加载中…
正文 字体大小:

老江湖——经济学人在中国

(2012-03-06 10:12:27)
标签:

经济

学人

在中国

economist

杂谈

分类: 英语时文

爱思英语编者按:《经济学人》是一份由伦敦经济学人报纸有限公司出版的杂志,于1843年9月由詹姆士·威尔逊创办。杂志的写作风格十分有特色,注重于如何在最小的篇幅内告诉读者最多的信息,大多数文章写得机智,幽默,有力度,严肃又不失诙谐。从2012年1月28日出版的最新一期开始,英国《经济学人》杂志开辟了新的中国专栏,为有关中国的文章提供更多的版面。这是70年来,该杂志首次为一个国家开辟专栏。上一次为国家开辟专栏,是在1942年开辟的美国专栏。 

The Economist in China

《经济学人》在中国

Old hands

老江湖

Canton 

IN OUR nearly 170-year history, The Economist’s coverage of China’s Boxer Uprising of 1900 was not a high point. On July 21st 1900, under the headline, “The Situation in China”, we reported without a shred of doubt that the Chinese government had “succeeded in murdering all the Ambassadors of all the Powers who sent representatives to Pekin, with their wives, secretaries, interpreters, and guards.” We adjudged that “China has deliberately inflicted upon all Europe and Japan an insult without a precedent in history,” and that Europe “must avenge it in some adequate way.”

在《经济学人》近170年的刊史中,对1900年中国义和团运动的报道难称亮点。1900年7月21日的“中国形势”一文以不容置疑的口吻写道:“中国政府对向北京派驻代表的强国举起屠刀,杀害了所有国家的大使以及他们的夫人、秘书、翻译和卫兵。”文章评论道,“这是中国对欧洲国家和日本的前所未有的肆意侮辱”,欧洲“必须给予适当方式的还击”。

If you missed this unprecedented mass murder of diplomats in your history books, that is because it did not happen (though the embassy district was indeed under siege by the Boxers for 55 days); it was a fiction propagated by Western newspapers, led by London’s Daily Mail and then the Times, with The Economist joining in days later but no less ardently (the newspapers later backtracked, without apology). The vicious and disproportionate response of the troops of the Allied powers to the Boxer threat, just 11 years before the downfall of the Qing dynasty, is now fixed in the Chinese lore of Western oppression.

如果你在历史课本中并没有找到关于这次针对外交人员的空前大屠杀的只言片语,那是因为此事根本就从未发生过,虽然使馆区确实被义和团围困了55天。这件事情完全是西方媒体的蓄意捏造,由《每日邮报》最先发起,《泰晤士报》接过大旗,后来加入的《经济学人》热情也是丝毫不减(后来这些报纸对此事改口,但从未做过任何道歉)。满清王朝灭亡前11年八国联军对义和团危机的过激反应和丧心病狂、罪行滔天的恶性报复,作为西方列强对中国残酷迫害的苦难记忆,被深深地印在了中国人的脑海里。

So it is with humility that we suggest that the quality of our reporting on China has improved somewhat since then. One crucial improvement is that we have our own feet on the ground in China, now numbering more than ever—three pairs of them in Beijing, one pair soon in Shanghai, we hope, and more in Hong Kong (as well as our colleagues in the Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister company). Four weeks ago, we began devoting a section to China in the print edition each week, the first time we have added an individual country report since we added America 70 years ago. Now we have introduced this blog on China as a companion to the expanded print coverage.

