Category Archives: 政治

你是中国人,那你了解中国吗?

前天到成都签证,趁便拜访一对远房亲戚。伯父伯母领我们到河边喝茶聊天,话题自然转到了9路公车起火的事。二位都是成都人,我就想知道他们所了解的事件经过。伯母先出场,绘声绘色地说,这事可能是人为,因为幸存者说闻到了汽油味,还看到有人打翻汽油。伯父加入说,火一起来,车门的液压装置就失灵了,所以司机开不了门。伯父问我有没有看网路上的视频,说火烧起来真的很可怕。我说有。

他们把事件的细节讲了一个遍,然后我突然意识到,由于并没有目击事件,所以伯父母的资讯来自网络、电视和报纸,跟我一样。他们讲到的每一个细节,我都已在网络上的视频和新闻中了解过了。也就是说,虽然他们是成都人,而我不是,但我们对发生在成都的一起重大事故的了解是没有差别的。

这让我想到一个现象。许多国人听到外国人讲了中国什么不入耳的话,就会跳起来说:你不是中国人,你根本不了解中国。每次听到这种质疑,我就很不以为然,总想问这些人:你是中国人,那你了解中国吗?很多人似乎觉得,只要我拿中国户口,我一定比任何一个外国人都了解北京的空气质量、毛泽东的私生活、中国的三农问题、清朝的政治历史、藏族人的信仰等等。

曾经在重庆碰到一位阿姨的英国先生,也有类似的想法。他也觉得,外国人没到过中国,就没有对中国发言的权利;自然,到了中国,就有发言权了。他在重庆市区吃香喝辣玩了一个礼拜之后很激动地告诉我:我被西方媒体骗了,中国没有人权问题。我当场就不知道该说什么好,直想扯掉他的小胡子:为什么你觉得在重庆吃了几顿火锅逛了几个商场就让你有资格评论中国的人权问题?因为重庆人吃得起火锅逛得起商场所以中国人权没有问题吗?还是什么别的荒唐逻辑?

话说知识来源大致可分两种:来自亲身经历,或是二手资料。我们似乎倾向于认为,来自一手的知识总比来自二手的知识靠谱。问题是,来自亲身经历的知识极少,我们所知道的大部分事都来自二手资料。比如成都公车事件,除了那一百个左右的幸存者、少数见证全程的围观群众以及事故调查组外,成都市的其他市民以及所有外地人和外国人都只能了解二手资讯。如果我们去想,很多事件都是如此。

而对于怎样叫做“有亲身经历”,恐怕也是个说不清楚的问题。假如你是个农民,也并不会自动对三农问题有更多发言权,因为“三农问题”的含义不是农民张三家里的问题,而是整个农村的问题,必须是在广泛收集资料数据并阅读专著的情况下才能算是有些了解。如果没做过这些事,不管你是个中国人还是外国人,都只是拥有想当然的“知识”而已。

我的疑惑是,究竟持有中国户口这个事实,让一个中国人对中国的认识有了哪些优势?我们不是爱说“不识庐山真面目只缘身在此山中”吗?这还仅仅是“身在”其中,就不识其真面目了,庐山还没给您放《新闻联播》。一个人是否了解中国的某个问题,关键是看他获得过多少一手或二手的资料,而且这些资料的来源为何。这人的户口和国籍并不是问题。

你总不能因为你爱看《新闻联播》而这节目外国不播你就说外国人都不了解中国吧。

回应一位爱国海外华人(人权、媒体角色、偏见等)

几天前James Fallows写了一篇博文:PR wizardry on display。博文大意是,中国政府在驳斥“猪流感来自中国”的谣言时表现过于激动,对于这种属于科学范畴,因此可以证有或证无的问题,动辄搬出“别有用心”、“诋毁中国国际形象”之类的情绪化字眼,于PR并无助益。

今天James收到一位海外华人读者的两封来信。这位读者先是指出,中国政府的强烈措词并不是给西方人看的,是给国内民众看的,所以有必要表现得强硬以获得民众支持。这一点James很赞同,他在博文中引用后延伸出去探讨了官方媒体对内外不一致的问题——看上去丝毫不介意读者信中流露出的明显不客气。此文发出后,那位华人读者又发了第二封比较长的信,详细阐述了西方媒体对中国是充满了何等的偏见与敌意,云云。

