Today, China has attained a level of prosperity and stability not seen since 1840. It has the best governing system to date, and compared to other major countries in the world, is the best-performing in terms of development. These facts lay the foundation for the Party’s spiritual guidelines as highlighted during the 18th Party Congress: ‘confidence in our road, our theory, and our system.’

[h4] A Time of Confidence: China is the Future[/h4]

Today, China has attained a level of prosperity and stability not seen since 1840. It has the best governing system to date, and compared to other major countries in the world, is the best-performing in terms of development. These facts lay the foundation for the Party’s spiritual guidelines as highlighted during the 18th Party Congress: ‘confidence in our road, our theory, and our system.’

A Horizontal Analysis Since 1840

The year 1840 marks a turning point in Chinese history. China, the former “central empire”, was forced into a global system dominated by Western imperial powers. Both the Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China that followed tried but failed to rescue China from the lowest point in the country’s long, renowned history by adjusting to this new historical reality. However, the entire Chinese nation deteriorated to the point that threat of national implosion was imminent.

China signed 1,175 treaties with other nations after the 1840 Opium War, most of which were unequal,These treaties involved ceding of territories, war reparations,  stationing of foreign troops, tariffs, and judicial rights. Imperial forces from around the world bullied and humiliated China, carving up China among themselves with no regard to the feeble Qing government’s sovereignty.

The Qing government’s submission to these unfair treaties led to the unequal treatment of the Chinese people, an example of which is the Chinese Exclusion Act pass by the U.S. Congress in 1882 which discriminated against Chinese immigrants. However, China managed to remain a nominally sovereign and independent nation under the Qing government, with intermittent periods of peace between incessant wars and domestic unrest.

The Republic of China, on the other hand, fared even worse. Its 37 years (1912-1949) of rule brought China neither independence nor unity, not to mention the widespread poverty and loss of dignity that continued during this period. The financial system broke down, warlords continued fighting, civil wars and foreign invasions continued, and corruption was rampant. The Republic of China not only failed to solve any of the challenges left behind by the Qing Dynasty—extreme poverty, foreign invasion and threats, division of the nation and dominance of the military by warlords—it aggravated them.

In the first years of the Republic of China, China was presented with three paths for its future: First, to follow Yuan Shih-kai’s autocratic monarchy; second, to pursue Liang Qichao’s constitutional monarchy; and third, to take on Sun Yat-sun’s revolutionary path. However, none of the three leaders managed to realize their visions, and China lingered on in a dead end.

China’s inferior status improved little even after becoming a victor in World Wars I & II. When World War II ended, the three allied powers—the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom—continued to infringe on China’s sovereignty to the extent that all three countries had a military presence in China and enjoyed extraterritoriality.

It was the People’s Republic of China, established in 1949 by the Chinese Communist Party, that finally rescued China from its impoverished and feeble past, reestablishing China’s long-lost independence for the first time since 1840.

China in the Past Sixty Years

The People’s Republic of China has existed for over sixty years. From a historical perspective, today’s China has already transcended both the Han and Tang Dynasties. A horizontal comparison between China and the other two Asian powers—Japan and India—further illustrates the advances China has made.

Japan completed industrialization before World War II and became one of the five major powers in the world. It was able to retain its advantages in both technology and human resource despite its devastating defeat. Moreover, the country enjoyed huge peace dividends under American military protection and preferential terms of trade from the United States due to the Cold War. During the 60 years following the war, Japan was able to develop free of wars and civil unrests.

However, Japan now finds itself in a severe debt crisis and is experiencing political chaos. It has undergone several cabinet reshuffles and virtually lost the ability to govern. The 2011 nuclear meltdown also found the then prime minister Naoto Kan unable to deal with the crisis, leaving the refugees unattended months after the disaster. Furthermore, the current prime minister Yoshihiko Noda recently had the political insensibility to challenge China’s sovereignty by nationalizing the Diaoyu Islands.

