ZT 官話:中國官員的謊言根源

作者:內維爾-哈德利(Peter Neville-Hadley)

曹長青網站編者注:

這是居住加拿大溫哥華的作家內維爾—哈德利(Peter Neville-Hadley)發表在2013年9月19日《華爾街日報》上的書評“中國官員的謊言根源”(Roots of Chinese Officials’ Lies),評論普林斯頓大學退休教授、知名漢學家林培瑞(Perry Link)的新書《解析中文:韻律,隱喻與政治》(An Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics,哈佛大學2013年5月出版)。

亞馬遜網絡書店上介紹說,內維爾—哈德利曾撰寫並出版過有關中國的六本書,包括2013年8月第三次再版的《北京和上海:中國最熱門的城市》(Beijing & Shanghai: China’s Hottest Cities)。

這篇書評的中文為《華爾街日報》所譯,刊登在該報中文版(2013年10月8日)上。原文把Perry Link音譯為“佩里.林克”。本網統一改為Perry Link自己用的中文名“林培瑞”。以下為該文的譯文——

普林斯頓大學榮譽教授林培瑞(Perry Link)根據自己30年對漢語奇誕現象的研究記錄,勾勒出一幅揭示中國政治圈內人思維方式的生動圖景。長達一個世紀的思想鬥爭或许已使中國分裂出很多派別,但“官話”(一種極為圓滑的表達方式)卻將相互爭鬥的各派聯合在一起。

林培瑞剖析了中國現代統治者有意或無意用語言使民眾服從的機制。這對當下不管在哪個級別上與中國打交道的人都有重要的啟示。

以對使用標語口號進行宣傳的偏好為例。那些提醒人們橫穿馬路時要小心,或上衛生間后要衝水的中文標志,經常為“七言”結構,使用“二、二、三”節律。這是詩歌基本結構中的一種。在中國人聽來,這種節奏感不僅聽上去“對頭”,而且賦予口號本身以權威性。

因而這種結構深受宣傳部門的歡迎。在文化大革命達到高潮之時,紅衛兵聲討着一切傳統事物,毛澤東卻仍然在使用這種古典的形式:“靈魂深處幹革命”。

林培瑞認為,可能是傳統的力量非常強大,以至于毛澤東甚至並未意識到他在用“舊”思維攻擊“舊”思想。瘋狂高呼“我們要見毛主席”的年輕信徒們可能也沒意識到這點。

林培瑞接着討論了隱喻的使用,但該書最為出色之處是最后一節,他在其中揭示了操縱性語言在現代中國政治中的內在作用機制。在乾隆年間,“官話”只在官員中普遍使用,然而從毛澤東時代以來,它卻日益毒害人們的日常談話。

1958年至1961年,在毛澤東發起的災難性“大躍進”運動中,盡管身邊餓死了數千萬人,人們仍不得不說着“大豐收”這種“官話”。他們學會了反着來解讀報紙上的“官話”,就像今天他們仍在做的那樣:宣稱腐敗已經減少的消息,表明腐敗比想像中更嚴重。聲稱100家妓院被關閉的新聞標題,則意味著成百上千家妓院還在營業。

“官話”喜歡用籠而統之的話做擋箭牌,形成了政治評論員曹長青所稱的“水果語言”。正如林培瑞所解釋的:“如果一位官員說‘水果很好’,結果上級認為香蕉不好,那麼這位官員就可以說‘我指的是蘋果’。水果語言讓官員保留回旋余地,甚至能保住他或她的仕途。”

用模糊而矛盾的“官話”表達法規,並偶爾實施這些法規,縱容了隨意的指控,掩飾了專制的行為,並讓幾乎每個人都可能被冠上罪名。外國商人很快意識到,他們根本無法遵守所有的地方法規;好在他們欣慰地發現,多數法規都沒有得到執行。

但當貪婪的官員突然指出他們沒有遵守某條法規,要求繳納罰款甚至乾脆要求接管企業所有權時,他們毫無抵抗之力。

判斷官方聲明正確性的標準,不是看它們是否真實,而是看它們是否服務于官方利益。“官話”比普通謊言更可靠,因為它不僅表明了說話者希望聽眾相信什麼,而且表明了說話者的利益所在。

