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不应妖魔化中国

2010年11月30日

Why the west should not demonise China
By Minxin Pei
如今,中国与“自信”几乎成了同义词。一提到“中央王国”,西方媒体就都没有一句好话。中国仍坚持低估人民币,以获取不公平的贸易优势;在领土纠纷问题上恫吓邻国;完全不采取任何举措,以钳制危险的朝鲜政权,而且尽管朝鲜的挑衅行为逐渐升级(包括此次炮击韩国),中国仍继续向其提供大量援助。
Nowadays China and “assertiveness” have become practically synonymous. The portrayal of the Middle Kingdom in the western press is uniformly unflattering. It is maintaining an undervalued currency to gain unfair trade advantages; it is bullying its neighbours in territorial disputes; it is doing nothing to rein in the dangerous North Korean regime and, despite its escalating aggression (including the latest artillery attacks on South Korea), continues to pump aid into Pyongyang.

但在中国国内,民众对中国政府对外政策的看法几乎截然相反。大多数普通民众认为,中国政府还不够自信,中国领导人太软弱,而西方对中国的批评都是不公平且虚伪的。
Within China, however, popular perception of Beijing’s international behaviour is almost the exact opposite. Most ordinary people believe the Chinese government is, if anything, not assertive enough. They see their leaders as spineless and western criticisms of Chinese behaviour as unfair and hypocritical.

以两个广受关注的问题为例:有关中国汇率政策的较量,以及中日围绕东海有争议岛屿的纠纷。中国国内的主流民意是,美国将其自己的经济问题归咎于中国、并威逼中国做出政策改变是不公平的,那只会既伤害中国经济,又无法提振美国的增长。至于中日领土争端,大多数中国人认为,西方一直在不公平地偏袒日本。
Take, for example, two well-publicised issues: the tussle over China’s exchange rate policy and the Sino- Japanese row over disputed islands in the East China Sea. The predominant perception within China is that America is unfairly blaming China for its own economic woes and bullying China to adopt a policy change that would only hurt the Chinese economy without reviving America’s growth. In the case of the Sino-Japanese dispute, most Chinese believe the west has unfairly sided with Japan.

这种分歧并非第一次出现。但以往很少碰到西方人对中国国际立场的看法与中国人自己的看法如此截然相对的情况。最明显的原因是中国国内民族主义的不断抬头,政府支持的爱国主义教育、以及共产党对媒体的控制(使媒体不能对中国与西方的争议进行客观报道和分析)对此起到了推动作用。尽管大多数普通中国民众并不相信官方媒体对国内事件的报道,但他们更容易相信政府对于中国在海外行为的说法。具有讽刺意味的是,中国政府所推行的战略似乎是要完成不可能的任务:强化自己的民族主义资历,同时维持一种灵活的外交政策。一方面,执政的共产党急于证明,自己使中国成为一个受尊重的世界强国。另一方面,中国领导人希望坚持务实的外交政策,避免与西方发生代价高昂且不必要的冲突。这一战略的内在矛盾令其越来越站不住脚。

Such divergence is not unprecedented. But it is hard to recall an era when western views of China’s international stance were diametrically opposed to those of the Chinese themselves. The most obvious reason is the rising nationalism within China, fuelled both by state-sponsored patriotic education and by the Communist party’s control of the media that has precluded objective coverage and analysis of China’s disputes with the west. While most ordinary Chinese distrust the official media’s coverage of domestic issues, they are far more credulous of the government’s versions of China’s conduct abroad. Ironically, the Chinese government is pursuing a strategy that attempts to achieve the impossible: bolstering its nationalist credentials while maintaining a flexible foreign policy. On the one hand, the ruling Communist party is eager to show that it has made China a respected world power. On the other hand, Chinese leaders want to stick to a pragmatic foreign policy that avoids costly and needless conflicts with the west. The tensions inherent in this strategy are making it increasingly untenable.

进一步加深双方认知分歧的是,外界的确用一种不同的标准来评判中国。在与整个世界(尤其是西方世界)打交道时,中国面临着两个不利因素:其实力及其政权的特性。与其它强国一样,人们用更高的标准来评判中国,认为它在任何情况下都应该保持克制(尤其在与实力较弱的国家打交道时),并担负起更重大的国际责任。但与民主政体的强国不同,中国还因为其威权制度而受到无形但重大的惩罚。由于民主的西方认为威权政权不合法理,因此西方人士透过更加怀疑和不信任的棱镜来看待中国的海外行为。其结果是,每当中国卷入国际纠纷,西方都自然而然地支持中国的对立方。对于西方政客和舆论影响者而言,这种意识形态偏见已成为第二天性。但对于普通中国民众而言,这种差别对待会让人愤怒。很少有政府受到这种三重标准。
Further exacerbating the gap in perceptions is that China is, indeed, held to a different standard. In its dealings with the world in general, and the west in particular, China suffers from two handicaps: its power and the nature of its regime. Like other great powers, China is judged by a much higher standard. It is expected to use restraint under all circumstances (particularly in dealing with less powerful countries) and to assume greater international responsibilities. But unlike democratic powers, China also pays an implicit but substantial authoritarian penalty. Because the democratic west views authoritarian regimes as illegitimate, China’s international behaviour is seen through far more sceptical and distrustful prisms in the west. As a result, whenever China is featured in an international dispute, western sympathies naturally flow to China’s opponents. To western politicians and opinion-makers, such ideological bias is second-nature. But to an average Chinese, such differentiated treatment engenders outrage. Few states are subject to such a triple standard.

如果任其发展,这种不断扩大且令人不安的认知鸿沟只会导致紧张升级,甚至引发冲突。这会导致在一些关乎全球安全和繁荣的关键问题上更难争取中国的合作。例如,西方将加大对中国施压,阻止中国的战略缓冲地带——朝鲜——扩大其核武计划和进一步挑衅韩国。但随着中国与西方之间不信任和争吵的逐步升级,中国可能会选择熟视无睹,只是为了表达一种态度,即西方软硬兼施是行不通的。
Left unattended, this growing and troubling perception gap can only lead to rising tensions, even conflict. It makes it all the more difficult to gain Chinese co-operation on matters vital to global security and prosperity. For example, China will face growing western pressure to prevent North Korea, Beijing’s strategic buffer, from expanding its nuclear programme and engaging in further aggression against South Korea. But with rising distrust and acrimony between China and the west, China may choose to do nothing just to show that the west cannot bash it and beg at the same time.

缩小这种认知鸿沟需要双方都付出努力。总体上说,北京方面可以做得更多。它必须允许媒体对中国外交政策进行更客观的报道,并停止煽动民族主义。西方政客和舆论影响者在批评中国时应更讲究策略(纵使这些批评是合理的),并尽量从中国的视角看待这些问题。此类温和措施可能不会彻底消除认知分歧,但除此之外没有什么现实的选择。
Narrowing this perception gap requires efforts on both sides. On balance, Beijing can do much more. It must allow more objective reporting on Chinese foreign policy and stop fanning nationalism. Western politicians and opinion-makers should exercise greater tact in criticising China (even when such criticisms are justified) and strive to see the issues from the Chinese perspective. Such modest steps may not fully close the perception gap, but there are few realistic alternatives.

本文作者为美国克莱蒙特-麦肯纳学院(Claremont McKenna College)政治学教授、美国卡内基国际和平基金会(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)客座高级研究员
Source: FTChinese, 译者/何黎

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  1. 2011年4月30日14:10 | #1

    说的挺中肯的呀!也没有什么妖魔化,本身我们老百姓的眼中,有些事情已经不只是妖魔化了而已···

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