• 2005-11-10

    + 虎跳峡的暗流

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    http://www.blogbus.com/newswolf-logs/1583516.html

    新闻学院的教授Donica今天给我传来一封email,是她在纽约时报上看到的一篇关于中国的时评,主要是以虎跳峡水电站规划引起的争议来谈中国目前看似平静的表面下存在的重大危机。从文章结尾可以看得出,作者并非反.共或者反中国人士,他是care about China的,就像我的教授Donica一样。这样的美国人,我愿意跟他们谈我的感受(附于原文后面)。

    下面是Donica的email:

    Hi, Gang --

    I just read this article and thought you might find it of interest, from today's New York Times:

     The New York Times
    November 9, 2005
    Op-Ed Columnist
    How to Look at China
    By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

    Tiger Leaping Gorge, China

    My friend Nayan Chanda, the editor of YaleGlobal magazine and a longtime reporter in Asia, recently shared with me a conversation he'd had with an Asian diplomat regarding India and China: India, he said, always looks as if it is boiling on the surface, but underneath it is very stable because of a 50-year-old democratic foundation. China looks very stable on the surface, but underneath it is actually boiling - an overheated economy under a tightly sealed political lid.

    There is a lot to that, but what's most interesting is where China is boiling today. Ever since the student uprising in 1989, we in America have tended to look at China through the prism of Tiananmen, thinking that the main drama there is a struggle pitting freedom-seeking students and intellectuals against a hard-line Communist Party. There is still truth in that perspective, but it is not the most revealing lens through which to look at China anymore. A lot of those Tiananmen students have gotten M.B.A.'s, dropped out of politics and gone to work for multinationals.

    Today, the most relevant fault line in China is Tiger Leaping Gorge, a spectacular geological site in Western China along the Yangtze River, and one of the deepest gorges in the world. With its thunderous rushing waters cutting through mountains, it is certainly one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I visited there with my camera, but I also visited with some local villagers with my notebook.

    These farmers are angry that plans are being made to dam the Yangtze River, flood Tiger Leaping Gorge and force the relocation of thousands of farmers and villagers. And they are getting vocal, learning about their legal options and pressing local officials to reconsider how the dam will be built. Getting political is not a hobby for these farmers. It is a necessity.

    And similar dramas of necessity are being played out all over the Chinese countryside today by villagers who know that they are not fully participating in China's economic growth, but are being told that if they want to, they must accept dams or factories that will destroy their environment.

    They don't like this deal, but China's rigid political system leaves these farmers, who are still the majority in China today, with few legal options for fighting it. That helps explain why China's official media reported that in 1993 some 10,000 incidents of social unrest took place in China. Last year there were 74,000.

    This is the political lens to watch China through today. How China's ruling Communist Party manages the environmental, social, economic and political tensions converging on such places as Tiger Leaping Gorge - not Tiananmen Square - will be the most important story determining China's near-term political stability.

    Listen to China's deputy minister of the environment, Pan Yue, in his stunning March 7 interview with Der Spiegel: "Our raw materials are scarce, we don't have enough land, and our population is constantly growing. Currently, there are 1.3 billion people living in China; that's twice as many as 50 years ago. In 2020, there will be 1.5 billion people in China. Cities are growing, but desert areas are expanding at the same time; habitable and usable land has been halved over the past 50 years. .. [China's G.D.P. miracle] will end soon because the environment can no longer keep pace. ... Half of the water in our seven largest rivers is completely useless. ... One-third of the urban population is breathing polluted air. ...

    "We are convinced that a prospering economy automatically goes hand in hand with political stability. And I think that's a major blunder. ... If the gap between the poor and the rich widens, then regions within China and the society as a whole will become unstable. If our democracy and our legal system lag behind the overall economic development, various groups in the population won't be able to protect their own interests."

    The drama of Tiger Leaping Gorge is not as easy to follow as a single man standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen. It involves the complex interactions among the Chinese countryside, the N.G.O.'s and local organizations working there, the developers looking to build there, and a still heavy-handed Communist Party.

    But somewhere in this swirl of forces is where China's future stability is going to be shaped - or not. No wonder China's leaders have made building a "harmonious society" central to their next five-year plan. Wish them well, because how they do will affect everything from the air you breathe to the clothes you wear and the interest on your mortgage.

    Donica Mensing
    Director of Graduate Studies

    -----------我的回信---

    Doncia,

    Thanks for sharing this Op story with me.

    As China's economy goes red hot, the power industry has become crazy in looking all over for more money-making power stations. If the already controversial under-construction Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest to be, was initiated by the central government based on national interest, the case of Tiger Leaping Gorge was mostly out of the greed of the power company and the local government officials' eagerness to "help the poor famers get out of poverty." The fact is, will the farmers living around the river really get rich, or nobody but the businessmen and local officials?

    Fortunately, the Chinese people consciousness of environmental protection has been growing to a level we never had before. The environmental authority in Beijing has actually often been fighting with other governmental departments to protect the worsening environment. I'm also glad to see that news reports criticising this power station project are not censored by the government, as might occured in some other cases. I still found such reports from the only national TV station CCTV, respected newspaper like Southern Weekend, and even the No.1 Party newspaper People's Daily's website. The central government seems to be holding this project to a temporary stop, but "Experts" hired by the power company is still surveying the gorge area for "plausibility," according reports. The fight is still going on.

    Economic development often comes with a price. I don't want to conclude that all water power projects are totally bad - I'm not opposed to the Three Gorges project, for example. But we have to be very very cautious in making every step, especially those which might have an inretrivacable impact to our younger and future generations.


    Gang

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  • Good idea, I did think about highlighting, as I did sometimes before. I do enjoy anatomizing the nice stories. Maybe later.
  • 我想秦川付敬他们会比较清楚。你这儿最近有不少好文章,感觉象是免费的剪报栏。不过下次太长的文章能否highlight重点段落,方便大家阅读?
  • 虎跳峡目前的发展情况我并不十分清楚,麻烦了解内情的同事们透露一下,我也好给美国人传达更准确的信息。