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Understanding China and the Chinese

理解中国和中国人



[Peter Brimelow writes: I was veryimpressed (as always) with John Derbyshire’s thoughts on China, originallydelivered in Turkey this spring and published by Sean Gabb onhis Libertarian Alliance Website—VDARE.comtrademark links added here. For other reasons, I am cautious about Chinatriumphalism. Some years ago, we posted an interview Idid with Gordon Tullock, father of the concept of “rent seeking”, inwhich he suggested that not merely the imperial territories that Derbyshirementions here, but also the Han core itself, might break apart. Nevertheless,China remains the quintessential nation-state—the political expression of a “nation”

前言:
Peter Brimelow写道:John Derbyshire对中国的看法给我留下了深刻的印象(和往常一样),这篇文章最初是今年春天在土耳其发表的,由Sean Gabb发表在他的自由意志主义联盟网站- vdare.com的链接上。
出于其他原因,我对中国的必胜信念持谨慎态度。几年前,我们发布了我与“寻租”概念之父Gordon Tullock的一次采访,他在采访中表示,德比郡(英格兰)提到的帝国领土,以及汉民族的核心,都可能分崩离析。然而,中国仍然是一个典型的民族国家,一个“民族”的表达,一个有机的民族文化共同体,任何研究民族文化的人都不能忽视它。



Therest of us went ahead with our presentations anyway. Here is mine.

不管怎样,我们其余的人继续我们的演讲。这里是我的。

Goodmorning, Ladies and Gentlemen. The title of my talk here is “Understanding China and theChinese.” I’m going to take thatvery literally; so please let me make it clear that the topic of my talk is notChina and the Chinese, about both of which I know all too little; the topic is understanding Chinaand the Chinese, about which I am somewhat more knowledgeable—about which,indeed, I can claim, I hope not too fancifully, to be something of aworld-class expert.

早上好,女士们,先生们。我今天演讲的题目是“了解中国和中国人”。“我将从字面上理解这一点;所以,请允许我澄清一下,我演讲的主题不是中国和中国人,这两个我都知道得太少;主题是了解中国和中国人民,我对这方面的知识比较丰富——事实上,我可以宣称,我希望自己不要太异想天开,成为世界级的专家。

To make a claim tounderstanding of China and the Chinese, as opposed to merely understanding thebusiness of trying to understand them, would be pretty darn presumptuous. Formost of the past 25 years I’ve lived in the United States, a cousinnation to the one I was raised in,yet there are many things about the U.S.A. I still don’t understand, asevidenced by the fact that I still occasionally bang my shins against someaspect of the national psyche I didn’t even know was there. Peanut butter withjam—whose idea was that?

声称了解中国和中国人,而不是仅仅表明试图了解他们这事本身,将是相当自以为是的。在过去25年里,我住在美国,(这是)一个跟我成长的国家有亲缘关系的国家,然而在美国我依然有大量不了解的事情,在国民心态的某些层面我偶然依然会感到迷惑。到底它是怎么回事?



Backin the early 1970s when Mao Tse-tung’s GreatProletarian Cultural Revolution was in its acute phase,there was a desire among thoughtful Westerners to know what the heck was goingon and what it all meant. Unfortunately China had closed herself off. It wasvery difficult to get in, even for scholars; and once in, it was difficult tomove around.
I was living in Hong Kong atthe time. We knew that momentous things were happening in the Chinese interior.For just one clue, there were the matted rafts of decomposing corpses thatoccasionally floated down the Pearl River past the colony.

上世纪70年代初,有思想的西方人有一种愿望,想知道(中国那时)到底发生了什么,这一切意味着什么。不幸的是,中国把自己封闭了起来。即使是学者,也很难进入中国;一旦进去,就很难走动了。
当时我住在香港。我们知道中国内地正在发生重大的事情。仅凭一条线索:一些杂乱的腐烂尸体筏,偶尔会漂过这个殖民地,顺流而下。

Well,now and then the Chinese authorities would allow some Western celebrity orpolitician to go in on a visit. The foreigner would spend three very closelysupervised weeks in China, being escorted around a model farm and a modelfactory, inspecting some institute of arts or sciences relevant to his ownspecialty, sitting through a performance by the Dongxiang National MinorityFolk Dance Troupe, and so on; then the foreigner would go home and write a bookor produce a documentary movie explaining all about China to the news-consumingWestern public.

