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李世默:两岸猿声啼不住,中国已达“新时代”

2017-10-25 15:46:36

【今日,《华盛顿邮报》与《赫芬顿邮报》同时刊发了复旦大学中国研究院研究员、春秋发展战略研究院研究员李世默关于十九大的英文评论文章,作者独家授权观察者网刊登中文版,以飨读者。】

美国媒体《华盛顿邮报》和《赫芬顿邮报》以“西方媒体又错了,中国将继续崛起”为题,联袂发表李世默文章

这几天,全世界最大的政党——中国共产党——在北京集会,这是中共自1921年建党以来召开的第十九次全国代表大会。全世界的新闻媒体和那些时政专家们仿佛着了魔一般,都在臆测“谁进谁出、谁上谁下”。然而,研究中国的各国专业人士却在逐字逐句分析3万余字的十九大报告全文(这份报告是习近平总书记花三个半小时一气呵成向全世界宣读的),希望分析出这个全球最大国家的未来走向。但是如此之多的政治术语和如此具体的政策内容,要分析解读还真不容易。

不过,要读懂这份报告,倒确实有条捷径可以走,那就是先阅读《经济学人》杂志(The Economist)最新出版的关于中共十九大的社论——它的篇幅比十九大报告短得多——然后再反其意来理解就差不多了!

发行量超过150万的《经济学人》被许多人视为最具影响力的时政评论周刊之一,关于中国的夸张封面,是其标志性特征

好吧,还是解释一下。

1992年10月,中共召开第十四次全国代表大会。当时《经济学人》发表社论称,中共在“倒退”(指中国政治经济改革没有进一步西方化),认为十四大报告提出的“社会主义市场经济体制”完全是自相矛盾的说辞。

五年后的1997年,中共召开十五大。《经济学人》又发社论认为,从私有化到解决就业问题,大会做出的都是“空洞的许诺”,根本不会兑现。它还不忘泼冷水称,民众希望越大,失望就会越大,最后可能导致“内乱”。

2002年11月,中共召开十六大。《经济学人》社论宣称,中共面前的麻烦越来越大,此前总能“蒙混过关的策略”今后就不灵了。文中充斥着“危机”、“动荡”等不详的字眼,仿佛凶兆当头。

又过了五年,这份杂志再次尽心尽力地表达了失望,认为中共十七大没有释放出改革的信号:“从政治角度来看,什么都没做”。

2012年秋,中共召开十八大。《经济学人》再次“打鸣”预警。这次它对中国的抨击力度上升到了新高度,社论借某匿名学者之口称:“中国的政治现状是底层失稳、中层失落、上层失控”。

这还不是最激愤的,看看今年《经济学人》有多“不爽”。在最新出版的一期中,《经济学人》发表关于十九大的封面文章,不但夸张地称习近平总书记是“全世界最有权势的人”,而且危言耸听地警告世界各国,不要“指望习先生会带领中国或世界朝好的方向发展”。

四分之一个世纪只是历史长河中的一瞬,但足够我们认清一家媒体——哪怕是备享盛名的《经济学人》杂志。

1992年《经济学人》称中国在“倒退”,而正是那年,邓小平发表了著名的“南巡讲话——启动中国新一轮改革开放,引发了人类历史上前所未有的大变革。从2002年到2012年,也就是《经济学人》笔下中共“蒙混过关”的十年,可中国的GDP总量增加了4倍,按购买力平价计算,已成为全世界最大的经济体。唱衰中国的媒体远不止《经济学人》一家,不过它还是颇能代表主流西方媒体在报道“中华民族伟大复兴”这一人类重大历史事件时的“集体表演”。

中共十九大的特殊意义在于它对当今中国和世界辽阔的前瞻性。按惯例,每次党代会都会绘制未来五年的蓝图。但十九大制定了中国从今天到2050年的发展目标。这种情况几十年一遇。上一次发生在上世纪80年代,当时邓小平把建设小康社会确立为中国的目标。他借用儒家典籍中的“小康”一词,描绘了国家总体繁荣、社会稳定的图景。具体而言,作为一个阶段性目标就是争取到2000年时,中国人均年收入要达到800到1000美元。什么?800美元?即使扣除通胀因素,现在上海一名勤劳的外来农民工一个月挣的钱也不止800美元。然而1980年时,中国人均年收入还仅有250美元。收入增加四倍在当时看起来,颇像“麦克白式的不自量力”。

