“国家分裂恐惧症”浅析 – Analysing ‘secession phobia’

在论及中国民主转型的前景时,不少国人都忧惧民主化会带来地方独立和国土分裂。笔者将这种担忧简称为“国家分裂恐惧症”。

 

国家分裂恐惧症多来自国民自小就受的“大一统”史观教育,这种教育宣导:统一就会有国家繁荣、民众幸福,分裂则会国家萧条、民不聊生;统一才可强盛,分裂则将衰败。这样的宣导实际上犯了以偏概全、以价值判断代替事实判断的错误。中国历史上固然有汉唐统一时的“盛世”,也有秦、元、清大一统皇权专制下的焚书坑儒、苛捐杂税、族群歧视、文字狱,而且即使“盛世”,在汉、唐两代数百年的历史中也只占一小部分。而分裂的春秋战国时期却形成了百家争鸣的元典时代,在思想上的创造力和多元化达到极高水平;部分统一的北宋和偏安江南的南宋则是中国古代经济的高度发达时期。可以说,统一并不意味着繁荣,而分裂也不意味着衰败。

 

“大一统”史观在价值观上实则颠倒了人与国家的关系。现代国家观认为,国家由公民构成,为公民提供安全、福利、公共服务是国家的基本职责。简而言之,国家是为公民服务的。“大一统”史观则将国家本身(国家的幅员、人口规模等)置于至高无上的地位。在这种观念下,“大一统”的国家才是目的,它在公民之上,公民成了实现国家幅员和规模的手段和工具,这样的公民其实不过是臣民。

 

不过,“大一统”观念在当前能够深入相当多国人的心理,则与近代史意识形态教育所灌输的“屈辱史观”密切相关。这种史观将中国近代史描绘成一部饱受列强侵犯欺凌的历史,或明或暗地将中国近代的衰败归咎于外部因素,强调外力使中国四分五裂、内战连绵。这种史观很少强调内因,几乎不反思中国政治人物特别是政治领导人自身的问题。而且,这种史观在描述中国衰败后自身分裂的同时,却倒果为因地强调分裂导致衰败。这种逻辑上的自相矛盾由于长期的选择性灌输而为很多国人所不察,再加上这种史观无视统一强权之下民众新的苦难,从而向国人强化了“分裂则将衰败”的似是而非的观念。

 

可见,从历史和逻辑上看,“大一统”并不等于美好,也不是公民所必需。但现实中,民主化是否会导致中国国家分裂?笔者就来细加分析。

 

当前,国人中的国家分裂恐惧症有两大类型:族群分裂恐惧症和军阀割据恐惧症。前者是担心民主化导致地方少数民族独立而使国家分裂,后者则担心民主化使统治集团分裂为各霸一方的多个军阀割据势力。

 

就族群分裂恐惧症而言,其担心似乎有些道理。民主化的苏联、南斯拉夫、捷克斯洛伐克均分裂为两个以上的国家,南斯拉夫还经历了惨烈的内战。但这种担心忽视了两点:其一,分裂的三个国家都实行列宁式的民族联邦制(即一国之下依照民族分布又划分为若干民族共和国,且民族共和国在宪法条文中具有退出联邦的权利,甚至苏联在联合国还拥有苏联、乌克兰、白俄罗斯三个会员国席位);其二,这三个国家中缺乏一个主导民族(没有一个民族的人口占比超过三分之二)。现在的中国显然不同于这三国,当前中国实行的是单一制,民族自治区是和省一样的地方行政单位(当然,以民族名称来划分自治区,仍是受列宁式民族联邦制影响,需要改革);更为关键的是,中国有一个主导民族(据2010年人口普查数据,汉族人口占比仍达90%以上)。与中国类似的罗马尼亚、保加利亚在民主化后就没有分裂。更有力的例子是印度,印度的族群、宗教情况之多样,远超过中国,却以民主制维系了联邦主义的国家统一(不同于列宁式的民族联邦制,联邦主义强调自下而上的基于地方自治的公民治理国家结构,而非基于民族划分自治体)。按学者秦晖的研究,印度的民主制和地方联邦主义(宪法下的地方自治,不是民族联邦制),使印度各地实现了以“左右之争”替换/弱化“族群之争”,从而免于族群分裂。中国的民主转型当然可循类似的思路展开。

 