India, on the other hand, became an independent country in 1947 and inherited British democracy, the rule of law, a constitutional system and the English language. The country lagged behind China even after the latter experienced ten mournful years during the Cultural Revolution, a gap that inceased exponentially after China’s reform and opening up began in 1978. Today, compared with China, India is more populated, less urbanized and less regulated in terms of public hygiene. India also has higher child mortality rates and widespread hunger. Moreover, both Japan and India lag behind China in terms of gender equality.

As for the United States, it is now struggling with the worst financial crisis ever experienced since the 1930s, with the amount of its foreign debt weighing more than 160 trillion dollars. Many medium-sized and small cities went bankrupt during the crisis, and even some state governments almost went broke. Since 1960, the US has raised its debt ceiling 78 times, averaging almost twice a year. The so-called debt ceiling has long been defunct.

During the twenty years since the Cold War, the United States has committed a series of strategic mistakes, squandering its soft and hard power. Domestically, the U.S. has suffered from the Internet bubble, the real estate bubble and the subprime crisis. Internationally, it has made one strategic mistake after another by waging wars overseas. Such a state poses a stark contrast with China, which has been making advances in leaps and bounds over the same period. The U.S. has lost its former crown to China as the world’s largest manufacturer (the first time this has happened since it surpassed the U.K. a hundred years ago), largest automobile market, and the country with the most patent applications. China has also overtaken the U.S. in terms of contribution to global economy, accounting for 50 percent of the economic growth in 2009.

One can interpret the American political system from many angles, although some comments by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter are quite thought-provoking. At the International Economic and Financial Conference held in Sanya in 2012, Carter expressed his malcontent with the anti-China rhetoric while acknowledging that they are simply part of the American political life.

While Carter’s comments concern only certain phenomena, others in the U.S. have taken a critical stance on the American democracy itself. Conservative commentator David Brooks made the following comments in the New York Times: people today have unlimited faith in the notion of democracy without realizing that the founding fathers of this country talked very little about democracy itself and built the nation on republican principles. The main difference between democracy and republicanism is that democracy places unlimited faith in the character and judgement of the people whereas the believers in a republic are highly suspicious of the character and judgment of the people and erect institutions and barriers to contain the potential damage the fickle human nature can cause.

In contrast to the United States’ focus on liberal corporatism, Europe follows a welfare-oriented model characterized by a gigantic bureaucracy, an increasingly burdensome income redistribution system (through taxation), and government control over enterprises. However, such a model has also become unsustainable in face of the global economic crisis. An example is the debt-stricken Greece which has seen its  unemployment skyrocket, living standards deteriorate, and suicide rate rise to an all-time high.

In the face of the unprecedented challenges posed by the economic crisis, the West has failed to come up with a clear and focused blueprint for reforms, nor has it seen forceful leaders like Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan in the 1980s arise to push through far-reaching reforms. The societies remain in a chaotic and lost state, undermining the Western elites’ confidence in their political and economic system.

Characteristics of the China Model

The West has repeatedly questioned the sustainability of the China model throughout its course of development. Whether China’s rise to power can be sustained under its current model can only be verified by history. Meanwhile, the current crisis has already demonstrated that the Western model cannot be sustained and is in dire need for comprehensive and far-reaching reform.

A look at history leads us to the conclusion that the current system is not only the most successful one for China in the past century, it is also the best-performing system the world has seen in the past 60 years. How should one interpret the Chinese system?

Since the founding of the People’s Republic, China has developed, through a series of political reforms, a model with Chinese characteristics in terms of power transfer and checks-and-balances. These characteristics stand in stark contrast to the troubled West and turbulent Arab world, which is currently undergoing revolutions. The West regularly rotates both its leaders and political parties, whereas China only changes its leaders without changing the party. The Arab societies change neither. So far, the Chinese system has been the best performing for it is a flexible system with a high degree of continuity, whereas both the Western and the Arab systems sacrifice one at the expense of the other. The need for political reform in both the West and the Arab world is pressing, whereas China is undertaking the reforms more as a precautionary measure.

