王飞跃的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/王飞跃

博文

[转载]宗教信仰与民族命运

已有 8998 次阅读 2013-2-26 03:29 |个人分类:书海拾贝|系统分类:观点评述|关键词:宗教信仰,民族命运| 宗教信仰, 民族命运 |文章来源:转载

                                            

公元前300年,在希腊雅典热闹的街头上,哲学家狄欧根尼(公元前404——323)提着灯笼寻找人,喊叫:“人在哪里?”他发现在奢侈豪华的生活中,“人”却不见了。人早就变成了赚钱的工具,人的价值一切以钱来衡量,学校教育也以功力主义为导向,于是各学校教育出来的学生似乎都是赚钱的机器人,没有什么理想,只追求物质上的满足.

 

附1:评刘亚洲将军的宗教信仰与民族命运

附2:希拉里说中国没有信仰是危言耸听还是黄钟大吕? 

 

 

宗教信仰与民族命运

(作者刘亚洲将军:国防大学政委)

 

善良不是一种愿望,而是一种能力。一个人的道德品质,一个人的道德高低也许不重要,一个民族的道德高低就重要了。一个官员的道德高低也许不重要,一个执政集团的道德高低就很重要了。好人可能错用坏人,但是坏人绝对不会错用好人。我们对干部进行这么多考核,但翻开干部履历考察表,居然没有一条是对干部的人性道德进行考核的标准。这促使我们的干部不必对下,更不必对自己承担什么道德义务,只要“唯上”就路路皆通。

 

今天,中国一切问题都指向制度,而一切制度的问题都指向文化,而一切文化的问题都指向宗教。道德就是文化。道德是不是宗教的一种表现形式呢?我还在思索这个问题。中华民族的民族性有许多值得商榷和改善之处。民族性就是道德。宗教决定了文化,文化决定了民族的性格,民族的性格决定了民族的命运。举反腐败为例。惩治腐败并不能根除腐败。建立完善的社会制度是一种办法,但根本的办法还是要从文化入手。

 

中国的三个主要宗教:佛教、道教、儒教(我把儒学也称为一种宗教),对中国人形成今天这样的心理状态和道德,负有不可推卸的责任。历史证明,这三个教根本无法振兴中华。

 

让我拿西方的基督教和中国的宗教做个对比。中国文化教育我们“人之初,性本善”。西方的宗教正好相反,它认为人生下来是恶的,人的本性也是恶的。因此,他要限制你,反思你。

 

西方文化认为,人是有原罪的,人心是黑暗的。不少人经过“文化大革命”。最黑暗的东西在哪里呢?最黑暗的东西在人的心中。每个人的心灵中都有非常肮脏的一面。西方文化把这个剖露出来,展示出来,批判它,控制它。东方文化是把它包起来,养着它。西方的教堂有忏悔室,进了教堂之后,就把心灵的东西向神述说,把丑陋和肮脏的东西向神诉说了,他就轻松了,他的心灵得到了净化。我在美国时曾在教堂外坐了一整天,我发现了一个有趣的情景:人们总是愁眉苦脸地进去,神情轻松地出来。后来我才渐渐了解了其中的奥秘。久而久之,他就变成了一个健康的人,心态和心灵特别健全的人。

 

人是有欲望的,但人必须克制自己的欲望,必须由自己(而不是由别人)克制自己的欲望。中国人不会克制自己,不会对自己进行心灵拷问,于是他就去克制别人,去拷问别人。鞭笞和拷问自己是痛苦的。只有心中永远有信仰,有对永恒的神的信仰,才能如此。很多人去过西方的教堂,那里的神是以一种血淋淋的、受苦受难的形象出现的。耶稣被钉在十字架上。圣母不是流血、就是流泪。那实则是人的化身,是人的苦难和思考的化身。西方宗教里的神看似是神,其实是人。耶稣的死亡就已经完成了他从神到人的蜕变。只有人才能死。(准确的说法是“道成肉身”——引者注)

 

