Tuesday, October 21, 2014
7

幸存的天安门

香港—也许你很难想象,但在25年前,中国共产党险些被一场民主运动推翻。是已故最高领导人邓小平的钢铁意志和人民解放军的坦克——用于强制实施戒严令和镇压北京天安门广场示威——以数百位平民的生命为代价避免了政权的崩溃。

1989年月4日的天安门广场大屠杀即将迎来25周年,在此之际,有两个问题需要问问:中共在过去四分之一世纪中生存得如何?它还能维持下一个25年的统治吗?

第一个问题的答案相对明确。政策调整、明智的操纵策略以及相当好的运气让中共赢得了维持权力、镇压动摇因素所需要的支持。

平心而论,中共犯过严重错误。大屠杀后,中国保守派领导人试图扭转邓小平在20世纪80年代启动的自由化改革,导致中国经济陷入衰退。1991年苏联的解体更是在中共内部造成了恐慌。

但邓小平再一次拯救了党。87岁高龄的邓动用了全部能量和政治资本,重启了市场经济改革,拉开了一场带来前所未有的增长和发展高潮的经济革命,从而极大地提高了中共的信誉。

邓小平及其继任者都持续了这一大趋势,他们给予中国人民大量个人自由,助长消费至上主义和大众娱乐的兴起。在新的“面包和马戏”的世界中,中共重获公共支持、镇压反对比以前有效得多。打民族主义牌和煽动民间排外主义情绪也有所助益。

即便是政权生存的杀手锏——镇压也做了微调。中国新积累起来的财富让其领导人能够建立世界上技术最先进的互联网防火墙,用最有效的工具装备其国内安全力量。

对于中国人数很少但毅力坚强的持异见者群体,政权依靠的是“斩草除根”战略。换言之,政府用关押或驱逐出境等方式消除反对派领袖,不管他们名声多大。在全世界的一片反对声中,2010年诺贝尔和平奖得主刘晓波仍被判有期徒刑11年。

不管这种做法多么令人不忿,它们到底是管用的。但若不是在某些关键点上运气极佳,中共可能无法如此成功。首先,1992年后的改革恰好赶上了全球化的兴起,这给中国带来了巨大的资本流入(自1992年以来直接外国投资约为1万亿美元)、大量新技术和几乎畅通无阻的西方消费市场准入。中国也因此成为世界工厂,到2007年,其出口增长了十倍多。

另一个有利于政权的因素是所谓的人口红利(大量劳动力和比例相对较低的儿童和老年依赖人口)。这给中国带来了充足的廉价劳动力,也为政府节约了大量退休金和医疗支出。

如今,中共面临的问题是使其在天安门事件后生存下来的大部分因素或者已经消失,或者正在走向消失。事实上,从完全务实的角度看,市场改革已经死去。巧取豪夺的政府官员、他们的家庭以及人脉广泛的商人已经绑架了中国,他们会阻挠任何威胁到他们特权地位的改革。

此外,中共不再能够依靠提高经济景气维持公共支持。横行的腐败和日益剧烈的不平等,加上显而易见的环境恶化,正在让普通中国人——特别是对改革寄予厚望的中产阶级——日益清醒过来。

与此同时,由于人口的迅速老龄化,中国的人口红利已是明日黄花。而由于中国已经成为世界最大出口国,占全球市场的比重超过了11%,未来几年中的出口增长空间也十分有限。

这意味着在中共的后天安门时代工具箱中只剩下了镇压和民族主义。事实上,在国家主席习近平保证党的生存的战略中,这两大工具仍扮演着核心角色。

但习近平也在实验新工具:前所未有的反腐风暴以及试图重启市场化改革。到目前为止,他的反腐战争比他的市场改革计划取得的效果更好。

表面上看,习近平的战略似乎相当可靠。但是,向腐败官员宣战和加紧旨在打破中国精英自肥式统治的深层改革难免会让习近平与中国政治和经济精英产生冲突。问题在于他能否可以在不必动员中国人民的情况下克服来自政权内部的阻力,在政治上发动中国人民参与改革有可能威胁到一党执政制度。

1989年后,中共让末日预言者无功而返:它生存了下来,并且先发制人地克服了进一步的权力威胁。但在今后四分之一世纪里,对中共继续掌握权力的威胁越来越大——而且这种威胁只会增不会减。

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  1. CommentedRicketty Rabbit

    In response to J. Von Hettlingen:
    "Today, thanks to Deng Xiaoping's economic reform, Chinese people are going through all the stages of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. "

    I agree with your general thesis but would add a fine-tuning which I believe makes it even more relevant.

