrance examinations just like university entrance examinations?” and the overreaction to the foolish Elegant Club Woman Affair 雅阁女事件 [Note: In mid 2006 a self styled “Elegant club woman” declared that anyone who makes less than RMB 3000 per month is lower strata set off a firestorm of millions of angry responses] are vigorously attacked online. Elite intellectuals are dismissed as mere servants to interest groups and are challenged at all turns about their morals and actions, while the oppressed and insulted are considered the seed bearers for a moral renaissance.

There are social reasons behind the attractiveness of populism to intellectuals today. Perhaps considering the social sources of populism and can gives us methods for dealing with this populism rationally. The most fundamental social reason for the rise of populism is the growing gap between rich and poor in Chinese society today. There an increasing feeling of a divide and of enmity between people on the two sides of the divide. People of the properties strata are seen as using illegal means such as relying on power to harvest economic rents or special deals between officials and businesspeople to capture resources that originally belonged to all the people. Hating the rich has become a common attitude in society. The people at the grassroots or the lower strata are characterized as “living cleanly in this world.” Intellectuals with this social background are affected by it in subtle ways.

Moreover, ever since the 1990s, universities and scientific institutions rapidly institutionalizes in step with the rapid expansion of the market economy society. Commercialization and commercial pressures have come too to the academies have faced more pressure for evaluations, organization of projects, and society became more and more elitist. At the same time the gap between society and the intellectuals grew with migrant workers, laid off workers and villagers are locked outside the ivory tower of academia. Among some intellectuals there is a feeling of distancing and unease since they believe that intellectuals living up to Chinese tradition cannot allow themselves to be “a group set apart”, giving up the duty of human concern for real people. Meanwhile from academe itself come report after report of corruption, academic work becomes more routinized by administration and bureaucracy, resulting in feelings of alienation and identity crisis for some intellectuals. As a result some intellectuals feel they want to leave their own intellectual circles and become very passionate about the masses of the workers and the peasants.

A large proportion of intellectuals with chauvinist tendencies come from grassroots backgrounds and faced themselves frustrations as a member of the lower strata and so have come to feel great sympathy for them. When they enter academia, they find that the intellectual elites are completely different from what they had expected. They see scheming interest groups in academia and so their punctured illusions are transformed to hate. These memories of past wounds and sadness can breed a raging, idealist passion and imbue their speech with a sanctimonious quality.

In these days when the ills of the political cultures have not been remedied, when the rights of citizens are not “realized in practice”, and civil society has not become rock solid, when what Hannah Arendt called “the banality of evil” spreads far and widemany intellectuals put their trust in the small, isolated communities like rural villages. They idealize the beauty and excellent characters of the lower strata without any reserve. They despise the rational thinking of the intellectual strata of society. They can only entertain fantasies about intellectuals who search for a new national path.

But in actual fact,  scholars with real ties to the masses such as Yu Jianrong 于建嵘 [Note: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences scholar] has done field studies of the peasant rights protection movement in Hunan Province, the environmental protection movement that stopped the PX project in Xiamen, and demonstrations in Shanghai against the high speed maglev train, demonstrate the non-oppositional nature of relations between intellectuals and the masses (including the lower strata) demonstrate both the possibility and practice of cooperation between the masses and the intellectuals. Zou Dang 邹谠, the late distinguished scholar of Chinese 20th century political culture at the University of Chicago, who is of Chinese descent, said something that everyone concerned about the trend towards populism should consider: “Extreme idealism and extreme cynicism are the same: they take no responsibility for anything or anyone other than themselves. Extreme idealists take responsibility only for their own ideals, extreme cynics only take responsibility for their own narrow interests.”

20世纪的中国,民粹主义一直是游荡在历史夹缝里的挥之不去的幽灵。民粹主义最核心的表现就是极端地推崇底层道德与文化的价值,认定大众保存了文化传统革新与社会进步的真正力量,与此同时,民粹主义强烈地弥漫着反精英文化、反知识分子倾向。

底层与知识分子的民粹主义

作者:唐小兵 来源:《南风窗》杂志 日期:2008-02-07

  在20世纪的中国,民粹主义一直是游荡在历史夹缝里的挥之不去的幽灵。民粹主义最核心的表现就是极端地推崇底层道德与文化的价值,认定大众保存了文化传统革新与社会进步的真正力量,与此同时,民粹主义强烈地弥漫着反精英文化、反知识分子倾向。

底层与知识分子的民粹主义

作者:唐小兵 来源:《南风窗》杂志

在20世纪的中国,民粹主义一直是游荡在历史夹缝里的挥之不去的幽灵。民粹主义最核心的表现就是极端地推崇底层道德与文化的价值,认定大众保存了文化传统革新与社会进步的真正力量,与此同时,民粹主义强烈地弥漫着反精英文化、反知识分子倾向。

中国的民粹主义有着两个重要来源,一是20世纪初期从俄罗斯引入的车尔尼雪夫斯基等人提倡的“到民间去”的社会思潮,相信民间代表一个纯真的有道德感的底层社会,可以从中取得社会变革的动力与资源;另外一个来源是传统中国一直存在的“绝圣去智”的反智论传统,简言之就是对知识、文化等价值系统鄙视、否定,扩展到对代表此价值系统的知识分子进行全盘否定的历史“潜流”。

民粹主义是20世纪中国一股强大的社会思潮,其影响自然覆盖到中国社会诸多阶层。让人更感兴趣的是知识分子阶层自身的“民粹化”倾向。这种倾向至少曾经在三个历史时期有着强劲的历史表达。

五四时期,在林毓生所谓的“全盘反传统主义”的浪潮里,主流知识分子在高喊“科学”与“民主”等口号引进西学,他们在全面攻击传统的精英文化的同时,将寻找民族文化自新的眼光也转向了“民间”和“底层”。鲁迅、周作人等搜集、编辑地方歌谣、顾颉刚等寻访民俗文化遗存,更有当时很多大学生组织团体深入民间,寻求民间知识、信仰与智慧,形成了强大的到民间去的思潮。这个时期也正好是强调无产阶级地位的马克思主义迅速从当时百花齐放的各种社会思潮里脱颖而出,成为后来主导中国历史的思想形态的关键时期。1930年代,生活在上海的受共产党政治文化影响的左翼作家,在《申报》等各类报刊上发表了大量文字,号召到民间去,到底层去,与普罗大众相结合,呼吁改造五四时期形成的白话文,攻击它太过于精英,应该直接用民众口语作为书面语言的来源,创作为人民喜闻乐见的大众文学,同时,他们批评学者、文人、知识分子等所谓高等华人是一个道德腐败而为专制统治服务的既得利益阶层,他们认为被压迫和剥削的底层才代表着真正的良知与智慧。