所以,怀着一丝歉意与惶恐,我们需要指出,自那以后,我们对于中国的报道的质量有所提高。很重要的一个原因就是我们在中国有着自己的报道人员,如今他们的人数比以往任何时候都多,我们在北京有3名记者,上海也很快会有一名,香港更多(还包括姐妹公司“经济学人智库”的同事)。4周前,我们开始在每周的印刷版中开设中国专栏,这是70年前加入美国专栏以来首次单独为一个国家开设专栏。现在我们又开设了这个关于中国的博客,以配合印刷版中的更多报道。

But even with fewer or no feet on the ground, The Economist has been opining on this place since the newspaper’s first months of publication in 1843, when updates from “Canton” arrived in the post, by way of a slow boat. The first extended analysis of China came in the eighth issue, dated October 14th 1843. The subject may ring a bit familiar: the potential of China’s consumer market to buy foreign imports. The Economist’s founding editor, the Scottish businessman James Wilson (who in those days wrote virtually the entire newspaper) was not bullish: “The truth is, it requires something more than treaties between governments to make trade.” Mr Wilson observed trenchantly that Chinese consumers have their own peculiar needs that are not met by foreign products, and that their incomes will need to rise as well. “We must not forget” of the Chinese, he wrote (without a byline, same as today), “… the mere liberty or opportunity of buying our goods, does not confer on them at once the ability to do so.” By 2012, it can now be noted, the consumer market for foreign luxury goods developed rather nicely.

但即使是在缺少中国报道人员的时候,在1843年《经济学人》创刊发行的头几个月里,当来自广州的消息通过慢速邮轮抵达邮局,它就已经开始报道中国。首个关于中国的深入报道出现在1843年10月14日的第8期,主题或许似曾相识:中国市场对进口产品的消费潜力。《经济学人》的创刊编辑,苏格兰商人詹姆斯•威尔逊对此并不十分乐观:“事实上,要想进行贸易,需要的可不仅仅是政府条约”,他那时负责撰写几乎整张报纸。威尔逊敏锐地注意到,中国消费者有着外国商品很难满足的独特需求,中国人的收入也有待提高。他写道(像今天一样并未在标题下署名),“我们要明白,对于中国人来说,仅仅为他们提供一个可以自由购买我们产品的机会并不等于就给了他们可以马上购买的能力。”而到了今天的2012年,中国的进口奢侈品市场发展的是不错了。

In December 1843, The Economist relayed its first reported anecdotes about China: tales of foreigners being deceived by fake Chinese products. These included, according to one written account, “counterfeit hams” made of wood, coated in dirt and wrapped with an outer layer of hog’s skin: “The whole is so curiously painted and prepared, that a knife is necessary to detect the fraud.” Another foreigner, “M. Osbeck”, told of being duped by a blind flower-salesman on the street: “I learned from this instance that whosoever will deal with the Chinese must make use of his utmost circumspection; and even then must run the risk of being cheated.”

1843年12月《经济学人》首次转载了关于中国的轶事:外国人被中国假货欺骗的故事。其中一个记载的是“假火腿”,把木块裹进泥巴里,外面包上一层猪皮,涂以彩绘,整个“火腿”做得天衣无缝,需要用小刀才验明正身。另一个外国人M.奥斯贝克讲述了他被街上的盲人卖花者欺骗的故事,他说:“从这件事情里我明白了无论是谁要同中国人打交道都必须慎之又慎,即使如此也难免上当受骗。”

The same 1843 article, headlined “Russian Trade Overland With China”, observed that Russia had “a great moral superiority” over the British in trade with China because they were not “engaged in the degrading trade in opium”. For The Economist, this marked the beginning of an estimable record in opposition to Britain’s and the other European powers’ exploitive, militarily backed trade policy with China. In 1845, The Economist urged the reduction of a steep tariff on Chinese tea, in line with the central founding principle of the newspaper: free trade. In 1859, The Economist, very much against the tide of national sentiment, castigated Britain’s arrogant treatment of China and argued in vain against waging what would become known as the Second Opium War: “There is nothing like the arrogance with which Englishmen are disposed to treat the great Oriental nations,” the newspaper wrote in one edition, going on to “record our emphatic protest against a false and arrogant tone of dictatorial ignorance which is growing up in England with regard to Oriental States…” This moral outrage against intervention in China did not come without patronising arrogance of The Economist’s own, including this, also from 1859: “No nation in the world is so slow as the Chinese in taking in new ideas; and their prejudices are so deep-rooted that nothing but time can alter them.”