是的,中国当局偶尔会允许一些西方名人或政客进入中国访问。外国人将在中国呆上三周,在严密的监督下,参观一个模型农场和一个模型工厂,参观一些与自己专业相关的艺术或科学学院,观看东乡少数民族民间舞蹈团的演出,等等;然后,外国人会回家写一本书或拍一部纪录片,向新闻消费旺盛的西方公众解释有关中国的一切。

The premier example of a ThreeWeek Sinologist was the movie actress Shirley Maclaine, who on her return fromChina brought out a very silly movie;but there were many others. My own old boss, the late William F. Buckley, Jr.,who had gone to China in Richard Nixon’s baggage train in 1972, showed someinclination thereafter to market himself as Three Week Sinologist but soon, Iam glad to say, realized his error.

最典型的三周汉学家是电影演员雪莉·麦克雷恩,她从中国回来后拍了一部很傻的电影;但是还有很多其他的。我的老上司、已故的WilliamF. Buckley, Jr.于1972年乘理查德尼克松的火车去了中国。在那之后,他表现出了一些倾向,打算把自己推销为为期三周的汉学家。我很高兴的说,我意识到了他的问题(错误)。

Iwas, as I said, living in Hong Kong at that time, and hanging out with localexpats, including professional China-watchers. Some of them were scholars;others had grown up, like Jared Taylor, in missionary or China-coastmercantile families. They all spoke two or three dialects fluently. By way ofinvestigative journalism they would hitch a ride on a Hong Kong coastguard boatand go looking for swimmers in Deep Water Bay.

我说过,当时我住在香港,和当地的外国人在一起,包括专业的中国观察家。其中一些是学者;还有一些人像Jared Taylor一样,在传教士家庭或中国沿海商人家庭长大。他们都能流利地说两种或三种方言。通过新闻调查,他们会搭上一艘香港海岸警卫队的船,去深水湾寻找游泳者。

Teenage kids from the mainlandwould try to escape by swimming to Hong Kong. So your China-watcher would bethere on the deck of a coastguard boat sitting opposite some wretched peasantkid who’d just been fished out of the water, who was wrapped in a blanket,soaking wet and shivering, and the expat would be interrogating the kid inCantonese or Toishanese or Hakka about how things were going down on thecommune. Well, you can imagine the scorn these old China hands felt for theThree Week Sinologists.

来自大陆的十几岁的孩子会试图通过游泳逃到香港。所以你的中国观察者会坐在海岸警卫队的甲板上,对面坐着一个刚刚从水里捞上来的可怜的农民孩子,他裹着一条毯子,浑身湿透,浑身发抖,外派人员会用广东话、台山话或客家话询问这个孩子公社的情况。好吧,你可以想象这些中国通对这三周汉学家们的蔑视。



Sodoes private enterprise account for 70 percent of China‘s economy, or 30percent?
Someone’s asking me?
“There is no bottom in China, and no facts.”

那么,私营企业占中国经济的70%,还是30% ?有人问我。
“中国没有下限,也没有事实。”

Asbig as China is in space and population, she is even bigger in time.
Alone among substantialnations, China has a culture going back continuously—same language, samecustoms, same core religious and philosophical concepts—to the Bronze Age.

虽然中国在空间和人口上都很大,但在时间上她甚至更大。在众多的国家中,只有中国的文化可以追溯到青铜时代——同样的语言,同样的习俗,同样的核心宗教和哲学概念。

I have heard working-classChinese parents send their kids off to bed with the phrase: “Go look for the Duke of Zhou.” TheDuke lived in the 11th century B.C., around the time of the Trojan War. Confucius, who lived 500 yearslater, revered him as a model public servant, and when the sage felt himself tobe short on inspiration he’d say that he hadn’t dreamt of the Duke of Zhou fora while.

我听过中国工薪阶层的父母在送孩子上床睡觉时说:“去找周公吧。”这位公爵生活在公元前11世纪大约在特洛伊战争期间。孔子,活在500年后,尊他(周公)为一个模范公务员,当圣人觉得自己缺乏灵感时,他会说,他没有梦到过周公有一段时间了。

Toa Chinese person of today, even a working-class kid being shooed away from hisXbox and sent to bed, Confucius and the Duke of Zhou are not foreign in anyway. They didn’t speak a different language, live by a different calendar,mentally organize the world in radically different categories, or deploydifferent table manners when sitting down to different meals, as would be thecase for us with their Western equivalents—Socrates and Odysseus, perhaps.