反右时期、上山下乡运动时期和“文化大革命”期间,这种民粹主义发展到巅峰,知识分子纷纷接受“洗脑”,从灵魂深处爆发革命,全盘否定自己的知识体系与文化思想,在公共场合检讨脱离了人民,成为资产阶级和帝国主义的帮忙和帮闲,中国农民和工人被认为是最有知识、最有道德和最有实际能力的群体,知识分子都成了被讽刺为牛鬼蛇神的政治贱民,应该到五七干校、牛棚、夹皮沟等地去接受工农兵的再教育以便脱胎换骨重新做人。

由此可见,中国知识分子的民粹主义产生之后,更多的时候,却是被政治文化操控,改造成“四体不勤五谷不分”以及“知识越多越反动”的知识分子原罪概念,成为对知识分子进行思想改造的“良心压迫机制”,打掉知识分子的自由精神、身份意识与文化尊严感,从而纳入整齐划一的革命机器里做一颗驯服的螺丝钉。

民粹主义浮出水面

延续前两个历史阶段,今日的中国,在知识分子阶层中,民粹主义又开始重新“浮出水面”。其表现形式多种多样,最典型的是这些年新左派学者的部分文字里汹涌澎湃的“民粹主义”,其极致表达就是控诉知识精英都已经被市场经济和利益集团“收编”,尤其对主张市场经济的自由派知识分子有着强烈的不信任、抵触与憎恶心态。萧功秦认为:“他们对知识分子主流表现出极度蔑视的同时,却把民众视为天生纯洁的,优秀的,没有受到污染的。民众是天生具有革命精神的。”这个群体认为只有他们才真正地与底层人民站在一起,代表底层人民的利益与需求。

在《天涯》、《上海文学》等报刊上持续几年之久的知识分子关于“底层”与“底层文学”的讨论也折射了这一问题。论战一方认为我们的社会存在一个纯真的原生态的充满多样性的“失语的底层”,它根本无法被自以为是的知识分子“代言”,任何知识分子对底层的言说都是一种歪曲与利用,另一方认为口口声声地似乎在严肃思考如何让底层浮出水面的知识分子,其实是在道貌岸然地抢注“底层代言人”这个道德商标,从而在繁复而精致的话语游戏(这种游戏根本不为人民所愿意理解!)里完成为底层代言而拔高自身的道德形象。“底层”问题不仅仅是一个关于底层如何被文学性地表述的“学术问题”,也不仅仅是关于知识分子如何公共化进而为底层代言的“道德问题”,它也是一个关于当代中国知识分子如何处理自身在道德与政治的夹缝中的困境的问题。

更让人拍案惊奇的是民粹主义的势力范围在继续攻城略地,甚至这股“野火”也已经烧到了一向被归置在自由派阵营的知识分子身上。旅美学者薛涌在最近发表于《南方周末》上的长文《从中国文化的失败看孔子的价值》(同时发表于广州《随笔》2008年第1期)里,公开声称“知识分子代表了中国文化传统中最丑恶的成分”,认为知识分子“本质上都是韩非理想中的法术之士,自以为掌握着某种国家理性,总想着获得超越共同体自治的权力、干预老百姓的生活”,鲁迅《阿Q正传》等反思国民性的作品在薛涌看来代表了知识精英“冷血”的“现代中国专制主义意识形态”,是对底层的妖魔化论述。他认为复兴中国文化之路不在这些知识分子身上,而在于向保存着中国文化最质朴精神的小共同体里的“最基层的小民百姓学习”。在这篇文章里,知识分子与底层民众的关系已经几近水火不容,底层所寄身的共同体被寄托了实现宪政的希望。

为了论证小民百姓保存了他所言的共同体美德,薛涌列举了几年前一件矿难事故里,一个遇难矿工遇难之前将帽子交给身边的同事,幸存的同事转交给其妻子,帽子里的一张纸条写着:“孝敬父母,带好孩子,还张主任200块钱……”另外一个例证是湖南老汉李绍为为了不让老乡客死他乡,千里背尸回湘的“义举”。薛涌感慨这种文化精神在知识分子阶层早已荡然无存,应该到底层去寻找、发掘与培育。今日中国的共同体建设,在薛涌看来,也不需要知识分子阶层的“指手画脚”,除非后者愿意被“雇佣”。简言之,作者认为“启蒙”是知识分子的自欺欺人的玩意儿,底层完全应该抛弃或拒绝“启蒙知识分子”隔靴搔痒的“宏大叙事”。

民粹主义最广泛的表达是在互联网上,人民成了不能被批评的敏感词汇,因为人民是改革进程的利益受损者和道德沦丧的社会里的唯一美德保存者,每当发生贫富阶层或个体之间的社会冲突,不管谁是有道理者,互联网的往往以青年学生为主体的“民意”总是自然地压倒性地倾向于弱势者一方,对于强调理性讨论的知识分子的发言总是不屑一顾,或者口诛笔伐。经济学家茅于轼《为富人说话,为穷人办事》、学者许纪霖反思研究生教育的《考研为何重蹈高考覆辙》以及让人啼笑皆非的所谓“雅阁女事件”等文字、视频都在网络上遭受了强烈的反弹。知识精英已经被普遍地预设成为体制服务的既得利益阶层,而遭受广泛的道德质疑与挑战,而被侮辱被损害的人民被想象成道德复兴与伦理实践的历史主体。

社会根源

当前部分知识分子阶层民粹化有着其深刻的社会根源,仔细分析和挖掘其社会根源也许才是找到理性对待民粹主义的方法的合理途径之一。最直接的社会原因是当前中国日益扩大的贫富两极分化,阶层之间越来越充满隔阂和敌意,财富阶层基本上被认为是依靠权力寻租与官商勾结等违法手段获得本来属于广大人民的资源,仇富心理成为典型的社会心理,草根或者底层虽然生活艰苦,但被肯定为是依靠自身努力而“干净地生活在这个世界”。知识分子处身这个社会背景,自然受其潜移默化之影响。

与此同时,1990年代以来,与市场经济社会形成几乎同步的是大学、科研院所的迅速体制化,甚至产业化倾向,学院知识分子被课题、项目、评估等各种日常事务缠绕,生活越来越学院化与精英化,与此同时发生的是知识分子与现实社会变动的隔膜日益扩大,民工、农村、下岗工人都似乎被隔离在精致的象牙塔之外,而事实上秉持中国文化传统的知识分子是不可能真正地“躲进小楼成一统”,放弃其天然的关怀现实人生的情怀,疏离感、负疚感在部分知识分子心灵深处潜伏,而学院不断地揭露的学界腐败,以及学术不断行政化、官僚化之后造成的“异己感”,这些因素融汇在一起造成了知识分子的身份认同危机,“尊德性”的道德实践和参与社会变革比较起“道问学”(为学术而学术的学者生涯)似乎更具有精神的感召力,更能消除其内心的空虚感与无力感。这种倾向自然助长对知识分子阶层自身的离心倾向,与对工农大众的热情向往甚至激情想象。

