像中国这类的农耕帝国，只要风调雨顺，皇帝大臣不闹妖蛾子扰乱民生，子民很容易安居乐业。安居乐业的标志，就是吃货辈出，西门官人泛滥。外出旅游红红火火，扩张创业门口冷清。不过肚子吃饱油水上涨就要生事，上至士大夫下到土豪就要大讲大国祥林嫂史了，谈古论今，横贯东西，挖掘自己祖宗的荣耀，谈梦想，谈复兴，谈天下大同，历数自家千年的委屈。殊不知人西欧国鬼子压根就不信这套, 就觉得自己走了狗屎运，赶上机会，就成了飞天猪。几个欧洲野蛮人跑到美洲撒了也野，不费几枪几弹，靠身上带的小小病毒就把人家给灭了。这是啥样的运气！要不然澳洲这些繁荣的前殖民地为啥叫自己lucky country呢
在全球化民族融合再造的今天，边巴次仁的观点不仅落后，一旦得逞，比天朝管制下的西藏可能更可怕。要知道，民族不是一个固化概念，它可以成型，也在演化，更可能消失，融入到新的民族中去。这个演化速度有快有慢，但相较于个体生命要漫长的多。回族的出现就是很典型的例子。宗教也一样，佛教传到西藏，和当地自然、人文环境结合，就成了藏传密宗，和内地农耕社会的禅宗大不相同。到了电子化时代，各个教派来往紧密，没人能预料未来藏传佛教会是什么样子。所以西藏当然可以是自己的西藏，但更应该是西藏人的西藏，包括认同自己是藏人的藏族、汉人和其他种族和民族。这样的西藏也应该是各个宗教教派和平竞争和共处的西藏，而不只是藏传佛教的西藏。做不到这些, 结果会依然是残酷的教派斗争, 甚至是种族清洗和屠杀。本来以为这些年达赖喇嘛们流亡在外，已经深刻体会到世界大势。现在看起来不完全如此，骨子里的民族主义种族主义宗教至上的排他思想，和天朝并无二致。
I’m not going to comment on the June 4th for two reasons. First, it’s not my area of expertise and second, compared with China’s other historic events on the scale and brutality, it is insignificant. It is significant only because it happened relatively closer to us in time and space. Also, I don’t think the June 4th was inevitable or progressive in any sense. In my view, it was rather reactionary, in the same manner as Mao Zedong had done since the 1920s, using his so-called democracy to hijack the social discourses, the public, and the ruling institutions. I don’t think Mao until his last day had understood any concept of democracy; there was an experiential and epistemological part missing in him as an agrarian society resident (note that the same can be said of Karl Marx).
In fact, 1989’s China was worse than it was in the 1920s. Predominantly an agrarian society slowly recovering from its pinnacle or ultimate form (i.e., communism and an utterly impoverished centrally planned economy), it was not in any sense prepared for a democratic shakeup or simply too fragile to withstand any impact of fake democratic movements. I suspect that Deng might be deeply cynical of his own youthful deeds before 1949 overall and he immediately saw his youthful reincarnation in those agrarian intellectuals like Fang Lizhi and Liu Xiaobo. Deng’s decision to crack down on the movement might be a result of knee-jerk self-defence if you could imagine his struggles and sufferings until 1975 as a human being, as well as his idyllic European experience before the 1930s.
In contrast, Taiwan’s market economy has never experienced any major disruptions and the advance of capitalism (or shall we say, deepening division of labour and consequently, increasing social diversity and mobility) has been relatively smooth. Since the kind of capitalism originated from its agrarian society has been continued and modernized through the so-called “refined” industrialization, Taiwan’s transition to democracy was only a matter of critical mass; or in other words, inevitable. On the other hand, China’s economic miracle is very simple. Since 1977, its agrarian market economy was revived, has been largely protected until recently, and is being modernized to capitalize on trading with its richer neighbours and the opportunities availed through knowledge economy. But it is still very fragile, with a recent Maoist trend to reintroduce the deadly central planning economy; i.e., state-owned super corporations merging with private-run businesses, which will not only kill its growing capitalism but will also destroy the Earth and certainly all other countries very quickly if you understand what I’m trying to say. A mega one-party central planning economy is the Earth’s arch enemy as there is no mechanism available to curb its power to pollute!
In this regard, I’d suggest the West reconsider its strategies in dealing with China. Using democracy as an ideological device will only add fuel to fire, instigating fear, mistrust, and pride among its leading members, as well as the mass, and encouraging irresponsible behaviours and activities from our worst enemies (those agrarian scholars and activists like Liu Xiaobo). The West should help China learn the rules of global capitalism to contribute to its innovations through guidance, modelling, and punishment. Obama’s endeavour to establish the TTRP is such a case in point. Instead of pointlessly promoting democracy, the West should use environment protection and climate change as a main discourse to educate China of the criticality of diversity and its responsibilities, which are central to the development of capitalism, the market economy, and certainly democracy. Of course, the West should be strategic but should never compromise its objectives as it is unfortunately doing now.
Instead of shying away from China’s Belts and Roads initiative, the West should engage and lead. This is a gold opportunity to open China’s eyes to diversity (of regions, cultures, language, communities, religions, and people) to face up its stupidity in continuing central planning economy and one-party politics.
It should not be a surprise to anybody that China is back to the top spot in the global GDP race. It has always been and should be even more so in the future given its population size. Its recent development is not unusual but rather a return of commonsense. That itself is very telling–historically before 1949 China had been well equipped with the institutions (cultures, customs, laws, governance, and so on) that support private ownership and the market economy. Its transition to modernity was first hammered by a series of wars and then by the central planning communism. However poor it was after Mao’s 27 years of horrific ruling, its rebound was anticipated to be overwhelmingly swift as the institutions it has established over centuries have become literally genetic and can be restored in an overnight fashion (just like the Dead Valley in the States). Take Chinese Buddhism for example. It disappeared completely in Mao’s era but now it is worshiped at nearly every corner of China’s second-tier down cities and regions. In this regard, I’d suspect that China’s experience can be emulated or even learnt by many African countries (even India) where basic social stability is missing and huntering-gathering tribes are the main communities.
Back to democracy. The reason why I consider democrary a bad discourse to contain China is simply that it is so ambiguous and accomodating that any social groups can claim it, be they dictators or social activists. If we take a look at the CCP’s advocacy throughout to the end of 1940s, in light of the discourse of democracy, we may be shocked to find that they were far ahead of the pack and had much deeper understandings of democracy even than today’s activists including the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Liu Xiaobo. They were real democracy fighters. But they ended up becoming blood-shed monsters after the victory, even when the social conditions were so favourable towards democracy. Why? And can we imagine what would happen after 1989 if by any chance the activists were crowned? Bear in mind that many of those activists had been thoroughly immersed in terrorism discourses and training (the Great Culture Revolution, anti-Japan propoganda, child soldiers, heroic human shields and bombers, etc.) for more than 20 years. Would they be any better than Mao, Deng, or Xi? Without a solid market economy, a growing capitalism, and really diversified social organizations and communities, my guess is pessimistically NO.