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旧 09-26-2002, 09:43   #1
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中国是二流国家

第[1]贴

中国只是二流国家
(此文原载美国《外交事务》(ForeignAffairs)。作者吉拉德.谢格尔(Gera
ldSegal)是伦敦国际战略研究所研究部主任。《外交事务》在西方外交界、政界
和智囊界颇有影响。在相当大程度上,此文代表了西方持鹰派立场的中国问题专
家对於中国的国际经济、军事和政治地位的看法。--译者)
  中央王国,二流国家
  中国重要吗?否。这不是一个愚蠢的问题,而是一个没有被人们充分思考的
问题。对这个占世界人口五分之一国家的经济、军事和政治力量,人们予以过高
的评价。这似乎有点奇怪。充其量,中国只是一个娴熟外交舞台艺术的二流国家。
它却使我们心甘情愿地相信其影响力非常强大。事实上,最好把中国视为一个仅
仅在理论上存在的强国。过去一百五十年来,它作出多次承诺,但一直令人失望。
经过五十年的毛泽东的革命和二十年的改革之後,现在是离开舞台、正视中国本
来面目的时候了。我们只有明白中国并不重要以後,才能制订出明智的对华政策。

  在经济上中国重要吗?

  人们认为中国和俄罗斯或前苏联不同。中国很重要,因为它已经成为或者即
将成为一个经济大国,因而必须到中国去,帮助中国人享受将要到来的好处。真
的是这样吗?人们的说法千变万化,其理由却只有一条:中国是一个大市场,你
不能丢失它(尽管很少人用同样的话说印度)。最近流行这种说法的“柯达”版本:
如果每个中国人购买一卷胶卷,而不是像目前这样平均每个中国人只购买半卷,
西方国家就可以发大财。然而,十九世纪英国曼彻切斯特的纺织厂老板,曾经在
棉布问题上说过不少类似的话,八十年代初日本的多国公司对於电视机也说过许
多类似的话。柯达版本其实只是一句空话。实际上,相对而言,中国的市场很小,
对於全世界,特别是对亚洲以外地区的影响极校如果这一判断似乎过於冷酷,让
我们先来看看有关中国经济规模和增长率的严峻真相。1800年,中国占全世界制
造业总产出的33%;相比之下,整个欧洲仅占28%,而美国占0.8%。1900年,中国
下降到6.2%,欧洲占62%,美国占23.6%。1997年,中国的国民生产总值(GNP)占全
世界的3.5%(以1997年的不变美元计算,美国占25.6%),在全世界排名第7,在巴
西之前,意大利之後。中国的人均GNP在全世界排第81名,在格鲁吉亚之前,巴布
亚新几内亚之後。按照对中国最有利的、但现在受到怀疑的同等购买力计算,19
97年中国的GNP占全世界的11.8%,其人均GNP在全世界排第65名,在牙买加之前,
拉脱维亚之後。用联合国的人类综合发展指数衡量,中国排第107名,夹在阿尔巴
利亚和纳米比亚之间。这并不是什麽了不起的成就。

  有人或许会说,中国经历了二百年的艰难困苦,但现在正在迅速兴起。毫无
疑问,在过去一代人时间内,中国做得比之前的十年要好。但我们仍然应该客观
地评价事实,特别是关於中国的增长率。中国声称,从1951至1980年,中国工业
的年平均增长率为12.5%。而日本同期的增长率仅为11.5%。读者自己可以判断,
究竟哪个数字更准确。

  经济学家都不大相信中国现代的经济数据,甚至连中国的总理朱熔基也不相
信。亚洲发展银行常常把中国官方公布的“国内生产总值”(GDP)增长率减去约两
个百分点,包括中国现在公布的不符合事实的GDP增长率8%。以可能更符合实际的
GDP增长率6%计算,其中的2-3%是堆放在仓库里生锈的无用产品。1998年中国GDP
增长率中的大约1%,来源於中国政府在基础结构方面的大量开支,其中大约3%是
农民离开土地,到生产率较高的城市而获得的一次性收入。考虑了所有这些因素
以後,我们可以看出,中国经济实际上已经开始衰退,甚至朱熔基也说中国经济
形势非常严峻。

  某些因素损害了中国经济的恢复能力。中国领导人非常清楚这些因素,但由
於觉得太可怕而不敢认真加以解决,至少在东亚经济仍处於疲痹状态时不会认真
解决。按照比较保守的估计,中国发放的贷款至少有四分之一属於呆帐。东南亚
国家如果出现这种情况,将会感到经济即将崩溃而心惊胆战。1998年中国国有企
业大约有45%亏损,但银行对国有企业的贷款却增长25%,其部分原因是为了让这
些活僵尸继续维持下去。中国的储蓄率虽然很高(占GDP的40%),但如果中国老百
姓知道他们的钱被如此抛撒浪费,一定会忧虑万分。

  有些人寄希望於中国经济的非中央化,但这一过程已进行到相当远的地步,
以致於中央政府无法消除地方和某些机构存在的日益增长的浪费和贪污行为。中
国的中央政府投资占有整个中国投资的20%,这一比率正在下降。从1985至1992年,
中国各省的省际投资占省内贸易总额的比率惊人地下降了18%。在过去二十年的改
革期间,尽管中国发生了一些正面的变化,中国的经济显然已遇到巨大的结构性
障碍。即使中国真的获得两位数增长率,在不远的未来,也很难想象会继续保持
这种增长率。

  国际贸易和国际投资方面的情况也是如此,人们大大高估了北京的力量。19
97年中国的国际贸易仅占世界贸易总额的3%,大约与南韩相等但少於荷兰。中国
现在仅仅占亚洲贸易总额的11%。尽管中国市场的重要性被吹嘘得天花乱坠,外国
对中国的出口量很少。美国的产品仅有1.8%出口到中国(如果宽厚地把通过香港的
二次出口计算在内,美国产品大约有2.4%出口到中国),大约与美国对澳大利亚或
比利时的出口相等,但仅仅是美国对**出口的三分之一。欧洲主要国家的情况
也是如此。英国对中国出口仅占其出口总额的0.5%,大约与对斯里兰卡出口相等,
但少於马来西亚。法国和德国对中国出口仅占其出口总额的1.1%,在亚洲国家中
仅次於日本,但只等於其对葡萄牙的出口。

