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汪晖:中国、新的平等观与世界--Gabriele Battaglia对话汪晖

汪晖:中国、新的平等观与世界--Gabriele Battaglia对话汪晖

邓小平与戈尔巴乔夫

原文出处:《亚洲时报在线》(Asia Times Online)2013.7.3.
在中国,我们都知道有一场关于平等的危机,但是怎么去界定它?70年代末,中国的社会主义陷入危机,一些人由此攻击"平等"问题,通过提出一种新自由主义的方案:私有化,产权问题等等,将矛头指向国有企业。与此同时,他们还提出了一种新的平等观,即所谓"机会均等",随之而来的是法律建构。但它的结果却是将一个不公平的过程合法化了。
作者简介: 汪晖
汪晖,1959年生。1988年至2002年任职于中国社会科学院文学研究所。现任清华大学人文学院教授。1991年至2000年间参与创办《学人》丛刊,为主编之一。先后担任哈佛大学(1992)、加州大学洛杉矶分校(1993)、北欧亚洲研究所(1995)、香港中文大学(1997)、华盛顿大学(1999)、柏林高等研究所(2000)、波洛尼亚大学(2004)等学术机构的研究员,哥伦比亚大学(2002)、海德堡大学(2003)、东京大学(2005)的访问教授,以及Positions, The Traces, Critical Asian Studies, Post-Colonial Studies等刊物的编委。1996年应邀出任《读书》杂志执行主编至2007年。主要著作包括中文著作《现代中国思想的兴起》(四卷,2004)、《死火重温》(2000)、《汪晖自选集》(1998)、《无地彷徨—“五四”及其回声》(1994)、《反抗绝望—鲁迅及其文学世界》(1990)等,日文著作《作为思想空间的现代中国》(2006)、意大利文著作Il Nuovo Ordine Cinese(2006)、英文著作China’s New Order(2003 Ted Huters译)、韩文著作《新的亚洲想象》(2003)及《死火重温》韩译本(2005)等。编有《发展的幻像》(与许宝强合编,2000)、《文化与公共性》(与陈燕谷合编,1998)等多种。

中国、新的平等观与世界--对话汪晖

Gabriele Battaglia

北京-汪晖,当代中国最知名的学者之一,是位于北京的清华大学人文与社会科学教授,被普遍认为是中国"新左派"的代表人物之一,--一个他不喜欢的标签。厌倦再谈旧的模式和西方观点,"让我们超越旧思想",这可以明确看成是他的新宣言。在今天的中国,平等观的议题正是一个好开头。

(中文翻译:郑棋文)(该译文经作者部分修改,请参考附录英文)

汪晖(以下简称"汪"):最近我正在写关于"什么的平等"的文章,这在当下是个大问题,无论在中国还是西方。在这里,平等的问题与富人、农村地区相关,还与生态危机及别的问题相关,比如少数民族问题。

在中国,我们都知道有一场关于平等的危机,但是怎么去界定它?70年代末,中国的社会主义陷入危机,一些人由此攻击"平等"问题,通过提出一种新自由主义的方案:私有化,产权问题等等,将矛头指向国有企业。与此同时,他们还提出了一种新的平等观,即所谓"机会均等",随之而来的是法律建构。但它的结果却是将一个不公平的过程合法化了。人人都看到工人们在上世纪90年代中期开始的私有化浪潮中遭受的痛苦,工人们沦为下岗失业的人,他们的补偿金很少甚至一无所有。以市场的名义实施的是剥夺,他们从劳工的手中夺走了权力和财产,这正与"机会均等"的争议结伴而行。

于是,在90年代后期,爆发了关于社会福利危机的辩论,并试图去重建,比如,如何将医疗制度扩展到农村地区。在这个语境下,"分配平等"的观念在中国再次浮现,但是这个进程现在面临新的挑战。一方面,为每个人重建社会安全保障制度很有必要,这是基本的权利。但是,这正是对前一阶段私有化过程的反应:现在我们须要为农民工做些事情,否则将会有社会动乱。