同样是1843年的文章“俄国和中国的陆路贸易”称,俄国人同中国人的贸易与英国人相比“在道德上有着巨大的优势”,因为他们不做“可耻的鸦片贸易”。这标志着《经济学人》对英国和其他欧洲强国对中国的以武力为支撑的掠夺性的贸易政策的反对态度的开始,这种反对态度在当时实在难能可贵。《经济学人》创刊之初就秉承自由贸易的理念,基于此,1845年《经济学人》呼吁降低对中国茶叶征收的高额关税。1859年《经济学人》不管全英国人的感情,痛斥英国对中国的野蛮态度,虽然起不了任何作用却也义无反顾地反对发动后来所说的“第二次鸦片战争”,“英国人对这个伟大的东方国家所表现出的傲慢无人可比,”《经济学人》在某一期写道,“英国对东方国家的态度正变得越来越专横和无知,这极其错误、极其自大,我们强烈反对……”《经济学人》的这种对入侵中国的道德谴责中也带有一种以施恩者自居的傲慢,例如这段同样出自于1859年的话:“在接受新事物方面,世界上没有哪个国家像中国这样愚钝和迟缓,中国人顽固的偏见,要想使之改变,恐怖也只有时间。”

Not only did the newspaper argue against military intervention in China, it also at almost the same time threw in its lot with the authoritarian Qing regime in Beijing against the Taiping rebels who nearly toppled the dynasty in more than a decade of carnage. The Economist demonstrated a bias in favour of regime stability in 1862 that would be comforting to the leaders running China today: “The Government of the Emperor,—which we fear that England has done too much to shake and injure,—bad as it is, is not a destructive Government. All its vices have been the vices of a corrupt and greedy bureaucracy, not of a desolating anarchy.” Meanwhile, “the Tae-pings are a mere horde of depredators.” (A new book by Stephen R. Platt, “Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom”, offers a dramatically different assessment of both sides in that bloody civil war, which the Manchu Qing ultimately won with the help of the British and American governments).

《经济学人》不仅反对对中国的武力入侵,同时也支持北京的清政府对太平天国叛乱的镇压。太平天国在十多年的屠戮中几乎将清王朝推翻。《经济学人》1862年表现出的对稳定政局的偏爱应该会比较合当前中国政府的口味:“满清王朝(我们甚至担心英国对它造成了太多的动摇和伤害)虽然糟糕,但起码还不是破坏性的政府,它的罪行充其量只是政权的腐败和官僚的贪婪,而不是令人绝望的动乱。”另一方面,“太平军只是一群只知道杀人放火的乌合之众。”(斯蒂芬R.普拉特的新书《天国的秋天》对这场血腥内战的双方都给予了颠覆性的评价,得到英美政府支持的满清政府最终获得了胜利。)

Such 19th century insights were hindered greatly by the fact that The Economist relied heavily on the Foreign Office and on other press reports for its information. After the Qing dynasty fell in 1911, this began to change. Accounts from a “special correspondent” in Beijing in 1913 accurately conveyed the sorry and tenuous state of the young Republican government of that period. In June 1949, when Mao Zedong and his band of revolutionaries were on the verge of establishing the People’s Republic, the newspaper’s “special correspondent” in Hong Kong relayed the discipline that prevailed among Communist soldiers, the transformation of its media into “organs of propaganda”, and the nervous mood of some among the public, in a long article titled, “China under the Communists”:

19世纪的见解受制于信息获取渠道,《经济学人》主要依靠外交部和其他媒体报道来获取信息。1911年清王朝倒台后这一局面开始有所改变。1913年一个“特派记者”发自北京的报道准确地描述了共和政府初生时的无助和脆弱。1949年当毛泽东和他的革命者即将建立人民共和国时,《经济学人》在香港的“特派记者”在一篇题为“共产党的中国”的长篇报道中转述了共产党军队的纪律,记载了党的媒体向“宣传工具”的转变和部分民众的不安情绪:

There has been no terror yet in Peking or Tientsin, and it is probably too

early to say whether Communist China will develop into another police

state…Nevertheless, the Chinese wealthier and middle-classes and all those who

had any contact with the nationalist regime are in a state of considerable

anxiety about the

future.