  对於其他亚洲国家,中国要稍微重要一些。新加坡对中国出口约占其出口总
额的3.2%,比对**出口少,但与对南韩的出口相等。澳大利亚对中国出口占其
总额的4.6%,大约等於对新加坡的出口。日本对中国出口仅占其出口总额的5.1%,
比对**出口大约少四分之一。只有南韩对中国出口令人瞩目,大约占其总额的
9.9%,略超过对日本的出口。

  “外国直接投资”(FDI)比对外贸易更难衡量,但更能反映出某些长期趋势。
外国对华的大规模投资非常兴旺,在过去十年尤其如此。这常常被说成为中国现
在及将来对全球经济非常重要的证据。但事实真相远非如此明朗。即使在外国对
华直接投资的顶峰年份1997年,450亿美元的投资总额中大约80%来自海外华人,
主要是来自东亚地区的华人。那一年也是中国资本输出的顶峰年,据某些人估计,
大约有350亿美元流出中国。大量的来自东亚的所谓投资,为了获得退税优惠,通
过香港等地做了一次双程旅行,然後又作为对华投资而流入中国。

  进一步分析一下中国官方的FDI数字,更令人可信地说明中国并不重要。外国
对华的FDI仅占全球FDI的10%。全球FDI的60%发生在发达国家之间。既然流入中国
的FDI中不到20%来源於非海外华人,难怪美国或欧盟对中国的投资,平均来说少
於其对巴西等一个拉丁美洲大国的投资。美国的对华直接投资从未超过其对外投
资总额的10%,通常是远远低於这个比率。最近数年是外国对华投资的最光辉年份,
欧盟主要国家的对华直接投资大约占其对外投资总额的5%。现在中国经济正在收
缩,外国对华的直接投资也在下降。据联合国公布的报告,1998年外国对华投资
可能缩减一半。根据1998-1999年的数字,这并不是过於悲观的猜测。日本的对华
直接投资比其顶峰年1995年减少了一半。多国电信公司爱立信(Ericsson)表示,
中国占其全球销售总额的13%,但它并不说它已经在中国赚钱。日本的科技公司十
年前在中国的类似经验,导致它们现在迅速缩减对华投资。一些人声称,外国的
对华投资说明中国现在和将来对於全球经济的重要性。但真实情况却远远没有这
麽确定。中国依然是一个希望大於经验的典型例子,它使人回想起戴高乐关於巴
西的名言:“它蕴藏著巨大潜能,但它总是如此。”

  无需统计学天才就可以看出一件明显的事实:对於全球经济而言,如果中国
不是微不足道,顶多也只占非常微小的一部分。中国只是在竭力表演和维持一种
远远超出真相的重要形象。这个舞台上的强国在最近亚洲经济危机期间卖力地进
行表演。中国没有像1995年那样将人民币贬值,这件事获得西方国家尤其是美国
的过分慷慨的赞扬。相比之下,西方国家认为日本应该对这场危机负责。当然,
日本自1990年以来的改革失败,助长了这场危机的发生,但这正说明东京的重要
性和北京的无关痛痒。中国对经济危机国家的全部财经援助还不及日本援助的10
%。

  亚洲的危机以及人们对它会连累大西洋国家经济的过份担心,可以说明人们
为何过份吹捧中国的重要性。事实上,这场灾难证明,除日本外,亚洲经济对全
球经济的影响力非常小,比过去人们普遍认为的要小得多。作为全球经济系统影
响力很小的亚洲经济中的一小部分,中国对於发达国家而言,永远不会非常重要。
夸大中国的重要性其实是夸大亚洲重要性的组成部分。由於这场危机,西方国家
对於亚洲,就整体而言已获得了教训,但在中国问题上却没有获取教训。

  在军事上中国重要吗?

  中国是一个二流的而不是一流的军事强国,因为它远远不能与美国相对抗。
但它也不像其大多数亚洲邻国那样属於三流国家。中国的国防开支仅占全球防卫
开支的4.5%(美国占33.9%),占东亚加上澳大利亚防卫开支的25.8%。中国对菲律
宾等国构成严重威胁,它能够随心所欲地占领南中国海的美济礁等岛屿。但如果
西方卖给菲律宾几颗巡航导弹,很容易消除被人们广泛谈论的中国威胁。中国的
军事力量无法从日本手里攻占存在争议而防卫严密的尖阁群岛(即钓鱼台群岛——
译者注)。北京对**构成明显的严重威胁,但即使**的防卫计划官员也不相信
中国能够成功地入侵**。中国对**的导弹威胁受到夸大,特别是在考虑到北
约对塞尔维亚的规模大得多的现代化导弹攻击,仅取得极为有限的胜利以後。如
果**人像塞尔维亚那样决心抵抗,中国并不能轻易地威吓**。

  因而在某种程度上,中国在军事上的重要性,只是因为它已经不像原来那样
弱小,但它并没有强大到不能遏制的程度。中国对美国安全的挑战,显然也属於
类似情况。中国之所以重要,因为它是现在世界上唯一将核武器瞄准美国的国家
;正如最近美国关於中国间谍活动的考克斯报告所坦率说明的那样,它还窃取了
美国的导弹制导和最新核武器机密。中国之所以重要,还在於它搞的军事演习居
然摹拟攻击驻扎南韩和日本的美国军队。但某个国家能够直接威胁美国的这一事
实,应该使美国认识到在捍卫自己利益时需要持强硬态度,而绝不能假装说中国
是美国的战略夥伴。

