中国在进步
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2008-07-17 09:59:31  【打印
China and the progression of rights



It is thirty years since I made my first visit to China and sixteen since I led a British mission there “to discuss matters of mutual concern, including human rights”. It was not easy – indeed it was a significant achievement – to get the words “human rights” included in the definition of our mission. Given the strength of the media spotlight that Beijing’s hosting of the Olympics has already focused on China’s human rights record, this is as good a time as any to take stock - and, perhaps, to bring some balance into a relentlessly critical, and, in my view, unsophisticatedly black-and-white portrayal of life in China today.

It was as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer that I was invited to visit the People’s Republic as long ago as August 1978. The chance to see something of the country, when it was still very much in the shadow of the Cultural Revolution, has served to equip me with a mental yardstick, against which to judge developments over the following thirty years.

The Gang of Four were universal scapegoats; and the re-emerging Deng Xiaoping was only just getting into his stride. My first memories are of the ill-lit, single-track road to the city, from Beijing’s then third world airport; and my most relevant (from the last day of our ten day visit) memories are of the only “court” we were able to find. It was in the heart of a Shanghai police cantonment - and devoid of any visible activity. The two “judges”, whom we were able to find, were retired generals. Neither had ever recorded an acquittal.

Fast forward to this year’s opening of Beijing airport’s third terminal (bigger than the whole of Heathrow) and the cityscape of extraordinarily modern and iconic buildings being built as the City prepares for the Olympics - and the pace of perceivable physical change has been more than fantastic. Against that impressive background, it would be churlish indeed for anyone to contend that there has been no parallel progress in the enhancement of rights – economic, social and civil alike. The personal freedoms that ordinary Chinese citizens now enjoy would have been totally unthinkable at the time of my first visit.

Political reform, of course, has been much less in evidence. But from 1978 onwards China has been taking action to establish the basic pillars of a justice system – in contrast to the overriding “rule of man”, which characterised the Cultural Revolution. And since 1992, the year of my delegation’s visit, formal activity towards the establishment of the rule of law has been more or less continuous. Enforcement has no doubt often trailed behind enactment, but the sheer volume (and indeed the quality) of legislation incorporating human rights protection has indeed been impressive.

In the context of international law, China has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (2001); and has signed, but not yet ratified, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1998). In the field of domestic law, the passing of the reformed Criminal Procedure Law, 1996 began to recognise the case for the presumption of innocence, for a bail system and for defence lawyers.

Fulfilment of that objective has been less than complete; and the system is in continuing need of updating. But these have been significant steps forward in the establishment of defendant’s rights to fair trial. So too, in 2004, the incorporation into revisions of the Chinese constitution of the need to respect and protect human rights. Nor has China stood still since then. This year alone sees significant steps forward in the protection of employees’ rights, with the new Labour Contract Law (effective since January this year). This requires written contracts of employment and establishes protection from summary dismissal. So too the revised Lawyers Law (effective from June this year) enhances the role and rights of defence lawyers – and, once again therefore, the prospects of fair trial.

Nor should we fail to acknowledge the truly laudable achievement, over the last decade, of lifting more than 150 million people out of absolute poverty. This has been a striking fulfilment of Jiang Zemin’s declaration, to my delegation in 1992, that the need to feed people was his most pressing priority. From the perspective of some countries in Asia, China is now perceived, almost literally, as a land of milk and honey. This certainly is the view expressed by refugees, who have recently chosen, and been able, to escape into China from North Korea – and who have declared themselves astonished (I quote from a leaflet published on their behalf) to find that “personal property and possessions are permitted … the harvest is mine to keep … and there is freedom of residence, freedom of speech and freedom to travel wherever and whenever I want to go”.

Benchmarks of this kind are significant and any society would be justifiably proud of such progress. But it does not receive the recognition which it surely deserves in most media coverage of modern China. Certainly it has carried no weight in the balance of recent press reports on the balance of China’s human rights record. So why is there this recognition gap? How far is the view justified that China should have done more, towards a greater realisation of, in particular, civil and political rights? And even more particularly, how far should it, could it, have done so in this year of hosting the Olympics?

Mark Leonard, in an impressively perceptive book, ‘What does China think?’ writes, “China’s rise is different: it is the big story of our age and its after-effects could echo down generations to come.” This is certainly one reason why China is being called to account in a way that, rightly or wrongly, other smaller, less significant nations, are not. There is also a feeling of disappointment, again highlighted by Mark Leonard, that even though China has grown richer it has not become more “like us”. There has been an assumption that economic growth and development would inevitably lead to the demise of the Chinese Communist Party and to the growth of multi-party democracy. This has not happened. Indeed, the Party’s ability to reinvent itself has so far ensured its own survival and stability.