对今天的中国人来说,即使是工人阶级的孩子被赶出Xbox游戏机,送去睡觉,孔子和周公也绝不是外国人。他们不会说一种不同的语言,生活在不同的日历下,在思维上用完全不同的类别来组织世界,或者在坐下来吃不同的饭时采用不同的餐桌礼仪,就像我们西方人的情况一样——也许是苏格拉底和奥德修斯。

(I can’t resist here myfavorite description of the ancient Greek diet, given by Alfred Zimmern, quote: “The usual Attic dinnerconsisted of two courses, the first a kind of porridge, and the second a kindof porridge.” That wouldn’t do for theChinese atall …)

(我忍不住引用阿尔弗雷德·齐默尔恩对古希腊饮食最喜欢的描述:“通常阁楼上的晚餐包括两道菜,第一道菜是一种粥,第二道菜是另一种粥。“这对中国人来说根本行不通……”)

When Westerners first startedscrutinizing that enormous span of Chinese history, it struck them as beingvery static,as lacking in forward movement. Here’s a characteristic quote. This is from DemetriusBoulger, who wrote a history of China back in the 1880s. Boulger is telling usabout the fortunes of the Imperial family in the later Ming Dynasty, i.e.middle of the 16th century. Then quite abruptly he seems to tire of narratingcourt intrigues and barbarian affronts, and breaks off from his main story linewith this curious little editorial aside. Quote:

当西方人第一次开始审视中国这段漫长的历史时,他们觉得这段历史非常静止,缺乏前进的动力。这是一句典型的引言。这是DemetriusBoulger写的,他在19世纪80年代写了一本关于中国历史的书。Boulger讲述的是明朝后期,也就是16世纪中叶,皇室的命运。突然间,他似乎厌倦了讲述宫廷阴谋和野蛮人的侮辱,并中断了他的主要故事线,只留下这篇奇怪的小社论。引用:



This condition of things may be disappointing to those who pridethemselves on tracing the origin of a constitution and the growth of civilrights, and also would have a history of China a history of the Chinese people;although the fact is undoubted that there is no history of the Chinese peopleapart from that of their country to be recorded.

对于那些以追溯宪法的起源和公民权利的发展而自豪的人来说,这种情况可能会令人失望,有一部中国历史就该有一部中国人民的历史;然而事实是毋庸置疑的,没有任何中国人民的历史,只有他们的国家的记录。

The national institutions andcharacter were formed, and had attained in all essentials their present state,more than two thousand years ago, or before the destruction of all trustworthymaterials for the task by the burning of the ancient literature and chroniclesof China. Without them we must fain content ourselves with the history of thecountry and the empire.”

两千多年前,也就是在焚毁中国古代文献和编年史以销毁所有值得信赖的资料之前,国家机构和国家性质已经形成,并基本达到了现在的状态。没有这些先秦文献,我们就只能满足于这个国家和帝国的历史。”

Havingthus unbosomed himself of an editorial opinion, Boulger then goes back totelling us about the border policy of the Shizong Emperor.

抱着这样一个开放的编辑意见,Boulger接着告诉我们关于世宗皇帝的边境政策。

Nobody familiar withhistoriography will be surprised to hear that the 20th century brought forth arevisionist school of China historians (in fact more than one), keen to provethat, contra Boulgerand every other 19th-century historian, Chinese history did so exhibitsome progress.

如果有人听说20世纪出现了一个由中国历史学家组成的修正主义学派(事实上不止一个),那么熟悉历史的人不会感到惊讶。

They have made some goodpoints. Joseph Needham in particular showed us inhis magisterial work Science that there was creeping but steady progress intechnology across the centuries. The apparatus of Imperial administrationshowed itself capable of some modest evolution, too. First impressions usually get us a good big bite of the truth,though, and while Boulger’s view of utter stasis needs some qualifying, I don’tthink even the would claim that Imperial China was a progressivecivilization.

