Saturday, February 10, 2007

Jim Mann piece in Chinese

A friend forwarded this translation of the Jim Mann piece I posted a few days back by "Ni Fochin (威咱釭)." Here's the translation in its entirety, pass along to one and all. Enjoy!

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Feb. 1, 2007
James Mann
Before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission hearing on "U.S.-China Relationship: Economics and Security in Perspective"

2007年2月1日由美中經濟暨安全審議委員會召開的一場公聽會上,前《華盛頓郵報》記者及著名作家James Mann發表「美中關係:經濟與安全透視」的演講

Members of the Panel:

I want to talk to you today, not about the details and day-to-day developments in U.S.-China relations, but about the broader perspective. What I am about to say reflects what I have concluded after observing Washington policy towards China for the past 23 years, originally as a Beijing-based correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, but then throughout most of this period as a newspaper reporter and as an author based in Washington. This is a shortened version of the ideas I have presented in a new book, "The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression."

今天我要跟各位談的,不是美中關係的細節和每日的發展,而是著眼於更大的面向。要談的內容是我過去23年來觀察華府中國政策的結論。我先是擔任《洛杉磯時報》駐北京特派員,不過這23年裡主要是擔任報紙記者與在華府一帶活動的作家。這篇講稿是我的新書《中國幻想:我們的主政者如何淡化中國的鎮壓》的精簡版。

In short, I think many of the problems we face in dealing with China are conceptual in nature. Our policy and our public discourse about China are often affected by ideas, assumptions, rationalizations and phrases that we fail to examine.

一言以蔽之,在處理中國時,我們所面對的許多問題本質上是觀念的問題。我們對中國的政策與公開討論通常都受到從未加以檢驗的概念、假定、合理化,與詞彙所影響。

Above all, I believe, our policy towards China simply operates with the wrong paradigm.

特別是,我相信,我們的中國政策是以錯誤的論述運作。

Let me explain this by way of an analogy. Most of us, I think, are familiar with the argument – a legitimate one, I believe-- that the current Bush administration was caught unprepared for the September 11 attacks because its officials had the wrong paradigm: In foreign policy, they were preoccupied with conventional states, and not focused on non-state actors like al-Qaeda. The problem wasn't merely in policy, but in overall conception: they expected the world to operate much as it had been, and they failed to anticipate a fundamental change.

容我用類比的方式對此加以解釋。我想我們大部分對底下這個論題相當熟悉,而我也相信這是個正當合理的論題,那就是,布希政府對911的攻擊沒有做任何的因應準備,因為政府官員秉持的是錯誤的模式:在外交政策上,他們心中所想的是傳統國家,並未把焦點擺在非國家的行動者,比方「基地」組織。問題不單只是政策面,而是整個觀念:他們期待世界會依照過去的方式運作,他們沒有預期到一種根本性的改變。

In our dealing with China, the problem of the wrong paradigm comes from the opposite direction. It's not that we have failed to anticipate change. Rather, it's that we assume change is coming to China – that is, change in China's political system. Looking at the country's startling economic growth and the remarkable economic changes that have taken place in China, Americans, particularly in our political and business elites, regularly talk as though China is inevitably destined for political change as well. Yet, in my view, while China will certainly be a richer and more powerful country 25 years from now, it could still be an autocracy of one form or another. Its leadership (the Communist Party, or whatever it may call itself in the future) may not be willing to tolerate organized political opposition any more than it does today. This is a prospect that our current paradigm of an inevitably changing China cannot seem to envision.