现在的挑战是中国经济增长速度正在放缓,当需要有更多的钱用来建立社会安全保障体系时,税收却在下降。与此同时,这种增长模式对环境太不友好。能源需求越来越大,但当你想上一个新的大坝工程时,马上就会遭遇抗议。需要重建的是一个包涵生态保护在内的社会安全体系,这是一个矛盾、悖论的处境,它意味着必须改变生产模式。今天穷人和富人之间有断裂,但是主要的断裂是城乡人口之间。所以政府发起了新的城镇化建设(针对中小城市)的战役,但这却毫无新意,几十年一直都是这样。与此同时,你会发现这个过程也在中国的边疆地区发生,这些有着不同的文化、生活方式和宗教信仰的西南和西北少数民族地区。所以,一方面,提高那儿的经济状况是绝对正当的;但与此同时,我们却兼有生态危机和文化危机,因为他们的生活方式正在发生改变,所以我们在新疆、西藏出现了冲突。

这些都意味着我们从根本上需要一种包纳多样性的新的平等观:不仅仅是人(人人平等)与物(分配)的平等,还要尝试在不违背基本平等原则下去尊重独特性、差异性和异质性。这是一个挑战,因为现代的平等理念是基于公民的平等。但是现在怎么去面对不同的生活方式、宗教、生物多样性与环境问题?我们需要哪一种平等?或许不是一种观念,而是一系列的观念,这是对我们想要的发展模式的警醒。

但是要想去说服掌管经济进程的经济学家和政策制定者却并不容易,因为经济议题差不多成为不同利益集团所主导的事情。即使官员也无法掌控整个过程。因此,关键在于必须思考原则性的问题,而不仅仅是投资和赚钱。

这就是为什么在中国会爆发关于改革基本方向的辩论。你知道我们有句话叫:"摸着石头过河",但是现在河岸在哪里呢?并且你还有在河中间迷失的危险。现在的问题是没有人能够清晰地界定河岸到底在哪里。

 

问:如何用具体的术语来辩论?

汪:比如我们现在关于宪政的大讨论,它非常模糊。因为新自由派们要搞的宪政改革涉及的是要改变整个政治制度。然而"宪政改革"意味着从回归宪法自身开始,如果你从拒斥宪法开始,这便意味着革命,现在并没有发生一场革命的社会基础。宪法的根本保障在于共产党是执政党,这不是个大问题,因为大家都知道没有别的可替代共产党的政治力量,即使那些极端右翼分子也十分清楚这点。

另一方面,假如你承认宪法,它便意味着我们国家实际上是一个社会主义国家,工人阶级是领导阶级,但是今天工人阶级在中国的政治地位究竟如何?开启一场关于宪法的讨论很好啊,我们需要回到1954年的宪法来保障基本权力。54宪法是非常开放的,内容也是好的,共产党是领导力量,但你有言论自由和罢工权力。而这些在文革以后的1982年被废除了,邓小平认为中国当时有无政府主义的危险,所以他们修改了宪法。

再说一次,重返这场宪政讨论的途径是开放讨论。问题的症结是这场讨论到目前为止非常官方化,没有真正的公共空间。这也联系到中国的另外一个大问题,即媒体自身的危机。一方面,有大量的出版物,另一方面,公共空间却不断萎缩。今年1月份有个"《南方周末》事件"的案例,编辑部关于宪政的新年献词被当地的宣传部部长以一篇赞美共产党的文章替换掉了,这引发了大量的抗议。这里有关联,但不是一个好案例,因为冲突并不是为公共辩论发生的,它出现在体制内部:在被任命的管理层与他们的领导之间。以言论自由之名对真正的公共意见进行彻底排斥,所以它实际上是个权力再分配的事件。简单地拒绝任何不同的观点发表在他们的报纸上,只有一边倒的观点,《南方周末》和《人民日报》代表了相反的两级化方向。讽刺的是,两份报刊都是官方媒体,矛盾其实是关于广东省委宣传部新旧领导权更替的问题。

这其实也是一个代表性危机,因为它(宣称)是对言论自由和民主观念的代表,正如说共产党是工人阶级的代表。我们真的应当重新思考和界定公共空间的概念,因为媒体总是以通向所谓"真实"轻易地误导公共舆论。这就是为什么我担任《读书》杂志主编时(直到2007年),试图开启这种公共讨论的空间。有意味的是,今天真正意义上的公共空间彻底消失了,不被所有的主流力量所允许。

问:您可否谈一下城镇化问题?