  在美国讨论部署西太平洋地区“战区导弹防御系统”(TMD)和本土“全国导弹
防御系统”(NMD)问题时,中国在军事上的重要性似乎非常明显。在理论上,这些
系统针对的敌人是北韩。实际上,五角大楼担心的问题是,从长远看来,美国保
卫南韩、日本、甚至**的能力,将取决於美国保卫本土和驻外美军不受中国导
弹攻击的能力。考虑到高达一百亿美元的NMD最低成本和迄今尚未确定数目的TMD
成本,美国的防卫计画官员显然认为中国非常重要。

  但在战略上的多疑症发作之前,西方国家应该注意到,中国的威胁完全不能
与当年苏联的威胁相比。中国和五十年代苏联的差异大於中国与九十年代伊拉克
的差异。中国对西方国家利益仅构成地区性威胁,而在意识形态方面,它并非是
西方国家的全球性对手。地区性威胁可以加以遏制。中国如同伊拉克,并没有重
要到美国需要放弃其对待不友好国家的正常战略的地步。一个自称是全球唯一的
超级强国和领导军事革命的国家,完全可以阻止这些威胁,遏制其不受欢迎的行
动。

  关於中国的对外销售武器,也可以得到中国不太重要的类似结论。1997年中
国占全世界武器销售总额的2,2%,超过德国但少於以色列(美国占45%,英国占18
%)。北京每年约出口十亿美元的武器,但并未产生很大影响,尽管在某些市场上,
北京确实具有重要的影响力。中国输出武器的最主要对象是巴基斯坦,这促进了
巴基斯坦与印度的核武器竞赛。但中国对苏丹、斯里兰卡、缅甸的武器输出,其
战略意义要小得多。另一方面,中国对伊朗的武器销售与巴基斯坦一样,确实令
人担忧,因为美国的制裁给中国提供了一个好机会。因此,中国制造麻烦的能力
具有某种程度的重要性,这主要是因为,中国的影响力基本上依赖於其反对或者
阻挠西方利益的能力。法国或英国每年的对外武器销售都超过中国,但总体上说
它们并没有给西方带来战略方面的问题。

  因此,西方特别是美国官员一再声称,中国之所以重要,是因为西方需要它
成为自己的战略夥伴,这种说法荒唐可笑。“战略夥伴关系”话语的真正含义是,
中国是一个可能制造严重麻烦的敌人。柯林顿政府和其他国家官员仍不愿意直言
不讳地承认中国是一个战略上的敌人。他们或许认为,强调夥伴关系的可能性,
也许会像最好看的迪斯尼电影那样,最终会梦想成真。

  在任何重大战略问题上,中国和西方从来没有站在同一边。在包括科索沃在
内的大多数问题上,中国的反对不起重要作用。的确,西方未能利用联合国安理
会建立起一个反对塞尔维亚的强大联盟。但在许多问题上,真正的障碍是俄罗斯
而不是中国。当安理会阻碍西方利益时,同俄罗斯甚至法国相比,北京几乎总是
扮演配角,(这一规律的例外,总是涉及海地或马其顿与**建交这类问题)。俄
罗斯总理毕竟一听到北约攻击塞尔维亚,就命令飞向美国的飞机掉头而去,而中
国总理对华盛顿的访问,只比预订时间晚了两周。

  今年五月北约误炸中国驻南斯拉夫大使馆,清楚地显示出中国的戏剧性力量。
北京威胁要阻碍联合国的任何和平行动(不算已被搁置的任何计划),但是它所想
要的全部东西,是让西方丢脸,从而在加入世界贸易组织(WTO)、人权或武器控制
问题上让步。中国装腔作势地威胁,要安理会修改有关赋予北约在科索沃无限期
维持和平部队的决议,但最终它却温顺地投下弃权票。作为安理会五个常任理事
国之一的中国,其全球影响力只不过如此而已。北京的生气仅仅强调了一个事实,
不像其他具有否决权的安理会常任理事国,中国并不是一个欧洲强国。

  武器控制方面的情况也很类似。中国不反对重要的武器控制协议,但它一定
要拖延到最後一刻才签字,并在签字之前想方设法谋取各种外交利益。例如,中
国原来不愿在《防止核扩散条约》(NPT)上签字,後来西方仅仅通过谈判,让中国
加入《全面禁止核试验条约》,就使中国改变了原来的立常中国参加“东南亚国
家协会区域论坛”这个亚洲首要的但作用有限的安全机构,与其说是承诺对某项
国际安排让出某些主权,不如说是为了确保其他国家不会采取任何行动,从而限
制中国谋取自己国家安全目标的能力。中国在武器控制问题上的重要性,主要是
因为它会有效地阻碍国际条约,直到中国的国际声誉最终受到损害,才会改变立


  只有在朝鲜半岛问题上,中国的能力才对美国的政策产生严重的影响。人们
常说,在与北韩打交道时,中国的帮助恨大。这完全不是事实。最近十年来,中
国只有一次与华盛顿站在一起向平壤施压,迫使这个无赖国家遵守防止核扩散条
约。这件事发生在1994年北韩危机的早期。在其他所有问题上,中国或者不帮助
美国,或者积极帮助北韩抵抗美国压力。其中最臭名昭著的是在1994年北韩危机
的後期,当时美国希望其他国家支持对北韩采取经济制裁等强制性行动。因而又
出现类似情况。中国重要性与其他任何二流敌对国家一样,西方国家可以绕过或
者直接解决它制造的问题。但中国并不是因为它可能成为西方的战略夥伴而显得
重要。在这个意义上,中国更像俄罗斯,尽管两个国家都不愿承认这一点。

  在政治上中国重要吗?