而我們處理中國所持的錯誤模式剛好是相反的。並非我們沒有預期改變,更確切地說,是我們設想改變會發生在中國,即,中國政治體制的改變。美國人,特別是我們的政治與經濟菁英,經常談論中國驚人的經濟成長、顯著的經濟變化,儼然中國因此必然會在政治上改變。不過就我的看法,中國在未來的25年無疑將會更富裕、更強盛,但仍有可能執行某種形式的獨裁政權。此一政權的領導(共產黨,或不論其未來如何自稱)可能不願容忍政治主張不同的反對勢力,一如現在。這種可能,是現今我們對中國必然會改變的論述所未能看見的。

The paradigm of China's inevitable political change has been repeatedly put forward by prominent political leaders of both parties. President George W. Bush offered his version of the paradigm at the beginning of his campaign for the White House: "The case for trade is not just monetary, but moral," Bush declared in one of his earliest foreign-policy speeches in November 1999. "Economic freedom creates habits of liberty. And habits of liberty create expectations of democracy….Trade freely with China, and time is on our side."

「中國在政治上必然會改變」的論述模式,共和民主兩黨的政治領袖一再沿用。布希總統競選總統初期一開始就提出他在這方面的版本:「與中國的貿易,不單只是著眼於金錢,也同時是關乎道德。」這是1999年11月有關外交政策最早的一次演說裡宣佈的。「經濟自由創造自由的習慣,而自由的習慣創造對民主的期待…與中國自由貿易,時間站在我們這邊。」

In saying this, Bush was merely echoing the words of Bill Clinton. The Democratic president had told Chinese President Jiang Zemin at a 1997 press conference that "you're on the wrong side of history," thus suggesting that "history" would open up China's political system. Earlier that year, Clinton had declared that the economic changes in China would help to "increase the spirit of liberty over time…I just think it's inevitable, just as inevitably the Berlin Wall fell."

布希此一講法充其量是在附和柯林頓的話。柯林頓在1997年的一項記者會上曾向江澤民說「你站在歷史錯誤的一邊,」這意味「歷史」會打開中國的政治體制。該年稍早,柯林頓宣稱中國經濟的改變,將有助於「自由精神的推進…我認為這是必然的,就如柏林圍牆必然倒下。」
I should emphasize here that when I am talking about political change in China, I am speaking about the fundamental realities of the current system, in which there is no organized political opposition, in which the press remains under censorship, and in which there are no elections beyond the limited and problematic elections at the township level. There are those who argue China's political system is already changing, but when they say that they are focusing on far lesser changes, ones that do not affect the one-party state and its monopoly on political power. The argument that the Chinese system is changing seeks to divert attention to smaller realities and away from the large ones.

在此我要特別強調的是,當我論及中國的政治改變,我指的是現今體制的根本事實,那就是政治上缺乏有組織的反對勢力、新聞仍遭審查、沒有普選,除了影響有限、頗有問題的村裡長選舉。有人辯稱中國政治體制已經在改變,但這些改變實在微不足道,並不足以影響黨國一體與共產黨對政治權力的獨攬。中國政治體制已在改變的說法,用意是在將注意力轉移到較小的事實,避開大的事實。

This paradigm of a China that is destined for political change has deep roots in American policy over the past 35 years. It took hold because it has served certain specific interests in Washington and within American society. At first, in the late 1970s and 1980s, this idea benefited America's national-security establishment. At the time, the United States was seeking close cooperation with China against the Soviet Union, so that the Soviet Union would have to worry about both America and China at once; the Pentagon was eager to ensure that the Soviet Union was required to deploy large numbers of troops along the Sino-Soviet border that might otherwise have been deployed in Europe. Amid the ideological struggles of the Cold War, cooperation with China's Communist regime was politically touchy in Washington. And so the notion that the Chinese leadership – in this case, the China of Deng Xiaoping -- was in the process of changing the country's political system helped smooth the way with Congress and the American public.