汪:很难笼统地说它是好是坏,或许在这里好、在那里坏。例如在有些地方,大规模的城镇化意味着昂贵的生态代价,但在有些地方却适合。所以要允许有些实验来探索,根据我们过去的经验,这些探索才是改革的真正动力。在中国,多数宏观调控政策的制定都是对早些时候开始的地方经验的确认,而不是开始。正如,农村改革始于安徽,并向全国推广。所以需要给这些实验以更大的空间。

问:城镇化进程不是一个平等的进程吗?它看上去像是试图创造全世界最大的中产阶级。

汪:恐怕城镇化更多是一个自上而下的过程,为什么不允许人们从下面进行实践性的实验,再逐渐让它变得完备呢?比如在成都和重庆,他们已经有了关于城乡一体化的讨论,关于如何处理人口与市民地位的讨论。但我们有另外一个大问题,各地城市之间已经没有任何差别了,这是多样性的重大损失。

没有人能够扭转这个进程,所以我们不得不思考它。有时在快与慢之间抉择并非易事。我认为在每村安装高速网络就不见得一定好,而中国就有这个问题:它太快了。一旦实现了城镇化,你如何确保有足够的土地用来耕作?谁能确保中国巨大人口的食品安全?所以我们看到美国孟山都公司股票激扬,为什么呢?因为中国和阿根廷签了一份协议,允许进口他们的转基因食品。你知道这些转基因食品安全是不确定的,但与此同时必须为众多稠密的人口保障食品供给,而发展经济意味着需要更多土地。众所周知中国经济增长的奥秘在于地方政府所执行的土地政策:如果不通过掠夺土地并将其出卖给开发商的话,就没有途径来获取足够的税收。

(城镇化)有很多局限,没有人能确保一定能成功甚至产生(新的)中产阶级,中产阶级在各地也都正在萎缩。我们如何保证是中产阶级而不是像印度或拉美那样的贫民窟产生呢?没有土地的话,人们在城市里就成为"没有土地"的失业者。然而我们现在却有一些学者甚至为贫民窟的好处辩护,因为贫民窟是基于土地的私有产权和"迁徙自由",贫民窟是"人权"。明白了吧?这就是为什么我觉得要写一点关于"什么的平等"的缘由。

请注意在最近的几周内,政府关于城镇化的说法正在发生变化。他们现在的提法是"稳妥城镇化",这意味着"安全地"城镇化。张高丽是第一个这样提的人。它意味着什么呢?我想该是这样的,近10%的中国人口是流动人口,这对国内交通是一个巨大的问题,如你在春节看到的那样。但在最近几年这些情形有所改善,全球金融危机促使许多流动人口返回乡村种地。这可能意味着这种人口流动没必要这么快,离家距离也没有必要这么远,这样人们便不会和他们的家乡故土失去联系,这种地方性的迁移是一种积极的进展,政府现在可能正在朝这方面考虑。如果城镇化进程过快,那仍将会是非常危险的。

说到土地和人口,想起了乌坎事件--全村对强征土地的反抗催生了政治变革:很多年后新的基层选举。你知道最近的进展,它是一种民主的模式,但最终无以为继(一年以后,土地强征问题还持续着,村民们的怒火转向选举上台的村民委员会)。然而当村民们遭遇真正的问题发生时,媒体却对它失去了兴趣,他们甚至不知道如何去界定它。开始是容易的:呼唤选举,但是当真正的问题浮现时,媒体却失语了。

关键在于不仅仅是乌坎,它是一场自2005年以民主和保护私有产权的名义对国有企业进行私有化的巨大进程,它会带来什么样的后果?起初是"民主",但是通过这样的"民主"新当选的领导人也变得需要批评的时候,媒体就失去了兴趣。这就是问题所在,这意味着我们需要一种新的语汇。左翼内部的辩论集中在如何界定这个新进程的语言叙述,只有这样,才能发现新的抗争策略。无论在国家层面还是在村庄的层面,情况是一样的,即政治形式与社会形式不相匹配,它也同样存于我们的体制内和西方的体制之间。

西方媒体很容易用"专制独裁"和"国家资本主义"这样的词来说中国,但是理解不同的政治形式是更具挑战性的。而中国的主流媒体,一有什么事情,马上就是要回到"文化大革命"、乌托邦的危机云云,问题在于,乌托邦并不是问题的开始,而是对已经存在的问题的回应。这些都揭示了媒体对现实把握的无能。