我们注意到比较具有民粹倾向的知识分子有很大一部分出身于草根阶层,或许经历过诸多底层挫折,对底层社会感同身受,当他们进入学院以后,发现知识精英完全不是他们所想象的那样,而都是为稻粱谋的利益集团,就容易幻灭而形成怨恨心理。正如萧功秦所指出的那样,“被主流社会歧视的边缘人经历,底层的生活经历与挫折感使他们产生对占有社会稀缺资源的精英阶层有一种强烈的抵制、怀疑乃到憎恶情绪,当他们看到某种社会不公现象时,就会把个人遭遇到的挫折与他所看到的社会不公平联系起来,并自认为是‘底层民众利益的代表者’,产生一种‘为民请命’的使命感。”这种创伤性记忆与悲情意识,会发酵成一种狂热的理想主义激情,为他们的言辞灌注一股道德理想主义的悲天悯人的特质。

或许,还有一个深层的根由也值得指出,正如阿伦特在《论革命》里对比法国大革命与美国革命时所指出的,前者囿于贫困等社会问题而导致道德激情四处弥漫到公共广场,最后以同情和怜悯为出发点的大革命却走向了雅各宾专政的残暴,而美国革命始终坚持将政治自由问题优先于社会问题来处置,因而探索出一条社会代价相对较低的社会进步道路。今天的中国自然是更关注贫富分化等社会问题,这也容易强化社会平等问题的尖锐性,成为世俗社会的道德神经,时刻刺激知识分子的良心,而误把有大体一致目标的知识分子阶层与底层人为对立起来。

在政治文化没有被“刮骨疗毒”的时候,在公民权利没有“实至名归”的时候,在公民社会没有“稳如磐石”的时候,在阿伦特所谓“平庸的邪恶”到处弥漫,而反思的精神寥若晨星的时候,一味地寄希望于势单力薄的乡村小共同体,以及无限地美化“底层”的道德精神与文化质素,而鄙视乃至否定具有理智力量的知识分子阶层,只能是寻求民族自新之途的知识分子的“一帘幽梦”而已。

事实上,于建嵘对湘南农村的农民维权行动的田野调查结果、厦门抵制PX项目的环保运动、上海市民抗议磁悬浮的散步行动等,都证实了知识分子与民众(包括底层),并非对抗关系,而是有着合作的可能与实践。研究20世纪中国政治文化卓有成就的美国芝加哥大学华裔学者邹谠生前说过的一番话,也许值得所有的有着民粹化倾向和关注此问题的读者寻味:“狂热的理想主义和激进的犬儒主义都是一回事:对它们自己以外的一切人物与实体都不负责任。狂热的理想主义者只对他们自己的理想负责,激进的犬儒主义者只对他们狭隘的自我利益负责。”

Posted in Ideology 思想, Society 社会 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Highlights from the Chinese Spy Novel “Fatal Weakness” — Chapter Entitled “The CIA Spy School”

Fatal Weakness [Zhiming Ruodian] author  Yang Hengjun 杨恒均 worked in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for several years and later in a Hong Kong company.  Now he is an Australian citizen. Yang Hengjun blogs in Chinese on his website http://www.yanghengjun.com/

Yang’s novel portrays competition between US and Chinese intelligence services, and the fatal weaknesses 2434and susceptibility to manipulation of both services by a third party. Fatal Weakness along with the other two novels in the series, Fatal Weapon and Fatal Pursuit are available online, together with several review of the novels in this trilogy, on the boxun.com website.

Read in Chinese the chapter summary translated here at http://blog.boxun.com/hero/zhiming/19_1.shtml

Fatal Weakness by Yang Zimin’er was published in Hong Kong by the Kaiyi Publishing House in 2004.

Chinese reviewers of Fatal Weakness call it an excellent portrait of the government millieu of corruption and double dealing in which the intelligence agencies operate. According to the plot summary, the United States exploits corrupt Chinese officials as information sources by playing on their greed. Some friends of the young Chinese former spy trainee who has departed for the private sector are caught and so he rescues his friends by playing on both the weaknesses of the Chinese Ministry of State Security and those of the Central Intelligence Agency.
According to the plot summary a US – China double agent in the book works for neither side but on his own account, and feeds false information to both sides in order to serve his own agenda — the precipitation of a US – China conflict.

Fatal Weakness, the first volume in the trilogy, is well written.
The chapter on FBI counterintelligence work against Chinese espionage in the US for has dialogue in which some FBI people are worried about China’s rise and talk about the “Yellow Peril”. So the US part of the book may be a bit overblown and pieced together from press reports and books and not reflect direct knowledge.

My translation of the plot outline on the boxun.com website:

Fatal Weakness, 260,000 characters in all, is divided into 26 chapters with titles such as “Drugs Shock the Devils”, “God’s Surgical Blade”, “The Old Classmate in Washington, DC”, “Who Do You Think You Are?”, “Infiltrating the FBI”, “Sex Spy”, “Target: Beijing Olympics” and “Double Agent”.
The main plot line follows Yang Wenfeng from university graduation to assignment to the Ministry of State Security, then after switching the private sector, to Guangdong Province.

Disturbing things began to happen. One after another, his old classmates, one at the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, one at the Guangdong Provincial Government main office, and a third at the Jiuquan Guided Missile Launch Center were one after another were detained by State Security on suspicion of disclosing secret information.
Yang himself was taken away by the Guangdong Province Public Security Bureau. With the help of his former superior at the Ministry of State Security Intelligence Bureau, Yang discovers that the CIA is exploiting the fatal weaknesses – uncontrolled sexual desire and greed — of this classmate in carrying out its intelligence collection activities against China. In order to protect these old classmates, and in order to keep himself and his lover out of trouble, Yang Wenfeng takes advantage of the fatal weakness of the opposing intelligence service. He charges into the breach with his comrades and fights bravely. But Yang Wenfeng isn’t the only one who understands well the fatal weaknesses of both the Chinese and US intelligence services. When a double agent pursues a personal agenda and uses the fatal weaknesses of the Chinese Ministry of State Security and the US Central Intelligence Agency to reach the goal – to make the 2008 Beijing Olympics a disgrace to the Chinese nation, to force the US and China into a confrontation and to make the entire world impose sanctions on China.

Summary translation of a few highlights:

The science park opened ten years ago but there are still some buildings under construction. All this construction activity made David Tian think of China which he hadn’t seen for years. Recently he had accepted the request of the Central Intelligence Agency to come twice a month to give a class for CIA China analysts.