而中国的庙宇的神才是神。你看那些神的形象:大腹便便,无忧无虑,嘻皮笑脸,享受着人间烟火,个个吃得脑肥肠满。西方人进教堂是为了忏悔,中国人进庙是为了贿赂。不是吗?因为要办成某件事,向神祈祷,用钱买了香点上,或放上瓜果之类我们人间吃的供品,默默许愿。这不是贿赂是什么?西方人进教堂是为了解脱精神上的苦难,中国人进庙宇是为了解决实际生活中的苦难。西方宗教的神在受苦,人民不受苦。东方宗教的神在享乐,人民在受苦。这就是东西方宗教最大的区别。

 

西方的教堂总是建在城市中心,与民亲近。中国的庙宇总是建在深山老林中,与民疏远。

我曾说过中国人基本是个没有信仰的民族。没有信仰,不是指没有信仰的形式。恰恰相反,中国人信的东西最杂,包括气功大师都信。什么都信,恰恰就是什么都不信。中国人心中没有永恒的神的位置,再说深一点,就是没有终极性的文化精神追求!这种人是不会把自己的关心范围扩大到家庭、甚至个人以外的。如果扩大出去,一定就是伤害别人。这样的民族怎么能不是“一盘散沙”?

 

在西方国家一辆车要坏到公路上,几乎所有的车都会停下来,问你是否需要帮助。在中国,绝大多数车都会扬长而去,好不容易停下来问你,我可能还怀疑,你干什么?你有什么目的?一滴水珠是非常小的,但这个水珠确实能把整个太阳包容进去。

 

千年来,东方和西方的竞争中,西方胜利了;东方宗教和西方宗教的竞争中,西方宗教胜利了。宗教的胜利是什么样的胜利?我认为是一种精神上的胜利。没有信仰,就没有精神上的力量。中国人所缺少的,正是西方人所拥有的。

 

评刘亚洲将军的宗教信仰与民族命运
送交者: 恩上加恩 2013年02月23日07:49:01 于 [天下论坛] 发送悄悄话

读过刘亚洲的“宗教信仰与民族命运”之后既喜又忧。欣喜的是看到在高层人士中有人认识到人性的罪恶和信仰在社会道德、文化以及国家振兴中的作用,并对基督教信仰有正面积极的表达和推崇。担忧的是文章中表现出国人对基督信仰的一些具有代表性的误解。

 

误解其一:把西方国家和西方文化等同于基督教信仰

其实,以美国为代表的西方国家在基督信仰上已渐渐日暮西山。西方国家已成被宣教的地区。在民主、自由和人权的口号之下,西方正走在离弃神、悖逆神权的道上,“随著肉体和心中所喜好的去行”。

虽然外在的基本礼貌、守规、社会秩序还是相当良好和稳定,但人心灵离弃神之后正走向败坏。在美国,色情,暴力,吸毒,赌博,酗酒,黑帮,枪支,凶杀等等都非常严重,更不用说滥交和性关系的混乱。青少年怀孕,婚前婚外性行为,同居,同性恋,变性,50%的离婚率,近一半的家庭是单亲家庭。

圣经学者F.B. Meyer指出:没有一样的罪比得上性方面的罪,能如此快地摧毁一个国家。历史若有任何教训,那就是在性方面的沉溺必导致国家沦亡。社会若不为沉溺性欲定罪,便是自招咒诅。

传统家庭婚姻观念的瓦解给社会带来的混乱、不安定和危害是致命性的。没有什么力量能比婚姻关系的毁坏可以给一个国家带来更大的困难和灾难。

在这方面的误解也使许多传道布道者常以发达的美国为基督教国家,或以西方名人或总统等的信仰为布道见证,其实这对许多有反美情结的人或对美国到处出兵以“世界警察”自居十分反感的人来说,可能成为他们信主的主要阻拦。看人、看名人、看领导人、看国家,有一天都有可能会跌倒。唯有仰望耶稣,“耶稣基督,昨日、今日、一直到永远是一样的。”

 

 