China’s current system is the result of a series of lasting, internally-generated evolutions based on Chinese cultural and political traditions. Take power transfer as an example, the transfer of leadership in China resembles the ancient practice of emperors abdicating and giving the crown to a designated successor, while breaking free from the limits of lifelong tenures. China inherited its political tradition by “recognizing the Party’s rule, selecting the leaders from all over the country, and cultivating them over a long period of time”, institutionally innovated by ‘setting limit on the leaders’ age and tenure’, and borrowed from the West in regularly replacing leaders. Such system allows China to draft out long-term strategic plans under the leadership of one party and select the most talented politicians at a low cost through nationwide selection and cultivation, while regular transfer of leadership introduces new blood and prevents the rise of a strongman.

China is the driving engine for the world economy, it has imported $750 billion worth of goods every year since joining the WTO, and it has written off huge amounts of debt owed by Third World countries while providing large sums of economic aid. However, in the eyes of the Chinese, China’s principal contribution to the world is that it has demonstrated a new and successful model of development. No wonder Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times columnist sighed with concern: “I was very relunctant to tell my daughter that she must go to China to see the future.”

Apparently, just as Western elites are starting to lose faith, China is welcoming its own age of confidence.

 
 [h4]只有去中国才能看到未来——中国正迎来自信时代[/h4]

今天的中国处于1840年以来最好的时期,今天的中国有1840年以来最好的制度,今天的中国是全球各主要国家中发展最好的国家。这三个事实判断,就构成了“道路自信、理论自信、制度自信”的坚实基础。

一、近代以来的纵坐标

1840年是中国历史的分水岭,自此中国由一个“中央帝国”被带入强雄林立的国际体系。不管是满清还是随后的中华民国,尽管努力不止、代价不休,却都无法适应历史、回应历史,从而将中国带出五千年来前所未有的低谷,国家和民族都沦落到了生死存亡的地步。

据中国当代国际法专家王铁崖统计,自1840年鸦片战争以来,中国共缔结过1175件约章,其中绝大多数是不平等条约。这些条约涉及割地、赔款、租界、驻兵、关税、法权,势力范围林林总总,将中国层层锁定,成为全球大小国家任意欺凌的对象。19世纪美国外交官、精通中国事务的何天爵曾愤怒地指出:“现代的万里长城主要是由鸦片箱构筑起来的”。

中国彼时的国运正如台湾著名学者柏杨在《中国人史纲》所叹息的:“一些中国曾经听说过,或从未听说过的弹丸小国,在过去就是前来进贡也不见得够资格的,现在排队而来。清政府手忙脚乱,无法招架,于是只要他们报出一个国名,清政府就一一跟他们签订条约。他们虽然没有把中国打败,结果却每一个都是战胜国,跟蝗蚁一样叮在中国身上吸血……在这些弹丸小国眼中,中国是一个土头土脑的大肥佬,如果不乘机坑骗一下,简直良心上过不去”。

在世界新老列强瓜分中国达到高潮时,竟然出现了人类文明史前所未有的荒唐现象:日本要求中国保证福建省不割让他国,法国要求清政府保证广东、广西、云南三省以及海南岛不割让他国,德国要求保证山东省不割让他国。而这些列强瓜分时连最起码的外交程序也没有,直接派军舰占领,声称有租借的必要,就万事大吉;英国先是强迫中国向它借钱,当日本收到清政府以此借款支付的战争赔款而撤出威海卫时,英军就开进了。所有这一切,清政府都不得不全盘接受。

这样的国家,其国民在世界上自然也备受歧视。美国政府允许日本留学生攻读军校,却不给中国学生同等待遇。中方交涉,美国国务院竟回函称“美国大学没有你们中国学生立足之地”。1882年美国通过的排华法案,更使华人成为美国历史上唯一被国会和联邦政府立法排挤和禁止移民的民族。

尽管清政府如此不堪,相对而言,它毕竟对内还能勉强维持国家形式上的统一,对外则还能保持一个国家形式上的主权独立,而且战争结束和内乱平定之后还能有短暂的和平与喘息时机。到了所谓的“亚洲第一共和国”亦即中华民国时期,则连这一点能力都丧失殆尽,甚至西方列强即使想签订不平等条约也不知道要和哪一个政府打交道了,百姓则是在接连不断的内战、外战和灾荒中流离失所、朝不保夕、残喘苟延。

