很荣幸能够到Sydney Institute 发表关于中国未来政治变化和进程的我个人观点。我与悉尼学社的交往已经有二十多年了，在这里发表演讲还是第一次。吾尔开希是八九学运的标志性人物，我很高兴与他在此联袂演讲。
中国官方媒体新华社下属的《国际先驱导报》International Herald Leader最近发表文章说，怀疑和警惕已经成为中国人的生活方式，地方政府越来越不被民众相信，有时越是被官方或专家澄清的事件，越遭遇网民的质疑。中国人曾经对一切都充满信任，对领袖、对革命、对资本主义的必将灭亡和共产主义的光明未来……但现在却似乎什么都不信，不相信地方政府的表态，不相信媒体的报道，不相信身边人。
总之，中国除了经济进步以外，政治制度是没落的，人权纪录是恶劣的，道德信仰是缺失的，社会危机是严重的，然而西方好像是视而不见。这就让我回想起了电影The Mummy中的人物，Rick O'Connell，High Priest Imhotep，Beni Gabor。这些人物在当今的与中国关系中都很容易找到对应人和物。这是一个无可奈何的悲哀。
It is a great honor to address the Sydney Institute to express my views about China and its political development. I have been connected with the Sydney Institute for over 20 years, but my address today is the maiden one.
Mr Wu’er Kaixi is one of the iconic figures of the 1989 student movement in Tiananmen Square and I am very happy to be his co-speaker. As a Chinese democracy campaigner in Australia, my commitment to this movement is already known by some of you.
Since the Tiananmen Square landmark event, China has experienced a dazzling array of changes for all to observe, although the way each of us perceives and analyses those changes is most certainly not identical.
The world admires the economic achievements and progress of China. I am sincerely happy to see any advancement China has made. I am happy to acknowledge the economic success of China, but feel that there are other equally important aspects we must all monitor equally closely. We must pay close attention to the four pillars; a well developed political system, a robust and healthy internal and external economy, embedded social morality, and environmental ecological sustainability, which underpin the development of China.
The Western world has been hoodwinked to only view economic development while their eyes have been blindfolded on the other three issues.
Westerners have witnessed the expansion of Chinese economy and the rise of China as a great international power over the last three decades. The Chinese government skillfully takes great advantage of their accumulated massive purchasing power buoyed by the help of foreign capital and the export of ‘Chinese soft power’ to further delude the West, while the West is willing to play along and exaggerate the economic power and international potency of China.
I happily acknowledge the remarkable achievements China made in the areas mentioned above over the last 30 years. However, some of the darker sides of the development of China have been very effectively concealed by the Chinese government and deceitfully presented the West. It doesn’t seem to matter how frequent and accurate our observations, our concerns are neglected and overlooked by the West due to the weak volume of our voice. The massively amplified official economic boasting by the Chinese government is rendering our truly significant concerns into a cell of silence.
First, let’s have a look at the problems relating to social morality in China. The burgeoning Chinese economy gave birth to a large amount of corrupt officials and billionaires overnight, entitling them to the lion’s share of the social wealth. Their success was the result of an unscrupulous collaboration of power and interests. Such an inequitable way to grab wealth has triggered the deterioration of social morality, as those privileged enough to do so simply followed suit. What happens in China, such as the case of poisonous milk powder, reveal only a tip of the iceberg of this Chinese moral crisis. Many kinds of food are severely toxic. Farmers don’t dare to eat their home-grown food, which were planted on contaminated soil. There are no checks and balances in place to prevent the distribution of contaminated products and this food reaches the tables of everyday Chinese families. The farmers sell their food to the market for money in exchange for their products which do not have to meet any national standards, leaving the market open to all dealers.
The Chinese official media the International Herald Leader, a newspaper that is affiliated to the Xinhua News Agency released an article about three weeks ago that stated the suspicion and vigilance have become part of the Chinese people’s way of life. Local governments are losing more and more credibility amongst Chinese people, and the more the government whitewashes the situation, the more it will be questioned by the netizens. It said that Chinese people used to have faith in everything including the leaders, the revolution, the inevitable demise of capitalism and the glorious future of communism, but they now seem to put their trust in nothing. They don’t believe what the local government says, what the media broadcasts, and even the words of someone they know quite well. This insidious toxic mistrust is like a cancer which is invasive enough to crumble the very structure of a society.
Next, we shall have a look at the environmental problems of China. According to reliable source, of the top 10 power stations in the world which emit the largest amount of pollutants, 4 of them are in China, the US and Germany each possesses 2, and the rest belong to South Africa and India. The arable land of China is being polluted on a large scale. From north to south, more and more cancer villages arose in the coastal area. In addition, the number of AIDS villages in China is persistently growing. Overgrazing, as well as deforestation for the purpose of agricultural or mining development, have worsened the desertification of the pastureland and strengthened the sandstorms. The areas affected by these ecological disasters have expanded from northern China to eastern and northeastern China, and even Korea and Japan.
