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张维为:中国成功的八个理念

《纽约时报》/《国际先驱论坛报》
美国《纽约时报》/《国际先驱论坛报》于2009年10月1日中国60周年国庆之际,刊登了张维为教授的文章:“中国成功背后的八个理念”,并加了题注:“西方应该研究中国戏剧般崛起背后的理念”(The West would do well to study the ideas behind China’s dramatic rise)。以下是该文的中文译文和英文原文:
北京今天庆祝人民共和国诞辰六十周年,这种盛大庆典无疑会使一些人不爽,这些人的意识形态倾向无法容忍一个“共产党国家”如此自豪。但是我们有必要客观地看待中国,看一下究竟什么原因使得这个国家能在一代人的时间内从一个贫穷落后的国度一跃成为世界最大的经济体之一。批评中国的人总是说尽管中国取得了经济上的成绩,但中国未能提供大的理念,而本人认为,正是中国的大理念带来了中国戏剧般的崛起。这里概述一下八个中国理念:
第一、实事求是。这是一个历史悠久的中国观念,也是中国已故领导人邓小平的座右铭。邓小平认为,判断真理的最终标准不应是意识形态的教条(不管是东方的教条还是西方的教条),而应该是事实。通过对事实的检验,中国得出了结论:苏联共产主义模式和西方民主模式都不能使一个发展中国家实现现代化;而民主化通常出现在现代化实现之后,而非之前。北京因而在1978年决定探索自己的发展道路,并采取了一种务实的、不断试错的方式来推动自己大规模的现代化建设。
第二、民生为大。北京信奉这个古老的中华治国理念,并突出强调消除贫困是最基本的人权。这个理念使中国在一代人时间内实现了近四亿人的脱贫,这是人类历史上从未有过的巨大成就。中国可能纠正了西方自启蒙运动以来在人权方面的一个疏忽(尽管这一点会有争议),即西方把人权几乎完全界定为公民权利和政治权利。这个中国理念对于全世界的穷人可能会产生深远的影响。
第三、整体思维。受其哲学传统的影响,中国从上世纪八十年代初期开始至今,一直推行着一个整体的现代化战略。这使北京能够在中国变革的各个阶段都确立轻重缓急的优先顺序。一般都是相对容易的改革先行,然后以更大的决心推进更为艰难的改革。这一点与当今世界普遍存在的民粹主义和短视政治形成了对照。
第四、政府是必要的善。在中国漫长的历史中,繁荣的时代都离不开比较开明的强势政府。不同于美国人所主张的“政府是必要的恶”,中国的变革由一个开明的、致力于发展的政府所领导;不同于米哈伊• 戈尔巴乔夫,他放弃了旧体制,结果却发现自己的帝国轰然崩溃,邓小平把中国的旧体制转型,从追求乌托邦转入追求现代化。不管这个体制存有多少缺陷,它有能力凝聚整个国家对于现代化的共识,能够执行艰巨的战略目标,如强制推动银行系统的改革、推动可再生能源的发展、大力刺激中国经济走出全球衰退等。
第五、良政比民主化更为重要。中国拒绝“民主与专制对立”这种老生常谈,认为一个政府的性质,包括其合法性,应由其实质内容,即良政来决定;应由政府能向人民提供了什么来检验。尽管中国国家体制还缺少透明度、法律制度还不够健全,但它还是主导了世界最快的经济增长和人民生活水平的巨大改善。根据总部设在华盛顿的皮尤研究中心2008年在中国所做的调查,76%的中国人对自己的未来感到乐观,位列被调查的17个主要国家的榜首。
第六、政绩合法性。受儒家择优选拔精英制度的影响,中国在其整个政治体制内广泛地推行择优选拔,尽管这样的努力并不都成功。中国把扶贫、环保(现在开始变得日益重要)等指标列为官员晋升的关键标准。中国领导人能干、老练、久经锻炼。
第七、有选择的学习、适应。在中国的世俗文化氛围中,学习别人之长是备受赞誉的。中国人已经形成了巨大的选择性学习能力和应对挑战的自我调适能力。一个典型的例子就是中国迅速地拥抱了信息技术革命并成为这场革命的佼佼者。
第八、和而不同。中国今天重新推崇这个儒家用来治理庞大而错综复杂社会时所信奉的和谐理想。中国拒绝西方的对抗性政治,并大力强调不同利益之间的共同之处,极力化解社会迅速变革带来的各种矛盾,并力求尽快建设一个能够覆盖全国所有百姓的社保网。
中国仍然面临诸多严峻挑战,如解决腐败问题,减少地区差距等,但在今后的岁月里,中国可能还会继续沿着这些理念演变,而非拥抱西方自由民主制度,原因是这些理念似乎可行,而且大致符合人们的常识判断和中国自己独特的政治文化。这种文化形成于中国数千年延绵不断历史演变,其间包括了20多个朝代,至少7个朝代的历史比整个美国的历史都长。
中国会继续向西方学习,因为这对中国有益,但西方今天也许应该,如邓小平所说,“解放思想”。为了西方自己的利益,西方需要更多地了解一些中国理念,甚至学习一些中国理念,不管这些理念可能显得多么陌生奇怪。这不仅是为了避免再次对这个重要国家(其本身是一个文明)做出意识形态驱动的误判,这也是为了丰富整个世界的集体智慧,以应对消除贫困、气候变化、文明冲突等问题带来的挑战。
International Herald Tribune & New York Times
Oct. 1, 2009
Eight Ideas Behind China's Success
Zhang Wei-Wei
BEIJING — Beijing is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic on Thursday, and the fanfare will undoubtedly irk those whose ideological inclinations do not tolerate a “Communist country” being so self-righteous. Yet it is worthwhile to look at China objectively, to see what has enabled it to change within one generation from a poverty-stricken country to one of the world’s largest economies.. Critics of China like to claim that despite its economic success, the country has no “big ideas” to offer. But to this author, it is precisely big ideas that have shaped China’s dramatic rise. Here are eight such ideas:
1. Seeking truth from facts. This is an ancient Chinese concept, as well as the credo of the late Deng Xiaoping, who believed that facts rather than ideological dogmas — whether from East or West — should serve as the ultimate criterion for identifying truth. Beijing concluded from examining facts that neither the Soviet Communist model nor the Western democracy model really worked for a developing country in terms of achieving modernization, and that democratization usually follows modernization rather than precedes it. Hence Beijing decided in 1978 to explore its own path of development and to adopt a pragmatic, trial-and-error approach for its massive modernization program.
2. Primacy of people’s livelihood. Beijing has embraced this old Chinese governance concept by highlighting poverty eradication as the most fundamental human right. This idea has paved way for China’s enormous success in lifting nearly 400 million individuals out of abject poverty within one generation, an unprecedented success in human history. China has arguably corrected a historical neglect in the range of human rights advocated by the West, which since the Enlightenment have focused almost exclusively on civil and political rights. This idea may have lasting implications for the world’s poor.
