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《紐約時報》首次刊文批評莫言獲獎

作者:約翰•拉格奎斯特(瑞典)

重要的不是莫言保持沉默的權利

約翰•拉格奎斯特(Johan Lagerkvist)

斯德哥爾摩——有關今年的諾貝爾文學獎獲得者莫言的討論令人困惑,有時甚至呈現出了一些奧威爾式的特征。

莫言筆名的意思是“不要說話”。支持他的人辯稱,他應該有“保持沉默的權利”。莫言沒有對包括劉曉波在內的中國異見作家的困境大膽發出評論。而這種反復出現的言論,試圖為之辯護。劉曉波也是諾貝爾獎獲得者,他起草了《零八憲章》,並于2009年因煽動顛覆國家政權罪被判處11年有期徒刑。

或许,一些為莫言辯護的西方人士擔心,如果莫言明確表示支持言論自由,並反對中國無處不在的審查制度,他將會面臨安全風險?然而,其他一些解釋的可能性似乎更大。

不少漢學家舒了一口氣,因為諾貝爾獎沒有再次頒給一名異見人士。其他一些人則淡化莫言今年早些時候紀念毛澤東講話的做法。1942年,毛澤東在延安所作的兩次講話概述了他對文藝界的看法。毛澤東的政策確保了繪畫、歌曲和文學作品必須服務于共產黨。

圍繞莫言的共 產黨員身份,以及中國作家協會副主席的身份產生的質疑仍未散去之時,他的支持者辯稱,諾貝爾文學獎的授獎僅僅基于美學價值,而非政治立場。此外,他們質疑,一個新殖民主義的西方世界,是否只願意接受批判中國政治體制的人成為名至實歸的獲獎者。

總之,盡管莫言是一個很有天賦的講故事的人,但在斯德哥爾摩的諾貝爾周,莫言回避了有關他政治角色的尷尬問題。有呼吁指出,希望全球公眾能讓莫言在不討論中國緊迫的社會和政治現實的情況下,領取他當之無楫獐項。這種請求與中國官方媒體上的言論相互呼應。《環球時報》表示,“莫言避免談論政治是明智的。”這樣的禁令使得以下觀點看起來似乎更可信,即莫言受到了束縛,這限制了他心中任何冒險在政治邊緣走得太遠的衝動。

那麼,在政治性問 題上,莫言是像中國官方和外國支持者希望的那樣保持沉默了嗎?他沒有。正如斯德哥爾摩發生的事情所證明的那樣,這名小說家所做的蹩腳評論值得一提,而且還很能說明問題。12月6日在皇家瑞典文學院(Royal Swedish Academy)舉行的新聞發布會上,他把審查制度比喻成機場安檢:“我坐飛機出海關,他們也要檢查,甚至要求我解下腰帶脫掉鞋子檢查,但我認為這種檢查是必要的。”

這個含蓄的比喻與中國政府的說辭相似。中國政府經常表示,很有必要進行嚴格的監管,以便保證信息的“健康”流動,並避免發生網絡“交通事故”。更重要的是,這樣的措辭也讓人們更容易理解,為什麼莫言會同意參加紀念毛澤東的兩次文藝講話的活動。

12月9日,在斯德哥爾摩大學舉行的一次公開會議上,莫言被問到如何看待中國被監禁的作家,他對飽含仰慕之情的觀眾說:“我們不要認為只要是作家,就是一個高尚的人。我知道有一個寫了很多詩歌的人曾經把他的朋友給殺掉了。我也認識一個作家朋友,他偷過好幾次錢包。”

這些想法明確無誤地表明,為什麼莫言的批評者會對他持保留態度。他們不是質疑他的美學素養,而是他在一些問題上的立場,包括藝術家的處境,以及他們對中國實現更大的言論自由的追求。

12月11日,瑞典文學院對莫言的介紹詞似乎在最后一刻發生了180度大轉彎,他們選擇把關注點放在了莫言的政治角色和反宣傳姿態上,並以他的作品作為例證:“莫言沒有講述共產主義所標榜的幸福假像,而是運用誇張和仿擬的手法,借助神話和傳說,描述了一個過去的中 國,他用一種令人信服而不留情面的方式,修正了半個世紀以來的宣傳文學。”

在我看來,這篇介紹詞准確地描述了20世紀80年代長于探索的知識分子氛圍,以及莫言當時的作品。但是,更有意思的問題是,今天的莫言究竟是何種政治動物。有些中國活動人士認為,莫言之所以無法代表他人暢所欲言,正是出于他對中國當前政治體制的信仰,而他在斯德哥爾摩的言論則支持了他們的想法。