北平和天津尚未出现恐慌,共产党的中国是否会成为另一个极权国家还不得而知……不过,中国的富裕阶级、中产阶级和所有与国民政府有任何联系的人目前都处于对未来的极度焦虑之中。

The reporter also wisely dismissed the persistently sanguine view of some British merchants in Hong Kong, who held that not much would change under the Communists. Astutely, the correspondent believed it more likely “that what is happening is something completely without precedent in Chinese history of the past one hundred, or one thousand, years.”

报道者也反对了香港一些英国商人的盲目乐观,这非常明智,这些商人固执地认为共产党治下的情况不会有太多改变。记者敏锐地注意到,“目前发生的事情在中国历史上过去一百年甚至一千年间都不曾有过。”

A year later, in 1950, The Economist gave an eyewitness account of the new China with a colourful dispatch titled “Marxist Shanghai”. Authored “by a correspondent recently in China”, it talked of a city fascinated with its communist condition, with bookshops full of literature on Marxist theory, communists putting on plays and the sounds of the song “The East is Red” playing in the streets:

一年后,1950年《经济学人》在一篇题为“马克思主义者的上海”的文章中对新中国作了发自第一现场的报道,这篇署名为“一位最近在中国的记者”的文章描述了一个沉迷于共产主义的城市,书店里摆满了马克思主义理论著作,共产党上演各种戏剧,大街上播放着歌曲《东方红》:

But no impression could be more deep or more lasting than that of the

immense evangelical force of the movement. As one sees it in Shanghai it is a

pill presented with a little coating of jam. The attack is insistent, for new

hearts go hand-in-hand with new thoughts and in this process of regeneration

‘self-criticism’ plays so large a part and seems to be having so considerable an

effect that it deserves at least closer attention than the slightly sneering

tone in which it is often dismissed in the Western

press…

但是没有什么比新生派力量发起的这场狂热运动给人的印象更深刻、影响更持久的了。就像在上海看到的一样,共产主义风暴就像包裹着糖衣的片剂,药效历久弥新,因为新社会必须有新的指导思想,在这种重塑和新生的过程中,“自我批评”发挥了重要作用,有着巨大的影响力,它至少应该比对它不屑一顾的西方媒体所使用的那种略带嘲讽的语气得到更多的关注……

Over the next quarter-century, until Mao’s death in 1976, the newspaper’s reporting (like that of others) was hampered by an inability to travel the country at will. As such, Mao’s purges were reported, but without enough detail of their brutality, and the calamitous famine of the Great Leap Forward was not grasped in real time. The crazed excesses of the Cultural Revolution were reported with much more clarity and detail, thanks to the distinguished work of Emily MacFarquhar, whose expertise on China stood out both at the newspaper and among her peers in journalism; still more of the insanity and chaos would come to light only much later. This was how Mao wanted it, of course. Though The Economist was by no means blind to Mao’s totalitarian rule, the newspaper was not able to observe firsthand its worst effects. As a consequence, The Economist rendered too kind a verdict upon Mao’s death in 1976. Among other accomplishments, he was credited with having built an “egalitarian state where nobody starves”; true, perhaps, that nobody was starving to death at the moment of writing, but the horrible fact that 20m to 30m of Mao’s subjects had perished in famine would emerge only years later.

