Mao Zedong vowed to abolish China’s capitalists. Deng Xiaoping said they could get rich.
毛澤東曾誓言要除去中國的資本家。鄧小平則說這群人可以富裕起來。
Now Xi Jinping, China’s current leader, has his own message for the country’s private businesses that reflects a drive for both economic growth and greater Communist Party control: We’re here to help you, but you must also help and heed us.
如今,對於反映著驅動經濟增長和更多的共產黨控制的中國民營企業,中國現任領導人習近平傳達了一條他的訊息:我們是來幫你的,但你也必須幫助、聽從我們。
The party that leads the world’s second-largest economy after the United States laid the groundwork this week for greater party influence over private business, while also promising them more support and opportunities to convey their needs.
本週,領導著僅次於美國的全球第二大經濟體的中國共產黨,為加強對民營企業的影響奠定基礎,同時還承諾會給企業更多的支持,讓其有更多機會可以傳達它們的需求。
Though lacking many specifics, the guidelines underscored the competing economic and political undercurrents bearing on Mr. Xi’s government. China needs to shore up growth, especially after a hit from the coronavirus epidemic. At the same time, Mr. Xi sees smaller private firms as a weak spot in his efforts to secure Communist Party dominance across society.
儘管缺乏許多細節,但該指導方針突出了習近平政府所面對競爭激烈的經濟和政治暗流。中國需要支持經濟增長,尤其是在受到新冠疫情打擊之後。與此同時,在習近平確保中共的全面權威地位的行動中,較小的民營企業在他看來是薄弱環節。
廣告
“Unify members of the private sector around the party, and do better in promoting the healthy development of the private economy,” Mr. Xi said in orders to officials published Thursday by People’s Daily, the party’s main newspaper.
「把民營經濟人士團結在黨的周圍,更好推動民營經濟健康發展,」週四,習近平在發表於中共主要報紙《人民日報》一道對官員的命令中表示。
The official instructions are likely to reinforce accusations from critics of Beijing, including members of the Trump administration, that China’s private businesses must follow the orders of the Communist Party. Hard-liners in Washington have pushed for broad limits on Chinese companies’ operations, most recently by demanding the sale of TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media app.
這些官方指示很可能會強化包括川普政府成員在內的批評人士對北京的指控,即中國的民營企業必須聽命於共產黨。華盛頓強硬派已經推動對中國公司的業務進行廣泛限制,最近的一項要求由中國公司所擁有的社群媒體應用TikTok出售
More broadly, the instructions reflect a long-running debate within China about the role of private business in a country where the government still controls crucial levers of industry. China emerged as a global economic power in large part by freeing entrepreneurs to open factories and find markets around the world.
在更廣泛的層面上,這些指示反映出中國內部存在已久的爭論:在一個關鍵產業手段仍然控制在政府手中的國家,民營企業到底扮演著何種角色。在很大程度上,中國是通過放手讓企業家開設工廠、在世界各地尋找市場成為了世界經濟強國。
That freewheeling approach has long unnerved some Chinese leaders who want businesses to hew more closely to the party’s strategic goals, which can range from strengthening sway abroad to lifting people out of poverty in underdeveloped parts of the country.
長期以來,這种放開手腳的做法一直讓一些希望企業更密切服從黨的戰略目標的中國領導人感到不安,這是一項涵蓋廣泛的目標,既有加強在國外的影響,也包括讓該國欠發達地區的人民擺脫貧困。
徐州的一家工廠。中國依靠零售商、製造商和在線服務來創造就業機會,以抵消全球經濟的不確定性。
徐州的一家工廠。中國依靠零售商、製造商和在線服務來創造就業機會,以抵消全球經濟的不確定性。 Giulia Marchi for The New York Times
“It has been an ongoing dilemma about co-optation and ensuring loyalty, while allowing sufficient autonomy to develop a competitive economy,” said Kellee Tsai, a political scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology who studies China’s private entrepreneurs, in a telephone interview. “I think it really reasserts the party’s leadership and authority. I think that’s really the primary message.”
「關於吸納和確保忠心,一直是一個兩難問題,」香港科技大學政治學者、研究中國民營企業家的蔡欣怡在接受電話採訪時說,「我認為該指示重申了中共的領導地位和權威。這應該是主要信息。」
The instructions amount to an acknowledgment in part that China needs its retailers, manufacturers and online services to create more jobs to offset global economic uncertainties. Mr. Xi has already laid out a post-pandemic strategy of relying more on domestic activity for economic growth, suggesting that the government will give private businesses more support and opportunities.