误解其二:把西方人等同于基督徒

在加拿大星期天去教会的人占人口的不到20%,在美国也只有30%多。许多人去教会也只是社交活动。许多人自称信神,但不信基督。不少西方教堂里聚会的人寥寥无几,大多是老人。大型教会靠音乐,体育,娱乐,成功神学吸引年青人。加上美加都是移民国家,移民带来全世界各种信仰,品种齐全,应有尽有。各路偶像假神都汇集在此,都有自己的殿堂庙宇。美国人更是热衷于东方和土著宗教,如瑜伽,藏传佛教,禅宗,法轮功等。近代新兴的异端邪教,如新纪元,摩门教和耶和华见证人,以及自由神学也出自美国。还有一些老的宗派如圣公会,长老会,信义宗,联合教会中的一部分教会竟然接纳同性婚姻,按立同性恋主教或牧师。

不久前美国总统参加了亚利桑那州国会议员刺杀事件中的受难者的葬礼,葬礼中竟然没有向独一真神的祷告,却请了一位土著人士向天地作法“祈祷”。

 

 

误解其三:把东西方实力的竞争归结于宗教的竞争

刘亚洲认为:“千年来,东方和西方的竞争中,西方胜利了;东方宗教和西方宗教的竞争中,西方宗教胜利了”。不可否认,基督徒对美国立国和后来的发展起了重要作用。但美国真正的强大与两次世界大战有关,不能完全归结于信仰的因素。就如日本的发达,今天中国和印度的崛起,不是信仰的原因。我们相信神是历史的主,国家的主。一个国家的富强有神的允许和旨意。而富裕强大本身可能就是试验。若离弃神,富裕强大总与骄傲自大和道德败坏走在一起。有一天中国和印度的国力可能超过美国,那时你会认为基督教失败了,东方的宗教胜利了吗?

基督信仰的彼岸不在美国,在天国。天国不在西方,在基督里。

 

希拉里说中国没有信仰是危言耸听还是黄钟大吕?

http://bbs.huanqiu.com/thread-2541274-1-1.html

  美国国务卿希拉里最近在哈佛大学的演说中说:……中国是世界上少数沒有信仰的可怕国家之一,中国人唯一崇拜的是权力和金錢,全民上下自私自利,沒有爱心也没有同情心,权贵与富豪都在抛弃中国,这个国家不可能崛起。看了这段话,很多中国人可能会说希拉里对中国抱有偏见,是危言耸听,甚至指责希拉里在抹黑中国,其实,希拉里说中国没有信仰,是切中了中国要害的大实话,假如有人骂她对中国有偏见,还不如说他自己对希拉里有偏见。以我之见,希拉里的话不啻于让人振聋发聩的黄钟大吕!事实上,中国是否有信仰,很多中国的有识之士也心知肚明。

  人和其他动物的根本区别在于人具有信仰。所谓信仰,就是相信存在着某种超越于我们自身力量之上的神明或上帝,或信奉某种主义、某种意识形态;一旦我们信仰了它,我们就彻底地信靠它、依归它,时刻听从我们的信仰从内心深处向我们发出的召唤,并愿意为它而舍己献身。一个有信仰的人必定是有自我约束的人,也必定是真诚的、有原则的人。

  众所周知,美国信仰最广的宗教是基督教。据统计,85%的美国人声明自己信仰基督教。当然,随着新来的移民群体不断将自己的宗教信仰带到美国,并且随着美国人日甚一日地寻求表达自己信念的全新而混合的方式,美国的宗教状况正在发生着根本的变化,但时至今日,绝大多数美国人信仰的仍然是基督教。在美国的社会、文化和生活中,基督教是一支非常强大的力量。相比之下,中国各种宗教信徒加起来才一亿多人,其中穆斯林信徒2000多万人;基督信徒目前有1600多万人,其余大多为佛教徒,而剩下的十多亿人几乎家家户户都有初一十五拜神的习惯,这类属于民俗信仰,而非宗教信仰。当然,也有一些人学佛信佛只是没有皈依佛教。总而言之,中国人有宗教信仰的很少,希拉里说“中国是世界上少数沒有信仰的可怕国家之一”,一点都不假!中国人始终没有找到一个灵魂的归宿地,一个个灵魂以孤儿似的方式生活着,没有依偎、没有依靠,没有勇气、没有信心……