让我们看看钓鱼岛问题吧。中日发言人给出的回应都基于同一个前提:钓鱼岛问题是由于毛泽东早期政策。我想问他们:"如果这个问题来源于毛,为什么恰恰是在1972年的毛泽东时代中日关系实现日常化,并没有发生现在这样的大危机?那时,中国是社会主义国家,日本是资本主义国家,但是他们坐在一起达成了可协商性协议,从外交的意义上终止了差不多40多年的冲突,这可谓是非常成功的。它实现的基础是什么?为什么钓鱼岛问题现在突然成了一个焦点要害?"对这些人来说,任何错误的事情都是过去造成的,没有我们的责任。这很荒诞可笑,他们只能诉诸于一种反意识形态的意识形态功能。

 

问:说起替罪羊,正如您刚才提到的毛,您如何看斯诺登事件和大量的美国谍报活动的曝光?这个家伙(斯诺登)现在飞走了,但对中国和香港特区来说是仍然一件大事。

汪:我不同意那些认为要将斯诺登移交美国的看法。关键在于,当斯诺登揭露了美国已窃取了大量中国大陆和香港信息的时候,应该立即开启一项大型调查。我们为什么不能够做这样的调查并将之公诸世界呢?我真的认为在这次事件上,中国不仅仅是 捍卫中国的利益,它应当使得这个事件能够透明和公开化。这是又一个需要打开公共性的案例。

当然,黑客事件正在扩大,美国应当受到更多的谴责,因为大家都在使用微软、苹果、谷歌,所有国家都有黑客行为,现在我们需要将事情的全部揭露给整个世界。我当然希望中美关系得到改善,但这并不意味着过分妥协,这是没必要的。我真不希望中国在这个案子上只为自己的行为辩护。相反,我认为这种辩论需要一种真正的国际视野,因为美国同样从欧洲窃取了大量信息。然而讽刺的是,大多数美国媒体将斯诺登描述为犯罪分子。

问:所以这对中国也是个考验。

汪:是的,这非常有意思,因为这不仅是对美国的巨大考验,它对中国来说尤其是个巨大的考验。它不仅是对国际秩序有意味,对中国的内部制度及其与香港的关系具有同样的意味。斯诺登到香港去,因为他知道香港不同于中国大陆,他当然不会去北京。

香港与美国都遵循国际条约。有些中国人第一次承认香港享有一些只有民族国家、主权国家才有的权力,所以在我们的制度内,香港到底是一种什么样的状况?这是一个重大的问题,因为我们并没有搞清楚一国两制到底意味着什么。有些人马上说这是我们第一次知道香港在国际范围内享有独立的司法体系,这意味着一种主权。在我看这很有意味,因为香港回归中国是英国政府与中国政府之间协商的结果,而非一个公开的议程。现在它将承受人们的检验。所以我认为,从不同的发展可能来看,这是个很好的故事。

问:这一案例如何影响中美关系呢?

汪:对美国来说,当然他们有点尴尬,但也不会感到太难堪,他们并不太在乎自己的行为。美国做过太多诸如战争,杀戮,劫掠,所以这次事件也并不新鲜。但在这里却很重要,因为这里的所有改革都与中美有关。即使人们会批评美国在穆斯林世界、在南美或非洲发动战争,美国还是一个好模版,因为那里的人们享有言论自由,更重要的是国家对私人生活的干涉是非法的。 在中国,微博上的人们每天都在重复这些口号式的标语,但现在这个事件发生了。所以该如何回应呢?我认为这不仅仅是美国的问题,我们应该对这里的某种政治改革有所"去魅",这是重要的,否则的话我们总要试图把一个"他者"作为样板。

现在的新危机的性质与冷战和后冷战语境下的完全不同。你不能简单地认为我们可以用这种制度替代那种制度。我们不是为这个制度辩护,而是试图改变它。我们需要重新思考现实,而不是简单地从对"他者"的幻想开始。这只是一个小故事,却也是一个新开始。