他们提出了一些好的观点。李约瑟在他的权威著作《科学》中特别向我们展示了几个世纪以来科技的缓慢而稳定的进步。帝国的行政机构也表现出一定程度的进化能力。
然而,第一印象通常能让我们很好地了解真相,虽然博尔格关于完全停滞的观点需要一些限定,但我认为,甚至连他也不会声称中华帝国是一个进步的文明。

The very first book I ever readon Chinese philosophy was the one by Chai Ch’u, popular in the 1970s.(Well, as popular as books on Chinese philosophy ever get … [And note that Igave his name Chinese-style, with surname first. Amazon.com has itWestern-style. The surname is Chai, 翟.Trust me on this: I knew his brother.])

我读过的第一本关于中国哲学的书是翟楚(音译)著的,这本书在20世纪70年代很受欢迎。(嗯,和中国哲学书籍一样受欢迎……另外要注意的是,我是以中式的方式写的他的名字,姓氏在前。亚马逊网站上是西式的。姓氏是翟。相信我是这样的,我认识他的兄弟)

Prof.Chai takes you through all the main schools: Taoists, Confucians, Legalists,Mohists …And then the book ends, and you’re still in the third century B.C.!There’s a closing chapter, about ten pages as I remember, called something like “Subsequent Developments,” butthe main narrative of Chinese philosophy ended around the time of the FirstPunic War.

翟教授带你参观了所有的主要流派:道家、儒家、法家、墨家……然后这本书就结束了,而你仍然生活在公元前三世纪!书的最后一章,我记得大概有十页,叫做“后来的发展”,但是中国哲学的主要叙述在第一次布匿战争期间结束了(也即没有后续的争议)。

(注:第一次布匿战争是在古罗马和迦太基之间的三次布匿战争的第一次战争,于前264年到前241年之间。两国冲突是因为争夺地中海沿岸地区的霸权,尤其是西西里岛的拥有权。战争23年后,罗马勉强胜利,并提出许多条件与迦太基签订和约。)

This stasis is a remarkablething. It’s also a sad thing, as for most of history China was superior, atleast in technology and administration, to the West. They were a thousand yearsahead of us in metal-working well into the Middle Ages. The first great imperialdynasty, the Han, was much better administered than the contemporary RomanEmpire, at least until its last few decades. It wasn’t until thebeginning of the modern period—the voyages of discovery and theReformation—that the West pulled ahead.

这种停滞是一件了不起的事情。这也是一件悲哀的事情,因为在历史上的大部分时间里,中国都比西方更优越,至少在技术和管理方面是如此。直到中世纪,他们在金属加工方面一直领先我们一千年。第一个伟大的帝国王朝,汉朝,比当代罗马帝国管理得好得多,至少直到它的最后几十年。直到现代时期的开始——发现之旅和改革之旅——西方才开始前进。

If you look at the fall of theWestern Roman Empire in the early 5th century, and compare it with the fall ofthe Han Dynasty 200 years previously, you have to think that the Chineseimperial system got lucky. In the Dark Age that followed there were somebarbarian incursions, to be sure, and even some petty barbarian dynasties ofTurkic or Siberian origins. Steppe and tundra don’t support the same populationdensities as forest and fjord, though, so the barbarian numbers were small andthe core Chinese ethny remained intact.

如果你看看5世纪初西罗马帝国的衰落,并将其与200年前汉朝的衰落进行比较,你就会认为中国的帝国制度是幸运的。在随后的黑暗时代,确实有一些野蛮人入侵,甚至有一些突厥或西伯利亚起源的小野蛮王朝。然而,草原和苔原并不像森林和峡湾那样支持同样的人口密度,所以野蛮人的数量很少,而中国的核心民族仍然完好无损。



Thereis a sort of a parallel here—a nontrivial one, in my opinion—between thesurvival of the imperial system in the early Middle Ages and recent Chinesepolitical history.

在我看来,在中世纪早期帝国制度的存续与中国近代政治史之间,存在着一种相似之处,而且并非微不足道。

The great miracle of China inthe last quarter century has not been the economictake-off, which any fool country with a billion people could have pulled offstarting from such a low base, but the survival of the Communist Party’smonopoly on power, and the survival of its administrative apparatus. China‘scontribution to recent world history has not been a Wirtschaftswunder buta Staatskunstswunder,not an economic miracle but a miracle of statecraft.