就军阀割据恐惧症而言,其担心则没有多少道理了。军阀割据存在的社会基础是毛泽东时代之前乡土中国的地方相对封闭。乡土中国的人口流动性弱,一些偏远地方尤其闭塞,中央对基层的管理需要通过包括乡绅和地方豪强在内的地方势力来实现;各地军队的军官、士兵也主要由来自当地的同乡组成(如晚清的“湘军”、“淮军”,民国时期的“直系”、“皖系”、“奉系”、“桂系”、“东北军”、“西北军”、“滇军”、“川军”等),便于在本乡本土坐大而形成地方割据之势。而毛泽东时代,通过直达基层的党组织系统和一次次运动,“改造”了地方的社会结构,消灭了地方的士绅阶层和豪强势力;失去了地方势力的支撑,真正的地方派系就难以形成。现在,中国人民解放军的兵员实行全国流动,驻地与乡土分离,军官之间、士兵之间、军官与士兵之间一般并非同乡,军队依据乡土的联系便被割断。更关键的是,中共在军队中自上而下的全渗透式管理系统,阻断了军队依据某一地方结成派系或集团的便利。就军队所处的经济社会环境而言,当今全球化时代的中国,人员、资本、物资、信息流动性极强,各地间的联系程度相当之高,也不同于乡土中国时期。可以说,地方社会结构被党化运动破碎、地方本土势力消失、军队官兵流动制、经济全球化流动化的社会环境,使得军阀割据难以重演。

 

其实,即使在晚清民国时期,纵有列强入侵、军阀割据、内战连绵,但在法理上,中国也未被分裂——割据的各方军阀仍认同一个中国,而纵然中央政府衰弱时,西藏、新疆也未能谋求独立,至于外蒙古的独立,则系国内党派争战的重要内因被外力利用所致。可见,就近代“屈辱史”而言,分裂中国也非易事。那么,在经济体量已达世界第二的中国,结合前面的分析,“族群分裂恐惧症”和“军阀割据恐惧症”就更像自我恐吓的妄断了。

 

破除了“族群分裂恐惧症”和“军阀割据恐惧症”的中国公民,当不再畏首畏尾,而是以公民的自主行动、凭点滴之力来一步步推进中国的民主转型。

When discussing the prospect of China’s democratic transition, many people apprehend that democratisation will bring about local independence and division of the territory. Such concerns will be referred to by the authors as ‘secession phobia’.

Secession phobia largely comes from the ‘great unity’ view of history taught to Chinese people from a young age, and this is what they’re taught: unity will bring national prosperity and public happiness, while division will bring depression and hardships; only unity will build strength, while division is decline. This view actually makes the error of replacing facts with value judgements. Chinese history, of course, had a ‘Golden Age’ of unification under the Han and Tang dynasty, but under the Qin, the Yuan and the Qing, it also had the burning of books and the persecution of scholars, extortionate taxes, ethnic discrimination and inquisition. Furthermore, the Golden Age only represents a small part of the Han And Tang’s hundred years of history. Meanwhile, the divided Spring and Autumn period also saw the formation of the Hundred Schools of thought, during which creativity and diversity of ideas reached a very high level; and the Southern Song dynasty, which only ruled over a part of the unified Northern Song’s territory, was a period of high development for the Chinese economy. So we can say that unity does not mean prosperity, and division does not mean decline.

The ‘great unity’ view of history, in terms of values, actually reverses the relationship between people and the State. The modern view of the State considers that the State is constituted by the Citizens, and the basic duties of the State are to provide the citizens with security, welfare and public services. In short, the State is there to serve the citizens. The ‘great unity’ view of history places the State itself (and the size of the territory, population, etc) in the highest position. In this view, only the ‘great unity’ of the State is the goal, and comes above the citizens, the citizens become only a dimension of the State’s importance, and tools to achieve greater scale, and so citizens have actually become subjects.

However, the current ‘great unity’ view of history goes deep into many Chinese people’s psychology, and it is closely related to the ideology of ‘humiliation history’ taught as modern Chinese history. This view of history will depict China’s modern history as one of suffering under the hands of bullying powers, and explicitly or implicitly attribute the decline of modern China to external factors, and emphasizes the role of external forces in tearing China apart and stretching the civil war. This view of history puts very little emphasis on internal factors, and reflects almost nothing of the issues with Chinese politicians, particularly political leaders themselves. Furthermore, this view of history describes in parallel the decline and the division of China, but reversing cause and effect, it insists that the division caused the decline. This logical contradiction comes from long-term selective indoctrination and, for many people, lack of observation. Add to that the fact that this view of history ignores the suffering of people under the new unified power, and you will see that the nationalistic concept of ‘division is decline’ is a paradoxical concept.