This certainly challenges Western concepts of the supremacy of liberal democracy, as being the only way to guarantee the freedoms and rights of the governed. But in a society as ancient and continental in scale as China, whose history has experienced long periods of conflict and turmoil, stability is bound to be a dominant objective. Against that background, there can be no doubt that relations between our two

countries are best conducted within a framework of mutually respectful dialogue and exchange of views.

It is that which has characterised the work of two organisations with which I have been myself closely involved, namely the Great Britain – China Centre and the Thomson Foundation. If one takes the issue of freedom of expression as one example, it is notable that China has indeed honoured its commitment to the International Olympics Committee to remove restrictions on foreign journalists’ ability to interview people within China. So too, it has recently allowed access to the long-blocked BBC News website in English.

These two examples underline what folly it is that Hu Jia, an Aids activist, has been imprisoned for “subverting state security”, when we would consider that he was merely exercising his right to express his views on human rights. So, in spite of the significant progress to which I have already alluded, it remains the case that the Chinese authorities appear still to lack the confidence to allow their own citizens to debate and argue freely – whether in print or on electronic media – still less to allow free access to foreign websites. Not unlike some other governments, China’s rulers are still unwisely unwilling to accept criticism of their rights record – all the more so when such criticism comes from overseas.

Freedom of expression and press liberalisation must, as we believe, be the way forward - and ultimately in China’s own interests. A more balanced account of the diversity of views about, for example, Sino-Tibetan relationships and related events would have been more likely to reach the outside world, if the media had had more and not less freedom to observe and report on such matters. Media independence is often the only force that brings incompetence or misbehaviour onto a nation’s agenda – a necessary process, if such misdeeds or misbehaviour are to be identified and corrected. For this reason, the training of Chinese journalists by the Thomson Foundation (and similar work by other UK organisations) on freedom of expression are important interventions. And I am more than convinced that they help to move the debate forward. Encouragingly, there are signs that press freedom is growing in China. Magazines such as Caijing (Finance) play a role in holding the government to account. But progress of this kind is patchy since what is allowed in one month may not be tolerated in the next - which, understandably, makes editors nervous and cautious.

The promotion of the rule of law is an oft-stated goal of the Chinese government - and an organisation like the Great Britain – China Centre works hard with Chinese partners in the judiciary, police and procuratorate, to secure the introduction of best practice models from European experience – for example, in detention centre supervision, human rights training and better procedural processes. No matter how well crafted legislation may be (and there is a good deal now on China’s statute book) it is practice which is ultimately the bedrock for effective protection of human rights. Unless those responsible for implementation understand, and indeed have an interest in understanding, what the law seeks to protect, the law itself is empty -or, at best, a possible ground for appeal. On its own, the law can be no more than an instigator of necessary change. So again training programmes, dialogue and workshops - the very heart of GBCC’s work, - can do much to secure the necessary understanding and practical acceptance of the legal requirements. But we should never underestimate just how daunting a task this can be. By way of example, there are in China over 1.7 million police officers. Getting every one of them to understand and embrace the principles of human rights in their day-to-day policing must be recognised as no mean task.

Ultimately China, the Chinese government and the Chinese people, will determine the level and scope of the rights and freedoms to be enjoyed. We in the West can support dialogue and offer encouragement. We can certainly continue to hold China to account for the promises it has made – and, in particular, the promise of the Beijing Olympics officials that the games would be "an opportunity to foster democracy, improve human rights, and integrate China with the rest of the world". But equally, I believe, we have a duty to inform ourselves of what is actually happening in China - rather than relying on alarmist knee jerk reactions to China’s growing role – political as well as economic - on the international stage.

Upon the basis of our own two thousand years of history, I remain a firm believer in the model of parliamentary democracy and in the values and benefits it confers upon the people of the United Kingdom. But I am prepared to recognise that China, with a history twice as long as ours, and a comprehensive culture of its own making, may yet be forging a new model, that will work for a unified country of one fifth of the world’s population. It is more likely than not to be borne out of its own kaleidoscopic cultural experience and political philosophies, rather than based upon a copycat model of Western historic development.