He got out of his car and walked toward the building. The wall are made of a special material. Just in the exterior walls are planted 63 high precision cameras not to mention many infrared heat detectors, and equipment for detecting hazardous materials and gases.
After David Tian transferred to the FBI China Section last year, he was given responsibility for liaison with the CIA. Naturally he got into frequent arguments with CIA counterparts, but a senior CIA analyst Frank Buck [??], who later become the first president of the CIA Sherman Kent School invited David Tian to give a class on China intelligence analysis at the school. David Tian reported this secretly back to China and in return his old classmates regularly fed him “material” for his class. The CIA is divided into senior administrators who might be in and out of the White House, spies who have a $30 billion a year budget, and analysts.
Analysts are trained at the Sherman Kent School. Analysts generally are not involved in intelligence collection around the world. Thus unable to skim money off “intelligence expenses” the analysts have to get by on their regular pay. Similarly, their chance of being promoted to the higher ranks especially to vice director or director is small. They don’t get to go on the TV news and even less get to play a role like in the glamorous Hollywood movies.

Spending their days reading and working alone, most analysts have hemorrhoids and bad breath after a few years. Just for that reason, the CIA has them take training classes once every two years. When you want to teach these people in class, they have this habit of lounging about in a slovenly manner with their coffee, always arguing back and forth, it is a real pain – you feel like strangling them!

Yet it is just those people who write the most expensive and lowest circulation newspaper in the world – The President’s Daily Brief…..

The class of eleven men and ten women settled down. In addition to the regular teachers at the school who focus on basic training, the school regularly invites guest lecturers from throughout the Washington, DC area including think tankers from the Heritage Foundation, the Atlantic Council, etc. David Tian was excited at this opportunity – and Yang Wenfeng had planned it that way. Getting into the CIA directly is difficult, but first getting into the FBI and then moving over to the CIA was much easier, especially in the post 9/11 environment.

Posted in Foreign Relations 外交, National Security 安全 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Deng Really Said: Yellow Cats, Black Cats — Not White Cats, Black Cats!

White Cats are Usurpers. Deng Spoke of “Yellow Cats and Black Cats”

What Deng really said:  “It doesn’t matter whether it is a yellow cat or a black cat, as long as it catches mice, it is a good cat.” “不管黄猫黑猫,只要捉住老鼠就是好猫”

Very few Chinese people know this.  You can blow the minds of your Chinese friends as you stick up for the yellow cats. Send them off to check the reference in the Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping!   Were they asleep in class when this was covered at the Party School?

Deng Xiaoping in his famous quote, borrowed from an old Sichuan saying, spoke of yellow cats and black cats, not black cats and white cats.  Very few Chinese and Western sources get this detail right!  After reading about it, I looked it up in Deng’s Selected Works (available online on the People’s Daily website). Yup, white cats are out of luck.

Deng, who was born in Guangyuan in Sichuan Province might learned that saying at home: it is an old Sichuan saying.  Deng in a 1962 speech that can be found in the Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping 《怎样恢复农业生产》,《邓小平选集》第1卷)  borrowed the saying “It doesn’t matter whether it is a yellow cat or a black cat, as long as it catches mice, it is a good cat.” “不管黄猫黑猫,只要捉住老鼠就是好猫”  from famed PLA General Liu Bocheng. Liu was from near Chongqing, then part of Sichuan Province.

Deng in his 1992 speech urged his Chinese Communist Party colleagues to take a more pragmatic line in agriculture after Mao’s mistaken policies led to the starvation of tens of millions of people.  Deng was  speaking out to support the contract responsibility system in agriculture that incentivized agricultural production by allowing peasants to keep part of what they produced.  Unfortunately, Liu Shaoqi’s pragmatic policy eventually failed. Mao defeated the pragmatists in his revolt against the Party in what became the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

After Mao died, the contract responsibility system  became an essential part of China’s economic recovery.  Some sources will say (there is a story popular in the PRC about several peasants in a village in Anhui Province inventing it secretly by themselves in the late 1970s)  that the contract responsibility system started only after Mao died but one can find other sources showing that Liu Shaoqi was trying to implement in earlier — certainly in the early 1960s and possibly in the mid 1950s as well.  But getting beaten back for revisionism each time and only winning out posthumously after his murder by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.

1962年7月2日,中共中央书记处开会讨论“包产户”问题。1962年7月7日,邓小平接见出席共青团三届七中全会全体同志时,谈到了农业生产管理政策的调整问题,他引用刘伯承经常说起的四川谚语:“不管黄猫黑猫,只要捉住老鼠就是好猫”来表述他对恢复农业生产和包产到户的看法。

This soon became known as the black cat, white cat policy (the colors changed for some reason).  During the Cultural Revolution Deng was criticized for this pragmatic approach — his critics called it an idealistic theory of production.   唯生产力论  Since Communists were supposed to be materialists, not idealists, this was considered a serious charge at the time.  See the December 12, 2008 issue of Xinxi Shibao — 邓小平白猫黑猫论成为改革开放思想理论标志 

1962年7月7日,

邓小平接见出席共青团三届七中全会全体同志时,谈到了农业生产管理政策的调整

问题,他引用刘伯承经常说起的四川谚语:“不管黄猫黑猫,只要捉住老鼠就是好

猫”来表述他对恢复农业生产和包产到户的看法。

I first heard about what Deng actually said in 1962 from an article on this Chinese government website about finance.

邓小平白猫黑猫论开启30年飞速发展

 

资本运作官方网站政府信息网・(2011-4-29 9:45:58)・国内新闻

 

一句民间谚语与一个改革口号

 

邓小平的“白猫黑猫”论,最早出现要回溯至上世纪60年代。

 

四川农村有一句俗语:“黄猫黑猫,只要捉住老鼠就是好猫。天府之国,田多

粮多,鼠多猫亦多。农人养猫,为的是灭鼠护粮。所以,黄猫也罢,黑猫也罢,只

要能捉住老鼠,就是好猫。邓小平的同乡和战友刘伯承,每逢大战在即,经常脱口

而出的就是这句话。邓小平作为刘伯承的老战友兼同乡,对于刘帅常说的这句家乡

话,自然十分理解,他将其从军事领域引入到整个社会领域。

 

1962年,一些农村地区为了应对饥荒和自然灾害,自发产生了包产到户、责

任田等各种各样的生产形式。这些变化,在党内引起较大争论。

 