  中国在国际政治方面的重要性,是最容易评估也是最缺乏统计资料的一个问
题。公正地说,中国人最近为了向外界宣示自己的地位及立场而进行的奋斗,只
是其在过去至少一百五十年来寻找灵魂奋斗的延续。西方强国的到来,显示出中
国的古老文明无法对付现代化的挑战。自此以後,中国就一直在为理解自己的世
界地位而尽力奋斗。尤其是在过去一个世纪内,中国一直在坚决抵抗国际相互依
赖这一基本的逻辑。中国多次竭力使自己变成一个足以抵抗西方统治的国际制度
的强国,但最终总是失败,无论是义和团运动、国民党或者中国皆是如此。在中
国共产主义革命五十年之後,给中国人民带来“大跃进”(死亡三千万人)和“文
化大革命”(也许死亡一百万人并毁灭了一代人)的中国,被剥夺了意识形态上的
权力和权威。由於缺乏其他任何其他政治观念,宗教和功(中国政府今年夏季打击
的对象)之类异教团体将在中国继续兴旺。

  中国追求强国地位的最新努力,是在过去二十年内,模仿其他一些成功地改
变自己世界地位的亚洲国家,进行经济改革。但关於亚洲国家成功的话语,引出
了对维护秩序的“亚洲价值观”或儒家教义的赞美,这些话语却被实实在在的亚
洲经济危机的篝火烧为灰烬。中国再次感到震惊并产生了自我怀疑,因而,中国
的经济改革停滞不前。

  在这些条件下,中国作为国际政治力量的一个中心,根本不占任何重要地位。
老式的毛泽东主义虽然稀奇古怪,至少曾经是许多发展中国家的一座灯塔。而现
在的中国却不是任何国家的灯塔,而且确实也没有任何盟友。没有任何一个大国
像中国这样孤立无朋。这不仅是由於曾经在对外援助方面显要突出的中国,现在
却成为国际援助的最大接受国,而且还在於它对於真实的国际相互依赖的观念深
恶痛绝。没有哪个国家喜欢被迫向西方统治的全球体制放弃自己的主权和权力,
但中国却特别执著地相信,它是一个足够大的国家,仅仅需要向外部世界学习它
必须学习的东西,却仍然能够完全控制自己的命运。因而,中国的邻国懂得需要
继续与中国打交道,但绝不幻想中国也有相同的想法。

  甚至在全球文化方面中国也不重要。比较一下印度在文化上(而不是经济上)
对全球各地的印度人所扮演的角色,和中国对海外华人所产生的吸引力,就可以
发现中国仍是多麽封闭。当然,印度与大西洋世界的文化联系一直大於中国,而
印度的社会错综复杂,使西方一直比较容易接近它。但以电影、文学或一般意义
上的艺术来衡量,**、香港,甚至新加坡对全球文化的影响力,都超过仍处在
列宁主义政党的威权主义控制之下的中国。中国的城市为开办亚洲的另一座迪斯
尼游乐园而争夺,中国的文化官员为中国的电影院可以放映多少部美国电影而争
吵,官员制订的网际网路上网政策变化无常,这一切都表明中国在非常起劲地为
控制西方文化的力量而斗争。

  事实上,人权问题最清楚地显示中国是一个政治贱民。中国政府说得不错,
在过去一代人时间内,中国老百姓的生活比过去自由得多。但正如朱熔基最近在
访问美国时所承认的,中国对异议者的做法仍然是非人道的和不合适的。

  中国在某些问题上有所让步,这是值得称道的。在一九九八-九九年印尼暴乱
期间,中国没有为了帮助印尼华侨而要求干涉印尼,这被人们正确地称赞为成熟
的标志。但这也是中国的国际领导地位何等弱小的标志。由於中国的人权记录使
印尼几乎变成了美德的典范,在道德问题上中国并不占有任何崇高地位。

  衡量全球的政治影响力很不容易,但中国的影响力和权威性显然很小,不仅
与占统治地位的西方国家相比是如此,与经济危机之前的日本相比也是如此。其
原因之一,就是中国对於如何控制现代化和国际相互依赖的後果,继续持模棱两
可的立场。中国的辉煌历史和随之而来的傲慢自大是产生这个问题的主要原因。
中国认为全世界应该自然而然地承认它是一个强国,甚至在它显然不是强国时也
应该如此。这样的一个中国确实没有作好赢得伟大成就的准备。

  如果中国不重要,这件事重要吗?

  中国这个中央王国仅仅是一个二流国家。这不是说中国根本不重要,而是说
中国远远没有它自己和大多数西方国家所想象的那样重要。它在全球经济中的重
要性和巴西差不多。它是一个中等水平的军事力量,但它根本没有任何政治吸引
力。中国对於西方的重要性,主要是因为它能够捣乱,或者是威胁邻国,或者支
持反西方国家进一步远离西方。虽然这些都是问题,但如果西方国家对中国的重
要性具有某种程度的比例感,这些问题就更容易处理。如果你认为中国是全球经
济中的主要角色,是和美国几乎水平相等的竞争者,你就可能不愿遏制其不受欢
迎的活动。你还可能沉沉溺於“皮条客情结”,在中国所定义的每一个伤害中国
人民感情的问题上,你会为了曲意讨好它而作出让步。但如果你认为中国跟任何
二流国家没有什麽不同,你就会更愿意以正常的态度对待它。

  这种将中国当作常规二流国家来打交道的看法,有助於避免关於遏制中国和
交往中国孰优孰劣的毫无结果的争论。西方当然必须与一个二流国家交往,但也
应该毫不犹豫地遏制其不受欢迎的行动。这种“遏制”战略将导致一种完全不同
的西方与中国打交道的新方式。这种方式要求坚决地抵制中国对**的威胁,而
且不会畏怯地安抚中国对战区导弹防御系统的担心。在与中国谈判加入世界贸易
组织时,西方应该坚持严格的立场,不会仅仅由於中国在国际透明度方面作出有
限的进步,或者由於西方为轰炸贝尔格莱德中国大使馆感到羞愧就作出让步。西
方国家领袖应该告诉中国领导人,中国的威权主义制度使中国站在历史的错误一
边。西方国家不应该在联合国放弃谴责中国侵犯人权,或者煞费苦心地竞争在中
国市场上亏损的权利。