言語與內心真實想法兩者之間的差距,是如何超出政治領域並滲入到其他许多領域的?對這個問題,林培瑞並未詳加探討。來到中國的人(不管是發現導游的話不可信的游客,還是必須拋棄對合同約束力所持信仰的商人)都必須迅速學會看穿謊言。

到中國來的外國人不妨略過機場書店中的《孫子兵法》,而拿起林培瑞的書。一個人可能花一生時間學習中文,卻仍然無法理解這個國家。關鍵還在于破解“官話”密碼。

內維爾—哈德利(Neville-Hadley)是一位溫哥華作家。

下面是內維爾-哈德利的文章原文:

Roots of Chinese Officials’ Lies
To understand China’s politics you have to learn how her officials speak.

By PETER NEVILLE-HADLEY

Princeton Professor Emeritus Perry Link draws on 30 years’ worth of notes about the Chinese language’s quirks to construct a revealing picture of how Chinese involved in politics think. The country may have been torn apart by a century of ideological struggles, but the maddeningly malleable manner of expression known as guanhua or "official language" has united the warring factions.

Mr. Link dissects the mechanisms by which the modern rulers of China both consciously and unconsciously use language to club the populace into submission. There are important lessons here for those who deal with China on any level.

Take for example the tendency to lapse into sloganeering. Chinese signs recommending caution when crossing the road, or reminding lavatory users to flush, often use seven-syllable 2–2–3 rhythms called qiyan, one of the building blocks of poetry. To the Chinese ear this meter not only sounds "right" but the rhythm lends their instructions authority.
This has made it popular with propagandists. Even at the height of the Cultural Revolution, when Red Guards condemned all that was traditional, Mao Zedong used the same classical form, Linghun shenchu gan geming: "Make revolution in the depths of your soul."

Mr. Link suggests that the pull of tradition was so strong that Mao probably wasn’t even aware that he was using "old" ways of thinking to attack "old" ways of thought. Nor were the crowds of youthful acolytes who ecstatically chanted Women yao jian Mao zhuxi: "We want to see Chairman Mao."

Mr. Link goes on to discuss the use of metaphor, but the book’s triumph is the final section in which he reveals the inner workings of manipulative language in modern Chinese politics. Whereas in Qianlong’s time guanhua was the domain of officials, since Mao it has increasingly poisoned everyday conversation.

During Mao’s disastrous 1958–61 Great Leap Forward campaign, people had to speak in guanhua of "great and bountiful harvests" even as tens of millions starved around them. They learned to read their newspapers’ guanhua upside-down as they still do today: A claim that corruption has been curtailed indicates that it’s even worse than thought. A headline saying 100 brothels have been closed means that there are hundreds more that are still open.

Guanhua loves to takes refuge in generalities, leading to what political commentator Cao Changqing calls "fruit language." As Mr. Link explains, "If an official says ‘fruits are good’ and it turns out that a higher-up decides that bananas are bad, the official can say ‘I meant apples.’ Fruit language preserves an official’s options and might even save his or her career."

Intermittently enforced regulations expressed in vague and conflicting guanhua permit arbitrary accusation, disguise authoritarian behavior, and make almost everyone potentially guilty. Foreign businessmen quickly realize that it is impossible to abide by all local regulations and take comfort in the fact that most are not enforced.

But they are left with no defense when greedy officials suddenly cite lack of compliance with a particular rule to demand a fine or even outright ownership of the business.

The standard by which the rightness of official pronouncements is judged is not whether they are true but whether they serve official interests. Guanhua is more reliable than ordinary mendacity as it indicates not only what the speaker wants the listener to believe, but where the speaker’s interests lie.

Mr. Link glosses over how the gap between what is said and what is really thought has spilled beyond politics into so many other spheres. Visitors to China must quickly learn to see through falsehoods, whether they are tourists who find they can’t trust what their guides tell them, or businessmen who must unlearn their faith in the power of contracts.
Foreigners heading to China would do well to skip the copy of Sun Zi’s "Art of War" in the airport bookstore and pick up Mr. Link’s book instead. One can spend a lifetime learning Chinese and still not understand the country. The key is to crack the guanhua code.

—Mr. Neville-Hadley is a Vancouver-based author.

September 19, 2013

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323808204579083211630945186.html

2013-10-10

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