有一个中国与前苏联学术界的辩论,最近我在读Rein Mullerson的书,他是爱沙尼亚塔林(Tallin)大学法学院的院长,也曾担任苏联改革期间戈尔巴乔夫的法律顾问,他对苏联改革过程持非常批判,说我们需要重新思考它。语境虽然不同,但我们都同意说中国的境况其实非常相像,改革进程也是相似的。我记得89运动时广场上的标语,--当时我在那里,在绝食抗议开始阶段,正值戈尔巴乔夫访问中国,我们打出的标语是:"我们要58,不要85",因为当时戈尔巴乔夫58岁,邓小平是85岁。但是历史证明,当时85岁的邓比58岁的戈尔巴乔夫或许要聪明一些,这是很反讽的。

 

(Gabriele Battaglia是驻北京的中国事务观察家,那里正在开始成为观察全球化及其替代的好地方,他是China-Files 机构的成员,曾任PeaceReporter and E-il mensile 杂志作家。)

 

 

--

该译文本站尚未校订,请参考英文:

INTERVIEW
China, a new equality and the world
A conversation with Wang Hui

By Gabriele Battaglia 

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/CHIN-01-030713.html

BEIJING - Wang Hui is one of the great contemporary Chinese scholars. Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at Beijing's Tsinghua University, he is universally considered as one of the main representatives of the Chinese "new left", a definition he doesn't like, being too tied to old patterns and to a Western point of view. "Let's go beyond old thoughts" definitely seems his new manifesto and in today's China the equality issue happens to be a good start. 

Wang Hui: [Currently] I'm writing about "the equality of what?". It is a big issue now, everywhere, both in China and in the West. Here, it's about the rich and the rural regions and it is also about the ecological crisis and other issues such as the minorities. 

We all know [in China] there is a crisis of equality, but how to define it? At the end of the '70s, China's socialism was in crisis, so some people attacked equality, especially the state-owned enterprises, by suggesting a new liberal agenda: privatization, property rights and so on. 

At the same time they suggested a new kind of equality, calling it "equality of opportunities" and the legal frame followed. But this came to be the legitimation of an unequal process. Everybody can see how the workers suffered from privatization, which started in the mid-'90s when they became unemployed and the compensation was very low or none at all. On behalf of the market we had deprivation, they took away rights and property from the hands of labor while arguing for equality of opportunities. 

Then, at the end of the '90s, came debate about a crisis in social welfare and an attempt to rebuild. For instance, how to spread the medical system in the countryside. 

In this context, the idea of "equality of redistribution" re-emerged in China, but now the process itself is facing new challenges. On one hand it is necessary to rebuild the social security system for everybody; that's about basic rights. However, this is just a response to the earlier stage, the privatization process, and now we need to do something for the migrant workers, otherwise there will be turmoil. 

The big challenge here is that the Chinese economy is slowing down. More money is needed to build up that social security system while the revenues are decreasing. And at the same time, this kind of growth is so unfriendly toward the environment. 

More and more energy is needed, but when you make a project for a new dam you immediately face a protest. You need to rebuild the social security system including in it ecological preservation, and this is a paradoxical, contradictory situation. 

This means that you have to change the production model. There is a gap between the poor and the rich, but the main gap is between urban and rural population. So the government launched this new campaign for urbanization, chengzhenhua, [urbanization of medium and small cities] but it is nothing new, it has been like that for decades. At the same time, you see this process happening in the Chinese frontiers, the minority areas in the southwest and morthwest whose culture, lifestyle and religion are very different. 

So, on one hand it's perfectly legitimate to improve the economic situation there; however we have also an ecological crisis going hand in hand with a cultural crisis, because their lifestyle is changing, and so we have conflicts in Xinjiang and Tibet. 

All this means that we basically need a new idea of equality that incorporates the idea of diversity: not simply equalize everybody and everything but try to respect singularity, diversity, differences without rejecting the basic idea of equality. This is the challenge because modern equality was based on the idea of citizens who are equal. But now how to deal with lifestyles, religions, biodiversity, environment? Which equality we need? Maybe not a single idea, but a set of ideas. And this reminds to the kind of development we want. 

But it's not easy to convince those economists and policy-makers in charge of the economic process, basically because the economic issue has become dominant especially for different interest groups. Even the officials can't control the whole process. So the point is that you have to think about the general issue, not only about investment and money. 

This is the reason why right now we have in China a debate about the basic orientation of reforms. You know we have a say: "Cross the river by feeling the stones", but now where are the banks of the river? And you risk getting lost in the middle of the river. The point now is that nobody can clearly define where the banks are. 