  在某种程度上,我们仍然在继续夸大中国的影响力。中国的影响力和英国或
法国差不多。它和英国、法国一样,由於其在第二次世界大战之前的力量,而在
联合国安理会占有永久席位。然而中国不像英国和法国,它在维持和平或资助国
际组织方面,对国际社会几乎没有作出过贡献。中国仍然像过去一百五十多年那
样,想象自己是全世界的主宰。在经历了过去的二十年之後,中国更是如此。而
在此期间,西方的公司上当受骗,以为只要在中国长期坚持下去就会赚大钱。我
们也许可以原谅那些持悲观主义观点的五角大楼计画官员,虽然中美之间的军事
差距,特别是在高科技武器方面,实际上正在扩大,他们却相信中国最终会成为
美国的势均力敌的竞争者。

  尽管如此,除非西方缩小自己对中国重要性的想象,以对待巴西或者印度的
态度来对待它,西方就不能维持一种前後连贯的长期的对华政策。除非我们纠正
我们的错觉,认清中国的戏剧性力量,我们只会束缚自己追求利益的手脚,却不
能遏制中国的扩张。或许最重要的是,除非我们把中国当做一个常规的二流国家,
我们就更不容易使中国人了解他们自己的失败和局限性,从而进行他们需要的认
真改革。
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原文如下(写于1999年)

Foreign Affairs September/October 1999 Issue
(Volume 78, number 5)
Does China Matter?
By Gerald Segal

MIDDLE KINGDOM, MIDDLE POWER

Does China matter? No, it is not a silly question -- merely one that is not asked often enough. Odd as it may seem, the country that is home to a fifth of humankind is overrated as a market, a power, and a source of ideas. At best, China is a second-rank middle power that has mastered the art of diplomatic theater: it has us willingly suspending our disbelief in its strength. In fact, China is better understood as a theoretical power -- a country that has promised to deliver for much of the last 150 years but has consistently disappointed. After 50 years of Mao's revolution and 20 years of reform, it is time to leave the theater and see China for what it is. Only when we finally understand how little China matters will we be able to craft a sensible policy toward it.

DOES CHINA MATTER ECONOMICALLY?

China, unlike Russia or the Soviet Union before it, is supposed to matter because it is already an economic powerhouse. Or is it that China is on the verge of becoming an economic powerhouse, and you must be in the engine room helping the Chinese to enjoy the benefits to come? Whatever the spin, you know the argument: China is a huge market, and you cannot afford to miss it (although few say the same about India). The recently voiced "Kodak version" of this argument is that if only each Chinese will buy one full roll of film instead of the average half-roll that each currently buys, the West will be rich. Of course, nineteenth-century Manchester mill owners said much the same about their cotton, and in the early 1980s Japanese multinationals said much the same about their television sets. The Kodak version is just as hollow. In truth, China is a small market that matters relatively little to the world, especially outside Asia.

If this judgment seems harsh, let us begin with some harsh realities about the size and growth of the Chinese economy. In 1800 China accounted for 33 percent of world manufacturing output; by way of comparison, Europe as a whole was 28 percent, and the United States was 0.8 percent. By 1900 China was down to 6.2 percent (Europe was 62 percent, and the United States was 23.6 percent). In 1997 China accounted for 3.5 percent of world GNP (in 1997 constant dollars, the United States was 25.6 percent). China ranked seventh in the world, ahead of Brazil and behind Italy. Its per capita GDP ranking was 81st, just ahead of Georgia and behind Papua New Guinea. Taking the most favorable of the now-dubious purchasing-power-parity calculations, in 1997 China accounted for 11.8 percent of world GNP, and its per capita ranking was 65th, ahead of Jamaica and behind Latvia. Using the U.N. Human Development Index, China is 107th, bracketed by Albania and Namibia -- not an impressive story.

Yes, you may say, but China has had a hard 200 years and is now rising swiftly. China has undoubtedly done better in the past generation than it did in the previous ten, but let's still keep matters in perspective -- especially about Chinese growth rates. China claimed that its average annual industrial growth between 1951 and 1980 was 12.5 percent. Japan's comparable figure was 11.5 percent. One can reach one's own judgment about whose figures turned out to be more accurate.

Few economists trust modern Chinese economic data; even Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji distrusts it. The Asian Development Bank routinely deducts some two percent from China's official GDP figures, including notional current GDP growth rates of eight percent. Some two or three percent of what might be a more accurate GDP growth rate of six percent is useless goods produced to rust in warehouses. About one percent of China's growth in 1998 was due to massive government spending on infrastructure. Some three percent of GDP is accounted for by the one-time gain that occurs when one takes peasants off the land and brings them to cities, where productivity is higher. Taking all these qualifications into account, China's economy is effectively in recession. Even Zhu calls the situation grim.

China's ability to recover is hampered by problems that the current leadership understands well but finds just too scary to tackle seriously -- at least so long as East Asia's economy is weak. By conservative estimates, at least a quarter of Chinese loans are nonperforming -- a rate that Southeast Asians would have found frightening before the crash. Some 45 percent of state industries are losing money, but bank lending was up 25 percent in 1998 -- in part, to bail out the living dead. China has a high savings rate (40 percent of GDP), but ordinary Chinese would be alarmed to learn that their money is clearly being wasted.

Some put their hope in economic decentralization, but this has already gone so far that the center cannot reform increasingly wasteful and corrupt practices in the regions and in specific institutions. Central investment -- 20 percent of total investment in China -- is falling. Interprovincial trade as a percentage of total provincial trade is also down, having dropped a staggering 18 percent between 1985 and 1992. Despite some positive changes during the past 20 years of reform, China's economy has clearly run into huge structural impediments. Even if double-digit growth rates ever really existed, they are hard to imagine in the near future.