中国四分之一个世纪的巨大奇迹没有实现经济起飞,任何一个拥有十亿人口的国家都可以把自己推出这个坑......
中国对近代世界历史的贡献不是一个经济奇迹,而是一个治国才能的奇迹。
…………

In August 2001, just a few weeks before I wrotethat, Gordon Chang published a book titled The Coming Collapse of China. Gordon didn’tthink the communist system would make it through the decade. I see in fact he’s still beatingthe same drum; though like the fellow who told us the world would end lastSaturday, and like our automobile’s GPS gadget when my wife makes a wrong turn,he’s had to do some “recalculating.”

2001年8月,就在我写这篇文章的前几周,章家敦(GordonChang)出版了一本名为《中国即将崩溃》(The ComingCollapse of China)的书。戈登不认为GC主义制度能撑过这十年。事实上,我看到他仍然换汤不换药;尽管就像上星期六告诉我们世界末日的家伙,就像我妻子转错弯时我们汽车上的GPS装置一样,他不得不做一些“重新计算”。

Isthere any prospect for an open and civil society in China—a law-based nationunder consensual government? My answer to that would be: It depends what youmean by “China.”

中国是否有可能建设一个开放、文明的社会?我的回答是:这取决于你对“中国”的定义。



Of the territory of the ChinesePeople’s Republic, less than half has a base population of ethnic Chinese.One quarter is Tibetan; one sixth is Turkic; one tenth is Mongolian. [See this ethnic map, which I have taken fromHermann’s , 1966edition.] The communists have made strenuous efforts to colonize these regions,but only in Inner Mongolia does their presence look truly irreversible. [Clickto enlarge map]

在中华人民共和国的领土上,只有不到一半的地域是汉人。四分之一地域是藏族;六分之一地域是突厥语人;十分之一地域是蒙古人。看这张民族地图,这是我从赫尔曼1966年出版的版本上摘下来的。中国人在这些地区进行了艰苦的殖民努力,但只有在内蒙古,他们的存在才真正不可逆转。



Likeeverything else nowadays, it seems, this comes down at last to demographics. It’s all very well to speak ofcolonization; but for colonization you need some surplus population. Theresults from last year’s census in China are not yet complete, but the figureswe have suggest a total fertility rate of 1.4, perhaps 1.3. That’s not quite asbad as Japan and Korea, which are down in the 1.2 or 1.1 zone, but it’s badenough, and has been going on long enough, that China’s population will go “over the hump” intonumerical decline sometime in the next five to ten years. China‘s working-agepopulation has likely already done so. For holding on by force to vast,inhospitable regions far from the civilizational center, this does not make fora good prognosis.

就像现在的其他事情一样,这似乎最终要归结于人口统计数据。说到殖民,一切都很好;但殖民需要一些剩余人口。去年中国人口普查的结果还没有完成,但我们的数据显示,中国的总生育率为1.4,也许是1.3。这并不像日本和韩国那样糟糕,日本和韩国的人口下降了1.2或1.1,但这已经足够糟糕了,而且已经持续了足够长的时间,以至于中国的人口将在未来五到十年的某个时候“越过高峰”进入数字下降。中国的劳动年龄人口可能已经这么做了。因为在远离文明中心的广阔的、不适宜居住的地区强行占据,这并不能带来好的预知。

We know that Chinese people arecapable of an open, critical society under rational modern government. They arealready running one in Taiwan. If the mainland Chinese retreat to their ethnichomeland, as the Turks did ninety years ago—if, in other words, they get out ofthe empire business—I believe they will shake off their ancient attachment tobureaucratic despotism as quickly and decisively at the Turks did, and advanceto solid prosperity and enduring freedom. I only hope, for the sake of mycountry-in-law, that they will do so with less bloodshed than was the case withTurkey.

我们知道,中国人民有能力在理性的现代政府领导下建设一个开放、批判的社会。他们已经在台湾运作了一家。如果中国大陆撤退回自己的民族家园, 就像90年前土耳其人所做的那样——换句话说,如果他们退出帝国的事务——我相信他们会像土耳其人那样,迅速而果断地摆脱对官僚专制的古老依恋,走向坚实的繁荣和持久的自由。我只是为了我岳父的缘故,希望他们这样做时不会象土耳其那样造成流血事件。

Thank you, ladies andgentlemen.

谢谢,女士们,先生们。