Lastly, let’s have a look at the Chinese political system. China remains autocratic, there is no election of leaders, no independent jurisdiction, no freedom of speech and press, no freedom of association, and all powers belong to the monopoly of the Chinese communist party. About three weeks ago, human rights violations in China were again highlighted when Hu Jintao, the Chinese top leader visited the US, when so many US congressmen urged President Obama to raise this issue so as to exert political pressure on China.
In my view, this kind of criticism and limited pressure could achieve very, very little.
Why is that? We must first clarify the issue. The core problem in China is not human rights, but the political system, the unchecked political power in the hand of one dictating party. It is naive to seek fundamental improvement in human rights without the necessary clearance of the one party dictatorship.
Today, more and more countries who have long suffered under dictatorship regimes have had an awakening, and have started to take strong and determined action for democratic transition. Recently Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen all became hotbeds for political change. The people joined together to stand up for their rights, their courage awakened after many decades of dictatorship.
The self-cremation of a youth in Tunisia sparked a huge wave of united action across the entire country, resulting in the stepping down of the president, which then impacted Egypt, and potentially many other countries in the Middle East. I ask you how many incidents of self-cremation have taken place in China? Countless. But there were no similar shows of united strength, no revolution. Why is that? The cruelty, barbarity and sophistication of the Chinese government is one aspect, the defeatist and resigned nature of the Chinese people is another.
Is it possible that we could be seeing the fourth wave of global democratization kicking off in North Africa? Could it expand another continent to China? It is possible but not probable. One thing I can be very sure of, that the Chinese repressive rulers are very uncomfortable about what is happening in Tunisia and Egypt, whilst the oppressed ordinary people are inspired by it. It could be the wake up call which reminds Chinese people that freedom and democracy can only be achieved by fighting for it, not waiting for it.
I see the stark and cruel reality that although the fall of the Berlin wall marked the end of an era, the stark fact remains that Communist China has been enjoying "unconditional engagement" with the world since the early 1970s, and so now an autocratic “Beijing Wall” is steadily being erected due to the tacit consent of the leaders of Western democracies.
The West has consistently been concerned by human rights issues in China, especially since Tiananmen in 1989. The Chinese Communist Party has become accustomed to this mild criticism and is fully aware that the West likes to pay lip service to human rights, but is not seriously committed to planning strategies and outcomes. Both parties know full well that this is a game they must play to uphold their images. The West criticizes Chinese human rights violations but has not pushed for the political democratization that truly could improve the fundamental human rights situation in China. Rather, it acknowledges the Chinese Communist Party’s emphasis of social, cultural and political differences with the West as an excuse for appeasing the dictatorship, which is absurd. When the West urged the Chinese Communist Party to initiate political reform, the Party did not accept it. Then the West went one step backward to focus on human rights rather than the political system. Two decades passed and both the West and the Chinese Communist Party are familiar with the tactics of each other, and both are happy to play this game on the merry-go-round.
China retains a repressive one-party political system for a long time. In fact, such an outcome may not bother the West who deals regularly with China, it may indeed be just the China they want. Sometimes I have this kind of speculation. But they rarely acknowledge that they would be content with a permanently repressive and undemocratic China, not in public or to large audiences, because doing so would undercut public support for their policies. Instead they foster an elaborate set of illusions about China, centered on the belief that commerce will lead inevitably to political change and democracy.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee made announcement on 8 October 2010 to award Liu Xiao Bo the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, which, in my view, has a great significance to China. The Norwegian organization provided the first step of acknowledgement and encouragement to the Chinese people in their pursuit for democracy and human rights improvement. This award will help towards China’s future political reform, and it is important to see it as a new starting point of China’s political change and also as the first domino of the communist political dictatorship to fall. The Chinese people’s democratic pursuit is now back in the global spotlight and moral support for the Chinese democratic movement reached a peak in view of the whole world. For this reason, I travelled to Oslo from here in Australia, the most remote part of the world, to physically take part in the award ceremony on 10 December 2010. In the history of Nobel Peace Prize, three laureates Walesa, Mandela and Kim Tajiong went through the path from prisoner to laureate and finally to presidents of their nations. Will Liu Xiao Bo follow their footsteps? I cherish this expectation.
The response of the Chinese government to the prize was very negative and it reacted in a paranoid manner to prevent people from mainland China from attending. Furthermore, thuggish treatment was employed to harass domestic human rights activists. For instance, Ms Hua Ze, a film maker and human rights activist, was kidnapped and house arrested for 55 days until the ceremony in Norway was over.