Gabriele Battaglia: How to put this debate in concrete terms? 

WH: Take the big debate about the constitution we have now. It is very ambiguous because the new liberals argue for a constitutional reform whose implication is to change the whole political system. However, "constitutional reform" means starting from the constitution itself. If you start from the rejection of the constitution this means revolution. And right now there is no social base for a revolution. The basic guarantee of the constitution is the Communist Party in power, and this is not a big problem because everybody knows that there is no other political force which can replace the Communist Party. Even the radicals of the right-wing perfectly know this. 

On the other hand, if you recognize this constitution it means that we are actually a socialist country and the working class is the leading class. So what is the political status of the working class in China? 

Opening a discussion about the constitution is good and we need to go back to the 1954 constitution and guarantee basic rights. It was quite open and good; the Communist Party was the leading force, but you had freedom of speech and the right to strike, which was cancelled in 1982 after the Cultural Revolution, when Deng Xiaoping thought that China was at risk of anarchy and so they changed the constitution. 

Again, the way to go back to this constitutional debate is to open up the discussion. The problem is that this discussion is very official so far; there is no real public space. This also relates to another big issue in China, which is the crisis of the media. On one hand, you have a huge amount of publications; on the other, public space is shrinking. 

And here we have the Nanfang Zhoumo case last January, the weekly magazine whose editorial board's new year editorial on the defense of the constitution was substituted with another one praising the Communist Party, by the local propaganda leader. Huge protests happened in that case. 

There is a relation, but this is not a good case because the conflict didn't happen about the public debate, it happened within the system: the appointed board members and their leaders. On behalf of freedom of speech there was a complete exclusion of real public opinion. So it was actually a matter of power redistribution. They simply rejected any single different idea to be published in their newspapers, there was only one side's idea, polarized in the Southern Weekend [Nanfang Zhoumo] and the People's Daily. Ironically both were kind of official newspapers. The conflict was about the leadership of the Department of Propaganda between old and new leaders. 

This is also a crisis of representation because it is just a representation of the idea of freedom of speech and democracy, as much as the Communist Party is the representation of the idea of working class. We really need to rethink and redefine public space because the media can easily mislead public opinion towards so called "truth". This is why when I was editor of Dushu magazine [until 2007] I tried to open up this kind of space. And it is interesting: now it is all completely gone, not allowed by all the mainstream forces. 

GB: What about urbanization, so called chengzhenhua

WH: It's difficult to say if generally speaking it is right or wrong. Maybe here is good and there is bad. For instance in some areas a large amount of urbanization means a high ecological price but somewhere else it fits. So you need to allow some experiments to go on, and according to our past experience these are the real driving force for the reforms. In China, most of the general macropolicy has always been a recognition of an earlier local process, not the beginning of it. For instance, rural reform started in Anhui and then spread out. So you need an even bigger space for these experiments. 

GB: Isn't chengzhenhua an egalitarian process? It looks like an attempt to create the biggest middle-class in the world. 

WH: I'm afraid chengzhenhua is too much of a top-down process, so why not allow the people to try some practical experiment from the lower level and gradually make it more and more sophisticated?

For instance in Chengdu and Chongqing, they have already had discussions about integration, how to deal with the population and their citizen status. But we have another big problem, which is that everywhere there is no longer any difference among the cities. This is a big loss of diversity. 

Nobody can reverse the process, so we have to think about it. Sometimes the choice between slow and fast is not an easy one. I think it's not necessarily good to have fast Internet in every single village and China has this problem: it's too fast. 

Once you have urbanized, how do you guarantee enough land for cultivation, who can you guarantee food for the huge Chinese population? So we have Monsanto's shares booming in the stock market. Why? Because China made an agreement with Argentina to allow and import their OGM [genetically modified] products. And you know these kind of products are unpredictable but at the same time you need to guarantee food for a huge and dense population while economic growth means more land. Everybody knows the secret of Chinese growth is a land policy carried on by local governments: without grabbing land and selling it to developers there is no way to get enough taxes. 

There are limits, and nobody can guarantee a success and even the creation of a middle-class, which is shrinking everywhere. How can we guarantee a middle-class instead of slums, as happened in India or Latin America? Without land, people become "unemployed without land" in an urban area. 

