【英语中国】书评:透视中国政治精英的内心 Behind?the?masks?of?China’s?senior?comrades

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2014-7-3 06:22

小艾摘要: hen the seven ageing men in matching dark suits strode out from behind the red curtain on November 15 2012, the assembled members of the world media in the Great Hall of the People were rewarded with ...
Behind?the?masks?of?China’s?senior?comrades
hen the seven ageing men in matching dark suits strode out from behind the red curtain on November 15 2012, the assembled members of the world media in the Great Hall of the People were rewarded with the only moment of real drama in the Chinese political process.

I had arrived a little late and was standing on a chair near the back as President Xi Jinping gave a short speech in front of the other members of the standing committee of the politburo of the Communist party of China.

Every last detail was carefully scripted, even the tie each man wore – Wang Qishan, the newly appointed head of anti-corruption, was given a blue one while his six comrades all wore slightly different shades of red.

Looking at the stiff, robotic

unelected men who would run China for the next five years I could not help thinking of the enormous competing networks of interests, businesses and patrons who had ensured their candidates made it to the top of the world’s biggest political party.

As Kerry Brown, a professor at the University of Sydney and an associate fellow at Chatham House in London, points out in The New Emperors, China is run by an increasingly hereditary ruling class. Even the best- informed insiders, including people actually involved in the process, have no clear idea how the country’s most senior leaders are actually chosen.

At least four of the seven standing committee members are considered “princelings”, the children or close relatives of former senior leaders in the Communist party firmament.

Building on earlier books in which he has provided a more human picture of China’s leaders, Brown provides good anecdotes and assessments from multiple sources to say as much as he can about the personas behind the stiff dark suits. Those who have not spent a significant amount of time trying to peel back the carefully drawn masks of the leadership cannot appreciate just how hard this is. It is not just the inner workings of the party that are guarded by layer upon layer of secrecy. The very existence of a senior cadre’s family members is treated as a “state secret” and the appearance in public of the wives of Mr Xi and Premier Li Keqiang is trumpeted as a sign of openness by state propaganda.

Brown does not provide any bombshell revelations but he does give us very useful summaries and insights into the lives and motivations of the senior leadership. There are helpful explanations and background throughout about some of the events that have shaped modern China and the people who rule it.

He correctly identifies the devastating cultural revolution of 1966-76

as one of the most powerful influences on Mr Xi and his contemporaries, many of whom were persecuted,

their lives and families torn apart.

As Brown points out, China is a country with a population of 1.36bn that is run by just over 2,500 people – fewer than the population of most villages in Europe. Not all of these high-ranking cadres are princelings, and this book does a good job of explaining some of the other factors that can help someone reach the top. Perhaps the most important is patronage from senior leaders to whom you are not related.

Brown provides some useful insights into the five members who, along with Mr Xi and Mr Li, make up the standing committee. They include Yu Zhengsheng, who appears to have been elevated because of his ties to the family of former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. “The [Communist party] is like a partly family-run business,” and Yu represents the interests of the Deng family “almost like a board member represents key shareholders in a family business that has gone public”, writes Brown.

This, along with and the support of Jiang Zemin, another former president, were enough to erase the stain on Mr Yu’s career caused by the defection of his brother to the US in 1985. The former senior state security official had caused enormous damage to China’s spy networks before he was assassinated in the 1990s.

The book also gives us a peep into what life is like once a leader reaches the political heights. This is the hardest thing to do when talking about the Chinese system but it is by far the most interesting part, and The New Emperors would have been even better with more material of this kind.

For those following China very closely there is not much here that is new or revelatory – and at points there are passing references to events or historical context that might confuse a less knowledgeable reader.

But overall Brown provides a great introduction to the world of elite Chinese politics and the men – they are all men – who inhabit its upper reaches.