中华民国时代是一个既没有带给中国独立,也没有带来统一,更没有带来富强与尊严的时代。在其短短的37年间,经济陷入破产,军阀混战,大规模的内战,外敌入侵,国土分裂,从上到下的完全腐败,等到它退出历史舞台的时候,中国几乎到了“蛮荒亡国”的地步:人均寿命不足35 岁,文盲高达80%。中国几千年唯一一次落后于印度就在此时。清末中国面临的三大挑战:极端的贫困和积弱不振、列强环伺的生存危机、国家的分裂和军队的军阀化,中华民国不但一个挑战都没有解决,反而更加恶化。

在民国初年,中国有三条道路选择。一是旧体制内的新人物袁世凯选择走向帝制。二是代表体制外民间力量的梁启超主张君主立宪。 三是孙中山主张继续革命。然而,一番博弈下来,袁世凯固然称帝失败,横死而身败名裂。梁启超心仪的开明专制——君主立宪也同样没有实现。至于一向主张革命的孙中山,也仍然一败涂地,抱憾离世。中华民国堪称中国历史上少有的所有博弈者全盘皆输的历史阶段:帝制的失败并不意味着共和的胜利,而是无一胜者,从而使中国陷入绝境和死路。《剑桥中华民国史》总结道:“自由主义政治和独裁——似乎彼此促成了各自的灭亡”。

对民国,当时记者黄远庸(笔名远生,有“民国第一名记”之称)曾有如下评论:“一国受人欺凌至此,吾人真乃生不如死。” 中华民国时期最著名的商人、身体力行实业救国的张謇(他曾被票选为民众“最敬仰人物“)1926年临死有如下遗言:“不幸而生中国,不幸而生今之时代”。

中国在世界上的地位即使成为一战、二战战胜国时也依然没有多少改变。一战后,中国代表团去参加巴黎和会,欲向法国总理颁发大总统勋章,却被一口回绝,最后什么权宜也没有争回。二战后,同盟国英美苏仍然侵害中国的主权,三国均在中国有军事力量存在,享有治外法权。

蒋介石时期的中华民国究竟如何,不妨听听美国总统杜鲁门在《口述自传》中打破外交惯例直言不讳的评论:

“蒋军从来不是良好的部队。我们把大约30.5亿元的军事装备,送给了这些所谓自由中国人士,结果,从北京到南京的战线上,蒋介石约五百万军队,却败给了共军,共产党拿了这些军事装备,把蒋和他的手下,扫出中国大陆。说实话,他一直都不是个东西。他们曾要求我派出数百万美国部队去拯救他,被我一口回绝。蒋介石实在无可救药,他们的腐败是与生俱来的,我决心不虚耗哪怕是一个美国人的生命去挽救他。我不在乎他们怎么说。他们继续嘲骂与控诉,说我对共产主义软化,又说我庸碌无知,但我不会屈服于这些指责。对于蒋和他的一伙人,我从来没有改变过自己的看法,这群混蛋一个个都该关进牢狱里。”

真正改变中国积弱积贫,一举消除了自曾国藩时代起就困厄国人的兵随将有的军阀化倾向,完全摆脱了国际强权势力对中国事务的干涉,重建国家统一和主权完整的,还是1949年由中国共产党带领中国人民建立的中华人民共和国。如果从1840年算起,中国完成这上述任务用了100年。

二、六十年一甲子的横坐标

中华人民共和国到现在已过一个甲子。纵向比,用台湾李敖大师的结论就是:今天的中国早就超越汉、唐。那么横向呢?我们不妨先从亚洲两大强国日本和印度说起。

日本在二战前就已经完成工业化,是世界五强之一。这也是它在二战期间能够同时挑战美国、英国、中国以及俄罗斯等世界大国的原因。二战它虽然是战败国,但技术和人力资源优势仍在。而且它在美国的军事占领和保护之下,享有巨大的和平红利。由于冷战的因素,得到了美国单方面的贸易优惠。60年间,它没有发生过战争、内乱,没有走过任何弯路。