然而,邓小平不是莎翁笔下的麦克白,他的憧憬已成为现实。今天的中国总体上实现了小康,人均收入接近10000美元,是世界第二大经济体,锐意进取的社会涌现出大大小小许多领先于世界的互联网公司,在医疗卫生、文化教育、科学技术、生活水平等领域都取得了广泛而迅猛的进步,可谓前无古人。

在这个历史的交汇点,中共召开十九大,习总书记在大会开幕当天宣布五年内全面建成小康社会。人民共和国已站在新的历史起点上,目标是:到本世纪中叶即2050年,全面实现中华民族的伟大复兴。

习近平总书记的报告分为13个部分,每部分又包含许多小节,议题从住房到医疗,从科技到国防,从人工智能到共享经济可谓面面俱到。这可不是奥巴马的“我们一定能”或者特朗普的“让美国重新伟大”,中国的这些阶段性、具体目标到2035年都要实现。

就连对专门研究政治的学生来说,阅读报告全文也是件非常具有挑战性的事,更何况普通人了。为便于理解,我把报告精神归纳为以下四点:

中国共产党此次大会为全面建成小康社会之后的30年,规划了民族复兴的方略,也就是建设新时代中国特色社会主义的宏伟蓝图。为了行文方便,我们简称其为习近平方略。

第一,经济。

习近平方略提出,到2035年基本实现社会主义现代化,使中等收入群体比例明显提高,并在此基础上持续维持增长直至2050年。在中国政治语境中,这意味着经济和科技达到发达国家水平。人均GDP将从当前水平提高2.5至3倍,达到30000美元。照这样的速度发展下去,中国将在2035年之前超越美国,名正言顺地成为世界头号经济体。

第二,可持续性。

习近平敏锐地指出,中国社会的主要矛盾已经从“人民日益增长的物质文化需要同落后的社会生产之间的矛盾”,转化为“人民日益增长的美好生活需要和不平衡不充分的发展之间的矛盾”。习近平提出集中力量打赢扶贫攻坚战,消除由快速发展所导致的贫富差距,确保长期可持续发展。在十八大以来的五年里,6000万中国人摘掉了贫困的帽子。照此速度,剩下的数千万贫困人口将在2022年下一届大会召开之前全部脱贫。环境问题是对可持续发展的另一大威胁。习近平在报告中规划了重大经济结构调整,强调了构建安全高效的能源体系,并提出加大力度解决环境问题,在20年内全面改善生态环境。

第三,真正的中国要亮相了。

随着小康社会全面建成,邓小平时代胜利落幕,中国“韬光养晦”的对外政策也将渐次步入尾声。习近平提出的“一带一路”倡议,在规模和地理覆盖面上都不是马歇尔计划可相提并论的,借此,中国将通过基建驱动的经济发展模式,向广大发展中国家和发达国家提供可借鉴的宝贵经验和可资利用的基建产能。不过,中国更积极的对外政策与西方过去25年来的“模式输出”,有着本质的区别。中国不会搞普世主义,不会像西方那样寻求以新自由主义经济政治规则和价值观一统世界。习近平提出的新版全球化方略,是以“互联互通”而不伤害国家主权为前提的,他将其称为“命运共同体”。从此,关于全球化,全球思想界将迎来百家争鸣,这对因西式全球化搞砸而踉跄迷茫的世界而言,是一件好事。

第四,新时代的中国叙事。

当今思想界的理论不足以解释主权国家何以兴亡,所以在十九大报告中,习近平正式提出讲好中国故事的要求。如果西方鼓吹的一人一票选举和私有化是现代国家发展的前提,那么没有遵照这份“说明书”的中国为何能取得成功,许多按方抓药的国家为何遭遇失败?在过去30年里,中国有效结合了社会主义和市场经济这一对《经济学人》眼中“自相矛盾”的制度,取得了卓越的成功。中国是如何做到的?习近平之前的新中国历任领导人从未像他这样强调传统文化的重要性。同时,他还坚定不移地弘扬现代中国的马克思主义。我们能否将现代的马克思主义融合于中国五千年的文明,形成水到渠成的协进叙事?这并非不可完成的任务,早在一千多年前,中国就曾以本土的儒家文化政体成功融汇外来的佛教。这个过程持续了一百多年。西学东渐至今已过百年,包括马克思主义在内的西方现代思想深刻地影响了中国。习近平决心开创“马克思主义中国化”的新阶段。自欧洲启蒙运动以来,世界从来没有像今天这样期待治理原则的更新迭代。这很可能成为中国社会主义对21世纪最重大的思想贡献。

