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《纽约时报》首次刊文批评莫言获奖

作者∶约翰•拉格奎斯特(瑞典)

重要的不是莫言保持沉默的权利

约翰•拉格奎斯特(Johan Lagerkvist)

斯德哥尔摩——有关今年的诺贝尔文学奖获得者莫言的讨论令人困惑,有时甚至呈现出了一些奥威尔式的特征。

莫言笔名的意思是“不要说话”。支持他的人辩称,他应该有“保持沉默的权利”。莫言没有对包括刘晓波在内的中国异见作家的困境大胆发出评论。而这种反复出现的言论,试图为之辩护。刘晓波也是诺贝尔奖获得者,他起草了《零八宪章》,并于2009年因煽动颠覆国家政权罪被判处11年有期徒刑。

或许,一些为莫言辩护的西方人士担心,如果莫言明确表示支持言论自由,并反对中国无处不在的审查制度,他将会面临安全风险?然而,其他一些解释的可能性似乎更大。

不少汉学家舒了一口气,因为诺贝尔奖没有再次颁给一名异见人士。其他一些人则淡化莫言今年早些时候纪念毛泽东讲话的做法。1942年,毛泽东在延安所作的两次讲话概述了他对文艺界的看法。毛泽东的政策确保了绘画、歌曲和文学作品必须服务于共产党。

围绕莫言的共 产党员身份,以及中国作家协会副主席的身份产生的质疑仍未散去之时,他的支持者辩称,诺贝尔文学奖的授奖仅仅基于美学价值,而非政治立场。此外,他们质疑,一个新殖民主义的西方世界,是否只愿意接受批判中国政治体制的人成为名至实归的获奖者。

总之,尽管莫言是一个很有天赋的讲故事的人,但在斯德哥尔摩的诺贝尔周,莫言回避了有关他政治角色的尴尬问题。有呼吁指出,希望全球公众能让莫言在不讨论中国紧迫的社会和政治现实的情况下,领取他当之无楫獐窗C这种请求与中国官方媒体上的言论相互呼应。《环球时报》表示,“莫言避免谈论政治是明智的。”这样的禁令使得以下观点看起来似乎更可信,即莫言受到了束缚,这限制了他心中任何冒险在政治边缘走得太远的冲动。

那麽,在政治性问 题上,莫言是像中国官方和外国支持者希望的那样保持沉默了吗?他没有。正如斯德哥尔摩发生的事情所证明的那样,这名小说家所做的蹩脚评论值得一提,而且还很能说明问题。12月6日在皇家瑞典文学院(Royal Swedish Academy)举行的新闻发布会上,他把审查制度比喻成机场安检∶“我坐飞机出海关,他们也要检查,甚至要求我解下腰带脱掉鞋子检查,但我认为这种检查是必要的。”

这个含蓄的比喻与中国政府的说辞相似。中国政府经常表示,很有必要进行严格的监管,以便保证信息的“健康”流动,并避免发生网络“交通事故”。更重要的是,这样的措辞也让人们更容易理解,为什麽莫言会同意参加纪念毛泽东的两次文艺讲话的活动。

12月9日,在斯德哥尔摩大学举行的一次公开会议上,莫言被问到如何看待中国被监禁的作家,他对饱含仰慕之情的观众说∶“我们不要认为只要是作家,就是一个高尚的人。我知道有一个写了很多诗歌的人曾经把他的朋友给杀掉了。我也认识一个作家朋友,他偷过好几次钱包。”

这些想法明确无误地表明,为什麽莫言的批评者会对他持保留态度。他们不是质疑他的美学素养,而是他在一些问题上的立场,包括艺术家的处境,以及他们对中国实现更大的言论自由的追求。

12月11日,瑞典文学院对莫言的介绍词似乎在最后一刻发生了180度大转弯,他们选择把关注点放在了莫言的政治角色和反宣传姿态上,并以他的作品作为例证∶“莫言没有讲述共产主义所标榜的幸福假像,而是运用夸张和仿拟的手法,借助神话和传说,描述了一个过去的中 国,他用一种令人信服而不留情面的方式,修正了半个世纪以来的宣传文学。”

在我看来,这篇介绍词准确地描述了20世纪80年代长于探索的知识分子氛围,以及莫言当时的作品。但是,更有意思的问题是,今天的莫言究竟是何种政治动物。有些中国活动人士认为,莫言之所以无法代表他人畅所欲言,正是出于他对中国当前政治体制的信仰,而他在斯德哥尔摩的言论则支持了他们的想法。

目前最紧要的问题,不是莫言保持沉默的权利,而是中国人言论自由的权利,人人都应当认清这一点。如果中国公民能在一个法治国家拥有这种不可侵犯的权利,就没人会质疑,为何有人会选择保持沉默。

约翰•拉格奎斯特(Johan Lagerkvist)是瑞典国际事务研究所(Swedish Institute of International Affairs)高级研究员兼斯德哥尔摩大学副教授。

《纽约时报》2012年12�18日言论版

翻译∶陈亦亭、陈柳

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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