此一中國在政治上必然會改變的論述模式,根植於過去35年來的美國政策。它之能根深蒂固,是因為它符合華府以及美國社會某些的特殊利益。首先,在1970年代末期與1980年代,此一論述模式有益美國國家安全體制。當時,美國尋求與中國的緊密合作以對抗蘇聯,如此一來,蘇聯必然在中蘇邊界佈署重兵,若非如此,這些重兵將佈署在歐洲。冷戰時期意識型態的對抗中,與中共政權合作,對華府而言是政治上敏感的問題。因此當時中國的領導鄧小平,即著手進行政治體制改變的說法,有助於減少來自國會與美國大眾的阻礙。

In the 1990s, following the Soviet collapse, the paradigm of a China headed for political change attracted a new and different constituency: the business community. As trade and investment in China became ever more important, American companies (and their counterparts in Europe and Japan) found themselves repeatedly beset with questions about why they were doing business with a repressive regime, one which had so recently ordered its troops to fire at unarmed citizens. The paradigm of inevitable change offered multinational corporations the answer they needed. Not only was China destined to open up its political system, but trade would be the key that would unlock the door. Trade would lead to political liberalization and to democracy. The trouble is that the entire theory may be dead wrong.

1990年代,隨著蘇聯的瓦解,此一中國邁向政治改變的論述模式,吸引了新的、與過去不同的認同者:商業圈。當在中國的貿易投資益形重要時,美國公司(與歐洲和日本的公司)不斷遭遇到跟專制政權做生意的質疑,這個政權不久前才下令軍隊向沒有武裝的人民開火。而此一必然改變的論述模式,提供了跨國公司需要的答案。不僅中國注定會開放其政治體制,貿易更將是打開那道門的鑰匙。貿易將會導致政治自由、走向民主。問題是整個立論可能是全盤錯誤。

The notion that China's political system will inevitably move towards liberalization and democracy is what I call the Soothing Scenario for China's future. It is the one that dominates our official discourse. But it is really only one of three possibilities for where China is headed. Let me sketch out the others.

中國的政治體制必然會走向自由民主的說法,我稱之為中國未來「安慰人心的局面」。此一說法主宰我們政府官員的談話。不過這只是中國未來三種可能走向其中一項。我下面勾漏的是另外兩種可能。

The second possibility for China's future is what can be called the Upheaval Scenario. The Upheaval Scenario predicts that China is headed for some sort of major disaster, such as an economic collapse or political disintegration, because it won't be able to maintain political stability while continuing on its current course. On behalf of the Upheaval Scenario, one might point to the numerous reports of political unrest in China these days – the proliferation of labor strikes, farmers' protests, riots over environmental degradation and ethnic strife. There are also broader developments, such as the ever-growing disparity between rich and poor or the continuing prevalence of corruption in China, and the fragility of China's banking system.

中國未來的第二種可能,即所謂的「動亂局面」。此一立論預言中國會走向某種重大災難,比方經濟崩潰或政治解體,因為中國若持續目前的走向,將無法維持政治穩定。站在這一派的說法,可能會指出中國近來政治動亂的無數報導——工人罷工有增無減、農民抗議、環境惡化引起的暴動、種族對立;另外更廣泛的發展,像是貧富差距越來越大、中國遍在持續惡化的貪腐、中國銀行虛弱的體系等等。

The Upheaval Scenario for China gets a reasonable amount of attention in the United States. Lots of people spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how much instability there is in China and what its impact will be, and there are lots of interesting arguments on all sides. My own belief is that the Chinese regime is ultimately strong enough to withstand these internal pressures – that there will be no "coming collapse of China," to quote the title of one book on the subject. China is a huge country, and it is particularly hard to draw conclusions about the overall political situation from what is happening in any one place or region. Labor strikes may spread through all of Northeast China; or political demonstrations may sweep through many of its leading cities; still, in the end such events don't determine the future direction of China.