1962年7月2日,中共中央书记处开会讨论“包产到户”问题。1962年7月7日,

邓小平接见出席共青团三届七中全会全体同志时,谈到了农业生产管理政策的调整

问题,他引用刘伯承经常说起的四川谚语:“不管黄猫黑猫,只要捉住老鼠就是好

猫”来表述他对恢复农业生产和包产到户的看法。他说:“生产关系究竟以什么形式

为最好,恐怕要采取这样一种态度,就是哪种形式在哪个地方能够比较容易比较快

地恢复和发展农业生产,就采取哪种形式;群众愿意采取哪种形式,就应该采取哪

种形式,不合法的使它合法起来……‘黄猫、黑猫,只要捉住老鼠就是好猫’。” (见

《怎样恢复农业生产》,《邓小平选集》第1卷)

 

这是邓小平最早在正式场合阐述“白猫黑猫”论这一重要观点,并第一次公之

于众。后来讹传为:“不管黑猫白猫,捉到老鼠就是好猫”。

 

在“文化大革命”期间,“白猫黑猫”这个比喻却被指责为“唯生产力论”,遭到批判。

 

“白猫黑猫”论登上美国《时代》周刊

 

邓小平认为,搞理论争论,就会贻误时机,错过发展机遇。空洞的争论无济

于事,真理只有在实践中才能得到检验,应该大胆地实践,大胆地试,先不要下结

论,干了再说。邓小平这句“不管黑猫白猫,捉到老鼠就是好猫”,风趣幽默、释理

简明的话语把改革面临诸多复杂问题化繁为简,不啻给了社会思维的一副清醒剂。

 

1978年,十一届三中全会后,随着政治思想路线的改变,“白猫黑猫”论成为

了中国将社会工作重心转移到经济发展上的一个理论标志。

 

从此,“白猫黑猫”论贯穿了中国整个改革开放,激发了全民的整体的潜能,

在乡镇企业、特区、私营经济、证券等诸多方面都带来了翻天覆地的变化。看看这

一组数据就是最好的证明:1980年末的有关统计显示,坚守在人民公社阵营里边的

产量不增不减,包产到组的地方增产10%到20%;包产到户的地方增产30%到50%。

 

1986年1月6日,邓小平再次成为美国《时代》周刊年度风云人物。“不管黑猫白

猫,捉到老鼠就是好猫”这句话被摘登在《时代》周刊上,“白猫黑猫”论也随之扩大

到世界,成为世界人民知晓的名言。

 

1992年春天,88岁的邓小平南巡武昌、深圳和珠海。也就在那一年,“不管黑

猫白猫,捉到老鼠就是好猫”成为坊间最流行的话语。2001年,APEC首脑峰会上,

这句话成为马来西亚总理马哈蒂尔的开场白,寓意亚洲现在最需要的是发展。

 

“白猫黑猫”论的实干战略

 

在改革开放之初,人们思想僵化,战战兢兢、裹足不前。中国人形成的一个

习惯性思维,遇事要问一问是社会主义还是资本主义,是无产阶级思想还是资产阶

级思想?如果认定是“资本主义”或“资产阶级思想”,那就要批判,要否定。如果让

这种习惯性的思维继续处以支配地位,那么任何新的改革开放的措施就根本无法推行。

 

邓小平的“白猫黑猫”论一出,改变了过去凡事都要先以意识形态考量、凡事

都要先从政治着眼、凡事都要先问问教条的思维习惯。“白猫黑猫”论告诉人们,想

问题办事情一切要从实际出发,而不是从条条框框出发;一切要从有利于发展社会

生产力,增强国家综合国力,提高人民生活水平的实际出发,社会主义是靠干出来

的,不是靠讲出来的。“白猫黑猫”无疑倡导了一种实干精神。也正是这个理论的实

干战略,开启了中国人的思想之门,保证了中国的社会稳定和经济发展,使改革开

放取得了伟大成绩。

 

2004年,英国伦敦外交政策中心发表了乔舒亚・库伯・拉莫的文章《北京共

识》,指出中国崛起的奠基人邓小平曾经说过:“不管黑猫白猫,抓住老鼠就是好

猫”,这句话开启了中国20多年的飞速发展。这20多年来,中国成功地使4亿赤贫人

口脱贫,国力日渐增强,成为世界各国都不能忽视的一个全球性大国,实实在在地

尝到了发展的甜头。

Posted in Economy 经济, Ideology 思想, Society 社会 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2012: Singaporean Critique of Critique of People’s Daily: Stability Obsession Blocks Reform, Precipitates Crisis

Looking back,  many common threads can be seen in commentaries on China’s political and economic development and the obstacles to reform.  Here is one from 2012.


Singapore Chinese Language Daily Critique of People’s Daily: Stability Obsession Blocks Reform, Precipitates Crisis

A Singaporean commentary on the Feb 23, 2012 Chinese People’s Daily commentary says obsession with stability is blocking reform and precipitating a crisis.

In its own commentary entitled  Stability Obsession Blocks Reform, Precipitates Crisis Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报 [United Morning News] of Singapore discussed the significance of the February 23, 2012 People’s Daily Commentary Dept.   “Imperfect Reforms are to Be Preferred to the Crisis Caused by No Reforms” http://www.zaobao.com/zg/zg120224_003_1.shtml  At this URL the China News Service picks up the People’s Daily commentary http://www.chinanews.com/gn/2012/02-23/3690700.shtml  

[Summary translation] According to the commentary, Chinese have placed great hopes in reform for over 30 years. Now that the easier reforms have been largely completed, the remaining ones are much harder.  Naturally in the course of reform, there will be dissenting voices but that should not be a reason to reform.  Some worry so much about stability that reform does not become vigorous and prudent, but merely prudent or even worse, taking the counsel of fears and illusions and not going forward with reforms at all.

然而,“改革有风险,但不改革党就会有危险”。纵观世界一些大党大国的衰落,一个根本原因就是只有修修补补的机巧,没有大刀阔斧的魄力,最终因改革停滞而走入死胡同。对于当前各地各部门千头万绪的改革来说,面对“躲不开、绕不过”的体制机制障碍,如果怕这怕那、趑趄不前,抱着“多一事不如少一事”的消极态度,甚至将问题矛盾击鼓传花,固然可以求得一时轻松、周全某些利益,但只能把问题拖延成历史问题,让危机跑在了改革前面,最终引发更多矛盾、酿成更大危机,甚至落入所谓“转型期陷阱”。

Moreover, “Reform is risk, but not reforming is risky for the Party”.  When we look at the rise and fall of great parties and great nations, one fundamental cause of their decline is that they only made little fixes here and there. In the end they lacked vigor and worked themselves into a dead end.  Many localities and ministries are facing serious institutional obstacles to reform that “cannot be ignored or sidestepped”.  If we allow ourselves to be intimidated by this or that issue and do make progress and have the passive attitude that “doing less is better than doing more” or even take the thorns of dilemma as flowers, we can rest easy for a time and serve certain special interests well.  But that will only delay things into we face problems of historical proportions.  If we allow crisis to move faster than reform, we only nourish the roots of a great coming crisis or even fall into the “pitfalls of a transitional period”.