We can see that. from a historical and a logical perspective, the ‘great unity’ is not necessarily a good thing, or a necessity for the citizens. But in reality, will democratization actually lead to the dismembering of China? I would like to refine the analysis.

At present, people in the country have two types of secession phobias: the fear of ethnic division, and the fear of warlord secession. The former is concerned that democratization will lead to the independence of ethnic minority groups, and lead to their secession; the latter is a worry that the ruling party will split into various factions and their leaders will form diverse warlord forces.

Regarding the fear of ethnic division, there seems to be some truth to it. After democratization, the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia split into two or more countries, and Yugoslavia also experienced a tragic civil war. But this concern overlooks two points. First, the three countries that divided thus all implemented Leninist ethnic federalism (i.e. a country is divided into national republics based on ethnic minorities, and the constitution provides these national republics with a right to secede, and so even at the UN, the Soviet Union had three seats, as USSR, Belarus and Ukrayne). Second, that none of these three countries had a dominant ethnic group (which accounted for more than two thirds of the population). Today’s China is clearly different from these three countries. China’s structure is currently a unitary one, autonomous ethnic regions are the same administrative units as provinces (of course, the autonomous regions still bear the name of ethnic minorities, which is a remainder of Leninist federalism, and requires reform); even more crucial is the fact that China has one dominant ethnic group (according to the 2010 census data, the Han population still accounts for more than 90% of Chinese population). Countries similar to China, like Bulgaria and Romania, didn’t experience division after democratisation. A more powerful example is India, which is ethnically and religiously far more diverse than China, yet achieved national unity through a democratic federal model (unlike leninist federalism, federalism promotes a State structure based on bottom-up local civic governance, rather than the autonomy of an ethnic group). According to research from scholar Qin Hui, India’s democracy and local federalism (constitutional local government, not ethnic federalism) resulted in India replacing/weakening the ‘ethnic dispute’ with a ‘right-left dispute’, and is thus exempt from the risk of ethnic division. China’s democratic transition might of course unfold along similar lines.

As far as our fear of warlords is concerned, there is not much sense to it. The social foundation for warlordism was the relatively closed local districts of China before the period of Mao Zedong. The mobility of the local Chinese population was limited, and some remote areas were particularly closed off, and the management of the grassroots by the centre needed to include local forces such as squires and local despots to succeed; and in the army, officers and soldiers often came from the same home regions (like the ‘Xiang’ and the ‘Huai’ division in the late Qing, or in the Republican era, the ‘Zhi group’, the ‘Anhui group’, the ‘Manchu group’, the ‘Guizhou group’ or the ‘Dongbei army’, the ‘Northwestern army’, the ‘Yunnan army’, the ‘Sichuan army’, etc) and this resulted in the easy development of separatist local trends. But in the period of Mao Zedong, through direct grassroots organisation systems by the party and campaign after campaign, the local social structure was ‘transformed’, and the local gentry and despotic forces were eliminated; and with the loss of local powers, it would be really difficult for local factions to form. Now, the People’s Liberation Army troops have put in place a national movement, residents of the same regions are generally separated, officers among themselves, soldiers among themselves, and soldiers and officers generally do not come from the same hometown or region, cutting off the constitution of local factions in the army. More crucially, the full penetration of communist top-down management systems in the army reduces the practicality of forming regional factions within the army. In terms of the army’s social and economic environment, in today’s globalised China, people, capital, goods and information are highly mobile, and there is a high level of contact with surrounding environments, which is a difference with the period of ‘local village’ China. We can say that regional social structures have been broken by party campaigns, local forces have disappeared, there is now a flow of soldiers in the army structure, and a more fluid environment of globalised economy. All this makes it difficult for warlordism to occur again.

In fact, even in the late Qing dynasty, in spite of foreign powers invading, warlords and civil wars, from a legal standpoint, China still wasn’t divided – the separatist warlords still recognised that they belong to one unified China, and even if the central government was weak, Tibet and Xinjiang failed to seek independence, and as for the independence of Mongolia, internal partisan warfare was caused by strong external forces。We can see that, as far as the modern history of ‘China’s humiliation’ goes, it is not easy to divide China. So, in a China whose economy has become the world’s number 2, combined with the analysis we gave previously, ‘ethnic separation phobia’ and ‘warlord phobia’ are more like the jumping of a person who scares themselves.

When Chinese citizens will get rid of their ‘ethnic separation phobia’ and their ‘warlordism phobia’, they will no longer be so shy, but from the voluntary movement of the citizens, China will come one step closer towards democratic transition.

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