    Maslow's hierarchy is conceptually illustrative but research has not borne it out as an accurate model of human motivation. For a better model, look to Alderfer's "3 Needs" or ERG theory.

    It posits that humans pursue 3 distinct needs simultaneously - Existence (like Maslow's first and part of the second level), Relatedness (like Maslow's 2 to part of 4) and Growth (like Maslow's 4 - 5).

    Alderfer says that when humans are unable to satisfy one of these needs, they'll "overdose" on the others. So, for example, if one is unable to satisfy a growth or relatedness need, one will over consume on existence needs. This behaviour is called "frustration-regeression".

    Frustration-regression is evident in all societies, but perhaps nowhere more than among the comfortable to wealthy in China, for whom their inability in China's political society to satisfy the need for self-determination expresses itself in the pursuit of wealth, material goods and pleasure.

    Rather than progressing through Maslow's hierarchy, many in China are caught in frustration-regression, like essentially dissatisfied materialists in so many other nations.

      Commentedyang guang

      Very complicated really you don't know any thing about Chinese people .

  2. CommentedJeff GE

    This is not a balanced article. China under CCP not just survived Tiananmen but thrived. For the past twenty five years, most Chinese focus mainly on improving the quality of their daily lives. Politics takes the secondary role. Only a small groups of dissidents continue to focus on political issues. There are very significant resentment towards the government but mostly directed on economic issues such as corruption. That is why the new leadership launched unprecedented anti-corruption campaign.

  3. Commentedhari naidu

    You've the audacity to remove my critical commentary on this political propaganda from Taiwan. What are you afraid of - truth or false modesty?

  4. Commentedj. von Hettlingen

    June 4 will see the 25th anniversary of a violent suppression by the People's Liberation Army of student protests, leading to the deaths of hundreds of people. The Chinese authorities have never provided an official death toll and the events in Tiananmen square remain a taboo. Back in 1989, the "Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was nearly toppled by a nationwide pro-democracy movement". It survived the turmoil, because the leadership resorted to brutality to crush the protests. Today, Mr. Minxin Pei asks, "how has the CCP survived the last quarter-century, and can its rule endure for another 25 years"?
    With its more than 80million-strong membership, the CCP is the biggest political party in the world. Its tight organisation and ruthlessness help explain why it is still in power. The party is the guiding hand in China and oversees and influences many aspects of people's lives.
    Today, thanks to Deng Xiaoping's economic reform, Chinese people are going through all the stages of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. With prospertiy and improved living standards, they have become increasingly aware of ethical and political issues like government accountability, equality and political inclusion. Many have a hard time to live with a party that dictates what they should learn at school and from the media.
    They also raise questions about the significant privileges joining the party brings, like members get access to better information and a network with decision-makers, who can help boost their careers and businesses. Many jobs are only open to members and they shape the lives and social behaviour of the apparatchiks. No doubt personal relationships still play an important role in China. Nevertheless many Chinese feel that it's not fair that who you know counts more than what you can.
    Indeed the next 25 years will be crucial for the party's survival. It's doubtful whether "to build one of the world’s most technically sophisticated Internet firewalls and equip its internal security forces with the most effective tools", would secure its grip on power. The "dissident community" would expand, if no political reforms were made. Instead of focusing on economic growth, China should steer away from quantity and invest in quality - a smaller population, good education, better life quality, cleaner environment, more equality and freedom. A country with a small population can still remain dynamic, if its citizens are happy and motivated.

  5. CommentedWalter Gingery

    Thanks for this provocative alternative to the official story as it shines a critical light on the unfolding events in china's attempts at reform.

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