总而言之,中国共产党通过不断的鼎革自我,展现出了顺应时代变化的超凡能力。五年前,外界认为腐败是对中共执政最大的威胁。十八大开启了有史以来最严厉的反腐行动,其广度和力度是许多人始料未及的。本届大会将启动新一轮政治改革,进一步加强党和国家打击腐败的力度。中国没有多党选举,中国共产党的领导就是中国的政治体制。中共的廉洁与健康决定了国家的命运。目前所有的指向表明,中共具有强大的生命力。

如果把预测未来比作打赌,接下来轮到世界各方政治评论人士下注了。诚然,要列出可能使中国出岔子的问题,清单会很长,但就像上市公司招股说明书里详细罗列的风险因素一样,很少有人真正逐条检视,我也不在此一一赘述。鉴于中共的业绩和《经济学人》的预判截然相反的历史纪录,我确信习近平将带领中国和世界朝更好的方向发展。

(翻页阅读英文版)

As the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China draws to a close, analysts are parsing through President Xi Jinping’s 30,000-plus-word report — delivered in a three-and-a-half-hour address without breaks — to decipher the direction of the most populous nation in the world. It is a laborious effort, especially considering the report’s extensive official jargon and policy details.

But there is a much easier way. Read The Economist’s coverage of the congress, which is considerably shorter in length, and bet on the opposite being true. Let me explain.

In October 1992, while the party was holding its 14th Party Congress, The Economist editorialized that the party had “stepped backwards” and called the socialist market economy (which the congress espoused) an “oxymoron.” Five years later in 1997, during the 15th Party Congress, it characterized the gathering as where “hollow promise[s]” were made and broken, from privatization to unemployment goals. Dashing raised expectations was a “recipe for civil strife,” opined the magazine.

At the 16th Party Congress in November 2002, the magazine pronounced that the “familiar policy of trying to muddle through” was no longer an option for a party that faced looming troubles; words such as “crisis” and “unrest” were ominously used. Another five years would pass. The same magazine dutifully expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of reform during the 17th Party Congress: “Politically, little has changed.”

The Economist’s howl reached a crescendo in the fall of 2012; during the 18th Party Congress, China was “unstable at the grassroots, dejected at the middle strata and out of control at the top,” quoting an anonymous source. That could only be outdone by this year’s cover, which warned the world not to “expect Mr. Xi to change China, or the world, for the better.”

When the magazine said China had “stepped backwards” in 1992, it was precisely the year of Deng Xiaoping’s now famous southern tour that launched a new wave of reforms the likes of which the world had never seen in history. The “muddling through” years between 2002 and 2012 saw China’s GDP quadruple and its economy become the world’s largest by purchasing power. The Economist is not alone, of course. It is more or less representative of Western media’s coverage of arguably the most consequential development of our time: the Chinese renaissance.

Now let’s actually look into the content coming from this congress.

Usually a party congress provides a five-year blueprint. What distinguishes this congress is how far into the future it looks. This congress set the timeline for China from today through 2050. The last time we saw this scope in reforms was in the 1980s, when Deng Xiaoping set out to build a “xiaokang society.” Taken from Confucius, “xiaokang” means a country of general prosperity and orderly social norms. Deng set an interim goal of reaching $800-$1,000 annual per capita income by the year 2000. In 1980, Chinese per capita income was $220. A fourfold increase seemed like “vaulting ambition” indeed.

Today, the China that Deng envisioned has arrived and then some. By several measures, China is the most powerful economic engine in the world. Per capita income is approaching $10,000. It’s a burgeoning entrepreneurial society that has created some of the largest companies in the world. China has led improvements in health, education, science and overall standard of living at a speed and scale that is unprecedented in human history.