目前最緊要的問題,不是莫言保持沉默的權利,而是中國人言論自由的權利,人人都應當認清這一點。如果中國公民能在一個法治國家擁有這種不可侵犯的權利,就沒人會質疑,為何有人會選擇保持沉默。

約翰•拉格奎斯特(Johan Lagerkvist)是瑞典國際事務研究所(Swedish Institute of International Affairs)高級研究員兼斯德哥爾摩大學副教授。

《紐約時報》2012年12�18日言論版

翻譯:陳亦亭、陳柳

以下是原文:

A Chinese Laureate’s Tale of Free Speech

By JOHAN LAGERKVIST

New York Times December 18, 2012

STOCKHOLM — The discussion about Mo Yan, this year’s Nobel laureate for literature, has been confusing and at times even assumed Orwellian features.

Advocates for the writer, whose pen name means “don’t speak,” argue that he should have the “right to remain silent.” This mantra seeks to defend him for not speaking out about the predicament of dissident writers in China, such as his fellow Nobel laureate and Charter 08 founder, Liu Xiaobo, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison on charges of subversion in 2009.

Perhaps some of Mo Yan’s defenders in the West are worried about the writer’s safety if he were to speak up for freedom of expression and against pervasive censorship in China? Other explanations seem more likely, however.

Quite a few Sinologists sighed with relief that it was not yet another dissident being awarded a Nobel Prize. Others played down his homage earlier in the year to Mao’s views on art and literature, as outlined in two speeches made in Yan’an in 1942. Mao’s policies made sure that the brush, the song and the pen had to serve the Communist Party.

When doubts still lingered about Mo Yan’s role as a Communist Party member and vice president of the Chinese writer’s association, his proponents argued that the prize was awarded solely on aesthetic, and not political, grounds. Moreover, they questioned whether a neocolonial Western world could only accept a person critical of China’s political system as a worthy winner.

In sum, gifted storyteller as he is, embarrassing questions about Mo Yan’s political role were to be avoided during Nobel week in Stockholm. The pleas for the global public sphere to allow the man to receive his well-earned prize without having to discuss pressing social and political realities in China echoed comments in the state-controlled Chinese press. The Global Times said it was “wise of Mo Yan to avoid talking politics.” Such an injunction makes it plausible that Mo Yan’s hands were being tied, limiting any urge on his part to venture too far out on a political limb.

So, was he silent on issues of a political nature as both Chinese officialdom and his foreign defenders wished? No. As events in Stockholm proved, awkward comments by the novelist are worthy of mention — and quite revealing. At the press conference at the Royal Swedish Academy on Dec. 6, he compared censorship to airport security checks: “When I was taking my flight, going through customs ... they even wanted me to take off my belt and shoes. But I think these checks are necessary.”

This euphemistic analogy is akin to the rhetoric of the Chinese government, which often argues that firm governance is needed to preserve “healthy” information flows and avoid “traffic accidents” on the Internet. More importantly, such phrasing makes it easier to understand why Mo Yan agreed to participate in the commemoration of Mao’s two speeches on art and literature.

When, at a public meeting at Stockholm University on Dec. 9, Mo Yan was asked what he thought about jailed writers in China, he told an appreciative audience: “Just because they are writers we should not assume they are noble. I know of a poet who murdered his friend, and another writer who has stolen many wallets.”

These musings make it abundantly clear why Mo Yan’s critics have their reservations — not about his aesthetic qualities, but rather about his position on the situation of artists and their quest for freer expression in China.

In its presentation speech to Mo Yan on Dec. 10, in what seemed to be a last minute about-face, the Royal Swedish Academy chose to focus on the political profile and anti-propagandist posture of Mo Yan, as exemplified through his works: “Instead of communism’s poster-happy history, Mo Yan describes a past that, with his exaggerations, parodies and derivations from myths and folk tales, is a convincing and scathing revision of 50 years of propaganda.”

To me, this may be an accurate description of the probing intellectual climate of the 1980s, and of Mo Yan’s writing at the time. But more interesting is the question of what kind of political animal Mo Yan is today. His remarks in Stockholm support the position of those Chinese activists who think it is his belief in the legitimacy of China’s existing political system that prevents him from speaking up on behalf of others.

It should be obvious to one and all that the issue at stake is not Mo Yan’s right to silence, but the Chinese people’s right to free speech. If Chinese citizens had such an inviolable right in a country ruled by law, nobody would wonder about somebody’s choice to stay silent.

Johan Lagerkvist is a senior research fellow with the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and an associate professor at Stockholm University.

2012-12-23

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