「動亂局面」在美國獲得相當程度的注意。不少人嘗試瞭解中國會有多不穩定,將帶來什麼衝擊,而各方也提出有意思的辯論。不過我自己則相信中國政權非常穩固,足以抵擋這些內部壓力,套一句討論這方面的一本書的書名,我們不會看到「中國即將崩潰」。中國是一個龐大的國家,特別是關於其整個政治狀況,我們很難從任何單一地區所發生的事件下結論。工人罷工可能會擴及中國整個東北,或政治示威可能會在幾個重要的大城市擴散,不過這些事件終究無法決定中國未來的走向。

The possibilities for China's future are not confined to these two scenarios, the Soothing Scenario or Upheaval. There is still another possibility: a Third Scenario. It is one that few people talk about or think about these days, at least not in the United States. It is this: What if China manages to continue on its current economic path and yet its political system does not change in any fundamental way? What if, twenty-five or thirty years from now, a wealthier, more powerful China continues to be run by a one-party regime that continues to repress organized political dissent much as it does today; and yet at the same time China is also open to the outside world and, indeed, is deeply intertwined with the rest of the world through trade, investment and other economic ties? Everyone assumes that the Chinese political system is going to open up – but what if it doesn't?

中國未來可能的發展並不限於這兩套演論,即「安慰人心的局面」與「動亂局面」。還有另一種可能,即第三種演論。這在目前仍然很少人討論,至少在美國還沒有人觸及。即是說,萬一中國盡其所能繼續其目前所走的經濟路線,但絲毫不做任何政治體制的根本改變?萬一25或30年後,一個更富裕、更強盛的中國仍如今日一般,繼續其一黨專政、鎮壓政治異議團體,同時對世界各國開放,在貿易、投資與其他經濟連結上,和世界有著盤根交錯的關係;大家都假設中國的政治體制會開放,不過要是沒有呢?

In one way or another, the essentials of the current political system would remain intact: there would be no significant political opposition. There would be an active security apparatus to forestall organized political dissent. In other words, China, while growing stronger and richer, wouldn't change its political system in any fundamental way. It would continue along the same political course it is on today. Why do we Americans believe that, with advancing prosperity, China will automatically come to have a political system like ours? Is it simply because the Chinese now eat at McDonald's and wear blue jeans? To make this assumption about China is to repeat the mistakes others have made in the past – that is, to think wrongly that the Chinese are inevitably becoming like us. "With God's help, we will lift Shanghai up and up until it is just like Kansas City," Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska declared during the era of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist China. Those dreams ended in disappointment.So, too,in the early 1950s, Soviet leaders thought they were recreating a communist China that would be similar to the Soviet Union. They also were wrong.

不管是哪種方式,目前政治體制的實質仍然不會受到絲毫影響:我們不會看到有份量的政治反對勢力,可以看見的是執行力很強的安全機制對政治反動組織採取先發制人。換言之,一個更強盛、更富裕的中國,不會在政治體制上做任何根本的改變。其政治路線將與現今所走的沒有差異。何以我們美國人要相信中國在步向富裕後,自然而然就會有一個跟我們相似的政治體制?就因為中國人現在也吃麥當勞、穿牛仔褲?做這樣的臆想,即是重蹈過去別人所犯的錯誤,也就是說,錯誤地認為中國人必然會像我們一樣。在蔣介石國民黨時代的中國,當時內布拉斯加的參議員坎尼斯‧惠瑞宣稱:「有上帝襄助,我們可以把上海拉拔起來,直到像我們的堪薩斯城。」那些夢想最後以失望收場。同樣的情況也發生在1950年代初期,當時蘇聯的領導認為,他們扶植的中國共產黨將會是蘇聯的再製。他們同樣錯了。

Let me address one of the main arguments advanced by those who put forward the Soothing Scenario. Proponents often point to the recent history of other countries in East Asia. In particularly, they regularly cite the examples of Taiwan and South Korea. From the 1950s through the 1970s, both had authoritarian systems in which police and security officials regularly locked up political opponents of the regimes. Then during the 1980s, as rapid economic development brought increasing prosperity to Taiwan and South Korea, both countries opened up to democracy. And so, the logic goes, China will eventually follow along the political path of Taiwan and South Korea.