Deng Xiaoping said that there is always risks to reforms but we are up to handling them. Reform is risky, not not reforming will be risky for the Party. [Note — People’s Daily commentary department commentary on September 1, 2011 on the importance of freedom of information rules for government departments also used this quote, attributing it to an unnamed ‘central leader’ 这背后的逻辑,诚如中央领导同志所言,改革有风险,但不改革党就会有危险。   http://opinion.people.com.cn/GB/15563239.html  End note   ]

In fact, when China’s reforms began, when the country was teetering on the edge of collapse to Deng talk on his 1992 trip to southern China, the Party paid close attention to the future of China and its people. The reform spirit meant “Not taking fear at the changes in the world, not taking the traditions of our ancestors as our law, and not being satisfied with mere words”.  It meant daring to grasp the principle contradiction, and courage to face the crisis. Only in this way could crisis be transformed to opportunity, and waves of reform propelled forward that made of China the world’s second largest economy.

小平同志在20多年前就曾告诫:“不要怕冒一点风险。我们已经形成了一种能力,承担风险的能力”,“改革开放越前进,承担和抵抗风险的能力就越强。我们处理问题,要完全没有风险不可能,冒点风险不怕”。事实上,从改革开放之初的崩溃边缘,到南方谈话前的历史徘徊,我们党正是着眼于国家和人民的未来,以“天变不足畏,祖宗不足法,人言不足恤”的改革精神,敢于抓住主要矛盾、勇于直面风险考验,才能化危为机,推动改革开放巨轮劈波斩浪,让中国成为了世界第二大经济体。 宁要微词,不要危机;宁要“不完美”的改革,不要不改革的危机。一个长期执政的大党,尤其要时刻警惕短期行为损害执政根基,防止局部利益左右发展方向,力避消极懈怠延误改革时机,所思所虑不独是当前社会的发展稳定,更有党和国家事业的长治久安。面对全新的改革历史方位,当以“不畏浮云遮望眼”的宽广视野,以无私无畏的责任担当,按照胡锦涛总书记所要求的,“不失时机地推进重要领域和关键环节改革”,“继续推进经济体制、政治体制、文化体制、社会体制改革创新”。如此,我们就一定能把风险化解在当下,让发展乘势而上,为党和国家赢得一个光明的未来。本报评论部

We can take criticism, what we don’t want is a crisis. We can accept imperfect reforms since they are preferable to the crisis that no reform at all will bring.  A Party that has governed for a long time will be very cautious of anything that might hurt its political base in the short term and so resist change that could effect the development of some special interests.  We need to avoid the passivity and laziness that will delay reform. What we need to bear in mind is not only the development and stability of our society today.  What is more important is long-term governance and stability for the sake of the Party and of the tasks facing the state. Considering the new historical vistas of reform before us, we should not fear that “some clouds obstruct our vision”.   We need to move forward selflessly in line with the requirements set forth by General Secretary Hu Jintao:  “Don’t miss the opportunity to make reforms in key areas and in key links”, “continue to pursue reforms and innovations in the economic system, the political system, the cultural system, and the social system”.   In this way, we will succeed in resolving the risks before us, allow progress to move forward, and win a glorious future for the Party and the state.      [People’s Daily Commentary Department]

人民日报:宁要不完美的改革 不要不改革的危机 2012年02月23日 05:28 来源:人民日报 参与互动(254)120  无论方案多么周密、智慧多么高超,改革总会引起一些非议:既得利益者会用优势话语权阻碍改革,媒体公众会带着挑剔目光审视改革,一些人甚至还会以乌托邦思维苛求改革。对于改革者来说,认真听取民意,又不为流言所动,既需要智慧和审慎,更要有勇气与担当

自1978年至今,中国的改革已如舟至中流,有了更开阔的行进空间,也面临着“中流击水、浪遏飞舟”的挑战。  发展起来的问题、公平正义的焦虑、路径锁定的忧叹……在邓小平南方谈话20周年、党的十八大即将召开之际,人们对改革的普遍关切,标注着30多年来以开放为先导的改革进入了新的历史方位。

冲破思想藩篱、触动现实利益,改革从一开始就挑战着既定格局,也无可避免地伴随着“不同声音”。无论当年的联产承包、物价闯关、工资闯关,还是今天的官员财产公示、垄断行业改革、事业单位改革,改革总是在争议乃至非议中前行。

所不同的是,从“摸着石头过河”到“改革顶层设计”,从经济领域到社会政治领域,改革越是向前推进,所触及的矛盾就越深,涉及的利益就越复杂,碰到的阻力也就越大。用一句通俗的话来讲,容易的都改得差不多了,剩下的全是难啃的“硬骨头”,不能回避也无法回避。

改革就会招惹是非,改革就是“自找麻烦”,改革也很难十全十美。30多年后,身处深水区和攻坚期,无论方案多么周密、智慧多么高超,改革总会引起一些非议:既得利益者会用优势话语权阻碍改革,媒体公众会带着挑剔目光审视改革,一些人甚至还会以乌托邦思维苛求改革。对于改革者来说,认真听取民意,又不为流言所动,既需要智慧和审慎,更要有勇气与担当。

在改革进程中,可怕的不是反对声音的出现,而是一出现不同声音,改革就戛然而止。现实中,或是囿于既得利益的阻力,或是担心不可掌控的风险,或是陷入“不稳定幻象”,在一些人那里,改革的“渐进”逐渐退化为“不进”,“积极稳妥”往往变成了“稳妥”有余而“积极”不足。这些年来,一些地方改革久议不决,一些部门改革决而难行,一些领域改革行而难破,莫不与此有关。  然而,“改革有风险,但不改革党就会有危险”。纵观世界一些大党大国的衰落,一个根本原因就是只有修修补补的机巧,没有大刀阔斧的魄力,最终因改革停滞而走入死胡同。对于当前各地各部门千头万绪的改革来说,面对“躲不开、绕不过”的体制机制障碍,如果怕这怕那、趑趄不前,抱着“多一事不如少一事”的消极态度,甚至将问题矛盾击鼓传花,固然可以求得一时轻松、周全某些利益,但只能把问题拖延成历史问题,让危机跑在了改革前面,最终引发更多矛盾、酿成更大危机,甚至落入所谓“转型期陷阱”。