接下来的四分之一个世纪,直到1976年毛泽东去世,由于再不能到共产主义的中国自由行动,《经济学人》对中国的报道像其他报刊媒体一样受到了限制。这在以下事件中一览无余:虽然报道了毛泽东的大清洗,但缺少对其残酷程度和细节的描述,对“大跃进”造成的灾难性的大饥荒也没能在第一时间给予报道。对疯狂的“文化大革命”的报道倒是详尽深入,这得益于艾米丽•麦克法夸尔的卓越工作,她关于中国的专业知识无论在本报还是新闻界同行中都当属翘楚;不过那个时代更多的疯狂和混乱要时隔多日才能浮出水面,这当然是毛泽东求之不得的。虽然《经济学人》对毛的独裁统治并不是视而不见,但无法通过第一手资料了解其灾难性的后果,其结果就是,1976年毛泽东去世时,《经济学人》给予他的评价过于正面,除了其他所谓成就以外,他被认为是建立了一个“无人挨饿的平等国家”;没错,在写那篇文章时或许真的没人饿死,但毛造成的2000-3000万人死于饥荒的恐怖事实只会在多年以后才被世人知晓。

Since Mao’s death and China’s opening, The Economist has been able to report more knowledgeably from inside the country. The newspaper first took full advantage of this in December 1977, with 24 pages of reportage and insight on China from Ms MacFarquhar and two other senior staffers, with the cover title “Chairman Hua’s China”. Given that Hua Guofeng, who was Mao Zedong’s hand-picked successor, would not last another year in power, some predictions understandably hit well wide of the mark, and there were some grave underestimations of the damage done to China during Mao’s rule. This included the judgment that “most Chinese are rightly grateful for what their government has done since 1949”. Such are the hazards of contemporaneous writing.

随着毛泽东的去世和中国的开放,《经济学人》得以从中国大陆发回更为丰富的报道。这一优势首次体现在1977年,麦克法夸尔女士和其他两名资深记者用24页的篇幅对中国做了深入报道,封面标题是“华主席的中国”。考虑到毛泽东钦定的接班人华国锋后来不到一年就丧失了统治权,也就不难理解为什么当时的一些预测偏得离谱。当时的报道也严重低估了毛泽东的统治对中国造成的破坏程度,包括如下评价:“大部分中国人有理由感激他们的政府自1949年以来所做的一切”。这就是同时代的新闻报道的危害之处。

We know today with the benefit of a longer lens that many Chinese are more grateful instead for what their government has done since those words were written. As it happens, Norman Macrae, the then-deputy editor of The Economist, predicted this would be the case. His prescient contribution to that 1977 report, beginning under the title, “A miracle has been postponed”, predicted that Chinese leaders would soon reinterpret Mao as they liked (while not abandoning him in name), liberalise the economy and launch decades of 10% annual economic growth. Fifteen years later, in 1992, Jim Rohwer explained in another special report how the reforming Chinese economy was even more vibrant than outsiders supposed, and was poised to keep booming for yet another 20 years.

今天借助更长的历史广角镜我们得知,恰恰相反,事实上许多中国人更加感谢1977年的那些文字码出来之后政府的所作所为。《经济学人》当时的副主编诺曼•麦克雷正好预言出这一情况。他在1977年的报道中的那篇先验性的文章“迟来的奇迹”中预言,中国领导人将很快按照他们的理解重新诠释毛泽东(但不会将其完全赶下神坛),发动经济自由化改革,开始数十年的高达10%的经济增长。15年后的1992年,吉姆•罗沃在另一篇特别报道中称,改革中的中国经济比外界的猜测更具活力,中国即将迎来另一个繁荣的20年。

The newspaper was sometimes too close to the action to get the underlying story right: On May 20th 1989, The Economist (and other Western media) almost wrote Deng Xiaoping’s political obituary, swayed by rumours just hours before our publishing deadline that he was stepping down in the face of student protests; the newspaper noted the 84-year-old Deng’s shaky use of chopsticks on the occasion of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit that week. “And while Mr Deng grew older and feebler, the China around him changed, too,” we wrote. Weeks later, Deng was in as firm control of power as ever, and the newspaper would lament the bloody crackdown near Tiananmen Square that proved it so.