現在我將針對「安慰人心的局面」的主要論點進行剖析。此說的支持者經常指出東亞其他國家近來的演變,特別是台灣與南韓最常被當作例子。從1950年代到1970年代,這兩個國家都施行威權體制,警察與國安人員關押反對獨裁政權的人士時有所聞。之後在1980年代,經濟的突飛猛進帶來台灣與南韓的繁榮,兩國並邁向民主。因此同理,中國也將跟隨台灣與南韓的政治路徑。

There are two problems with this logic. First, China is a much bigger country than either Taiwan or South Korea. It includes vast, impoverished inland areas as well as coastal cities of the east. If China were confined exclusively to these coastal areas, such as Guangdong, the province abutting Hong Kong, one could easily imagine it following the path of Taiwan and South Korea. Certainly Shanghai, with its educated, sophisticated citizenry and intense interest in politics, is as ready for democracy as any city has ever been.

此一邏輯有兩個漏洞。首先,中國比台灣或南韓大很多,領土涵蓋廣大貧瘠的內地與東部沿海城市。若中國就只是這些沿海地區,像鄰近香港的廣東,那我們就很容易想像它會跟隨台灣與南韓的路徑。而上海擁有受教育、世故、對政治有強烈興趣的市民,要準備迎接民主,不會輸給其他任何城市。

But large expanses of China are isolated – geographically, politically and intellectually – from cities such as Shanghai. Outsiders who declare that China will follow the political evolution of Taiwan and South Korea, based on their visits to eastern Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai, are roughly akin to foreigners who travel only to New York City and Boston and then come to the conclusion that the United States will behave like Western Europe.

不過中國大部分地區,在地理上、政治上、智識上,仍是與像上海這些城市隔絕。局外人根據他們到訪像北京與上海這些中國東岸城市,進而宣稱中國將步向台灣與南韓的政治演進,這就像外國人僅參訪過紐約市與波士頓,就驟下結論說,美國的作為將會和西歐一樣。

There is also a second, more important way in which China is different from Taiwan and South Korea. When those two East Asian governments democratized in the 1980s, both of them were dependent on the United States for their military security. Indeed, direct American pressure played a crucial role in supporting the movement towards political liberalization in both countries. In the case of South Korea, at a key moment in June 1987 when the country was engulfed by riots, the Reagan administration bluntly told President Chun Doo Hwan he should give way and hold elections. In the case of Taiwan, leading Democratic members of the U.S. Congress took the lead, making plain to President Chiang Ching-kuo during the 1980s that his Kuomintang government was rapidly losing American support, and that the only way to regain it was through democratic reforms.

中國與台灣、南韓之間,還有第二點更重要的差異。當這兩個東亞國家在1980年代實施民主化時,他們仰賴美國保護他們的軍事安全。事實上,在這兩個國家,美國的直接壓力,為政治自由化運動扮演了主要的推手。以南韓為例,1987年6月是個關鍵時刻,當時這個國家因為暴動而陷入重重危機,雷根政府不客氣地告訴全斗換總統,應該放棄獨裁,舉行選舉。至於台灣,民主黨重量級的國會議員首先開砲,明白地告訴1980年代擔任總統的蔣經國,他的國民黨政府正急速失去美國的支持,要重新獲得支持,只有藉民主改革。

But China of course will never be as dependent on the United States for military protection as were South Korea and Taiwan, It is vastly less subject to American pressure, goading or influence. As a result, there is no reason to believe it will automatically follow their political evolution.

不過中國將不會像南韓與台灣那樣仰賴美國的軍事保護。它遠遠不受美國的壓力、驅使或影響。值此之故,實在沒有理由相信中國必然會步向台灣與南韓的政治演進。

In conformity with America's continuing adherence to the Soothing Scenario for China (that is, the belief in China's inevitable political evolution), we have developed a series of rationalizations and euphemisms that help to maintain our beliefs. To take one example: "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back." When news breaks that China has rounded up someone or some group opposing the regime, proponents of the Soothing Scenario warn that one must not draw broader conclusions about China and the nature of its political system from this one particular untoward event. This latest arrest, it is said, was just one minor setback. Over the past two decades, the same cliché has been used, over and over again, to explain away repression or the absence of political change in China. Sometimes, when China carries out a broad crackdown, it looks as if the more accurate description would be "one step forward, five steps back." But the "two steps forward, one step back" cliché does not countenance such retrogression. Thus, even unpleasant news about Chinese repression tends to be safely embedded in an assumption of progress, a soft, warm gauzy wrapping of hopefulness.