這些指示相當於在一定程度上認可了中國需要零售商、製造商及線上服務創造更多工作崗位,以抵消全球經濟不確定性。習近平已經規劃出一項更多依賴國內活動推動經濟增長的後疫情戰略,這表明政府將給予民營企業更多支持和機會。
廣告
Officials must establish additional channels for business owners to share their needs and grievances. Above all, the new directive admonishes officials to accept the private sector as a vital part of China’s economy. “Fully grasp that the existence and development of the private sector is long term and inevitable,” it says.
官員們必須為民營企業家設立額外管道,讓其表達需求及不滿。除此之外,新指令告誡官員要認可民營部門是中國經濟的重要部分。「充分認識民營經濟存在和發展的長期性、必然性,」文中寫道。
At the same time, the new directives call for ensuring that China’s rising capitalists are recruited into the party’s “united front” of allies, ready to support the government’s economic and political priorities.
與此同時,新指令呼籲確保將中國不斷崛起的資本家納入中共「統一戰線」,準備好支持政府的經濟和政治優先事項。
Private entrepreneurs are “a pillar of employment in China, and also a pillar of innovation,” Li Su, a business consultant in Beijing, said in a telephone interview.
民營企業家是「中國就業的支撐,也是創新的支撐」,北京商業顧問李肅接受電話採訪時表示。
But he used a catchphrase of Mr. Xi’s to explain the other side of the equation: “When it comes to the party leading all — north, south, east, west and center — the heart of the matter is relations with private business.”
但他借用了習近平一句口頭禪來解釋事情的另一面:「東西南北中,黨是領導一切的——黨跟民營企業的關係肯定是核心問題。」
Businesses must build up party organizations, the guidelines said, implying that internal Communist Party committees will be more active in companies. Entrepreneurs should receive instruction to ensure they “identify politically, intellectually and emotionally” with the party, the guidelines said.
指導方針說,企業必須建立黨組織,意即公司的內部共產黨委員會將更加活躍。企業家應當接受指導,保證他們對中國共產黨的「政治認同、思想認同、情感認同」。
北京的一輛食品車。新的指令敦促官員們接受民營部門是中國經濟的重要組成部分。
北京的一輛食品車。新的指令敦促官員們接受民營部門是中國經濟的重要組成部分。 Nicolas Asfouri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
“I think that the party’s foundation for rule lies in constantly understanding community sentiment and feedback, and these platforms play that role,” said Wang Xiangdao, the chief executive officer of MoSeeker, a Shanghai-based recruitment company who said he supported the initiative. He said he planned to attend a three-day training session organized by the United Front Department, the party’s arm that manages ties with religious, ethnic and social groups, now clearly including businesspeople.
「我覺得黨執政的基礎是時時刻刻了解社情和反饋,這些平台起到了這個作用,」位於上海的招聘公司仟尋的首席執行官王嚮導表示,他對該倡議表示支持。他說自己計劃參加統戰部組織的一個為期三天的培訓。統戰部是管理與宗教、民族及社會團體的中共機構,如今,其管轄範圍很顯然也包括商人。
“This united front work has been happening all along, and so this wasn’t out of the blue, but this time it’s clearer and more systematic,” he said.
「統戰工作一直在做,並不是說突然就出現,只是這次更加明確、體系化一些,」他說。
廣告
That party officials would need to hear such a warning suggests how much China has changed politically since Mr. Xi came to power in 2012, vowing to revive the party and reinvigorate state-owned companies.
從中共官員需要聽到此類警告可以看到,自習近平2012年上台後中共在政治上發生了怎樣的劇變。習近平誓言要復興共產黨,重振國企。
Over 30 years earlier, Deng’s generation of reformist leaders revived the private sector that Mao had largely snuffed out. In the next decades, China’s entrepreneurs grew into prosperous capitalists, such as Li Shufu, who started a small business making refrigerator parts and then motorcycle parts. He now owns Volvo Cars and has a sizable stake in mighty Daimler of Germany.
30多年前,鄧小平一代改革派領導人恢復了基本上被毛澤東所扼殺的民營部門。在那之後的10年,中國企業家成長為像李書福這樣的成功資本家。他創立了一家生產冰箱零部件、後來生產摩托車零部件的小企業。如今,他擁有富豪汽車(Volvo Cars),還掌握德國巨型企業戴姆勒(Daimler)的可觀股權。
But China’s entrepreneurial class attracted suspicion from some party officials as it grew. After he came to power, Mr. Xi started a ferocious anticorruption drive that left many business owners wary of dealing with government officials. His robust rhetoric about the importance of the state sector and party dominance increasingly worried business leaders.