有时候《经济学人》也会由于对事件跟进过快而变得当局者迷,忽略了潜在的真相:1989年5月20日,由于在出版前几小时听到了邓小平迫于抗议学生的压力而辞职的传言,《经济学人》(还有其他西方媒体)差点发布了邓小平的政治卜告;《经济学人》注意到那一周在为到访的苏联领导人米哈伊尔•戈尔巴乔夫举行的接待会上,84岁高龄的邓小平握着筷子的手不住颤抖。我们写道,“随着邓小平的日益老去和衰弱,他周围的中国也随之发生着改变,”几周以后,邓小平像以前一样紧握政权,不久后《经济学人》则对以嗜血的方式证明了这一事实的天安门惨案致以了哀悼。

The Economist established a permanent China bureau in Beijing in 1997 (the application was first made in 1994; the authorities were in no hurry to approve it). From that perch, the newspaper chronicled the historic transformation of the economy and China’s place in the world that has compelled so many news organisations, including ours, to expand our presence. The country’s transformation continues: in this week’s China section, we note that economic development of interior cities like Chengdu and Chongqing has progressed to the point that history’s largest in-country migration of workers is now reversing its flow. Both in print and here at Analects, we endeavour to convey a fuller picture of a China that has changed dramatically since we began paying attention in 1843—politically, socially, culturally and economically. Certainly, the story has developed beyond the narrow scope that the newspaper conceived in that first article about China, in October 1843:

1997年《经济学人》在北京设立了永久性办事处(首次申请在1994年就已提出,政府批准过程拖了很久)。《经济学人》在这里记录下了中国的经济和国际地位的历史巨变,这一转变促使包括我们在内的许多新闻机构扩大它们在中国的规模。中国的变化仍在持续:在本周《经济学人》的中国专栏里,我们注意到了成都和重庆等内地城市的经济发展达到这样的程度“史上规模最大的国内民工流出现回潮”。在印刷版和本“论语”博客中,我们都努力展现出一个更为全面的中国,自从我们1843年首次给予关注以来,它已在政治、社会、文化经济方面发生了翻天覆地的变化。当然了,故事的发展早已超出了《经济学人》1843年10月在第一篇关于中国的文章中考虑问题的狭小视野:

…that our demand for their produce will stimulate increased industry,

produce among them more wealth and more ability to consume our goods, is

certain; and a large and regularly increasing trade with this extraordinary

people may be experienced for many years to come, and in the course of

time…arrive at an amount at present little thought

of.

……我们对他们产品的需求将会刺激工业增长,使他们拥有更多的财富和能力消费我们的商品,这是毫无疑问的;与这一非凡民族的大规模贸易将会在未来许多年持续增长,随着时间的推移……达到目前无法想象的规模。

Little thought of indeed. Allowing for grievous errors like the account of the Boxer Uprising, we have done our best to provide worthwhile reporting and analysis on China in our pages for nearly 170 years. Long may useful fragments continue to find their way into print, and into these Analects.

确实一点也没有想到。除了关于义和团运动的报道的严重错误,《经济学人》在近170年的历史中都力求提供有价值的中国报道和分析。但愿印刷版和本“论语”博客中能够一如即往地刊登有价值的小文。

原文地址:http://www.24en.com/coop/ecocn/2012-03-06/140375.html

0

阅读 评论 收藏 转载 喜欢 打印举报
  • 评论加载中,请稍候...
发评论

    发评论

    以上网友发言只代表其个人观点,不代表新浪网的观点或立场。

      

    新浪BLOG意见反馈留言板 电话:4006900000 提示音后按1键(按当地市话标准计费) 欢迎批评指正

    新浪简介 | About Sina | 广告服务 | 联系我们 | 招聘信息 | 网站律师 | SINA English | 会员注册 | 产品答疑

    新浪公司 版权所有