So now we have some scholars who even argue that slums are good because the slum system is based on private property of land and "freedom of migration": slums are "human rights", you see? This is the reason why I feel like writing something about "the equality of what?". 

Please note that in the last few weeks the rhetoric of the government on chengzhenhua has changed. They now speak ofwentuo chengzhenhua, which means "safe urbanization". Zhang Gaoli [first-ranked vice premier of the PRC and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party] was the first to speak in these terms. 

What does it mean? I guess something like this. Almost 10% of the Chinese population is a migrant population, which for example is a huge problem for domestic transportation, like you see during the Spring Festival. But in these past few years the situation has improved because of the [global financial] crisis, which pushed many migrants back to their villages and to cultivate the land. This probably means that migration should not necessary be so fast and so long-distance. People don't lose contact with their hometown, and we could have migration at the local level. This is a positive development, and the government probably thinks now in these terms. But if the process is too fast it is still dangerous. 

So, the land and the people. Here we have the Wukan case - the village whose rebellion against land eviction forced a political change: new grassroots elections after many years. 

You know the latest developments. It was a sort of model for democracy but eventually didn't follow [after one year the evictions go on and villagers' anger is rising against the newly elected local committee] and when this happened the media lost interest in that and they even didn't know how to define it, the real difficulties those people meet. In the beginning it was easy: a call for elections. But when the real problems emerged the media lost their voice. 

The point is [it] not only Wukan, it's a huge process going on since 2005 with the privatization of state enterprises and so on, all on behalf of democracy and the protection of private property. What's the result of that? At first it was "democracy", then, when even the elected local leaders became critical about it, everybody lost interest. 

This is the problem, which means we need a new vocabulary. The debate inside the left is about the language to define the new process and only in this way you can find new strategies to fight. At the state level and at the village level is the same thing: the political form and the social form do not match, and it's the same between our system and the Western system. 

In Western media it's too easy to use terms such as totalitarian state or state capitalism about China, but understanding other political forms is too challenging. And for the mainstream media here, if anything happens you immediately go back to the Cultural Revolution and the crisis of that utopia. But this is not the point, since utopia is not the beginning of a problem, it is the response to a problem we already have. It reveals our incapability of mastering reality. 

Let's see the Diaoyu islands issue. Both the Chinese and the Japanese speakers give a response based on a common ground: this happens because of Mao's earlier policy. I asked them: "If this problem comes from Mao, why in Mao's era a reconciliation took place in 1972 and no such a big crisis happened? China was a socialist country, Japan a capitalist one, but they sat together and reached ambiguous agreements, suspended any conflict for almost 40 years which in terms of foreign policy is quite successful. What's the foundation for that? Why have the islands suddenly became a main issue now, instead?" 

For them everything which is wrong is past and it is not our responsibility. This is ridiculous and looks really like the call of ideology. 

GB: Speaking of scapegoats, such as Mao in this case, do you have any idea about the Edward Snowden case and the revelations about widespread US espionage? The guy flew away right now, but this is anyway a big issue for China and Hong Kong. 

WH: I disagree with those people who argued that this guy should have been handed over to the US; this is not the case. Instead, a big investigation should start because Snowden revealed that the US got a huge amount of information from Hong Kong and China. Why don't we do this investigation and reveal it to the world? I really argue that in this case China shouldn't only defend China's interest, it should keep this case transparent to the world. Again, it's a case of opening up. 

Of course the hacking issue is widespread. America is actually the more culpable country, since we all use Microsoft, Apple and Google, but all the countries do that and now we need to reveal the whole story to the world. 

I really hope China's relations with America will improve, but this doesn't mean it must compromise too much. It's not necessary. I really think China shouldn't use this case to defend its own behavior. Instead, I think that this kind of debate needs a real international opinion because the US got a lot of information from Europe too. And ironically most of America's media now describes that guy as a criminal. 

GB: So it's a test for China too. 

WH: Yes, it's very interesting because this is a big test not only for America. It is a big test especially for China. It is meaningful not only for the international system but also for China's inner system and its relations with Hong Kong. Snowden arrived in Hong Kong because he knew it's different from China. Of course he didn't come to Beijing. 

And also, Hong Kong and the US subscribe to international treaties. So some people in China acknowledged for the first time that Hong Kong enjoys some kind of rights which only nation-states, sovereign states, have. So what kind of state is Hong Kong within our system? This is a big issue because we have not really clear what the double system means. 