In terms of international trade and investment, the story is much the same: Beijing is a seriously overrated power. China made up a mere 3 percent of total world trade in 1997, about the same as South Korea and less than the Netherlands. China now accounts for only 11 percent of total Asian trade. Despite the hype about the importance of the China market, exports to China are tiny. Only 1.8 percent of U.S. exports go to China (this could, generously, be perhaps 2.4 percent if re-exports through Hong Kong were counted) -- about the same level as U.S. exports to Australia or Belgium and about a third less than U.S. exports to Taiwan. The same is true of major European traders. China accounts for 0.5 percent of U.K. exports, about the same level as exports to Sri Lanka and less than those to Malaysia. China takes 1.1 percent of French and German exports, which is the highest in Asia apart from Japan but about par with exports to Portugal.

China matters a bit more to other Asian countries. Some 3.2 percent of Singapore's exports go to China, less than to Taiwan but on par with South Korea. China accounts for 4.6 percent of Australian exports, about the same as to Singapore. Japan sends only 5.1 percent of its exports to China, about a quarter less than to Taiwan. Only South Korea sends China an impressive share of its exports -- some 9.9 percent, nudging ahead of exports to Japan.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is even harder to measure than trade but sheds more light on long-term trends. China's massive FDI boom, especially in the past decade, is often trumpeted as evidence of how much China does and will matter for the global economy. But the reality is far less clear. Even in 1997, China's peak year for FDI, some 80 percent of the $45 billion inflow came from ethnic Chinese, mostly in East Asia. This was also a year of record capital flight from China -- by some reckonings, an outflow of $35 billion. Much so-called investment from East Asia makes a round-trip from China via some place like Hong Kong and then comes back in as FDI to attract tax concessions.

Even a more trusting view of official FDI figures suggests that China does not much matter. FDI into China is about 10 percent of global FDI, with 60 percent of all FDI transfers taking place among developed countries. Given that less than 20 percent of FDI into China comes from non-ethnic Chinese, it is no surprise that U.S. or European Union investment in China averages out to something less than their investment in a major Latin American country such as Brazil. China has never accounted for more than 10 percent of U.S. FDI outflows -- usually much less. In recent years China has taken around 5 percent of major EU countries' FDI outflow -- and these are the glory years for FDI in China. The Chinese economy is clearly contracting, and FDI into China is dropping with it. In 1998 the United Nations reported that FDI into China may be cut in half, and figures for 1998-99 suggest that this was not too gloomy a guess. Japanese FDI into China has been halved from its peak in 1995. Ericsson, a multinational telecommunications firm, says that China accounts for 13 percent of its global sales but will not claim that it is making any profits there. Similar experiences by Japanese technology firms a decade ago led to today's rapid disinvestment from China. Some insist that FDI flows demonstrate just how much China matters and will matter for the global economy, but the true picture is far more modest. China remains a classic case of hope over experience, reminiscent of de Gaulle's famous comment about Brazil: It has great potential, and always will.

It does not take a statistical genius to see the sharp reality: China is at best a minor (as opposed to inconsequential) part of the global economy. It has merely managed to project and sustain an image of far greater importance. This theatrical power was displayed with great brio during Asia's recent economic crisis. China received lavish praise from the West, especially the United States, for not devaluing its currency as it did in 1995. Japan, by contrast, was held responsible for the crisis. Of course, Tokyo's failure to reform since 1990 helped cause the meltdown, but this is testimony to how much Tokyo matters and how little Beijing does. China's total financial aid to the crisis-stricken economies was less than 10 percent of Japan's contribution.

The Asian crisis and the exaggerated fears that it would bring the economies of the Atlantic world to their knees help explain the overblown view of China's importance. In fact, the debacle demonstrated just how little impact Asia, except for Japan, has on the global economy. China -- a small part of a much less important part of the global system than is widely believed -- was never going to matter terribly much to the developed world. Exaggerating China is part of exaggerating Asia. As a result of the crisis, the West has learned the lesson for the region as a whole, but it has not yet learned it about China.

DOES CHINA MATTER MILITARILY?

China is a second-rate military power -- not first-rate, because it is far from capable of taking on America, but not as third-rate as most of its Asian neighbors. China accounts for only 4.5 percent of global defense spending (the United States makes up 33.9 percent) and 25.8 percent of defense spending in East Asia and Australasia. China poses a formidable threat to the likes of the Philippines and can take islands such as Mischief Reef in the South China Sea at will. But sell the Philippines a couple of cruise missiles and the much-discussed Chinese threat will be easily erased. China is in no military shape to take the disputed Senkaku Islands from Japan, which is decently armed. Beijing clearly is a serious menace to Taiwan, but even Taiwanese defense planners do not believe China can successfully invade. The Chinese missile threat to Taiwan is much exaggerated, especially considering the very limited success of the far more massive and modern NATO missile strikes on Serbia. If the Taiwanese have as much will to resist as did the Serbs, China will not be able to easily cow Taiwan.

Thus China matters militarily to a certain extent simply because it is not a status quo power, but it does not matter so much that it cannot be constrained. Much the same pattern is evident in the challenge China poses to U.S. security. It certainly matters that China is the only country whose nuclear weapons target the United States. It matters, as the recent Cox report on Chinese espionage plainly shows, that China steals U.S. secrets about missile guidance and modern nuclear warheads. It also matters that Chinese military exercises simulate attacks on U.S. troops in South Korea and Japan. But the fact that a country can directly threaten the United States is not normally taken as a reason to be anything except robust in defending U.S. interests. It is certainly not a reason to pretend that China is a strategic partner of the United States.

The extent to which China matters militarily is evident in the discussions about deploying U.S. theater missile defenses (TMD) in the western Pacific and creating a U.S. national missile defense shield (NMD). Theoretically, the adversary is North Korea. In practice, the Pentagon fears that the U.S. ability to defend South Korea, Japan, and even Taiwan depends in the long term on the ability to defend the United States' home territory and U.S. troops abroad from Chinese missiles. Given the $10 billion price tag for nmd and the so-far unknowable costs of TMD, defense planners clearly think that China matters.

