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[经济学人] [2011.10.08] From Sun to Mao to now 从孙中山到毛泽东到现在









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发表于 2011-10-17 10:30 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Commemorating China’s 1911 revolution

From Sun to Mao to now

Uncomfortable comparisons for an authoritarian government

ONE hundred years ago on October 10th, a mutiny in the central Chinese city of Wuhan triggered the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty. In Taiwan, which separated from the mainland in 1949 after a civil war and still claims to be the rightful heir of the republic founded in 1911, the anniversary will be celebrated with a parade, including a display of air power. But in China there are mixed feelings. The country is spending lavishly on festivities, too. But its ruling Communist Party is busily stifling debate about the revolutionaries’ dream of democracy, which has been realised on Taiwan but not on the mainland.

一百年前的10月10日, 中国中部城市武汉的一场暴动引发了中国最后一个王朝的瓦解。台湾将以阅兵式来庆祝辛亥百年,其中包括空军力量的展示。虽然在1949年内战结束后就从中国大陆分裂出去, 台湾仍以1911年建立的共和国正宗传人自居。但是中华人民共和国对辛亥百年确实情绪复杂的。当然,中国也会在各种庆典上不吝钱财,但是其统治者共产党却在忙于打消有关革命先驱的民主梦的议论,因为这民主梦在没有在中国大陆却在台湾实现了。

China and Taiwan have long disputed each others’ claims to be the heir of the 1911 revolution. Sun Yat-sen, regarded as the revolution’s leader, is officially revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. As usual around the time of the anniversary, a giant portrait of him was erected on October 1st in Tiananmen Square, opposite that of Mao Zedong (both wearing Sun suits, as they were known before their rebranding in Mao’s day). But the Communist Party’s efforts to play up the occasion have revealed its nervousness.


In late September, a film about the revolution, “1911”, starring Jackie Chan, a kung-fu actor from Hong Kong, was released. Officials trumpeted the movie but ticket sales have been lacklustre. The film carefully avoids dwelling on the sweeping political reforms initiated by the final imperial dynasty, the Qing, which precipitated its own overthrow. A popular television series, “Advance toward the Republic”, that focused on those reforms and was aired in 2003, was cut by censors before the series finished, and banned from rebroadcast. One scene showed Sun addressing politicians six years after the 1911 revolution with a lament that “only powerful people have liberty”. Echoes of China today were clearly too unsettling for the censors.


In the past year, officials have tried to stop discussion of the 1911 revolution straying into such realms. In November 2010 the Xiaoxiang Morning Herald, a newspaper in south China’s Hunan Province, got into trouble with the censors after publishing a supplement on the revolution. It quoted from a letter written by Vaclav Havel in 1975, when he was still a Czech dissident, to the country’s communist president, Gustav Husak: “history again demands to be heard”. The newspaper did not explain the context, which was Mr Havel’s lament about the Communist Party’s sanitisation of history. It did not need to. Its clear message was that the democratic demands of 1911 could not be repressed forever.

在过去这一年中,中国官员们努力控制辛亥革命的讨论避免其走偏进入上述这般的主题中。2010年11月,位于中国南部湖南省的《潇湘晨报》因为出版了主题为辛亥革命的增刊而在审查方面惹上了麻烦。其中引用了Vaclav Havel于1975年写给捷克共产党主席Gustav Husak的一封信:历史的声音会再次要求被倾听的,当时Havel还属于是捷克的异政见者。这家报社并没有解释这句话的语境:Havel悲叹捷克共产党对历史刻意美化。其实也不必解释,它所传达的明显信息就是辛亥革命的民主诉求不能永远遭到压制。

In recent months, upheaval in the Arab world has made officials even more nervous. In April they banned a symposium on the revolution planned by students at several leading universities in Beijing. A website advertising the event said that it aimed to look not only at “inspirational revolutionary victories” but also at things “hidden deeper” concerning democracy.

最近几个月,阿拉伯世界的巨变使官员们更紧张了。四月,由北京几所顶尖大学的学生组织的辛亥革命研讨会也被叫停了。 因为一家为此研讨会做广告推广的网站声称此次活动目的不仅在于领略鼓舞人心的革命胜利,还在于一探民主意义上其中深埋的内涵。

Two weeks ago the authorities suddenly cancelled the world premier of an opera, “Dr Sun Yat-sen”, which was due to be performed by a Hong Kong troupe at the National Centre for the Performing Arts close to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. “Logistical reasons” were cited, but Hong Kong media speculated that some of its content—including its portrayal of Sun’s love life—was deemed to be out of line.


But the authorities are not letting their political worries spoil a spending opportunity. In Wuhan, where the revolution began, they announced plans to splurge 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) on 1911-related exhibitions and on a makeover for the city. The Manchu emperor abdicated in February 1912, ending over 2,000 years of dynastic rule. Officials in Wuhan, and elsewhere, have been keeping quiet about the orgy of violence against Manchus that accompanied the upheaval (see article).


Some Chinese scholars say the revolution did little for China except to usher in chaotic warlordism, followed by authoritarian government. Such accusations have some merit. China did indeed slide into disarray, warlordism and insurrection after 1911. Any hopes of a democratic republic were overwhelmed by efforts to bring the country under control, which the Communist Party achieved in 1949. Li Zehou, a Chinese intellectual, has stirred debate in recent years by arguing that China should have given the Qing reforms more of a chance.


The Communist Party maintains that the 1911 revolution was justified, but finds itself in a quandary. Another star-studded film released earlier this year to mark its own 90th birthday stirred audiences in an unintended way. The film, covering the period from the revolution of 1911 to the Communist Party’s founding in 1921, prompted numerous comments on Chinese internet forums about the lessons it offered for rebelling against bad government. Interesting idea.

Time can both ruin everything and build everything-It depends on you

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