但就是这样一个国家,在20年后的今天,它的债务占GDP的比重全球第一,高达225%——其政府预算中的一半要靠借债!2012年经济再度出现负增长,国民储蓄率(家庭储蓄在家庭可支配收入中所占比例)竟然连续5年仅为一向没有储蓄传统的美国的一半!与经济失去的20年相对应的,则是日本政治上混乱的20年。上世纪90年代日本出现了7任首相、9个内阁——这其中还发生了6次内阁改组。这期间最短命的羽田内阁仅存在了两个月零两天。21世纪头12年,更出现8个首相,11个内阁——这其中还有10次内阁改组。最短命的小泉第三内阁仅维持了一个月零十天(另一个短命的森喜朗内阁仅持续了三个月),实际已经丧失了治理国家的能力。这也是为什么鸠山上台后竟然异想天开地“疏美亲中”、 2011年日本发生百年一遇地震和海啸,时任首相的菅直人虽然无能还亲自指挥,结果导致核电站爆炸而在下台后被检方起诉!灾难过去几个月了,灾民还得不到安置,处于生活无着的状态。野田佳彦上台后竟然在主权问题上向中国挑衅(国有化钓鱼岛)。一个经济上20年无法摆脱困境、政治上20年持续混乱的制度,算是一种什么制度呢?

印度1947年独立建国,被认为接收了其殖民时代宗主国英国留下的民主、法治、行政体系以及流行全球的英语等优势资产。虽然前30年,发生过三次印巴战争、短暂的中印战争、全国性动乱引发的长达一年半(19个月)之久的全国戒严,但总体上来讲,其弯路要比中国小得多。尽管如此,1976年“文革”结束时,中国整体上仍然略优于印度(中国历史上唯一一次落后于印度是中华民国时期)。中国进入改革开放时代之后,印度和中国的差距迅速拉大。据印度媒体分析,经济发展上,它比中国落后10年,社会发展上,则落后30年。印度今天的GDP为1.8万亿美元,相当于中国2002年的水平。贫穷人口比例,印度也相当于2002年时的中国水平。城市人口水平,印度仅相当于中国1995年时的水平。在改善卫生条件上,中国领先印度17年。儿童死亡率,印度仅相当于中国1980年代以前的水平。世界还记得,2012年7月31日,印度发生了11年来最严重的断电事故,全国超过一半地区、约6.2亿人无电可用,受影响人数超过欧盟国家人口总和、美国人口的两倍。这不仅是印度10余年来最严重、也是全球历来最大规模的停电事故。此时世人也才知道原来这个全球最大的民主国家,竟然有1/3的家庭所获得的电力供应,还不足以点亮一个灯泡。

尽管印度拥有全球最多的耕地,但根据国际食品政策研究所2011年全球饥饿指数(2011 Global Hunger Index)显示,印度在81个国家中排名第67位(中国是第4位)——后33位被指饥饿是最主要的威胁,有两亿人的食品安全得不到保障,是世界上饥饿人数最多的国家。(全球饥饿指数根据一个国家营养不良人口的百分比,五岁以下体重过轻儿童的比例以及五岁以下儿童的死亡率等指标来衡量饥饿程度。)2012年1月,印度总理辛格将印度的营养不良问题称为国家的耻辱,因之前的一项调查显示,印度有42%的儿童体重过轻。

日本和印度,还有一个共性,即严重的社会不平等。 根据世界经济论坛在瑞士发表的2012年全球性别报告,日本和印度男女不平等程度在135个国家中分别名列第101名和105名,远远低于众多非洲国家、中东国家。中国是第69名,名列亚洲最佳五强行列(该指数都分列各洲前五名国家),优于欧洲的意大利、捷克、斯洛伐克、希腊和匈牙利等国。

最近,印度首都新德里一起强奸案引发全国愤怒和抗议浪潮,就是对女性长期所受歧视不满的总爆发。根据路透社的调查,对女性而言,印度是全球危险程度第四高的国家,比索马里还要糟,略好于战乱不断的阿富汗。新德里更是以“强奸之都”而恶名远扬。印度除了严重的男女不平等,还有更触目惊心的种姓制度。目前印度低种姓超过全国人口的一半,也就是说一半以上的群体遭遇到全方位的歧视,再加上广大受歧视的妇女,这等于是说在印度,绝大多数公民是二等公民 。

虽然日本和印度一个号称亚洲最发达的民主国家,一个号称全球最大的民主国家,但一个没有平等或者严重存在不平等的社会,是一个好的制度吗?