小平同志在20多年前就曾告诫:“不要怕冒一点风险。我们已经形成了一种能力,承担风险的能力”,“改革开放越前进,承担和抵抗风险的能力就越强。我们处理问题,要完全没有风险不可能,冒点风险不怕”。事实上,从改革开放之初的崩溃边缘,到南方谈话前的历史徘徊,我们党正是着眼于国家和人民的未来,以“天变不足畏,祖宗不足法,人言不足恤”的改革精神,敢于抓住主要矛盾、勇于直面风险考验,才能化危为机,推动改革开放巨轮劈波斩浪,让中国成为了世界第二大经济体。

宁要微词,不要危机;宁要“不完美”的改革,不要不改革的危机。一个长期执政的大党,尤其要时刻警惕短期行为损害执政根基,防止局部利益左右发展方向,力避消极懈怠延误改革时机,所思所虑不独是当前社会的发展稳定,更有党和国家事业的长治久安。面对全新的改革历史方位,当以“不畏浮云遮望眼”的宽广视野,以无私无畏的责任担当,按照胡锦涛总书记所要求的,“不失时机地推进重要领域和关键环节改革”,“继续推进经济体制、政治体制、文化体制、社会体制改革创新”。如此,我们就一定能把风险化解在当下,让发展乘势而上,为党和国家赢得一个光明的未来。本报评论部

 

Posted in Ideology 思想, Politics 政治 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2010: Interviews in Tibetan Yushu Following the 2010 Earthquake 翻译:“舞台–玉树采访手记”

 http://photo-zt.blogbus.com/logs/62691963.html  (link now disappeared)

A Chinese blogger combined pictures of Yushu, a Tibetan area in China’s Qinghai Province, before the April 14, 2010 earthquake with  the article by Ai Mo艾墨 “The Stage” that appeared recently in Hong Kong’s Mingbao newspaper.

The full text of that short article, which did not appear on the Ming Bao website, is copied below, after my translation.  This story points out the great cultural gulf between Tibetans and Han Chinese and the difficulties of doing culturally and religious sensitive relief work.

Probably because of some ethnic chauvinism and perhaps because some think it will affect the Chinese-ness of Tibet,  many Han Chinese find it hard to appreciate the profound cultural differences between the Han Chinese and the Tibetans.   Well, many Chinese Buddhists understand, but the mainstream media doesn’t reflect their views and the Chinese government strives to prevent the thousands of Chinese Buddhist who want to study in Tibetan monasteries from doing so.

The Stage

By Ai Mo 艾墨   (printed in Ming Bao, Hong Kong)

A cold evening in Yushu, in the tents, a cadre sent by the province irrigated by high plateau barley wine, rubbed his unwashed dirty hands, and turned towards me, saying sincerely, “Young lady, look now, this natural disaster has been swiftly politicized.  Got out of here as soon as you can.  Leave this trouble spot.”

When I heard those words, I regretted the decision that I had already made to take a bus early the next day and leave Yushu.

For me, during these four days and three nights in Yushu, this place of cruel death and difficult survival, the word politics has something of a foul smell. During the rescue period, where saving lives was the top priority, it laid low.  That seemed significant. It looked like this country plagued by disasters had finally learned that “lives are the most important thing”.  However, once the 72 hour golden period for rescuing survivors from the ruins had passed and the mammoth-scale cremations had begun, it seemed like something had changed. The disaster area had become a stage.

That is something I don’t want to say, but yes, it had become a stage.

The difference between the stage and reality is that in reality things happen and appear but on stage there is a director, a leading role, and a supporting role and they are sent on stage as needed. That is what Yushu was like.

President Hu and Premier Wen had the top leading roles, given the nature of China,  that is not anything to criticize, even the local Tibetans took the sincere tears of Prime Minister Wen and the promise of President Hu that they will have new homes like the words of Living Buddhas.

The official rescue troops had the secondary leading role.   “We won’t be able to rescue any more people” the rescue workers realized as the fourth day after the earthquake began.  One People’s Armed Police 武警 officer, who had done relief work after the Sichuan earthquake, said that the timber and earth construction of Yushu is not as good as the reinforced concrete of Sichuan since when buildings collapse here, unlike in Sichuan,  no empty places are left where some people might a breathing space. So the miracles of survival are much rarer in Yushu than they were in Sichuan.

On the streets of Yushu many officers and soldiers had nothing to do.  One could see many roadside ruins,  houses that apparently nobody had sifted through to look for survivors.   Despite this, many flags and banners proclaiming the outstanding quality of this or that group of rescue troops.

Another journalist doing interviews in Yushu told me that he had the impression that there was a lot of “showing off” going on.  That is not to say that the rescue troops were not working hard. They had a hard time doing their job given the physiological effects of high altitude.  Nobody can criticize them.  It was just that the so-called “showing off” was in inverse proportion to the amount of rescue work that they had actually done.

The disaster victims had the third leading role.  That is to say the disaster victims who cooperated with interviews had the third leading role.

Many people like to ask,   ‘What was the difference between the Sichuan earthquake and the Yushu earthquake?’  Nobody yet knows how to compare the scale of the earthquake.  One hundred thousand people died in Sichuan, perhaps not as many as 10,000 died in Yushu. Yet that comparison isn’t meaningful  and shouldn’t be made.   As a journalist in the Yushu disaster area, the strongest impression that my colleagues and I got was that in Yushu you didn’t see the wailing and pounding on the earth, and even more seldom do you see weeping.  If it were not for the sight of many collapsed buildings and the many homeless on the streets,  you wouldn’t guess that so many people had died here.  People who have lost their relatives wear solemn and respectful faces. They read scriptures. They take the corpse to the monastery.  They ask the monks and Living Buddhas to help them pass on to the next world, and pray that they escape the cycle of suffering and rebirth and enter blissful happiness.

Ninety-seven percent of the population of Yushu is ethnic Tibetan. They believe in Tibetan Buddhism.  For them, through the monasteries, live and death connect each of them to the Buddha and their ancestors.  Very many journalists from mainland China didn’t find the “story they wanted” — the family of the victims did not display “extreme grief” and those rescued did not “shed grateful tears.”  There is no way for you to share their sorrows.  Their ideas about life and death are so far beyond your own that you cannot comprehend.  They — really, they don’t understand how to act according to your instructions.  In Yushu, there is much thankfulness.  A simple old Tibetan mother can shed tears of gratitude and say “Long Live the Communist Party”.   But performing to script according to the needs of others is not what they do — they are not “grateful” or “sing praises” in a particular circumstance because that is what the script requires.   Take a look at the mainland China TV broadcasts on the disaster, you will see that these Tibetans just don’t act that way.

On the director’s stage, the monks were the only supporting players who were forced to the margins of the stage. This despite the fact that in real life, these people in red robes had the most important leading role of all, even more important than the role of the rescue troops.