  在极左的年代,神化宣传和愚民教育导致现代迷信大行其道,国人诚惶诚恐地将有血有肉的领袖当作不食人间烟火的活神仙来“信仰”。随着“两个凡是”的破除;随着改革开放的深入;随着GDP口号越喊越响亮,人们对涂抹着某种色彩的“主义”和“思想”的信仰日益淡化,在没有构建新的理想和精神家园的情况下,市场经济的发展和人们价值观及传统的道德观念,不可避免地发生了剧烈的震荡和碰撞,而在震荡和碰撞过程中物质压到了精神,从而凸显信仰危机。所谓“信仰危机”,并不是缺少任何信仰,而是缺少能激发“正能量”的有利于促进社会进步的信仰,而催生的是引发“负能量”的阻碍社会进步的信仰。今天的中国,最普遍的“负能量”信仰是权力和财富。各级地方政府和政府官员,信仰的是发展的“硬道理”,是GDP的增长;整个社会则是经济至上、财富至上、金钱至上,社会的大背景是物欲横流,人们笑贫不笑猖,“孔方兄”主宰着人的灵魂,一切的一切都用金钱来衡量,价值观被严重扭曲,对金钱的膜拜代替了对理想的追求……

  但是,现代奢侈泛滥的物质生活,消除不了由于缺少“正能量”信仰所带来的社会危机。一个民族也好,一个人也好,假如没有信仰就没有方向;就意味着思想观念的混乱。形象地说,没有信仰就好比没有罗盘的水手和没有脑袋的苍蝇,只能是走到哪里算哪里。没有激发“正能量”的信仰,就导致了自我泛滥,缺少约束,缺少统一的精神支柱,也没有统一规范的道德意识和真理意识,每个人都只相信自己,按自己的意志确立自己的行为。由于缺乏信仰,中国人没有敬畏感和罪恶感;没有亏欠和内疚感,害了人不认为是害人;犯了罪不认为是犯罪,这导致中国人兄弟阋墙、夫妻反目、手足相残、同胞相煎的亲情悲剧比比皆是,至于在派性、派系和权力斗争中,相互之间的无情和残酷,与封建时代有得一比,凸显的是国人在人性中的残忍和冷漠。伦理道德的滑坡和思想观念的混乱,必然导致人们行为乃至整个社会的混乱,诚如西方一位(法国)伟大的哲学家、宗教家曾经说过的:现存的任何一个国家、一个民族都有自己的宗教信仰,纯粹没有宗教信仰的民族是不存在的。一个没有宗教信仰的国家和民族就如同一个没有方向的无头苍蝇,是长久不了的。他还举例说:强大的古罗马帝国的消亡就是对神灵的亵渎和崇尚糜烂性欲所带来的恶果。有道是:国家无信仰则亡,民族无信仰则衰,社会无信仰则乱,大学无信仰则烂,教授无信仰则堕,人无信仰则躁,家庭无信仰则变……在金钱主导的社会中,一切都变得唯利是图,人格、良知、亲情、友谊等等都变得微不足道或无足轻重。同时,在一个没有信仰的国度里,人人都没有安全感——包括财产的安全感和人身的安全感。这就不难解释比平民百姓看得“透”的官员们、“代表”们、老板们,为何当条件具备时便跨出国门摇身变成外籍人士,有的干脆办个绿卡定居外国,希拉里说“权贵与富豪都在抛弃中国”,又触到了中国的痛处!

  泛泛地说没有信仰的国度可怕,许多人可能不以为然,但下面这些人们或见到过或听到过或经历过或体验感受过的现象的大量存在,难道你还会认为不可怕吗?

  ——某些地方政府和官员为了追求政绩和一己私利,竟不惜动用警力乃至黑社会势力实施强征强拆,不惜牺牲老百姓的利益讨得投资商开发商的欢心,让许多农民一夜之间沦为无房无地无社保的“三无”人员,事后没有哪个地方政府和开发商会承认自己做了伤天害理的恶事!

  ——为了追逐金钱和利益,现今各个部门各个单位都在变着法儿开“财路”搞“创收”,丝毫不考虑这种“创收”会增加纳税人的负担;有的部门和单位的“头头”的热衷于设立“小金库”,包括宴请、旅游、K歌、足浴、按摩乃至嫖娼的接待请客连同自己消费,都由“小金库”解决或在财务报销,事后“脸不变色心不跳”!