It is almost impossible to expect China, such a gargantuan country, to change politically without foreign intervention. By looking backwards over history, we can see the effectiveness of foreign interventions which helped to bring about enormous political changes. Without French support, George Washington could not have defeated the UK to win independence; Dr. Sun Yat-sen would not have lead his anti-Manchuria revolution to success without the long term covert support from Japan, Lenin would not have been able to set up the Soviet Union without the financial backing from the German emperor. For the same reason, Mao Zedong could not have won over the civil war against Chiang Kai-shek without full support from Stalin. The Chinese democratic movement desperately needs such support from the West, support similar to the backup of Stalin to Mao, and the US to Syngman Rhee, the first president of South Korea. Only in this way, could the Chinese democratic movement hope to set up democracy in China and for once and for all improve human rights conditions within China. But we must take a realistic view of if there is such willingness and commitment from the West? Sadly, I am pretty doubtful. That is why I emphasized that the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a high profile Chinese dissident, with wishful thinking that the award could usher the West to follow the lead. To be frank, it is my expectation, it is not the reality.
World leaders have made strategic mistakes in their dealings with China. Regarding Soviet Union as an evil empire, former US president Reagan initiated a star wars program to bog down the rival’s fragile economy, which eventually brought about the dissolving of Soviet Union and its Eastern European bloc. The West was gullible and dropped its guard to assume China could be transformed from enemy to friend via economic growth. Strikingly different policies were employed in the dealings with China and Russia, the autocratic China was unconditionally tolerated under the mistaken concept that the rapid economical growth would lead to far-reaching political change as well, in the mindset that eventually, increasing trade and prosperity would bring democracy to China.
After a few years of ambassadorship in Beijing, Snr Bush developed a special relationship with China’s top leaders, which transcended into a confrontation between democracy and autocracy. Bill Clinton gave up his clout to push autocratic China into to the correct orbit of democracy, instead delinking the human rights with trade, offering China a robust injection of capital to emerge as a potential super power. George W. Bush trapped himself into two frontiers of war on terror, as a reaction to “9.11”. All of these opportunities presented the chance to the autocratic China to comfortably crack down on any domestic dissent and enjoy a benign international environment of neo-appeasement. Jugland’s brave decision, head of Nobel Peace Prize Committee, sounded the wakeup call, and it is time to ask if the US and the West want to wake up from their sound sleep?
China is the strategic partner to Bill Clinton, strategic competitor to Jnr Bush. In fact, competition or opposition of East-West ideology and political systems is far from over. The West camp headed by the US must have a clear and far-reaching vision for global strategy, overseeing 10, 20 or 30 years beyond to ensure the forward progress of the world. China replaced the status of Soviet Union after it dissolved, however, the West did not review their strategies and they stayed with their former China policy and ideologically treated the former enemy as friend. China sustains no direct diplomatic pressure from the West, and it has skillfully consolidated its place via peaceful economical development. The impact on the West is clearly foreseeable after the completion of China’s peaceful rise, and it is imperative that world leaders possess a clear view about it.
Fascism and communism devastated the world last century. However, communism was only a name for the so called communist state, it was never put into practice. Both Soviet Union and China are only totalitarian, where a personality or a clique exercises their unchallenged ability to dictate. I am now gravely concerned about the compromise of West democracy. In my observation, the value and morality of western democracy has been compromised. The West is inclined to barter away their core values for short term interests. This might be explained by the well-known saying: There are neither everlasting friends nor everlasting enemies in the world. There are only friends with the same interest.
Where is the ideal model or example for China’s political change? I feel like puzzling in the middle of a crossroad. Because of the compromise of the Western democracies, with the enormous lure of money, the West has been silenced, the core spirit and ethical values of the West have been relegated to a sub-position or sold out as bargaining chip to be used in trade and economic exchange with China.
Except for its economic growth, China remains politically autocratic, morally downgraded, environmentally deteriorated, with prevailing social crisis. But the West just turns a deaf ear and blind eye to it. That reminds me an American movie The Mummy and figures in the movie, Rick O’Connell, High Priest Imhotep and coward Beni Gabor. It is pretty easy to duplicate these figures in the reality of the relation of the West and China. It is very sad.
The movement pushing for an open and democratic China is in fact a “conscience” movement which has previously had little impact because lack of substantial backup and new blood. The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize is a catalyst which has greatly boosted the movement. But we must remain cool-headed, the substantial material backup to fundamentally reform China is still distant. Without genuine understanding and support by the Western democratic governments headed by the US, the impact and moral power originated from the Nobel Peace Prize will fade away.
To conclude I would like to quote some ancient Chinese sayings which remain as relevant as they were when I last share them with an Australian audience:
Eat not food offered by a fierce tiger despite hunger
Sleep not in a robbed bed despite night
Drink not stolen spring water despite thirst
Rest not under a decaying tree despite heat
On February 9, 2011 at the Sydney Institute
[博讯来稿] (博讯 boxun.com)(本文只代表作者或者发稿团体的观点、立场)