It is at this historic junction that the current party congress was held. As Xi said at the outset of the congress, the party plans to conclude the “xiaokang” project in the next five years. China stands at a new point of departure. Destination: comprehensive national renaissance. Date of arrival: 2050. This is no “Yes, we can” or “Make America great again” agenda. Xi’s report includes 12 sections, each breaking into numerous parts covering, with mind-boggling specificity, issues including housing, health, science, defense, artificial intelligence and the sharing economy.

Beyond “xiaokang,” the party presents a roadmap for a new 30-year journey to realize the dream of a Chinese renaissance — the plan for a new era of Chinese socialism. The plan — let’s call it the Xi plan, for short — can be broken down into the following four main points.

First, economics. The Xi plan projects the basic realization of socialist modernization by 2035, resulting in a major expansion of the middle class, with continuing growth through 2050. In the Chinese political lexicon, this means becoming the economic and technological equivalent of a developed nation. In GDP per capita terms, this would imply up to three times the current level, to between $20,000 and $30,000. With this performance, China will formally surpass the U.S. well before 2035.

Second, sustainability. Xi pointedly said that the primary contradiction of Chinese society has now shifted from underdevelopment to imbalanced development and sustainability. The Xi plan calls for a concentrated drive to eradicate poverty, as the increasing wealth gap resulting from rapid development is the enemy of long-term sustainability. In the five years since the 18th Party Congress, at least 60 million people were lifted out of poverty. If such a rate is sustained, the tens of millions currently living below the poverty line will all be lifted out of poverty in only a few years.

The environment is, of course, the other threat to sustainability. The Xi plan maps out major structural changes to the economy and energy usage and envisions a substantially cleaner environment in two decades.

Third, expansion. For the rest of the world, China is coming to a theater near you. With the Belt and Road Initiative, which is larger than the Marshall Plan both in size and geography, China brings its considerable experience and capacity in infrastructure-led economic development to a vast number of developing and developed countries alike.

China’s active engagement with the world is based on a qualitatively different proposition than the one championed by the West in the recent past. Instead of a universalist approach seeking to standardize the world with the same set of neoliberal economic and political rules and values, Xi advocates a new version of globalization under which increased interconnectedness does not come at the expense of national sovereignty. He calls for a global “community of common destiny” but one that fosters a competition of ideas, which — given the trouble globalization is in — makes sense.

And last but not least, identity. With the 19th Party Congress, Xi is formally launching a project to provide a new narrative to current events. The prevailing theories that have guided the world’s thinking about the rise and fall of nations no longer make sense. If elections and privatization are the prerequisites to development, why has China succeeded without them, while so many others have failed after taking these prescriptions? In the past 30 years, China has effectively combined socialism and the market economy. In other words, what The Economist called an “oxymoron” has become an extraordinary success.

But how? No leader in the history of the People’s Republic has so emphasized the importance of Chinese traditional culture as Xi. Yet, he is adamant in preserving a Marxist outlook in modern China. Can we weave together a coherent narrative that absorbs modern Marxism into 5,000 years of China’s heritage? China has actually done it before, by absorbing foreign Buddhism into its Confucian cultural polity more than a millennium ago. That process took more than a hundred years. And now it has been more than a century since modern Western ideas, including Marxism, have begun to influence China.

Paradigm shifts in fundamental narratives take a very long time, and China’s is only at its formative stage. Xi seems determined to accelerate the initial phase of this project. He calls it the “sinicization of Marxism.” The exploration of ideas that this entails may be China’s most significant contribution to the 21st century. Not since the European Enlightenment has the world been so hungry for new approaches.

All in all, the party’s ability to adapt to changing times by reinventing itself is extraordinary. Five years ago, corruption was seen as the biggest threat to its hold on power. The 18th Party Congress then engineered a strict anti-corruption campaign, with a breadth and depth few anticipated. China does not have multiparty elections — the Chinese Communist Party is China’s political system. The health of the former is the barometer for the future of the country. All indications at this point are that it remains vital.

We have now come to the space where writers of op-eds like this one tend to hedge bets. I could write a long list of what could go wrong — like a list of risk factors in an IPO prospectus that no one reads. But I will skip it. Given the track record of the party and that of The Economist, my bet is that Xi will indeed “change China, and the world, for the better.”

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李世默

李世默

复旦大学中国研究院研究员,春秋发展战略研究院研究员

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