But before strategic paranoia sets in, the West should note that the Chinese challenge is nothing like the Soviet one. China is less like the Soviet Union in the 1950s than like Iraq in the 1990s: a regional threat to Western interests, not a global ideological rival. Such regional threats can be constrained. China, like Iraq, does not matter so much that the United States needs to suspend its normal strategies for dealing with unfriendly powers. Threats can be deterred, and unwanted action can be constrained by a country that claims to be the sole superpower and to dominate the revolution in military affairs.

A similarly moderated sense of how much China matters can be applied to the question of Chinese arms transfers. China accounted for 2.2 percent of arms deliveries in 1997, ahead of Germany but behind Israel (the United States had 45 percent of the market, and the United Kingdom had 18 percent). The $1 billion or so worth of arms that Beijing exports annually is not buying vast influence, though in certain markets Beijing does have real heft. Pakistan is easily the most important recipient of Chinese arms, helping precipitate a nuclear arms race with India. Major deals with Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Burma have had far less strategic impact. On the other hand, arms transfers to Iran have been worrying; as with Pakistan, U.S. threats of sanctions give China rather good leverage. China's ability to make mischief therefore matters somewhat -- primarily because it reveals that Chinese influence is fundamentally based on its ability to oppose or thwart Western interests. France and Britain each sell far more arms than China, but they are by and large not creating strategic problems for the West.

Hence, it is ludicrous to claim, as Western and especially American officials constantly do, that China matters because the West needs it as a strategic partner. The discourse of "strategic partnership" really means that China is an adversary that could become a serious nuisance. Still, many in the Clinton administration and elsewhere do not want to call a spade a spade and admit that China is a strategic foe. Perhaps they think that stressing the potential for partnership may eventually, in best Disney style, help make dreams come true.

On no single significant strategic issue are China and the West on the same side. In most cases, including Kosovo, China's opposition does not matter. True, the U.N. Security Council could not be used to build a powerful coalition against Serbia, but as in most cases, the real obstacle was Russia, not China. Beijing almost always plays second fiddle to Moscow or even Paris in obstructing Western interests in the Security Council. (The exceptions to this rule always concern cases where countries such as Haiti or Macedonia have developed relations with Taiwan.) After all, the Russian prime minister turned his plane to the United States around when he heard of the imminent NATO attack on Serbia, but the Chinese premier turned up in Washington as scheduled two weeks later.

NATO'S accidental May bombing of the Chinese embassy elicited a clear demonstration of China's theatrical power. Beijing threatened to block any peace efforts in the United Nations (not that any were pending), but all it wanted was to shame the West into concessions on World Trade Organization membership, human rights, or arms control. China grandiosely threatened to rewrite the Security Council resolution that eventually gave NATO an indefinite mandate to keep the peace in Kosovo, but in the end it meekly abstained. So much for China taking a global perspective as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Beijing's temper tantrum merely highlighted the fact that, unlike the other veto-bearing Security Council members, it was not a power in Europe.

In the field of arms control, the pattern is the same. China does not block major arms control accords, but it makes sure to be among the last to sign on and tries to milk every diplomatic advantage from having to be dragged to the finish line. China's reluctance to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), for instance, was outdone in its theatricality only by the palaver in getting China to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. China's participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum -- Asia's premier, albeit limited, security structure -- is less a commitment to surrender some sovereignty to an international arrangement than a way to ensure that nothing is done to limit China's ability to pursue its own national security objectives. China matters in arms control mainly because it effectively blocks accords until doing so ends up damaging China's international reputation.

Only on the Korean Peninsula do China's capacities seriously affect U.S. policy. One often hears that China matters because it is so helpful in dealing with North Korea. This is flatly wrong. Only once this decade did Beijing join with Washington and pressure Pyongyang -- in bringing the rogue into compliance with its NPT obligations in the early phases of the 1994 North Korean crisis. On every other occasion, China has either done nothing to help America or actively helped North Korea resist U.S. pressure -- most notoriously later in the 1994 crisis, when the United States was seeking support for sanctions and other coercive action against North Korea. Thus the pattern is the same. China matters in the same way any middle-power adversary matters: it is a problem to be circumvented or moved. But China does not matter because it is a potential strategic partner for the West. In that sense, China is more like Russia than either cares to admit.

DOES CHINA MATTER POLITICALLY?

The easiest category to assess -- although the one with the fewest statistics -- is how much China matters in international political terms. To be fair to the Chinese, their recent struggle to define who they are and what they stand for is merely the latest stage of at least 150 years of soul-searching. Ever since the coming of Western power demonstrated that China's ancient civilization was not up to the challenges of modernity, China has struggled to understand its place in the wider world. The past century in particular has been riddled with deep Chinese resistance to the essential logic of international interdependence. It has also been marked by failed attempts to produce a China strong enough to resist the Western-dominated international system -- consider the Boxer movement, the Kuomintang, or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Fifty years after the Chinese communist revolution, the party that gave the Chinese people the Great Leap Forward (and 30 million dead of famine) and the Cultural Revolution (and perhaps another million dead as well as a generation destroyed) is devoid of ideological power and authority. In the absence of any other political ideals, religions and cults such as the Falun Gong (target of a government crackdown this summer) will continue to flourish.

China's latest attempt to strengthen itself has been the past 20 years of economic reforms, stimulated by other East Asians' success in transforming their place in the world. But the discourse on prosperity that elicited praise for the order-sustaining "Asian values" or Confucian fundamentals was burned in the bonfire of certainties that was the Asian economic crisis. China was left in another phase of shock and self-doubt; hence, economic reforms stalled.

Under these circumstances, China is in no position to matter much as a source of international political power. Bizarre as old-style Maoism was, at least it was a beacon for many in the developing world. China now is a beacon to no one -- and, indeed, an ally to no one. No other supposedly great power is as bereft of friends. This is not just because China, once prominent on the map of aid suppliers, has become the largest recipient of international aid. Rather, China is alone because it abhors the very notion of genuine international interdependence. No country relishes having to surrender sovereignty and power to the Western-dominated global system, but China is particularly wedded to the belief that it is big enough to merely learn what it must from the outside world and still retain control of its destiny. So China's neighbors understand the need to get on with China but have no illusions that China feels the same way.