  ——这些年来,“假”字号的东西诸如假商品、假学历、假文凭、假公章、假材料、假工程、假报道、假身份等等,将人们弄得真假难辨。整个社会缺少诚信,能欺则欺、能骗则骗,能坑则坑,政府拖欠工程款,法院执行打白条、私人借款有借无还等等,导致我们的社会出现“诚信危机”,人与人之间的鸿沟越来越大,中国总体信任跌破底线,逾7成受访者“不相信陌生人”,熟人朋友之间则忌讳借钱;

  ——曾几何时,“贪腐”二字几乎成了官员的代名词,坊间称:无官不贪、无官不腐。权钱交易、贪腐成风,成为国之顽症,这一方面与体制失范、监督缺失有关,一方面与缺乏信仰、拜金拜物有关;

  ——社会上广泛流行着物质攀比、消费攀比、享受攀比,且这种攀比之风早已侵入了校园:由比穿戴打扮的时髦发展到比手机电脑的档次,再发展到比车子的豪华,勤俭为荣、浪费可耻的观念,被奢华为荣、节俭为羞的意识所取代;

  ——吃肉类担心激素,吃蔬菜担心毒素,喝饮料担心色素。毒猪肉、毒鸡蛋、毒大米、毒面条、毒粉丝、毒牛奶、毒馒头、毒蔬菜、毒水果……有毒食品已经到了“无一漏网”的地步,人们感叹“不好吃什么”、“安全食品难觅”,食品安全成了公众普遍的心头之患,制售有毒食品的厂家也好、个人也好,虽然自己也是有毒食品的受害者,但为了赚钱很少有人责备自己“做了没良心的事情”;

  ——司法部门在利益的驱动下和金钱的诱惑下,不惜将神圣的法律和社会的公平正义踩在脚下,该抓的不抓,改判的不判;不该抓的抓了,不该判的判了;该从轻发落的从重发落,该从重发落的从轻发落。极少数警察、检察官和法官或被金钱所奴役,或被权势所屈服,或被“人情”所左右,不惜颠倒黑白,歪曲事实,故意办冤案、假案、错案。有的办案人员为获取证据不惜对犯罪嫌疑人实施刑讯逼供,手段极为残忍,凸显其人性之恶之毒;

  ——当有人一时想不通欲寻短见,一个鲜活的生命即将消失的时刻,会引来许多兴致勃勃地看“热闹”的人,他们怀着幸灾乐祸的心理寻求刺激,乃至大声吆喝着激将着欲寻短见的人“跳啊,快跳啊!”将自己畸形的“快乐”建立在他人“一睹生命死亡”上,凸显“看客”们沦丧的道德、麻木的良心和畸形的灵魂;

  还有人们司空见惯的可怕现象:无良开发商为获取暴利挖空心思欺骗和坑害购房人;名目繁多、商业味十足的评奖、排名活动使企业不胜其烦;做官被一些人当成发财致富的捷径,而趋利性成买官卖官的内在动力;专家学者戴上“权威”的面具昧着良心为“问题企业”、“问题食品”或利益集团摇旗呐喊,不遗余力地误导和忽悠公众;接二连三爆出的买“代表”买“委员”的丑闻,使得“人民代表”和“政协委员”的光环日渐黯淡;真记者用鼓吹性新闻当作交易的筹码,假记者用揭露性新闻当作敛财的手段……

  做坏人做坏事;做恶人做恶事,在没有信仰的情况下,一切都是那么“顺理成章”,只有直接遭受侵害的人才会奋起抗争、诅咒这个社会没有天道公道和人道。没有信仰,从组织到团体到个人,都会无所忌惮,因为他们认为自己对公众对他人做的任何事情都不会遭“天怒”、“天谴”,而且一切恶性行都会打着“为公众服务”的旗号“合法”地进行。在崇拜权力和金钱的国度里,连体现全体国民一致的宪法和法律也成了权力和金钱的奴婢,受害者往往有理无处说、有诉无处求、有冤无处申、有状无处告,且任何一个人包括强权部门的人,都可能在一夜之间沦为弱势群体,这样的国度,难道还不可怕么?