3. The importance of holistic thinking. Influenced by its philosophical tradition, China has pursued a holistic strategy for modernization from the early 1980s to this day. This has enabled Beijing to establish a clear pattern of priorities and sequences at different stages of transformation, with easy reforms usually followed by more determined and difficult reforms — in contrast to the populist, short-term politics so prevalent in much of the world today.
4. Government as a necessary virtue. In China’s long history, prosperous times were all associated with an enlightened, strong state. Contrary to the American view of state as a necessary evil, China’s transformation has been led by an enlightened developmental state. And contrary to Mikhail Gorbachev, who abandoned his old state and then found his empire shattered, Deng Xiaoping reoriented China’s old state from pursuing the Maoist utopia to promoting modernization. The Chinese state, however flawed, is capable of shaping national consensus on modernization and pursuing hard strategic objectives, such as enforcing banking sector reforms, developing renewable energies and stimulating China’s economy against the global downturn.
5. Good governance matters more than democratization. China rejects the stereotypical dichotomy of democracy vs. autocracy and holds that the nature of a state, including its legitimacy, has to be defined by its substance, i.e. by good governance, and tested by what it can deliver. Notwithstanding its deficiencies in transparency and legal institutions, the Chinese state has presided over the world’s fastest growing economy, vastly improved living standards for its people. Seventy six percent of Chinese surveyed in 2008 felt optimistic about their future, topping the 17 major countries surveyed by Pew, a Washington-based research center.
6. Performance legitimacy. Inspired by the Confucian tradition of meritocracy, Beijing practices, though not always successfully, performance legitimacy across the whole political stratum. Criteria such as performance in poverty eradication and, increasingly, cleaner environment are key factors in the promotion of officials. China’s leaders are competent, sophisticated and well-tested at different levels of responsibility.
7. Selective learning and adaptation.China represents a secular culture where learning from others is prized. The Chinese have developed a remarkable capacity for selective learning and adaptation to new challenges, as shown by how quickly China has embraced the IT revolution and then excelled in it..
8. Harmony in diversity. Beijing has revived this old Confucian ideal for a large and complex society. Rejecting Western-style adversary politics, Beijing has worked hard to emphasize commonality of different group interests, to defuse social tensions associated with rapid change and to establish as fast as it can a social safety net for all.
China is still faced with serious challenges such as fighting corruption and reducing regional gaps. But China is likely to continue to evolve on the basis of these ideas, rather than by embracing Western liberal democracy, because these ideas have apparently worked and have blended reasonably well with common sense and China’s unique political culture, the product of several millenia — including 20 or so dynasties, seven of which lasted longer than the whole of U.S. history.
While China will continue to learn from the West for its own benefit, it may be time now for the West, to use Deng’s famous phrase, to “emancipate the mind” and learn a bit more about or even from China’s big ideas, however extraneous they may appear, for its own benefit.
This is not only to avoid further ideology-driven misreading of this hugely important nation, a civilization in itself, but also to enrich the world’s collective wisdom in tackling challenges ranging from poverty eradication to climate change and the clash of civilizations.
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