比较精彩的是这位读者给西方媒体提的几个建议,包括:1、认可中国的独特之处;2、承认GCD政权的合法性(这个有点奇怪);3、对中国这样的发展中国家所拥有的“轻微(minor)”人权问题以及“个例的痛苦(individual suffering)”报着宽容的态度;4、表彰和鼓励中国在开放路上所做出的努力。作者认为,对于西方媒体既“幼稚”又”高高在上”这一点,很多海外华人都会有同感。James再次照登,但没有发表意见。这下我就着急了,害怕不小心被代表,只能自己去信谈谈无法被这位读者代表的、另一小撮海外华人的看法。

刚James回信问可不可以引用,我说欣然之至。不过原信较长,他应该不会用很多,所以下面是全文。(建议阅读那位读者的两封信先)

Dear Mr. Fallows,

I am also an oversea Chinese, but I don’t share the sentiment the Chinese reader has shown in his two messages to you. I’d like to share with you my opinion of his take on the role of the media, and China’s human rights issue.

I am always suspicious of the whole concept of a united “Western Media” against China as if Fox News, Le Monde, and Süddeutsche Zeitung were controlled by a multi-national Central Propaganda Department. As a Communications major, my understanding of the news media is that they should truthfully report and inform to the best of their knowledge. It is not the job of the Western media (or media of any origin) to “encourage” and babysit a foreign country. Maybe it’s time that the Chinese try getting used to the fact that every Western country is “unique” as well, some of them believe in things that we do not believe, and it’s OK.

The reader suggest that the Western media “tolerate the minor human rights problems and individual sufferings”. I’ll bet that this reader’s rights have never been violated before. Based on the message of the reader (that he was financially able to support himself to go to the West and has stayed “several years” so far), my guesses are that he’s from a comparatively well-heeded family; he lived in a secured environment when he was in China; and he’s not even remotely close to anyone who had been beaten to death because of police brutality (or any other kind of human rights violation). It’s very ironic to see such comment shortly after push-ups became suicide-inducive in Guizhou, and the game of “Eluding the Cat” became lethal in Yunnan. I wonder how many people have to die for ridiculous reasons before the reader could realize that the real problem is not that human rights issues are “minor” in China, but that they are too remote to have an impact on him.

We’re used to talk about what “the Chinese” think based on what we see on the Internet. A recent study by CNNIC shows that China has 300,000,000 netizens. A lot. But China also has a huge population of 1.3 billion. So those who can afford to access the Internet were less than a quarter of the population in the first place. And of those who do have access, the majority of them live in urban area, hence, in general much well-off than the rest of China (and pretty indifferent to the rest of China as well).

Since China has a huge population, tightly controlled domestic media, and usually very successful propaganda schemes, it’s very easy to be completely ignorant of the suffering of many fellow citizens and call a big issue “minor” simply because one is not personally affected by it. I see that the U.S has some human rights issues of her own. But no concerned American citizens would think that the “minor” problem of sexually abusing an Iraqi prisoner (not even a “fellow citizen”!) in Guantanamo is “tolerable”.

On the India analogy. India has two things that China desperately needs: democracy and transparency. It’ll be very strange for the Western media to “misunderstand” China and be “hostile” toward her, if China happens to have either.

By the way, thanks for the great blog.

Regards,

Xiaoxiao Huang

路人甲的英雄故事

有一天在村里的大街上,有个恶霸男人拖着老婆的头发走,边走边踢,边踢边骂。很快路边就聚集起了好几十号本村和外村的围观群众,碍于恶霸的淫威,大家都不敢动手制止,只能在一旁怒目而视。此时来了路人甲,看了这一幕,头发都竖了起来,他决定要制止这件令他非常生气的事。于是路人甲一个箭步冲到人群中,对那几个面带怒容的外村人一顿猛揍,一边大吼:别他妈装正义,你们真在乎吗?

揍完后路人甲扬长而去,边走边骂,心里还是很生气。