  希拉里断言中国因为没有信仰而“不可能崛起”,对此我有所保留地赞成。事实上,我们在经济上已经“崛起”了——尽管还有相当一部分农民、下岗国企职工、企业中的“上班族”等等属于没有“崛起”的穷人群体,但我们国家的经济总量已经“崛起”成为全球第二大经济体。然而,希拉里的断言并非没一点道理。中国真正难以“崛起”的是精神——在精神荒地和思想沙漠中建立起来的“经济大厦”,是缺少粘合剂的大厦,经不起风雨的洗礼;是根基不牢的大厦,经不起振动和震荡。我们的“崛起”,是以牺牲生态环境、过度消耗资源和能源、过多依赖投资和出口拉动、过多伤害老百姓利益并且让许多老百姓感受不到的“崛起”,这样的“崛起”能持久吗?

  旁观者清,当局者迷。我们应该感谢大洋彼岸的希拉里,相信她关于中国没有信仰的一针见血的言论,能促使我们警醒,激发我们的危机感、责任感和使命感!

  反腐与维权博客 罗修云

  1310170430@qq.com

 

5 Ways China Could Become a Democracy

By

Minxin Pei

Minxin Pei is the Tom and Margot Pritzker '72 professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and a non-resident senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. His research has been published in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Modern China, China Quarterly, Journal of Democracy and many edited books and his op-eds have appeared in the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek International, and International Herald Tribune, and other major newspapers.

http://thediplomat.com/author/minxin/

Few have seriously thought about the probability and the various plausible scenarios of a regime transition in China -- until now.

4129725929_f87f6a5bdf_b

Speculating about China’s possible political futures is an intellectual activity that intrigues some and puzzles many. The conventional wisdom is that the entrenched Chinese Communist Party (CCP), so determined to defend and perpetuate its political monopoly, has the means to survive for an extended period (though not forever). A minority view, however, holds that the CCP’s days are numbered. In fact, a transition to democracy in China in the next 10 to 15 years is a high probability event. What stands behind this optimistic view about China’s democratic future is accumulated international and historical experience in democratic transitions (roughly 80 countries have made the transition from authoritarian rule to varying forms and degrees of democracy in the past 40 years) and decades of social science research that has yielded important insights into the dynamics of democratic transition and authoritarian decay (the two closely linked processes).

To be sure, those believing that China’s one-party regime still has enough resilience to endure decades of rule can point to the CCP’s proven and enormous capacity for repression (the most critical factor in the survival of autocracies), its ability to adapt to socioeconomic changes (although the degree of its adaptability is a subject of scholarly contention), and its track record of delivering economic improvement as a source of legitimacy.

To this list of reasons why the Chinese people should resign themselves to decades of one-party rule will be a set of factors singled out by proponents of the theory of predictable regime change in China. Among many of the causes of the decline and collapse of authoritarian rule, two stand out.

 

First, there is the logic of authoritarian decay. One-party regimes, however sophisticated, suffer from organizational ageing and decay. Leaders get progressively weaker (in terms of capabilities and ideological commitment); such regimes tend to attract careerists and opportunists who view their role in the regime from the perspective of an investor: they want to maximize their returns from their contribution to the regime’s maintenance and survival. The result is escalating corruption, deteriorating governance, and growing alienation of the masses. Empirically, the organizational decay of one-party regime can be measured by the limited longevity of such regimes. To date, the record longevity of a one-party regime is 74 years (held by the former Communist Party of the Soviet Union). One-party regimes in Mexico and Taiwan remained in power for 71 and 73 years respectively (although in the case of Taiwan, the accounting is complicated by the Kuomintang’s military defeat on the mainland). Moreover, all of the three longest-ruling one-party regimes began to experience system-threatening crisis roughly a decade before they exited political power. If the same historical experience should be repeated in China, where the Communist Party has ruled for 63 years, we may reasonably speculate that the probability of a regime transition is both real and high in the coming 10-15 years, when the CCP will reach the upper-limit of the longevity of one-party regimes.