China does not even matter in terms of global culture. Compare the cultural (not economic) role that India plays for ethnic Indians around the world to the pull exerted by China on ethnic Chinese, and one sees just how closed China remains. Of course, India's cultural ties with the Atlantic world have always been greater than China's, and India's wildly heterogeneous society has always been more accessible to the West. But measured in terms of films, literature, or the arts in general, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and even Singapore are more important global influences than a China still under the authoritarian grip of a ruling Leninist party. Chinese cities fighting over who should get the next Asian Disneyland, Chinese cultural commissars squabbling over how many American films can be shown in Chinese cinemas, and CCP bosses setting wildly fluctuating Internet-access policies are all evidence of just how mightily China is struggling to manage the power of Western culture.

In fact, the human-rights question best illustrates the extent to which China is a political pariah. Chinese authorities correctly note that life for the average citizen has become much more free in the past generation. But as Zhu admitted on his recent trip to the United States, China's treatment of dissenters remains inhuman and indecent.

Still, China deserves credit for having stepped back on some issues. That China did not demand the right to intervene to help Indonesia's ethnic Chinese during the 1998-99 unrest was correctly applauded as a sign of maturity. But it was also a sign of how little international leadership China could claim. With a human-rights record that made Indonesia seem a paragon of virtue, China was in no position to seize the moral high ground.

Measuring global political power is difficult, but China's influence and authority are clearly puny -- not merely compared to the dominant West, but also compared to Japan before the economic crisis. Among the reasons for China's weakness is its continuing ambiguity about how to manage the consequences of modernity and interdependence. China's great past and the resultant hubris make up much of the problem. A China that believes the world naturally owes it recognition as a great power -- even when it so patently is not -- is not really ready to achieve greatness.

DOES IT MATTER IF CHINA DOESN'T MATTER?

The Middle Kingdom, then, is merely a middle power. It is not that China does not matter at all, but that it matters far less than it and most of the West think. China matters about as much as Brazil for the global economy. It is a medium-rank military power, and it exerts no political pull at all. China matters most for the West because it can make mischief, either by threatening its neighbors or assisting anti-Western forces further afield. Although these are problems, they will be more manageable if the West retains some sense of proportion about China's importance. If you believe that China is a major player in the global economy and a near-peer competitor of America's, you might be reluctant to constrain its undesired activities. You might also indulge in the "pander complex" -- the tendency to bend over backward to accommodate every Chinese definition of what insults the Chinese people's feelings. But if you believe that China is not much different from any middle power, you will be more willing to treat it normally.

This notion of approaching China as a normal, medium power is one way to avoid the sterile debates about the virtues of engaging or containing China. Of course, one must engage a middle power, but one should also not be shy about constraining its unwanted actions. Such a strategy of "constrainment" would lead to a new and very different Western approach to China. One would expect robust deterrence of threats to Taiwan, but not pusillanimous efforts to ease Chinese concerns about TMD. One would expect a tough negotiating stand on the terms of China's WTO entry, but not Western concessions merely because China made limited progress toward international transparency standards or made us feel guilty about bombing its embassy in Belgrade. One would expect Western leaders to tell Chinese leaders that their authoritarianism puts them on the wrong side of history, but one would not expect Western countries to stop trying to censure human rights abuses in the United Nations or to fall over themselves to compete for the right to lose money in the China market.

To some extent, we are stuck with a degree of exaggeration of China's influence. It has a permanent U.N. Security Council seat even though it matters about as much as the United Kingdom and France, who hold their seats only because of their pre-World War II power. Unlike London and Paris, however, Beijing contributes little to international society via peacekeeping or funding for international bodies. China still has a hold on the imagination of CEOs, as it has for 150 years -- all the more remarkable after the past 20 years, in which Western companies were bamboozled into believing that staying for the long haul meant eventually making money in China. Pentagon planners, a pessimistic breed if ever there was one, might be forgiven for believing that China could eventually become a peer competitor of the United States, even though the military gap, especially in high-technology arms, is, if anything, actually growing wider.

Nevertheless, until China is cut down to size in Western imaginations and treated more like a Brazil or an India, the West stands little chance of sustaining a coherent and long-term policy toward it. Until we stop suspending our disbelief and recognize the theatrical power of China, we will continue to constrain ourselves from pursuing our own interests and fail to constrain China's excesses. And perhaps most important, until we treat China as a normal middle power, we will make it harder for the Chinese people to understand their own failings and limitations and get on with the serious reforms that need to come.

Gerald Segal is Director of Studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and co-author, with Barry Buzan, of Anticipating the Future.
piloteer离线中   回复时引用此帖
旧 09-26-2002, 11:24   #3
刀鱼
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language itself is beautiful.
毛在的时候,决没有敢这样说话.也许是我们的核心讲外文讲太多了.我们表达的遗憾也太多了.
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旧 09-26-2002, 13:10   #4
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KAO!
帝国主义忘俺之心从来没死过。
小鬼子,NMD,TMD,QS!
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曝光锁一开
好片自然来
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旧 09-26-2002, 14:07   #5
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最初由 刀鱼 发布
language itself is beautiful.
毛在的时候,决没有敢这样说话.也许是我们的核心讲外文讲太多了.我们表达的遗憾也太多了.


同意,他想显示其英文功底,TMD先灭了自己的威风
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旧 09-28-2002, 18:07   #6
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中国的全面综合能力是三流的
现在正在第三世界国家中拼搏,我们还有一些落后和缺点需要去改变,眼前的目标是在三流国家中成为综合能力最强的

中国的国民素质是二流的
人民心理素质差异较大,迫切需要大力发展良性的教育,改变现在的屠宰场式的教育方法

中国的发展前途和未来是一流的
因为我们一直在努力,在进步

这是偶的个人感受
说的不对
大家请批评
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