【英语中国】中国石油贸易奇人“杨疯子” Trader who tapped Tehran to power China

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所属分类:双语中国

2014-7-1 06:53

小艾摘要: In defiance of US sanctions, one man was for two decades the linchpin of China’s oil dealings with Iran: a hard-drinking trader known as “Crazy Yang”, who came to be regarded as the world’s larges ...
Trader who tapped Tehran to power China
In defiance of US sanctions, one man was for two decades the linchpin of China’s oil dealings with Iran: a hard-drinking trader known as “Crazy Yang”, who came to be regarded as the world’s largest handler of Iranian crude.

The gregarious Yang Qinglong, who has died of cancer in his native Yunnan province aged 63, was known within his circle for his hospitality and for the green army jacket he wore everywhere. But in Washington Zhuhai Zhenrong, the company he founded, was vilified for impeding measures designed to force Tehran to the negotiating table over its nuclear programme.

In 2012, Zhuhai Zhenrong was added to America’s sanctions list for selling petrol and diesel to Tehran, which has long lacked the refining capacity to process its own output. The blacklisting made little difference to Yang or his company, whose only business was with Iran and whose assets were almost exclusively in China. Indeed, many in the Chinese oil industry saw the Iranian imports as a patriotic effort to provide the energy needed for China’s growing economy.

He had to fight early resistance from state-owned refineries that initially refused to process Iran’s particularly thick grade of crude. At one point, according to a 2012 Reuters profile, Yang banged his fist on the table in front of a startled refinery manager to insist he take the Iranian cargoes on offer. Iran is now China’s third-largest source of crude oil.

Yang was a member of the Bai ethnic group, a people native to the mountainous southern province of Yunnan, near the Myanmar border. Family survivors are unknown but he was born and died in Dali, a city next to one of China’s most beautiful lakes.

When Mao Zedong unleashed his 1960s Cultural Revolution, Yang and other local teens with a “bad” class background found themselves at the centre of a violent witch hunt, after their book club excited suspicion. He made it into college at age 23 just as the purge was winding down – and would later tell friends he had spent much of his youth in a mental asylum, earning him his nickname.

After college Yang was assigned to a military vehicle depot along the former Burma Road – where fuel shortages were so acute that officials were rewarded with cash if they could find supplies. Yang began brokering crude oil shipments from the northeast to be refined in central China and trucked to Yunnan.

By the end of the 1980s he was procuring military supplies for his province from Shenzhen, the town on the border with Hong Kong that was about to become the testing zone for Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms.

In the mid-1990s, some of Yang’s military friends came to him with a problem. Iran was shipping oil to China to pay for weapons supplied during its war with Iraq and they did not know what to do with it. They introduced him to officials in Tehran and he set up a tiny crude trading office staffed with young people from military families.

Zhuhai Zhenrong originally answered to the bureaucracy that controlled arms manufacture and trade. It became a civilian state-owned enterprise after President Jiang Zemin ordered the army – which by then was operating the nation’s biggest smuggling operation – to get out of business.

Even running a civilian trading house, Yang kept his enthusiasm for all things military. He hauled his staff to see films such as Gladiator or Saving Private Ryan and organised private dinners with the director of his favourite wartime television drama.

“Some people might have disliked his sloppy appearance but I respect Yang Qinglong very much because he tried to meet China’s political needs rather than merely pursue commercial profit,” a friend of his posted on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Zhuhai Zhenrong now serves primarily as an import agent for Sinopec, the vast state-controlled oil group, lifting about one-third of the annual crude shipments the country takes from Iran. It also imports Iranian gas condensate on behalf of private Chinese petrochemical plants.

The company’s future is unclear. As China’s oil industry both professionalises and consolidates, there is less room for mavericks such as Yang Qinglong. But as long as the US and Iran remain at odds, it is useful for China to keep its Iranian trade at arm’s length from the activities of its increasingly international state oil groups.

That suited Yang just fine. Independent and thriving on personal connections, his biggest concession to corporate culture was to shed his green army jacket for a khaki-coloured cardigan.

In another online tribute, a friend of three decades wrote simply: “He was a real man.”