中国在进步



我第一次访问中国,是在30年前。而我率领英国代表团访华,“商讨包括人权在内等共同关心的问题”,则是在16年前。将“人权”这个词纳入我们访华的使命并非易事,那的确是一个重大成就。鉴于北京今年主办奥运会,媒体报道聚焦在中国的人权记录上,目前正是对此加以评价的良好时机。同时,我们也许应该借此机会,平衡一下那些对中国现状的无情批评——在我看来,那些批评非黑即白,过于简单。

今非昔比

早在1978年8月,我以英国财政部影子大臣的身份应邀访华。当时,中国仍未摆脱文革阴影,我有机会了解中国的一些情况,从而建立了一个心理准绳;此后的30年,我得以用这一标准衡量中国的发展。

那时,“四人帮”是一切问题的替罪羊,东山再起的邓小平刚刚复出。我脑海中最初的记忆,是北京落后的、属于第三世界的机场,还有那条从机场通向市内、灯光昏暗、狭窄的公路。而我最重要的记忆(来自于我们10日访华行程的最后一天),则是我们能够找到的、唯一一家“法院”。它位于上海公安局之内,看不出有任何庭审活动迹象。我们能够找到的两位“法官”,都是退休的将军。在这两位法官的宣判记录中,没有无罪之人。

现在,让我把时间快进到今日中国。我们可以看到今年启用的北京首都机场3号航站楼,它比整个希思罗机场规模还要大;我们可以看到在北京筹办奥运会之际,新建的、现代的标志性建筑所呈现出的一片都市景象;以及我们可以感受到的、极为出色的变化步伐。在这种宏大的背景下,如果有人声称,中国在经济、社会和公民权利上都没有做出任何相应的改善,那将是过于苛刻。与我初次访华时相比,如今普通中国人所享有的个人自由,完全是不可想象的。

当然,中国的政治改革没有那么显著。但自1978年以后,中国一直采取措施,建立司法体系的基本支柱。这与以前凌驾于法律之上的“人治”,形成了鲜明对比,而“人治”正是文革的特点。自1992年我率团访华以来,中国一直在力图建设法治社会,而这种努力基本上没有间断过。毫无疑问,中国的执法常常落后于立法;但包含人权保护内容立法的绝对数量(实际上还有质量),的确是令人瞩目的。

在国际法方面,中国签署并批准了《社会、经济和文化权利国际公约》(2001年);已签署、但尚未批准《公民权利和政治权利国际公约》(1998年)。在国内法律方面,对于保释制度和辩护律师而言,1996年通过的修订后的《刑事诉讼法》,开始承认无罪推定原则。

这一目标一直没有完全落实,司法体系也需要不断更新。但在确立被告公平审判权方面,上述变化都是重大的进步。2004年,中国在宪法中加入了必须尊重并保护人权的修订条例,这也同样是重大的进步。此后,中国没有止步不前。今年,中国颁布新《劳动合同法》今年1月开始施行),在保护员工权利上迈出了重要的一步。该法要求劳资双方签订书面聘用合同,不得任意解雇员工。新修订的《律师法》今年6月施行),增强了辩护律师的作用和权利。因此,这从而提高了公平审判的可能性。

中国的崛起

我们也不应否认中国在过去10年取得的、令人称道的成就:即让逾1.5亿人摆脱了赤贫状况。1992年,江泽民向我率领的代表团表示,解决人民的温饱是他的首要任务。而上述情况表明,中国令人瞩目地完成了这一目标。从亚洲一些国家的角度来看,今日中国简直是一个富饶之邦。这的确是一些难民的看法,他们近来选择并能够从朝鲜逃往中国。我从他们的传单上读到以下的一段话:他们惊讶地发现中国“允许拥有个人房产和财产……农业收成归自己所有……还有居住自由、言论自由,以及旅行和何时出行的自由。”

此类基准十分重要,任何社会都有理由为上述进步感到自豪。但在多数媒体有关现代中国的报道中,上述进步并未得到应有的认可。自然,对近来有关中国人权记录状况报道的平衡而言,上述进步却没有份量。那为什么会有这种认知上的差距?有人认为,中国应在实现、尤其是在实现公民权和政治权上做出更大努力;这种观点在多大的程度上是合理的?更具体地说,在今年主办奥运的背景下,中国应该(或能够)在这方面做出多大的努力?