 

Second, the effects of socioeconomic change –rising literacy, income, and urbanization rates, along with the improvement of communications technologies — greatly reduce the costs of collective action, de-legitimize autocratic rule, and foster demands for greater democracy. As a result, authoritarian regimes, which have a relatively easy time ruling poor and agrarian societies, find it increasingly difficult and ultimately impossible to maintain their rule once socioeconomic development reaches a certain level. Statistical analysis shows that authoritarian regimes become progressively more unstable (and democratic transitions more likely) once income rises above $1,000 (PPP) per capita. When per capita income goes above $4,000 (PPP), the likelihood of democratic transitions increases more dramatically. Few authoritarian regimes, unless they rule in oil-producing countries, can survive once per capita income hits more than $6,000 (PPP). If we apply this observation and take into account the probable effect of inflation (although the above PPP figures were calculated in constant terms), we will find that China is well into this “zone of democratic transition” because its per capita income is around $9,100 (PPP) today, comparable to the income level of South Korea and Taiwan in the mid-1980s on the eve of their democratic transitions. In another 10-15 years, its per capita income could exceed $15,000 and its urbanization rate will have risen to 60-65 percent. If the CCP has such a tough time today (in terms of deploying its manpower and financial resources) to maintain its rule, just imagine how impossible the task will become in 10-15 years’ time.

 

 

If this analysis is convincing enough for us to entertain the strong possibility of a democratic transition in China in the coming 10-15 years, the more interesting follow-up question is definitely “how will such a transition happen?”

 

Again, based on the rich experience of democratic transitions since the 1970s, there are five ways China could become democratic:

 

“Happy ending” would be the most preferable mode of democratic transition for China. Typically, a peaceful exit from power managed by the ruling elites of the old regime goes through several stages. It starts with the emergence of a legitimacy crisis, which may be caused by many factors (such as poor economic performance, military defeat, rising popular resistance, unbearable costs of repression, and endemic corruption). Recognition of such a crisis convinces some leaders of the regime that the days of authoritarian rule are numbered and they should start managing a graceful withdrawal from power. If such leaders gain political dominance inside the regime, they start a process of liberalization by freeing the media and loosening control over civil society. Then they negotiate with opposition leaders to set the rules of the post-transition political system. Most critically, such negotiations center on the protection of the ruling elites of the old regime who have committed human rights abuses and the preservation of the privileges of the state institutions that have supported the old regime (such as the military and the secret police). Once such negotiations are concluded, elections are held. In most cases (Taiwan and Spain being the exceptions), parties representing the old regime lose such elections, thus ushering in a new democratic era. At the moment, the transition in Burma is unfolding according to this script.

 

But for China, the probability of such a happy ending hinges on, among other things, whether the ruling elites start reform before the old regime suffers irreparable loss of legitimacy. The historical record of peaceful transition from post-totalitarian regimes is abysmal mainly because such regimes resist reform until it is too late. Successful cases of “happy ending” transitions, such as those in Taiwan, Mexico, and Brazil, took place because the old regime still maintained sufficient political strength and some degree of support from key social groups. So the sooner the ruling elites start this process, the greater their chances of success. The paradox, however, is that regimes that are strong enough are unwilling to reform and regimes that are weak cannot reform. In the Chinese case, the odds of a soft landing are likely to be determined by what China’s new leadership does in the coming five years because the window of opportunity for a political soft landing will not remain open forever.

 

“Gorby comes to China” is a variation of the “happy ending” scenario with a nasty twist. In such a scenario, China’s leadership misses the historic opportunity to start the reform now. But in the coming decade, a convergence of unfavorable economic, social, and political trends (such as falling economic growth due to demographic ageing, environmental decay, crony-capitalism, inequality, corruption and rising social unrest) finally forces the regime to face reality. Hardliners are discredited and replaced by reformers who, like Gorbachev, start a Chinese version of glasnost and perestroika. But the regime by that time has lost total credibility and political support from key social groups. Liberalization triggers mass political mobilization and radicalism. Members of the old regime start to defect – either to the opposition or their safe havens in Southern California or Switzerland. Amid political chaos, the regime suffers another internal split, similar to that between Boris Yeltsin and Gorbachev, with the rise of a radical democratizer replacing a moderate reformer. With their enormous popular support, the dominant political opposition, including many defectors from the old regime, refuses to offer concessions to the Communist Party since it is now literally in no position to negotiate. The party’s rule collapses, either as a result of elections that boot its loyalists out of power or spontaneous seizure of power by the opposition.