Additional reporting by Owen Guo

杨庆龙是中国20年来无视美国制裁、坚持与伊朗开展石油贸易的关键人物。杨庆龙绰号“杨疯子”,酒量很大,他被视为全球最大的伊朗原油贸易商。

杨庆龙近日因患癌症在其故乡云南省去世,享年62岁。杨庆龙生前喜欢结交朋友,在他的圈子里以热情好客闻名,而且总是穿一件军服式的绿色外套。但在华盛顿,杨庆龙创建的珠海振戎公司却遭到诋毁,一些人指责该公司妨碍了旨在迫使德黑兰方面就其核计划举行谈判的努力。

2012年,珠海振戎因向伊朗出售汽柴油而上了美国的制裁名单。伊朗长期以来一直缺乏加工本国所产原油的精炼能力。美国的制裁对杨庆龙或他的公司几乎没有造成任何影响。珠海振戎只与伊朗有业务往来,而且资产几乎全在中国。实际上,中国石油行业的许多人都认为,从伊朗进口石油是一种为中国经济发展提供所需能源的爱国行为。

杨庆龙最初不得不与中国国有炼油厂的抵制作斗争,这些炼油厂一开始不愿加工伊朗的重质原油。路透社(Reuters) 2012年的资料显示,杨庆龙曾在一名炼油厂经理面前拍桌子、坚持要求他接受自己卖的伊朗原油,吓了对方一大跳。伊朗现在是中国的第三大原油来源地。

杨庆龙是白族人。白族世世代代生活在多山的云南省,聚居地靠近中缅边境。杨庆龙目前仍健在的家人并不出名,但他出生和去世的地方都在大理。中国最美丽的湖泊之一就坐落在大理附近。

毛泽东上世纪60年代发动文化大革命时,杨庆龙和当地其他出身“不好”的青少年创建的文学社引起当局的猜疑,从而沦为一场充满暴力的政治迫害的对象。在那场迫害接近尾声时,23岁的杨庆龙迈入了大学的校门,后来他和朋友们说,自己青少年时期的很大一部分时间是在精神病院度过的,这为他赢得了“杨疯子”的绰号。

大学毕业后,杨庆龙被分配到前滇缅公路(Burma Road)上的一个汽车运输总站——当时,那里的燃油短缺相当严重,以致于官员们往往会因找到燃油供应而得到现金奖励。杨庆龙开始充当石油掮客,将从中国东北运来的原油拉到中部地区精炼,然后再用卡车将成品油运到云南。

到上世纪80年代末,他开始从深圳为云南省驻军采购物资。深圳毗邻香港,当时邓小平正准备把它用作经济改革的试验田。

上世纪90年代中期,杨庆龙在部队上的一些朋友找他帮忙解决一个问题。当时伊朗向中国供应石油,用以支付中国在两伊战争期间向伊朗供应的军火的费用,但他的这些朋友不知道如何办理这件事。他们向伊朗官员引荐了杨庆龙,后者创建了一个小型的原油贸易办事处,员工都是来自军人家庭的年轻人。

珠海振戎最初隶属于掌控武器制造和贸易的官僚机构,在江泽民禁止军队经商(中国军队当时经营着全国最大的走私业务)后转变为一家国有的地方企业。

尽管自己掌管的是一家地方贸易公司,杨庆龙仍对所有与军事有关的东西充满热情。他组织员工观看《角斗士》(Gladiator)或《拯救大兵瑞恩》(Saving Private Ryan)等影片,并安排私人宴会,款待自己喜欢的战争题材电视剧的导演。

杨庆龙的一位朋友在类Twitter网站新浪微博(Weibo)上发帖称:“有些人可能看不惯他一些不太体面的举止,但我很尊重杨庆龙,因为他做事情是为了中国的政治需求,而不仅仅为了追求商业利益。”

珠海振戎现在主要充当中国国有石油巨头中石化(Sinopec)的石油进口代理商,在中国每年从伊朗进口的原油中,约有三分之一是由它进口的。珠海振戎还代表中国民营石油化工厂从伊朗进口凝析油。

该公司的前景目前尚不明朗。随着中国石油行业走向专业化和整合,杨庆龙这类特立独行人士的空间日益缩小。但只要美国与伊朗的关系依然紧张,中国就有必要让中伊贸易与其日益国际化的国有石油集团的活动保持一定距离。

这刚好适合杨庆龙。杨庆龙行事独立、人脉广泛,他对公司文化作出的最大让步是脱下了自己的军服式绿色外套,换上了一种土黄色开衫。

在网上的另一个悼念活动中,一位与杨庆龙相交30年的朋友简单地写道:“他是一个真正的汉子。”

Owen Guo补充报道

译者/邹策

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