马克•伦纳德(Mark Leonard)在其极富见解的著作《中国何所思》(What does China think?)中写道,“中国的崛起是不同的:这是我们这个时代的重大事件,其后续效应可能会影响未来几代人。”这肯定是人们要求中国承担责任的原因之一,无论正确与否,对其它规模较小、不那么重要的国家,人们则没有如此要求。马克•伦纳德同时强调,人们也感到有些失望,因为尽管中国变得更为富裕,但中国并没有变得更“像我们”一样。人们有这样一种假设,即经济增长和发展将不可避免地导致中国共产党的消亡和多党民主制的壮大。但这一情况并没有发生。实际上,迄今为止,中国共产党改造自己的能力,确保了自身的生存和稳定。

对于自由民主至上的西方理念来说,这肯定是一种挑战。自由民主的信奉者认为,这是确保人民自由和权利的唯一方式。但是,在中国这样一个古老的、巨大的社会,历史上经历了长期的冲突和动荡,社会稳定注定是其主要目标。在这种背景下,毫无疑问,只有在一个相互尊重地对话和交换意见的框架之下,我们两国之间的关系才能得到良好的发展。

英中交流与对话

就我本人而言,我大量参与英中协会(Great Britain – China Centre)和汤姆森基金会(Thomson Foundation)的工作。而构建上述框架正是英中协会和汤姆森基金会的工作特点。以言论自由的问题为例,中国显然的确履行了对国际奥委会做出的承诺,解除了对外国记者在华采访的限制。同样,中国近来还允许网民访问长期被屏蔽的英国广播公司(BBC)新闻英文网站。

以上两个例子突显出,艾滋病维权人士胡佳因“煽动颠覆国家安全罪”被判入狱是多么荒唐。我们会认为,胡佳只是在行使对人权问题观点的权利。因此,尽管我提到中国取得了重大进步,但无论是书面形式还是通过电子媒体,中国当局似乎仍缺乏允许公民自由辩论和争鸣的信心,仍很少允许公民自由访问外国网站。与其它一些国家的政府一样,中国统治者仍不明智地拒绝接受对其人权记录的批评,当这种批评来自海外时更是如此。

正如我们所信奉的那样,言论自由和媒体报道自由是人类进步的方向,而且最终这将符合中国自身的利益。例如,如果媒体在上述事宜拥有更多(而非更少的)观察和报道自由,那么外界就更有可能看到对诸如汉藏关系以及相关事件多元观点更为平衡的报道。常常,让渎职或行为不当引起国人关注,独立的媒体是唯一动力。如果要发现并改正错误或不当行为,这是一个必要的过程。因此,汤姆森基金会就言论自由向中国记者提供培训(以及其它英国机构的类似工作),是一种重要的干预措施。我深信,类似措施将有利于推进上述辩论。令人鼓舞的是,有迹象表明,中国的新闻自由正在扩大。在使政府承担责任上,《财经》(Caijing)等杂志起到了一定作用。但是,此类进步参差不齐。这个月还允许的事情,到了下个月可能就会被禁止。这难免让编辑们感到紧张,并且小心行事。

推动法治建设,是中国政府再三申明的目标。英中协会等机构将在司法、警务和检察领域,努力与中方合作伙伴开展合作,以引入欧洲经验中的最佳实践模式,其中包括拘留中心监督,人权培训,以及更好的(法律)程序过程。无论立法制订如何完善(目前中国就拥有一些很好的法律),最终有效保护人权的关键还是在于实施。除非那些负责法律实施的人理解、或者的确有兴趣去理解法律旨在保护的对象,否则法律本身就是空洞的,最多只是一个可能用以提起上诉的依据。法律自身不过是倡导必要的变革。因此,相关培训计划、对话和讲习班(这正是英中协会工作的核心),可以在确保对法律要求的必要理解和具体实践上发挥很大的作用。然而,我们绝不应低估此项任务的艰巨性。例如,中国有逾170万名警察。在日常警务工作中,让他们每一个人都了解并信奉人权原则,并非易事。

中国发展模式

最终,中国、中国政府和中国人民将决定公民享受权利和自由的程度和范围。我们西方人可以支持相关对话,并且对此加以鼓励。当然,我们会继续推动中国履行承诺,尤其是北京奥组委官员所做的承诺:即本届奥运会将是“一个促进民主、改善人权、连接中国和世界的机会”。同样,我认为,我们也有责任告诉自己中国实际上正在发生的事情,而不是听信那些危言耸听之人对中国在世界舞台上日益增强的政治和经济地位不加思考的条件性反应。

基于英国两千年的历史,我仍然坚信议会民主模式,及其赋予英国人民的价值和福祉。但我也乐于承认,历史比我们悠久一倍、有着独特丰富文化底蕴的中国,可能会建立一种新的模式,适用于这个占全球人口五分之一的、统一的多民族国家。这种新的模式更有可能脱胎于中国丰富的文化积淀和政治哲学,而非简单模仿西方历史发展的模式

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