為了不背離美國堅持中國的「安慰人心的局面」(亦即,相信中國的政治體制必然會演進),我們發展了一系列合理化說辭與委婉說法,以便有足夠的燃料持續我們的信仰。比方「進兩步,退一步」就是其中一個例子。當新聞報導中國逮捕反對其政權的個人或團體時,支持「安慰人心的局面」的人就會警告說,不可因為單一特殊的事件,就驟然對中國及其政治體制的本質做擴大的結論。最近的逮捕只不過是一個小小的退步。過去20年來這類老掉牙的說辭被一用再用,藉以淡化鎮壓或中國在政治改變上的不做為。有時候,當中國採取大規模鎮壓時,看起來比較正確的描述應是:「進一步,退五步。」不過「進兩步,退一步」的老調是不會容許這樣的退步。也因此,有關中國鎮壓的不愉快消息似乎都能夠安全地埋在一個進步的推論,一個以柔和、溫暖、朦朧所包裝的希望裡。

Finally, it is worth considering the possibility that the paradigm of inevitable political change that our leaders use in talking in public about China does not represent what they privately believe.

最後,我們執政當局在公開講話時宣稱中國政治體制未來必然改變,但他們私底下有可能不相信此一論述模式,這種可能性值得我們思考。
It is possible to imagine a set of beliefs about China as follows: "We understand that China's political system is not destined for political liberalization. The Chinese system is going to remain relatively unchanged for a very long time, and the regime is going to continue to repress any sign of organized political opposition. Still, we want to and have to do business with China, both economically and diplomatically."

對中國的信仰我們可以想像如下的說法:「我們瞭解到中國的政治體制並不必然會走向政治自由,中國的體制在很長的一段時間仍將維持較為不變的局面,該政權將持續鎮壓任何政治反對勢力的蛛絲馬跡。不過,在經濟上與外交上,我們還是希望而且必須跟中國做生意。」

This would be a point of view that is certainly clear and coherent, and I suspect that among America's political and financial leaders, there are many who privately hold this view. It is worth asking why this point of view is so little discussed in public. The answer, I believe, is that American policy towards China requires public support -- and the way to maintain public support for American policy, particularly its current relationship with China is to claim that this will serve the purpose of changing China's political system. Since 1989, virtually every change in U.S. policy towards China has been justified to the American public on the basis that it would help to open up China's political system. Whenever a president, either Republican or Democratic, spoke of his policy of "engagement" with China, it was said to be a way of changing China. When the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations extended most-favored-nation trade benefits to China, they asserted that the trade would help to open up China. When the U.S. Congress voted to support China's entry into the World Trade Organization, once again, congressional leaders justified their votes as a way of helping to bring political liberalization to China.

這將會是一個清楚一致的觀點,我想美國政界與商界的領袖有不少人私底下是採取這樣的看法。我們要問的是何以這樣的觀點甚少公開討論?我相信答案是美國對中國的政策需要大眾的支持,而讓大眾支持美國政策的方式,就是宣稱我們的目的是在改變中國政治體制,特別是目前與中國的關係。自1989年以來幾乎每一次美國對中國政策的改變,訴諸美國大眾合理化的說辭,都是基於幫助打開中國的政治體制,不管是共和黨或民主黨的說法,一提到其與中國的「交往」政策,都說是改變中國的一種方式。當布希與柯林頓政府延長中國最惠國待遇時,他們都宣稱貿易有助於中國的開放。當美國國會投票支持中國加入世界貿易組織時,國會領袖們對他們投下贊成票的合理化說辭是,「這有助於中國的政治自由化」。