但是隨著中國企業家階層的壯大,一些黨內官員對其產生了懷疑。習近平上台後開始了激烈的反腐敗運動,使得許多企業主在同政府官員打交道時小心翼翼。他關於國有部門重要性和黨的統治地位的強硬言論,令企業領導人越來越擔心。
After business confidence shrank, Mr. Xi sought to reassure Chinese business owners in 2018 through a series of meetings and policy concessions. The latest pronouncements appear to be intended to reinforce those assurances, said Zhu Ning, a deputy dean of the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance.
商業信心萎縮後,2018年,習近平試圖通過一系列會議和政策讓步來安撫中國企業主。上海高級金融學院副院長朱寧表示,最新的聲明似乎意在加強這些保證。
“It’s probably a real, reassuring message to private enterprises,” he said. “This is to say, ‘No, no, no, you are still part of us.’”
「對民營企業來說,這可能是一個真切的、讓人放心的信息,」他說。「意思是,『不不不,你們仍然屬於我們的一部分。』」
Still, the new plan also seeks to ensure that the private sector does not become an enclave of opposition to the party. Few Chinese entrepreneurs have dared to resist Mr. Xi openly, but he appears determined that not even small cracks open in the party’s power.
不過,新計劃還尋求確保民營部門不會成為反共者的小天地。很少有中國企業家敢於公開抵制習近平,但他似乎下定決心,黨的權力不能有一絲裂縫。
中國國家主席習近平發起的反腐運動讓許多企業主在與政府官員打交道時小心翼翼。
中國國家主席習近平發起的反腐運動讓許多企業主在與政府官員打交道時小心翼翼。 Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press
This month, the police in Beijing detained Geng Xiaonan, a businesswoman who operates a publishing firm, after she spoke up for Xu Zhangrun, a law professor who excoriated Mr. Xi’s hard-line policies. The police said Ms. Geng and her husband were suspected of illegal business activities. Their supporters say the arrests were payback for her activism.
本月,北京警方拘捕了出版公司經營者耿瀟男,她曾為痛斥習近平強硬政策的法學教授許章潤說話。警方說,耿瀟男及丈夫涉嫌非法經營活動。他們的支持者則說,逮捕是在報復她的行動主義。
A court in Beijing said this month that Ren Zhiqiang, a blunt-speaking retired executive from a state-run property developer who denounced Mr. Xi’s initial handling of the coronavirus outbreak, would stand trial on corruption charges. There was no official confirmation that a trial of Mr. Ren, who had become a defender of private enterprise, has taken place. His family has not issued any comment.
北京一家法院本月表示,任志強將因腐敗指控接受審判,這位敢於直言的國有房地產開發商退休高管曾譴責習近平對新冠病毒疫情的最初處理官方尚未確認被視為民營企業捍衛者的任志強接受了審判。他的家人尚未發表任何評論。
廣告
The Chinese government should be more worried about dispirited entrepreneurs who quit business, and sometimes emigrate, out of frustration with tax and fee burdens and needless government interference, said Sheng Hong, an economist in Beijing who has called for the private sector to have more scope and say.
北京的經濟學家盛宏說,中國政府應該更擔心那些心灰意懶的企業家,他們對稅負和不必要的政府干預感到失望,因而放棄生意,有時甚至移民國外。他呼籲民營部門應當擁有更多空間和發言權。
“Generally, they won’t go into opposition, but they will leave the scene,” he said. “Some will work for years, saving up, but may shut down their businesses if they don’t think the opportunities are good.”
「總體他們不會對著乾,但他們會躲……有的人幹了多少年,然後有積蓄了,他認為現在不是個好時機,他可能就把企業關掉了,」他說。
China needs its private sector. While state-owned companies benefit from government favors and nearly limitless credit from state-controlled banks, small and medium-size businesses have played a far larger role in the country’s remarkable growth. When the coronavirus pandemic was at its worst in China in February, the government put heavy pressure on banks to lend more money to small businesses.
中國需要民營部門。雖然國有企業得益於政府的支持和國有銀行近乎無限的信貸,但中小企業在中國的顯著增長中發揮了更大的作用。今年2月,中國新冠病毒疫情最嚴重的時期,政府對銀行施加了巨大壓力,要求它們增加對小企業的貸款。
Mr. Li, the consultant, said he had already advised Chinese companies on how to balance business needs and social and economic goals set by the party. The new policy could mean more such work.
諮詢師李肅說,他此前曾就如何平衡企業需求和黨設定的社會和經濟目標向中國企業提供建議。新政策可能意味著更多這樣的工作。
“How to finally find that interface — of helping the boss make money while helping the government get things done — is something that they study day in and day out,” he said.
「怎麼樣找到最後幫助老闆掙錢,然後加上幫助政府辦事兒,這兩個的結合點,他們天天就研究這事兒,」他說。