Some people immediately argued this is the first time we know Hong Kong has such an independent legal system in the international realm, and this means it has also a kind of sovereignty. And in my opinion this is interesting because, again, the handover of Hong Kong to China was the result of negotiations between Britain and China's government, not a public process. Now it will be tested by the people. So I think this is a very good story with different possible developments. 

GB: How this case can affect relations between China and the US?

WH: As for America, well they are embarrassed but not so much, they don't care that much about their behavior. They did so many wars, killings, kidnappings, so this is nothing new. But here it's important because every reform here is a China-America matter. Even if people criticize how they launch a war in Muslim countries, South America or Africa, America is the model because people there enjoy freedom of speech and, especially, state interference in people's private life is illegal. 

In Chinese, Weibo [microblogging] people repeat these slogans every day, and now this story has happened. So what is the response? My point is that this is not only an American problem. Here we have the disillusion about a certain kind of political change, this is important because otherwise we always try to take "the other" as a model. 

Now the new nature of the crisis is totally different from the Cold War and post-Cold War context. You cannot simply think that we can replace this system with that system. We don't want to defend this system but try to change it. And we need to rethink reality, not simply start from the illusion about "the other". This is only a small story, but also a new beginning. 

There's a debate between the Chinese and former Soviet academic world, and I recently read the book of Rein Mullerson, who is the president of the Tallin University's Law School and was also Gorbachev's legal adviser during the [USSR] reform era. Well, he is very critical toward that era's process and says we must rethink it. The context is different but we both agree that for China it's pretty much the same, the process is similar. I remember the slogans of the Tiananmen movement in 1989 because I was there, and at the beginning of the hunger strike, when Gorbachev came to visit China, we had this: "We want 58, not 85", because Gorbachev was 58 and Deng Xiaoping was 85. But history proved that 85 was possibly smarter than 58, and this is the irony. 

Gabriele Battaglia is an observer of Chinese affairs based in Beijing, the place to be and a good starting point for a look on globalization and its alternatives. He is a member of China-Files agency, and has previously been a writer for PeaceReporter and E-il mensile magazines

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季剑青:令人失望的“学术批评” ——评杨奎松《以论带史的尴尬》
汪晖:从当代变迁中重新思考改革--关于政党国家化与市场决定作用的一点思考
汪晖:去政治化的政治、霸权的多重构成与六十年代的消逝
南水:"党史专家"的满腔质疑却变成对方的脚注--关于杨奎松《也谈"去政治化"问题 》的几点看法
高默波:《高家村》中文版自序
陆云:从学术攻击到"暴力学术"--杨奎松两批汪晖的案例分析
中国应该找到自己的方式--汪晖对话前西德总理施密特
汪晖:代表性断裂与"后政党政治"
黄宗智:《中国政治体系正当性基础的来源与走向:中西方学者对话(七)》导言
徐国琦:第一次世界大战在中国历史上的地位及影响
汪晖、罗岗、鲁明军:跨界对谈:历史、革命与当代青年的思想构成
汪晖:新批判精神--与《新左翼评论》佩里·安德森对谈
汪晖:两岸历史中的失踪者--《台共党人的悲歌》与台湾的历史记忆
汪晖:大陆-海洋与亚洲的区域化——清华大学人文学院汪晖教授访谈(吴铭)
汪晖:两种新穷人及其未来--阶级政治的衰落、再形成与新穷人的尊严政治
汪晖:当代中国历史巨变中的台湾问题
邱士杰:21世纪的20世纪台湾社会主义运动与民族再统一──汪晖老师《当代中国历史巨变中的台湾问题》读后
汪晖:金沙江之子——追忆萧亮中
黄棘:"20世纪苏联中国的社会主义:理论与实践"国际学术研讨会综述
汪晖:两洋之间的文明--2015年6月29日喀什大学演讲
汪晖:二十世纪中国历史视野下的抗美援朝战争
林峻煒:內在視野與現代性批判:試探汪暉之中國思想論
文佳筠:五年来中美两国应对气候变化的对比(2010-2015)
汪晖:《世界工厂》作为一种社会研究和实践的剧场
汪晖:"毛主义运动"的幽灵
汪晖:二十世纪中国历史视野下的抗美援朝战争
汪晖:代表性断裂与"后政党政治"
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