Our economic policies in dealing with China have caused considerable hardship to significant numbers of Americans. Across the United States, factories have closed and millions of Americans have been put out of work. There have been some benefits to those policies as well, especially to companies investing or manufacturing in China; yet if these policies had been judged exclusively in economic terms, they might not have won the public support and congressional approval that was necessary. As a result, the American people have been told repeatedly that the reasons for our policy were not merely economic but political. Unrestricted free trade with China was going to lead to political liberalization. It was going to open the way for China to become a pluralistic country. These political arguments were the ones that made the difference. Without the claim that trade would open up the Chinese political system, trade legislation probably would not have been enacted. It is difficult if not impossible to find an American president or congressional leader who said, "China has a repressive political system and it's not going to change, but let's pass this legislation anyway."

我們處理中國的經濟政策已導致為數不少的美國人民限於困境。美國境內許多工廠關閉,上百萬的美國人因此失業。有些人的確因為這些政策獲得利益,特別是在中國投資或生產的公司;不過這些政策若僅就經濟而言,可能不會贏得大眾的支持或國會通過。結果就是,美國人民一再被告知,我們的政策不單只是經濟,還關乎政治的考量。與中國毫無限制的自由貿易,會把中國導向政治自由化,將使中國成為一個多元的國家。就是這些政治論調使得事情變得不一樣。若非宣稱貿易可以打開中國政治體制,貿易立法很有可能不會制定。我們很難想像一個美國總統或國會議長會說,「中國有個壓制的政治體制,而且短期內不會有所改變,不過無論如何,還是讓我們通過立法。」

In sum, I think the paradigm of inevitable change impairs America's thinking and its public discussion of China today. The paradigm prevents us from coming up with policies towards a China whose political may not change, in any fundamental way, for a long time. But I think the paradigm of inevitable change will endure -- that whenever American leaders talk in public about China, we will continue to hear some version or another of the Soothing Scenario.

總而言之,我以為必然會改變的論述模式損害了美國對中國的思維和公眾討論。中國在很長的一段時間內,政治上可能不會有任何根本的改變,而這個論述模式阻礙了我們針對此一狀況擬定政策。不過我個人認為必然會改變的論述模式仍將持續,每當美國領導人公開談話論及中國時,我們仍將繼續聽到「安慰人心的局面」或其某種版本出現。

4 comments:

v said...

I agree 100% with this analysis and remember wondering back in '88 why i kept hearing that china would inevitably democratize with a rising middle class when i saw that they could do what the kmt did- have a zhuan qian jiu hao policy and crush any dissent. a few years later i heard someone on a talkshow make the very same point that this guy made: South Korea and Taiwan were both under the US 'security umbrella', so they could be influenced by the US to democratize. a new china policy should have the US be as independent of china as possible in a global economy. why have they been allowed to buy up a staggering amount of our t-bills? if the public was paying more attention, they wouldn't stand for running up such a huge debt that requires us to pay for the government by depending too much on china. i don't buy anything you need to ingest that is made in china: vitamins, produce, medicine.

taipeimarc said...

A bit off topic, but a good read on what is driving China and giving it it's competitive advantage.

http://tinyurl.com/ynsug6


*I also recommend any article by Jim Willie on the site the link goes to. (financialsense.com)

David said...

Excellent post!

I agree with the fact that we do not know what China will "look" like in the next few decades. It may very well be the same as today.

Of course, if a future China is the same as today, except rich and advanced, it will also be (for lack of a better term at the moment) dangerous. That's why I support a policy of containment.

Maybe not a fully conventional containment policy, but surrounding China should be very advanced, healthy and strong democratic states.

Regards,

Clancy said...

To see what China could be like in the future, all you need to do is look at Singapore today...

One-party rule - check
Govt censorship of media - check
Govt meddling in civil society - check
Heavy emphasis on "order" at the expense of "law" - check
Strong economy and healthy middle class - check

The only exception may be the rampant govt corruption but democracy is not necessarily the solution for that either. Bascially, what Jim Mann is arguing is really that China could very well become a supersized Singapore with extra helping of official corruption. It's not very far-fetched.