再来看看美国。美国依然是世界第一大经济体,却陷入1930年代以来最严重的经济危机中,5年间搞了四轮量化宽松却于事无补,其债务却已经高达16万亿——奥巴马上任时还只是10万亿,他竞选时声称第一个任期要减少一半至5万亿,结果却是不减反增。今天的美国每花出1美元,其中的45美分就来自借债。经济危机中,许多中小城市宣布破产。如果不是宪法规定州政府无权破产,许多资不抵债的州也早踏上破产的境地。美国是世界上仅有的两个设有债务上限的国家之一,但其债务上限自1960年以来,已经提高了78次,平均一年接近两次。债务上限的作用早就形同虚设。

如果以冷战后20年来看,美国先是搞出互联网泡沫,后又搞出房地产泡沫,最后以次贷危机为标志,出现大崩盘。对外则战略性错误地发动一场又一场战争,将其软硬实力无谓地大量消耗。

从国家进步的角度来看,美国的内外战略显然都出了严重的问题,和同时期中国抓住每一个机会高歌猛进形成鲜明对比。在中国面前,美国正在丢失一个个桂冠:全球制造业第一大国(美国超越英国后,100多年来第一次被另一个国家反超)、全球第一大汽车销售国、专利申请全球第一、对全球经济增长的贡献度——2009年,中国对全球经济增长的贡献度已经达到50%!

对于美国的制度,可以从不同角度去解读。倒是美国前总统卡特一席话,颇令人寻味。卡特2012年年末参加“三亚财经国际论坛”表示,他本人很讨厌攻击中国的言论,但很不幸,这就是美国政治生活运转的一部分,幸好选举结束后,这些言论会自动消失。

和卡特只谈现象不同,美国也有人开始把矛头指向美国民主制度本身。保守派评论家大卫·布鲁克斯在《纽约时报》有如下的评论:现在大家把民主奉为神圣的信条,殊不知建国之父很少谈民主,他们是以共和的原则来建构国家。民主与共和的一大区别在于,民主相信多数人,共和则对人性高度不信任,要设计一套制度来抑制变幻不定的人性所可能带来的破坏力。

和强调自由企业法则的美国不同,欧洲则是以福利制度为基础的庞大官僚体系、持续升高的收入再分配制度(税收)和政府控制企业为特征的模式。然而,这种模式在全球化和全球经济危机的冲击下,也同样不可持续。今天欧元区主权债务危机最重的希腊,失业率高达25%,青年人失业率高达60%,百姓生活整体倒退10多年,许多孩子被父母抛弃至学校、幼儿园、政府机关。希腊原本是欧洲自杀率最低的国家,希腊东正教更拒绝为自杀者举行葬礼。根据希腊卫生部报告,2011年上半年的自杀率与2010年同期相比暴增40%,甚至发生了在雅典宪法广场举枪自尽、带着90岁老母亲一起跳楼的骇人案例。

西方在空前严重的经济危机挑战面前,既没有出现指点迷津的思想大师,提不出指向性强、思路清晰的改革路线图,也没有出现类似于上世纪80年代里根、撒切尔夫人那样的政治领袖,以推进大刀阔斧的改革。整个社会依然处于混沌、迷茫、束手无策的境地,其精英的制度自信心迅速下降。

中国崛起过程中,西方一直都在质疑中国模式能否持续。应该说,谁都不是预言家,中国模式未来是否能够持续只能由历史来验证。但历史(这场危机)已经告诉我们,欧美的模式已经不可持续,必须进行重大、全面而又深刻的变革,否则将很难渡过难关。

