分享一個西方漢學家研究中國當代自由派的網站 分享发现

這個網站翻譯了很多中國當代自由派知識份子的文章,比如本站轉載過的這兩篇:

《张千帆:中西左右:一场跨洋误会》(本站連結)

《秦晖:从南非看中国——低人权优势下的经济奇迹》(本站連結)

茲謹摘抄譯者 David Ownby 所作導讀二篇如下:

Zhang Qianfan, "Left and Right in China and the West: A Trans-Oceanic Misunderstanding"

Introduction and Translation by David Ownby

Zhang Qianfan (b. 1964) is Professor of Law at Beijing University, a leading advocate of constitutional democracy in China, and a prolific writer in both Chinese and English (see his CV from his university web page). He is a controversial figure in China. His textbook on constitutionalism was removed from bookstores in early 2019 as part of a state crackdown against work "promoting Western ideology" (see China Digital Times for an article on the crackdown that includes an interview with Zhang). More recently, he has been outspoken in defending Dr. Li Wenliang, the Chinese covid-19 whistle-blower, as well as speaking out for Xu Zhangrun, the Tsinghua University law professor who has been the target of attacks over the past few months for daring to criticize Xi Jinping.

The text translated here was published on October 2, 2020 on a Chinese-language website situated in Europe (China: History and Future), which allows Zhang to be all the more outspoken; Zhang's essay is thus not an example of what can be published in China, but remains an example of what at least some Chinese intellectuals are thinking. I might add that "China: History and Future" targets principally mainland Chinese intellectuals, and the fact that they are reaching that audience, despite Chinese censorship, is suggested by the fact that a mainland Chinese colleague emailed me the text on October 8.

The major thrust of Zhang's piece is a full-throated defense of constitutional democracy. This may be music to the ears of some Chinese liberals, but Zhang struck me as almost naïve in his fulsome praise of natural law and the wisdom of the majority. More interesting to me was the pretext for Zhang's essay: the fact that the liberal world in China is being rent asunder…by the politics of Donald Trump's America. There have of course always been differences between Chinese liberals, just as there are differences between liberals elsewhere. Some prefer freedom over welfare while others prefer welfare over freedom. In China, these differences had until recently been papered over by a general liberal consensus that the possible return of a totalitarian state was a more urgent concern, and Chinese liberals saw the United States as the most effective counterweight to that eventuality. Trump's election reshuffled the deck.

In Zhang's telling, many Chinese liberals—particularly those whose leanings are more conservative/libertarian—were first drawn to Trump because of his anti-China rhetoric. These liberals are of course patriotic, but dream of the downfall of the Chinese Communist Party and see Trump as the most likely vehicle toward the realization of that dream. The attraction, however, was more than simply transactional, and many Chinese liberals came to embrace what they understood as the core of Trump's agenda: a denunciation of political correctness.

For some, this embrace is "principled" in that they worry that the US is losing its way as it invests ever more in multi-culturalism and endless social justice crusades (for other texts on this site that explore these themes, see here, here, and here, among others). For others, however, the embrace is more "tribal," and Chinese netizens denounce "white liberals" (a Chinese slur which means something like "woke") with something akin to the passion of American trolls whose goal in life is to "own the libs." Of course, these are not the same "tribe," which is precisely Zhang Qianfan's point.

Zhang provides a few tantalizing hypotheses as to how Chinese liberals and netizens got sucked into Trump world (Chinese are hard-workers and don't like big government giveaways; many Chinese are racist and don't like Black Lives Matter), but his primary concern is that Chinese liberals' mistaken embrace of the American right will further weaken an already threatened liberal presence in China. Trump's authoritarianism and disdain for the norms and institutions of constitutional democracy will influence his "liberal followers" in China and ironically lessen their reflexive dislike of the Chinese Communist Party, which is similarly authoritarian and thuggish. Understanding of the intricate workings of a constitutional democracy is, after all, only skin deep in China outside of academic circles. The more inroads a Trump-like discourse makes into China, the less power the former consensus against totalitarianism wields and the more fractious the liberal "coalition" becomes.

Beyond this core argument, Zhang's broader explorations of the different meanings of left and right in different times and places are interesting in and of themselves. The frankness of the text—which I think is part Zhang himself and part the fact that the piece is published outside of China—is also refreshing, as are his reflections on certain of his colleagues, inside China and out.

Qin Hui, "Looking at China from South Africa"

Introduction and Translation by David Ownby

Readers of Qin Hui's "Dilemmas of Twenty-First Century Globalization: Reasons and Solutions, With a Critique of Piketty's Twenty-First Century Capitalism," also available on our site, will already be familiar with the arguments Qin develops in the text translated here. The "China Model," which has brought countless millions out of poverty, is not in Qin's opinion the long sought-after "third path"—an alternative to capitalism and socialism. Instead, the basic components of the China model are: China's "low human rights advantage," which allows capital, with the consistent help of the state, to exploit Chinese labor through low wages, docile unions, land expropriation and urban-rural status barriers; and the logic of globalization, which opens China to outside investment and at the same time makes available the markets of the world to China's formidable productive capacity.

As Qin argues in "Dilemmas," China's success has nothing to do with "socialism with Chinese characteristics" unless we understand the most basic of those characteristics to be brutal exploitation of its own people, especially of its rural population. To drive that point home, Qin, in "Dilemmas" and elsewhere, notes the many parallels between China and South Africa, all based on the construction of systems of status barriers that create groups of people without rights or political power.

The present text is a much longer elaboration of this theme (some sixty pages of Chinese text when downloaded from the web), rendered with Qin's characteristic intellectual energy and mordant wit (for example, he describes the South African apartheid system as one in which "blacks work according to their abilities; whites earn according to their needs"). The basic argument is not particularly complex: South Africa discriminated against blacks; China discriminates against peasants. But the evidence presented, on both South Africa and China, is richly detailed and to my mind irrefutable. His target audience is clearly fellow Chinese intellectuals who hesitate to accept comparisons between China and a regime universally condemned as racist and retrograde; anyone who might have dismissed Qin's previous discussions of the issue as too clever by half should have a hard time disregarding the weight of the evidence presented here. Nor does Qin sugarcoat his conclusions, among which are the observation that South Africa abandoned apartheid, while China's hukou system continues to deprive China's peasants of basic rights and equality. And while the basic data Qin presents are from the 2000s, recent accounts, like this one by the journalist lan Johnson, or this one, by the scholar Luigi Tomba, suggest that little fundamental change has occurred since Qin first published his piece. (Click here for an update on the situation in Soweto; Qin's conclusions remain relevant for today's South Africa as well).

The result is a stunning piece of scholarship. A bit long and unwieldy, yes, with some tangents that might have fallen victim to an impatient editor's red pen, but the length and the breadth of the piece, as well as its explorations across space, time, and scholarly disciplines drive home Qin's point: China's and South Africa's economic miracles were built on rank status discrimination—South Africa against blacks, China against peasants. If we condemn South Africa, we must also condemn China, both for reasons of morality and universal values, but also because China's economy is big enough to undermine the gains of democracy and socialism throughout the world.

( 由 其他人 于 2020年11月23日 编辑 )
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2020年11月23日 230 次浏览
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