The writer is the FT’s Beijing bureau chief

The New Emperors

Power and the Princelings in China By Kerry Brown

(IB Tauris, £20/$28)

2012年11月15日,当七位上了年纪的男士身穿相同款式的深色西装从红色的幕布后大步走出时,聚集在人民大会堂的世界各大媒体记者见证了中国政治进程中独一无二的重头戏。

我去得有点晚。当中国国家主席习近平站在中共中央政治局常委会其他委员之前发表简短的演讲时,我站到了靠近后排的一张椅子上。

七位常委亮相的每一个细枝末节都经过了仔细设计,甚至包括每一位常委所佩戴的领带式样——新任命的中纪委书记王岐山打了一条蓝色领带,而他的六位同志则戴的是深浅略有不同的红色领带。

看着这几位表情僵硬、动作机械、并非通过民众选举产生的常委(在未来的五年中,他们将负责治理中国),我不由想到了他们各自背后的利益群体、企业和支持者,这些彼此之间存在竞争关系的庞大势力确保了自己的候选人登上全球第一大政治党团的顶峰。

悉尼大学(Sydney University)教授克里?布朗(Kerry Brown)在《新皇帝》(The New Emperors)一书中指出,治理中国的是一个世袭色彩日益浓厚的执政阶层。即便是消息最为灵通的内部人士(包括实际参与中国政治运转的那些人),都对中国高层领导人究竟是如何选拔出来的缺乏明确认识。布朗还在位于伦敦的英国皇家国际事务研究所(Chatham House)担任副研究员。

在七位常委中,至少有四位被认为是“太子党”,即中共内部原高级领导人的子女或近亲。

布朗在早前的几本书里给中国领导人勾勒出了较为人性化的形象,在此基础上,他在新书中提供了来自多个信息源的大量轶事和评价,尽其所能地向我们介绍这些新领导人在刻板深色西装之下的人物性格。那些未曾花费过大量时间试图剥去领导人脸上仔细画上的层层面具的人,无法真正体会做到这一点有多难。这不仅仅是关于处在层层保密机制防卫之下的中共内部运作情况。高层领导人的家庭成员的存在被当成是一项“国家机密”,习近平主席和李克强总理两位领导人的夫人在公开场合的亮相被官方宣传吹捧成了开放的标志。

布朗虽未给出任何爆炸性的揭秘,但他确实向我们提供了有关高层领导人生活轨迹和行为动机的非常实用的总结和洞见。对于塑造了当代中国及其领导群体的面貌的某些事件,书中提供了大量有用的解释和背景信息。

他正确地认为,1966至1976年间造成巨大破坏的文化大革命是习近平主席以及他的同龄人所受到的最重大的影响;这一代中有很多人受到了迫害,他们的生活和家庭因此分崩离析。

正如布朗所指出的,中国作为一个人口多达13.6亿的国家,负责治理中国的却只有区区2500多人——还不及欧洲大多数村庄的人口多。在这些高级干部当中,并非所有人都是太子党,布朗的新书很好地解释了帮助一个人登上顶峰的某些其他因素。其中最重要的一点或许是,来自没有亲缘关系的高级领导人的提携。

布朗提供了关于五位常委的一些有用洞见,他们和习近平主席、李克强总理一起组成了中央政治局常委会。这其中包括俞正声,他似乎是因为与前最高领导人邓小平的家庭之间的联系而获得提拔的。布朗写道,“(中共)就像一家部分由家族经营的企业”,俞正声代表了邓小平家族的利益,“就好比一个董事会成员在一家已经上市的家族企业中代表关键股东的利益”。

这一背景,连同来自前任国家主席江泽民的支持,足以抹去兄长1985年叛逃美国给俞正声仕途造成的污点。那位负责国家安全事务的前高官给中国的间谍系统造成了巨大破坏,于二十世纪九十年代遭到暗杀。

布朗的新书还使我们得以一窥领导人在达到政治巅峰之后的生活面貌。这是在谈论中国的政治体制时难度最大的一点,但也是最有意思的部分,而《新皇帝》一书若能提供更多这方面的材料,将会更加引人入胜。

对于那些密切关注中国局势的人来说,这本书提供不了太多新鲜或者启发性的信息——而书中不时一语带过的事件或历史背景可能会让知识储备不够深厚的读者感到困惑。

但总的来说,布朗颇为精彩地向我们介绍了中国的精英政治圈子以及身居中国政界高层的领导人——这些高层领导人都是男性。

注:本文作者是英国《金融时报》北京分社社长。

《新皇帝:权力与中国的太子党》(The New Emperors: Power and the Princelings in China),克里?布朗著,I.B.Tauris出版社,定价20英镑/28美元

译者/何黎

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