类似于今天西方经济危机的考验,自中国崛起以来已经几乎成为常态。上世纪80年代,是拉美经济危机,90年代先是日本经济泡沫崩溃,再是东南亚经济危机和俄罗斯经济危机。 但中国大陆不但没有发生类似的危机,而且顶住了各种危机的冲击,进而又不得不担负起克服危机的区域或全球性责任。今天的中国,被称为金砖国家,但在五大金砖国家中,中国GDP的总量是其他四国总和的两倍还要多(广东一省GDP2008年就超过南非,和荷兰不相上下),全球竞争力更是以名列第29位而远远把另外四国抛在身后(巴西排名第48,南非排名第52,印度排名第59,俄罗斯排名第67)。反腐败问题,中国在人口过亿的发展中国家中,也是表现最好的。根据透明国际2011年排名:巴西73位,中国75位,印度95位,印尼100位,墨西哥100位,孟加拉国120位,巴基斯坦134位,尼日利亚143位,俄罗斯143位。

三、中国制度模式的特点

英国哲学家培根说:“历史使人明智”。当回顾历史,环顾全球,只要尊重客观事实,就不难得出这样的结论:今天的制度不仅是100多年来中国最成功的制度,也是60年总体看来全球表现最佳的制度。那么,究竟应该如何解读中国的制度模式呢?

新中国成立以来,在时代需求和吸取经验教训的前提下,不断进行着政治体制改革,在权力传接、监督和制约方面形成了中国特色的制度模式。这种特色,与目前深陷经济危机的西方和激发革命动荡的阿拉伯世界对比,便一目了然:西方是定期的换人换党,中国是定期的换人但不换党,阿拉伯社会既不换人也不换党。从目前看,中国的模式表现最佳。原因在于,一个制度要想良好运转,不仅要做到灵活性,还要做到延续性。西方的制度模式有灵活性,但缺乏延续性,往往随着新政府的建立而出现大幅度的改变。阿拉伯世界有连续性,但缺乏灵活性,最后制度走向僵化。如果说中国的政改是未雨绸缪,西方和阿拉伯世界则是迫在眉睫,刻不容缓。

中国今天的制度是在其政治和文化传统的基础上长期、内生性演变的结果。以领导权力的更替为例。中国最高权力的更替一方面具有传统的“禅让”色彩,但又打破古代“禅 让”终身制的局限,实行的是一党领导、全国选拔、长期培养、年龄限制、定期更替。这其中“一党领导、全国选拔、长期培养”是对传统政治文化的继承,“年龄限制”则是中国独创,“定期更替”则是对西方的借鉴。这种模式基本综合了西方和阿拉伯世界制度的优点,而避免其缺点。一党领导,可以避免委托代理风险、制订长期的发展战略,全国选拔和长期的培养可以在产生成本不高的前提下尽最大可能选出最优秀的人才,可以避免民主制度的政治平庸化,定期更替则可以带来新的血液,更避免政治强人的出现。

最后,不妨借用一下诺贝尔经济学奖获得者科斯的一段话作为中国复兴的注脚。他在2008年7月参加中国经济变革30周年的国际研讨会上说:“过去30年中国究竟发生了什么事情,中国以外的人对此并不十分了解,但我们都清楚中国的变化,对全人类具有最高的重要性。中国的奋斗是全人类的奋斗。”在我们中国人看来,中国对世界的贡献,并不仅仅是担当了全球经济发展的火车头,也不是从欧洲每年进口1000亿美元的商品,不是入世10年每年平均进口7500亿美元商品,也不是对欧洲的投资超过欧洲对中国的投资,不是减免了非洲等第三世界国家的多少债务和提供了少援助,而是中国走出了了一种新的而且是十分成功的模式。这也难怪《纽约时报》著名的专栏作家托巴斯·弗里德曼不无忧心地感叹:我很不愿意地对我女儿说,你只有去中国才能看到未来。

显然,当西方精英开始失去自信的时候,中国正迎来自己的自信时代。

 

The original Chinese article was written by Luzheng Song

Translated by Xiaoyuan Li. Xiaoyuan is a volunteer for the China Program at The Carter Center.

Photo: Yu Yuan Area, China. From INC.com

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