 

Should such a scenario occur in China, it would be the most ironic. For the last twenty years, the Communist Party has tried everything to avert a Soviet-style collapse. If the “Gorby scenario” is the one that brings democracy to China, it means the party has obviously learned the wrong lesson from the Soviet collapse.

 

“Tiananmen redux” is a third possibility. Such a scenario can unfold when the party continues to resist reform even amid signs of political radicalization and polarization in society. The same factors that contribute to the “Gorby scenario” will be at play here, except that the trigger of the collapse is not a belated move toward liberalization by reformers inside the regime, but by an unanticipated mass revolt that mobilizes a wide range of social groups nationwide, as happened during Tiananmen in 1989. The manifestations of such a political revolution will be identical with those seen in the heady days of the pro-democracy Tiananmen protest and the “Jasmine Revolution” in the Middle East. In the Chinese case, “Tiananmen redux” produces a different political outcome mainly because the China military refuses to intervene again to save the party (in most cases of crisis-induced transitions since the 1970s, the military abandoned the autocratic rulers at the most critical moment).

 

“Financial meltdown” – our fourth scenario – can initiate a democratic transition in China in the same way the East Asian financial crisis in 1997-98 led to the collapse of Suharto in Indonesia. The Chinese bank-based financial system shares many characteristics with the Suharto-era Indonesian banking system: politicization, cronyism, corruption, poor regulation, and weak risk management. It is a well-known fact today that the Chinese financial system has accumulated huge non-performing loans and may be technically insolvent if these loans are recognized. In addition, off-balance sheet activities through the shadow-banking system have mushroomed in recent years, adding more risks to financial stability. As China’s capacity to maintain capital control erodes because of the proliferation of methods to move money in and out of China, the probability of a financial meltdown increases further. To make matters worse, premature capital account liberalization by China could facilitate capital flight in times of a systemic financial crisis. Should China’s financial sector suffer a meltdown, the economy would grind to a halt and social unrest could become uncontrollable. If the security forces fail to restore order and the military refuse to bail out the party, the party could lose power amid chaos. The probability of a collapse induced by a financial meltdown alone is relatively low. But even if the party should survive the immediate aftermath of a financial meltdown, the economic toll exacted on China will most likely damage its economic performance to such an extent as to generate knock-on effects that eventually delegitimize the party’s authority.

 

“Environmental collapse” is our last regime change scenario. Given the salience of environmental decay in China these days, the probability of a regime change induced by environmental collapse is not trivial. The feed-back loop linking environmental collapse to regime change is complicated but not impossible to conceive. Obviously, the economic costs of environmental collapse will be substantial, in terms of healthcare, lost productivity, water shortage, and physical damages.Growth could stall, undermining the CCP’s legitimacy and control. Environmental collapse in China has already started to alienate the urban middle-class from the regime and triggered growing social protest. Environmental activism can become a political force linking different social groups together in a common cause against a one-party regime seen as insensitive, unresponsive, and incompetent on environmental issues. The severe degradation of the environment in China also means that the probability of a catastrophic environmental disaster – a massive toxic spill, record drought, or extended period of poisonous smog– could trigger a mass protest incident that opens the door for the rapid political mobilization of the opposition.

 

The take-away from this intellectual exercise should be sobering, both for the CCP and the international community. To date, few have seriously thought about the probability and the various plausible scenarios of a regime transition in China. As we go through the likely causes and scenarios of such a transition, it should become blindingly clear that we need to start thinking about both the unthinkable and the inevitable.

 



http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-2374-665140.html

上一篇:[转载]反思新媒体三大弱点
下一篇:[转载]《自动化学报》Vol.39 No.2网刊已经发布,敬请关注!

1 李天成

该博文允许注册用户评论 请点击登录 评论 (0 个评论)

数据加载中...

Archiver|手机版|科学网 ( 京ICP备14006957 )

GMT+8, 2018-9-25 20:54

Powered by ScienceNet.cn

Copyright © 2007- 中国科学报社

返回顶部