Two days after I left Yushu, I heard from a journalist colleague that monks not from Yushu had already been “admonished to leave” Yushu with the reason given to “ensure the effectiveness of relief operations”. Some had driven several hundred kilometers to Yushu from their monasteries in Ganzi Prefecture in Sichuan Province, others monks hurried from Qinghai, Gansu and many parts of the Tibetan Autonomous Region to help. They don’t understand specialized relief work but they understand the Kampa dialect and they know how to assist the souls of the dead to pass on to the next world.  They know how to truly console the people of Yushu who have lost relatives. Even before official help arrived, the monks were making donations in the disaster area.  Disaster victims received from the monks noodles, mineral water and even hot porridge.  But what does that matter?  This is a stage and the supporting role can never become the leading role. At the very least, the audience that watches the stage as it is broadcast will never see this.

On the Chinese Central TV disaster evening program, there were the names of companies that had given one million, two million, 10 million or 20 million RMB, and individuals who contributed and wanted to do something good. But they what truly moved them was themselves.  For the National Day of Mourning, the state organs forbad all entertainment activities, including on stage and online.  The Yushu disaster area was far away but they said in chorus, “This evening we are all Yushu people.”

My dears, I really have to tell you, that is not wounded Yushu, that is only a stage.

(printed in “Ming Bao” Century edition)

“舞台–玉树采访手记”

(现在这个网页没了, 大概因为不宜于你的思想健康。) http://photo-zt.blogbus.com/logs/62691963.html

有一年接了花大妈的活,去青海给拍一本书里的图片。溜达到了玉树,这是在镇外山上结古寺里拍的两张。同去的有庄里老宋和武汉老甘。地震的消息是前烧友现茶友老宋发短信告诉的。这段时间在外面没上网,以我对藏人的了解,知道一定会有无数红衣人冲在灾难的最前面。

偶尔看到电视,贵国一如鸡网的拿灾难作表扬和赞美自己的无耻舞台,里面永远不会有老和尚那帮红衣人的身影。

刚回来就看到这段文字,转转:

舞台

艾墨

在玉树夜晚寒冷的帐篷,一个省里派来的干部灌了几大口高原青稞酒,搓着几天没洗的脏手,红通通的眼睛真诚地盯着我,说:“姑娘,你看着吧,这场自然灾害会被迅速政治化的。尽早走吧,离开这个是非之地。”

听他说完,我开始后悔已经约定了明天一早的车,撤离玉树。

在玉树的四天三夜,在残酷的死和艰难的生之外,政治,是一直隐隐约约嗅到的气息。在生命高于一切的救援期,它温顺地潜伏着,它到底明白了什么是最重要的:天灾人祸考验出的国家,终于学会了“生命第一”。然而,当72小时的黄金救援时期过去,当庞大而震撼的集体火葬落幕,仿佛一个破折号,灾区开始变成另一个舞台。

非常不想这么说,但的确,这里成了舞台。

舞台与现实的差别就在于,现实是让一切自然呈现,而舞台有导演,有主角和配角,有按需要发生的场景。玉树就是如此。

胡主席和温总理是玉树的第一主角——在基本国情下,这无可厚非,连当地淳朴的藏民,也把为他们真心流泪的总理,和告诉他们会有新家园的主席当成活佛。

官方的救援部队是第二主角。

“已经救不出什么人了”,进入第四天,救援队心知肚明。曾参与过四川救援的武警士官告诉我,这里倒塌的土木结构房屋不比钢筋混凝土,埋下来立时能让人窒息,几乎没有任何生存空间,“生命奇迹”的出现几率小之又小。

街上无所事事的官兵很多,街边倒塌而从没有人翻动的民居也很多,同样多的,是各地的救援队伍拉起的打响名号的旗帜和横幅。

正如一名在当地采访的同行所说,“作秀”的印象,并非说救援部队不努力,顶着高原反应艰难救援的他们,没有人有资格指责他们不努力——所谓“作秀”,只是他们露脸、或者“被露脸”的次数与救援的次数成反比罢了。

灾民是第三主角——准确地说,配合采访的当地藏民,是第三主角。

许多人喜欢问,四川和玉树有什么不同?比较灾难的规模是不人道的,四川死了十万人,玉树死了不到一万人——这样的比较是没有意义而且不应该的。但在玉树灾区,作为记者,我和同行们最直接的感觉是,这里看不到哭天抢地,甚至很少看到哭泣,除了遍地垮塌的房屋,和流离失所的难民,你甚至感觉不到这里死了很多很多人。失去亲人的人们,面容肃穆,他们念经,他们把尸体送去寺院,请喇嘛和活佛给离去的人超度,祈愿他们脱离五道轮回,升入极乐。

玉树百分之九十七的民众是藏民,信仰藏传佛教。在这里,经由寺院,生死是他们每一个人和佛祖之间的事。许多内地记者在这里不容易找到“想要的故事”,因为遇难者家属不那么“撕心裂肺”,被救者也不那么“感激涕零”。他们的悲伤你无法分享,他们对生死的超然你甚至无法理解。他们——更不懂得按照你所提示的去表演。在玉树,自然而然的感恩很多,朴实的藏族老妈妈会流着泪喊“共产党万岁”,但符合舞台需要的、特定场景中要求发生的“感恩”与“歌颂”,不是他们的擅长,看看内地电视画面,你很容易发现这一点。

在这个有导演的舞台上,僧侣是唯一的被挤到边边的配角。尽管在现实中,这一抹绛红色的袈裟是最有影响力的主角,甚至超越了救援官兵。

在我离开玉树的第二天,听到同行传回的消息,非玉树本地的僧众,已经被“劝离”玉树,理由是“确保救援效率”。他们是从四川甘孜驱车数百公里赶来的寺院僧众,他们是从青海、甘肃、西藏各个地方赶来的和尚。他们并不懂专业救援,但他们懂得康巴藏语,懂得为死难的亡灵超度,懂得真正抚慰失去亲人的藏民。他们在灾区布施,在官方物资有序发放之前,灾民们都领到过他们发的方便面、矿泉水,甚至热粥。不过,那有什么用呢?既然是舞台,配角永远就不会成为主角。至少,只有一个舞台转播频道的观众不会看到。

在CCTV的赈灾晚会上,打着一百万两百万一千万两千万牌子的企业家们,有着无限爱心的人们,他们真的在做好事,但他们真的在被自己感动。在为生命设立的哀悼日,国家机器禁止了一切娱乐活动,包括现实与网络上的。灾区,离普通人十万八千里,他们却“被”齐声说:“今夜,我们都是玉树人。”

亲爱的,真想告诉你,这里不是受伤的玉树。这里只是舞台。

(刊于《明报》世纪版)

 

Posted in Ideology 思想, Literature 文学, Society 社会 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment