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The Center for Strategic Translation provides statesmen and scholars with the tools needed to interpret the Chinese party-state of today while training a new generation of China specialists with the skills needed to guide our relations with the China of tomorrow.

The Center meets this need through initiatives in translation and education. The Center locates, translates, and annotates documents of historic or strategic value that are currently only available in Chinese. Our introductory essays, glossaries, and commentaries are designed to make these materials accessible and understandable to statesmen and scholars with no special expertise in Chinese politics or the Chinese language.

Complementing the Center’s published translations are the Center’s training seminars. Starting in the summer of 2023 the Center will host a series of seminars to instruct young journalists, graduate students, and government analysts in the open-source analysis of Communist Party policy, introduce them to the distinctive lexicon and history of Party speak, and train them how to draw credible conclusions from conflicting or propagandistic documentary sources.
    
The Center is an initiative of the American Governance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that studies and promotes the betterment of American public institutions and publishes the quarterly magazine Palladium. The Center is directed by Tanner Greer, a noted essayist, journalist, and researcher with expertise interpreting China in the context of American foreign policy.

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A Study of the “Industrial Party” and the “Sentimental Party”

兼论“工业党”对决“情怀党”

Introduction

Two centuries separate the first boom of British cannonade over Chinese waters from the booming of the Zhuhai Airshow, held biyearly in the skies above the shoreline where the Opium War began. Here the PLA’s finest aircraft can be seen, and heard, in flight. These machines roar triumphant for crowds of patriotic onlookers—a distant echo of the roaring canon-fire that so rudely introduced China to the modern world two centuries ago. Linking blasts past and present is a debate that snakes through the history of modern China.1 At issue in this dispute is why China’s experience of modernity was so harrowing: Why did this great people, once so central to the story of human civilization, fall behind the West? Is there something inherent in Chinese culture that kept it from pioneering the forces of modernity? Should these forces be mastered at all? Are modern machines of wealth and war the proper benchmark for national success? In other words, just how central to the story of China’s national rejuvenation are the planes that fly from Zhuhai?

Chinese intellectuals and statesmen have been debating variations on these questions since the 1840s. The dispute is perennial: as soon as one generation digs into settled battlelines a new generation of thinkers arises to start the fight anew.2 Translated below is a prominent entry in the 21st century round of this debate. Its author, writer and scholar Wang Xiaodong, sides strongly on the side of the aircraft—or perhaps more accurately, the legion of scientists, engineers, and technicians that make the production of advanced fighter aircraft possible in the first place.

Closely associated with an internet subculture known in China as the “industrial party” (it is from the essay translated below that the subculture takes its name), Wang is an ardent techno-nationalist who believes that industrial might and technological advance are the most meaningful measure of China’s national progress and the only proper source for the Communist Party’s ruling legitimacy. This is not a modest vision. His essay starts as a commemoration of a new PLA aircraft; it ends as a declaration of China’s industrial manifest destiny.  

Wang is several generations older than most commentators associated with the industrial party. Born in 1955, Wang came of age at a time when the resources of the entire Chinese economy were being plowed into defense industrialism. After the Cultural Revolution ended, Wang enrolled at Peking University to study mathematics. He would continue his studies at the Tokyo Institute of Technology during the 1980s, when the achievements of Japanese industrial policy reached their zenith.3 With a scathing review of the 1988 television series River Elegy—which condemns the Chinese people as blocked from modernity by their own hidebound and authoritarian traditions—Wang established a national reputation as a nationalist firebrand.4 He would cultivate this reputation in the years to come with regular attacks on other Chinese thinkers, accusing Chinese liberals in particular of seeing their homeland only through the racist and self-serving lens that Westerners applied to China. Wang’s efforts would culminate in the 2009 best seller Unhappy China, in which Wang and a few other nationally prominent intellectuals decried the “weak country psychology” that haunted the Chinese psyche and urged their countrymen to adopt a more confident and confrontational attitude towards the leading Western powers.5  

The essay translated below was written only a few years after Unhappy China was published. It expresses the same confidence in Chinese power that defined Wang’s earlier work but sketches a far more ambitious—and original—vision for China’s future. Wang's trademark denunciations of hypocrisy abroad and internalized racism at home are gone. Instead, Wang writes of bullet trains and manufacturing hubs, fighter jets and foundries. In the manufacture of copper wiring and steel beams Wang finds an objective measure of strength and progress. Nationalists who fret about American financial might, cultural prestige, or discursive power confuse the byproducts of strength for their source. “What is there to admire in the American financial industry, in Hollywood, in the Grammys, or in the NBA?,” Wang asks. “Let the Americans sing and dance while we smelt our iron.” 

Wang believes that China is predestined to win all contests in smelting iron. The future of global manufacturing lies in China. No other country has a potential population of scientists, engineers, and technical workers as large. In Wang’s eyes Westerners have the skills, but not the numbers; India and the rest of the third world might have the numbers, but Wang asserts that their populations do not have the intelligence or industriousness to measure up to their Chinese counterparts.

By this logic the existing supply chains of the early 2010s presage the future of the global economy. “The United States does not even have independent and complete industrial supply chains to support its military.” Thus “as the industrial system grows more complex and supply chains stretch longer and longer, the only country that can encompass all of this is China.” In light of “its many excellent engineers, scientists, and technicians” China is the “one nation that can do it alone.” 

Yet industrial and technological autarky are not Wang’s goal. To the contrary, Wang believes that the Chinese pattern of industrialization must be spread across the earth. He imagines a day when “our scientists and technicians will travel around the world to work, bringing with them civilization, a dignified existence, and relief from poverty. This is one thing that Westerners have been unwilling or powerless to accomplish.” Chinese must have faith that this is the course of their nation’s future. After all, “democracy is not the only universal value. Science is a universal value. Industrialization is a universal value.” It is the destiny of the Chinese people to become the avatar of these new universal values.

The only people with the power to derail this destiny are the Chinese themselves. Wang has no patience for the left-right distinctions6 that normally dominate Chinese political debates: for Wang the only divide that really matters is between those Chinese who belong to the “party of industry” [工业党]  and those who belong to the “party of sentiment” [情怀党].7

Wang’s industrialists include not only engineers, research scientists, and technicians, but anyone disposed towards a scientific worldview. In contrast to sentimentalists who—like the Odes memorizing literati of old—waste their time debating the merits and meaning of media, rhetoric, and art, members of the industrial party focus their attention squarely on the physical world. Beneath the word games and emotional appeals of political philosophy lies a world of material things that can be measured, calculated, and manipulated. The technological advances that allow human beings to measure and manipulate objective physical realities are the crowning achievements of the human species. But this is only understood by those who value statistics over sentiment and material victories over intangible moral values. These are the people who—for the sake of humanity’s future—must run China. 

Events seem to vindicate Wang’s manifesto. Over the last decade, the “industrial party” has grown from a phrase in an essay to a vibrant online subculture with members across China.8 When the United States began sanctioning telecommunication companies like ZTE and Huawei, the Chinese public turned to the statistics stuffed essays of these intellectuals in order to understand the course and consequences of the new Sino-American tech war. The policies favored by the industrial party—building self-sufficient industrial supply chains inside China, exporting Chinese-style infrastructure to the developing world, fusing China’s civil and military technological development, pouring national resources into basic scientific research, and an industrial policy that privileges heavy industry over software or consumer tech9—have all been adopted by the Communist Party of China. Xi Jinping himself speaks of “saving the nation with science and education.”10 In 2023 Party slogans come custom-made for the future the industrial party yearns for.

Yet the industrial party’s affiliation with the communist party-state is less sure than current policy alignments might suggest. “The key variable for determining the course of China’s future development,” Wang argues, is not the leadership of the Communist Party of China, but “the massive number of talented technical and scientific workers [in China]. This will hold true no matter what political system China may adopt or who our political leaders may be.”

This is not how committed Chinese communists speak. For Wang and other members of the industrial party, the Communist Party of China is a useful tool for constructing their favored future—but it is only that.11 In Wang’s words, China’s industrial destiny “is not invested solely in the Communist Party that Mao Zedong represented. It transcends political parties, changes in regimes, political systems, and whatever so-called cultural trends are popular among intellectuals of a particular period.” In other words, the united front between industrialist intellectuals and Communist Party cadres will last only as long as the “historic mission” of the Communist Party overlaps with the transcendent cause of the industrial party. For now that overlap seems secure—but as the Communist Party espouses its own set of transcendent ideals, this may not always be so.

—THE EDITORS

1. Orville Schell and John Delury trace the contrasting answers to these questions from the Opium Wars to the 21st century in Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the 20th Century (New York: Random House, 2013).
2. The paradigmatic example of the debate over the role science and technology might play in China’s NATIONAL REJUVENATION were the “science and metaphysics” debates of the 1920s and 1930s. For an account of this debate see Yanbing Guorong, “The Debate between Scientists and Metaphysicians in Early Twentieth Century: Its Theme and Significance,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 2, no 1 (December 2002): 79-95; and D.W.Y. Kwok, Scientism in Chinese Thought, Nineteen Hundred to Nineteen Fifty (New York: Biblo-Moser, 1972).
3. Vivian Wang, “A Godfather of Chinese Nationalism Has Second Thoughts,” The New York Times, 27 October 2022.
4. The essay is can be found at Wang Xiaodong 王小东, “Nandao Gaogui He Zhihui Yongyuan Buneng Xieshou Erxing Ma 难道高贵和智慧永远不能携手而行吗?[Can Nobility and Wisdom Never Go Hand in Hand?],” Aisixiang 爱思想, July 2008.  
5. Song Qiang 宋强, Huang Jisu 黄纪苏, Song Xiaojun 宋晓军, Wang Xiaodong 王小东 and Liu Yang ​​刘仰, Zhongguo Bu Gaoxing: Dashidai, Damubiao Ji Women de Neiyou Waihuan 中国不高兴:大时代、大目标及我们的内忧外患 [Unhappy China: The Great Time, the Grand Vision and Our Challenges​​] (Nanjin: Jiangsu Renmin Chubanshe 江苏人民出版社 [Jiangsu People’s Publishing Inc], 2009). 
The book also garnered substantial press coverage in the west. For a summary, see David Barunski, “Unhappy China and Why it is Cause For Unhappiness,” China Media Project, 2 April 2009.
6. Like Westerners, Chinese understand their politics in terms of a right-to-left spectrum. But “right” and “left” carry a very different valence in China, where the “left” is generally associated with nostalgia for Maoism, unapologetic nationalism, disdain for limited government, and a hostility to capitalist enterprise, and the “right” is associated with market reforms, support for civil liberties, and a more cosmopolitan worldview. Jennifer Pan and Yiqing Xu, “China’s Ideological Spectrum,” The Journal of Politics 80, no. 1 (2018): 254–273.
7. Though Wang does not explicitly say so, the term “sentimental party” may be a reference to the science and metaphysics debates of the 1920s, when Chinese intellectuals were heavily divided on the question of how important the western scientific worldview would be to solving China’s problems. Liang Qichao based one of his most influential attacks on scientism on the argument that “the sentimental aspect of [man’s] outlook on life lies beyond science.” Wang’s response is less to argue the contrary point than to diminish the importance of subjective experience all together. For the Liang quote see Guorong, “The Debate between Scientists and Metaphysicians in Early Twentieth Century,” 81.
8. Lu Nanfeng 卢南峰, Wu Qing 吴靖, “Lishi zhuanzhe zhong de hongda xushi: gongyedang wangluo sichao de zhengzhi fengxi 历史转折中的宏大叙事: ‘工业党’网络思潮的政治分析 [Historical Transformation and Grand Narrative: A Political Analysis of the ‘Industrial Party,’ an Online Intellectual Trend],”  东方学刊 [Dongfang Review], 9 September 2018. An English translation is available at, David Ownby,Historical Transformation and Grand Narrative: A Political Analysis of the ‘Industrial Party,’ an Online Intellectual Trend,” Reading the China Dream, undated. See also, Dylan Levi King, “China’s Exit to Year Zero,” Palladium Magazine, April 9 2021; T.J. Ma, “Development Blogging: Understanding Social Media Support for BRI,” Panda Paw Dragon Claw, 10 February 2019. 
For more Chinese language discussion of the demographics and influence of the industrial party: Lu Nanfeng 卢南峰, Wu Qing 吴靖, “‘Gongyedang’ yu ‘xiaofenghong’ youshenme butong ‘工业党”’与’小粉红’有什么不同 [What is the Difference between the Industrial Party and the Little Pinkies],” Souhu, 17 June 2019; Yu Liang 余亮, “‘Gongyedang’ Yishi, yizhong bei hushi de renwen jinshen ‘工业党’意识,一种被忽视的人文精神 [An ‘Industrial Party’ Awareness, a Neglected Humanistic Spirit], Guancha 观察 [Observer.cn], 20 August 2019. 
9. The bias against consumer tech is one factor that distinguishes Chinese techno-optimists from their international counterparts. Wang’s invective against Steve Jobs—referenced in the essay translated below, but more fully laid out in his essay “Steve Jobs' Brilliant Success is Precisely a Sign of America’s Decline”—captures the standard industrial party view of this question. 
“Qiaobusi Huiguang Chenggong Qiaqia Shi Meiguo Shuailuo de Biaozhi 乔布斯辉煌的成功恰恰是美国衰落的标志 [Steve Jobs' brilliant success is precisely a sign of America's decline],” Aisixiang 爱思想, 10 October 2011.
For similar assessments by the senior Chinese leadership, see Lingling Wei and Stella Yifan Xie, “Communist Party Priorities Complicate Plans to Revive China’s Economy,Wall Street Journal, 27 August 2023.
10. Xi Jinping, “Gaoju Zhongguo Tese Shehui Zhuyi Weida Qizhi Wei Quanmian Jianshe Shehui Zhuyi Xiandaihua Guojia ER Tuanjie Fendou Zai Hong Guogong Chandang Di Ershi CI Quanguo Daibiao Dahui Shang de Baogao 高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜 为全面建设社会主义现代化国家而团结奋斗——在中国共产党第二十次全国代表大会上的报告 [Holding High the Great Banner of Socialism With Chinese Characteristics, and Uniting to Strive for the Comprehensive Construction of a Socialist Modernized Country–Report at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China],” Xinhua, 25 October 2022.
11. In a long 2008 essay, Wang himself argued that China must undertake democratization because democracies have historically excelled at building nationalist spirit among their citizens and have a proven track record of fighting more successfully during great power wars.
Wang Xiaodong, “Minzu Shencun Jinzheng yu Mingzhu Zhidu 民族生存竞争与民主制度 [The National Competition for Survival and Democracy],” Aisixiang 爱思想, 17 July 2008.
On the relationship between the industrial policy and other factions of online opinion, including those more explicitly in favor of communist rule, see Kristin hi-Kupfer, Mareike Ohlberg, Simon Lang, Bertram Lang, “Ideas and Ideologies Competing For China's Political Future,” Merics Papers on China 5, Mercator Institute for China Studies, October 2017.   

Author
Wang Xiaodong
王小东
original publication
Green Leaf
《绿叶》
publication date
January 1, 2011
Translator
Dylan Levi King
Translation date
October 2023
Tags
Tag term
Tag term
Century of National Humiliation
百年国耻

In Chinese historiography, the decades between the conclusion of the First Opium War in 1842 and the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 are described as a “century of national humiliation.” In these decades China lost a series of wars with European powers, ceded control of Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Manchuria, the Amur River Basin, and Outer Mongolia to alien empires, was forced to grant extraterritorial rights to foreigners in China, lost sovereign control of its markets and currency, and was saddled with onerous indemnities. This period of external intervention culminated with the Japanese invasion of 1937, which lead to the death of some 20 million Chinese. The legacy of humiliation haunts Chinese intellectuals today and provides the Communist Party of China with one of its most emotionally powerful legitimizing narratives.

The term “national humiliation” [国耻] dates to the late 19th century and served as a common touchstone for the various nationalist movements that sought to “save the country” [救国] at the beginning of the 20th. The founders of the Communist Party of China began their careers as activists more interested in nationalist uplift than communist utopia. In the disciplined, militarized hierarchy of a Leninist party they saw a vehicle for rescuing their nation. “Only socialism can save China” [只有社会主义才能救中国] they declared, and to this day Party historians and officials argue that Republican era experiments with other political ideologies all failed to unite China or drive out imperialist influence.

This narrative erases the sacrifices made by millions of Chinese not associated with the Communist Party, as well as the success these sacrifices secured. It was under KMT rule that the Japanese were defeated, Western powers gave up their extraterritorial privileges in China, and China was given one of five seats on the UN Security Council. In Communist eyes these feats count for little, as they were all accomplished with the aid of imperialist powers. The early Communist leadership believed that only “cleaning out the house before inviting guests in” [打扫干净屋子再请客]—in other words, driving Westerners completely out of China before readmitting them on Chinese terms—could guarantee the founding of a NEW CHINA free from the taint of imperialist influence. The Communist version of eradicating  national humiliation thus began with the foundation of the People’s Republic of China and was confirmed by Chinese success against “American imperialism” in the Korean War.   

By instructing the children of China to chant “never forget national humiliation” (勿忘国耻) the Party legitimizes this founding moment. It also suggests to the Chinese people what nightmares might occur if Party rule falters. The century of humiliation is a narrative of victimhood. It presumes an innocent China thrust into a dangerous world, there victimized by rapacious foreigners eager to feed on any nation too weak to maintain its sovereignty. Foreign opposition to Chinese policy today is easily reframed as a continuation of this antique pattern.  Under this schema China is still a victim of undeserved hostility; without the guiding hand of a strong and united Party, these hostile forces will force national humiliation on the Chinese people once again.

See also: GREAT REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION; NEW CHINA

Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation
中华民族伟大复兴

General Secretaries of the Communist Party of China have described “national rejuvenation” [民族复兴] as the central mission of their Party since the Thirteenth Party Congress in 1987. Their wording intentionally echoes the language used by Sun Yat-sen and the nationalist revolutionaries who overthrew the Qing Dynasty at the cusp of the modern era. Those revolutionaries dreamed of restoring a broken nation to its traditional station at the center of human civilization.Though he lives a century after Sun Yat-sen’s death, Xi Jinping rarely gives a speech without endorsing the same aspiration. As Xi describes it, national rejuvenation is a “strategic plan” for “achieving lasting greatness for the Chinese nation” (Xi 2022). The formal term for this plan is the “National Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation,” a term that could be alternatively translated as the “National Rejuvenation of the Chinese Race.”

The work of a Leninist party is inherently goal oriented. Chinese governance depends on a  “high pressure system” [压力型体制] that uses a mix of campaign tactics and career incentives to focus the work of millions of cadres on a shared set of tasks, all of which are nested in a hierarchy of overarching goals. During the Maoist era China’s leadership identified the  “the realization of communism” as the “ultimate aim of the Party,” and proposed “victory in class struggle” as the path for reaching this end (Perrolle 1976). The CPC of today still endorses the“realization of communism” as the “highest ideal and ultimate aim” of the Party, but argues that “the highest ideal of communism pursued by Chinese Communists can be realized only when socialist society is fully developed and highly advanced,” a historical process that will “take over a century” to achieve (Constitution of the CPC 2022). In contrast, the “lasting greatness” associated with national rejuvenation can be accomplished on a more feasible timescale. The Party expects to lead the Chinese race to this desired end state by 2049, the centenary of the People’s Republic of China. Achieving the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation by this date is the overarching goal of the Chinese party-state.

To attain national rejuvenation, party leadership has argued that China must become a “great and modern socialist state” [社会主义现代化强国]. In Xi Jinping’s NEW ERA this imperative has been broken down into five aspirational end states: prosperity and strength [富强],democracy [民主], advanced culture [文明], social harmony [和谐], and beauty [美丽]. The first category emphasize the Party’s drive to build a country whose COMPOSITE NATIONAL POWER is commensurate with a civilization at the leading edge of modernity; the next three identify the desired relationship between the Communist Party and a unified Chinese nation; the last is associated with campaigns to reduce pollution and forge a healthier relationship between industrial development and the natural environment. 

With sub-components as broad as these, almost any policy promoted by THE CENTER falls under the remit of “national rejuvenation.” The breadth of this mandate is intentional. As communist utopia retreats ever further into the future, Party leadership has bet that reclaiming lost Chinese greatness is the one cause “the entire Party and all the Chinese people [will] strive for” (Xi 2022). 

See also: ADVANCING TOWARDS THE CENTER OF THE WORLD STAGE; CENTURY OF NATIONAL HUMILIATION

National Rejuvenation
民族复兴
Discursive Power
话语权

Those who wield discursive power possess the ability to shape, select, or amplify the ideas, frames, and sources of authority that guide political decision making. The concept was developed in response to the puzzlement and frustration many Chinese nationalists felt as their country’s mounting material power failed to translate into commensurate influence over global affairs. They concluded that China’s dazzling economic growth and rising military might was insufficient to change the structure of the international order because the norms that govern interstate relations are downstream of cultural values China had little influence over. The West’s intellectual hegemony allows it to embed its value set and viewpoint in the structure of international politics. This is a form of power: discursive power.

Often translated as “discourse power,” more rarely as “the right to speak,” and sometimes simply as “say” or “voice,” the neologism rose to prominence in Chinese academic writing in the mid-aughts and was subsequently elevated into the Party lexicon in the 2010s. The various alternative translations of the term reflect an ambiguity present in the original Chinese. Huàyǔquán [话语权] is a compound word that combines huàyǔ [话语], the Chinese word for “speech,” “language,” or “discourse,” with the more ambiguous quán [权], whose meaning shifts between “authority,” “rights,” or “power” depending on the context in which it is used. “Right to speak” is therefore a reasonable translation of huàyǔquán [话语权], for the right to speak about the Party’s accomplishments through a “Chinese” frame is precisely what party leaders believe the hegemonic culture of the West denies them. However, neither dictionary listings for the word nor academic discussion of its role in international affairs emphasize freedoms or entitlements. Their focus is on influence and control. They suggest that control of the world rests with those who control the words that the world is using.

This is not an entirely new concept in Party thought. Following in Marx and Lenin’s footsteps, Mao rejected the notion of a neutral public sphere where policy can be hashed out in a process of rational deliberation. He was insistent that the world of ideas was in fact a central domain in the struggle for power, and that no idea could be divorced from the class interest or political program of those who proposed it. Chinese discussions of Western discursive power take a similar approach, treating concepts like “human rights,” “universal values,” and other guiding liberal ideals not as genuine moral or intellectual commitments but as tools of power used to legitimize American hegemony and weaken America’s enemies. Here the Soviet Union’s sad fate serves as a warning: failure to challenge the discursive power of the hegemon abroad can lead to the collapse of discursive power at home. Thus discursive power does not just influence China’s international standing, but also the political security of its ruling regime.

Chinese leaders have found no easy solutions to the problems posed by the West’s discursive dominance.  Censorship at home and interference operations abroad allow the Party to stifle some ideas that might otherwise find their way into discourse. However, the Party leadership recognizes the limits to this negative approach. In their view, if China wishes to successfully reshape the operating norms of the international system, then China must articulate a positive vision of the world it wants to build; if China desires renown and acclaim on the international stage, then it must articulate a value set less hostile to Chinese success than the human rights paradigm now normative across the globe. Xi Jinping has thus directed Chinese academics to develop “new concepts, new categories, and a new language that international society can easily understand and accept so as to guide the direction of research and debate in the international academic community” (Xi 2016). Cadres and diplomats are charged with a simpler mission: “tell China’s story well” [讲好中国故事]. As Xi recently put it, to secure China's NATIONAL REJUVENATION the Party must:

Collect and refine the defining symbols and best elements of Chinese culture and showcase them to the world. Accelerate the development of China’s discourse and narrative systems, tell China’s story well, make China’s voice heard, and present a China that is worthy of trust, adoration, and respect. Strengthen our international communications capabilities, make our communications more effective, and strive to strengthen China’s discursive power in international affairs so that it is commensurate with our composite national strength and international status (Xi 2022).

See also: COMMUNITY OF COMMON DESTINY FOR ALL MANKIND; HEGEMONISM; PEACEFUL EVOLUTION; TOTAL NATIONAL SECURITY PARADIGM; COMPOSITE NATIONAL POWER

Hegemonism
霸权主义

When Chinese intellectuals and Communist Party officials inveigh against “hegemonism” they invoke a term first used more than two millennia ago to refer to a ruling power that maintains its position through violence and subterfuge. The territory of ancient China was divided between a dozen warring kingdoms; for centuries the only respite from turmoil came when leaders of unusual strategic acumen used diplomatic skill and military power to overwhelm their enemies and enforce a general peace. These kings were known as [霸], or “hegemons.” The order of a hegemon rarely lasted past his death. Ancient Chinese thinkers often contrasted the fragile peace produced by the “way of the hegemon” with the imagined  “way of a true king,” which promised a peaceful order premised not on violence, but moral suasion. When 21st century Chinese proclaim that they  “oppose hegemonism” it is thus a specific style of leadership they reject–a style reminiscent of the illegitimate hegemons of Chinese antiquity.

Deng Xiaoping described the features of modern hegemonism in a blistering 1974 address to the United Nations. There he condemned the Soviet Union and the United States as 

the biggest international exploiters and oppressors of today... They both possess large numbers of nuclear weapons. They carry on a keenly contested arms race, station massive forces abroad and set up military bases everywhere, threatening the independence and security of all nations. They both keep subjecting other countries to their control, subversion, interference or aggression (Deng 1974).

Deng maintained that in response to this illegitimate exercise of hegemonic power, Chinese foreign policy would focus on “strengthening the unity of the developing countries, safeguarding their national economic rights and interests, and promoting the struggle of all peoples against imperialism and hegemonism” (Deng 1974). Though Chinese diplomats would take a less confrontational stance during the era of REFORM AND OPENING, Deng continued to describe  “opposing hegemonism” as a central plank of Chinese foreign policy for the rest of his life. 

Chinese propagandists are still preoccupied with the ills of American hegemonism. They often pair attacks on American belligerence with a vow that China will “never seek hegemony” [永远不称霸]. When uttering this phrase, Chinese officials and diplomats are not promising to abandon China’s ADVANCE TOWARD THE CENTER OF THE WORLD STAGE. Rather, they promise that China will rise without adopting the “hegemonic” means America has relied on (such as alliance blocs, nuclear coercion, or an expansive network of global military bases) to maintain its global position. 

See also: ADVANCING TOWARD THE CENTER OF THE WORLD STAGE; COMMUNITY OF COMMON DESTINY FOR MANKINDHOSTILE FORCES

Industrial Party
工业党

The Industrial Party is the self-chosen moniker of a Chinese internet subculture and intellectual scene devoted to debating and dissecting problems in engineering, economic development, and international relations. Public intellectuals associated with this subculture argue that technological progress is the sole measure of social progress or state legitimacy, as well as the most critical element in China’s geopolitical rivalry with the United States. Typically young men with backgrounds in science or engineering, Industrial Party commentators are articulate spokesmen for a distinctly Chinese techno-nationalism. Their voices are heard in almost all public discussions of Chinese industrial policy or Sino-American tech competition.

Contrary to its name, the Industrial Party is not an organized political party—the closest analogue on the American scene would be online communities like the “Dirtbag Left,” the “New Right,” or the “Rationalist Movement,” whose identities are anchored on the writings of intellectuals operating on the margins of power. The origins of this community lie in message boards of the mid aughts; there a young generation of technically minded Chinese gathered to discuss the technologies portrayed in science fiction novels, debate the finer details of Chinese industrial policy, and follow new developments in PLA weaponry. Like all internet communities, this one had distinctive cultural quirks. These included scrupulous attention to technical detail, exhaustive statistical summaries, and an unwavering commitment to logical, dispassionate analysis. These traits would still be hallmarks of Industrial Party commentary a decade later, when the best Industrial Policy voices were read not only in niche online forums, but across the Chinese public sphere.

There is no Industrial Party catechism. Commentators identified with the Industrial Party have included both communists and democrats, advocates of both market liberalization and advocates of stronger central planning. What unites the Industrial Party commentariat is the belief that alternatives like these are best thought of as technical questions, not moral ones. In their eyes appeals to morality and philosophy are just appeals to emotion by another name; beneath the subjective word games of political philosophy lies a world more solid and real—a world of material things that can be measured, calculated, and manipulated. The technological advances that allow human beings to engineer these objective physical realities for their own ends are the crowning achievements of the human race. They are the only objective measure of social progress that holds true regardless of culture or location and are the only proper purpose for government action.

The Industrial Party’s faith in technological glory is matched only by its fear of falling behind. To technology they credit the difference between weakness and strength, collapse and survival, imperialized and imperialist. Scientific discoveries may be made in the name of the species, but the practical benefits of new discoveries flow first to the nations who discover them. In the Industrial Party worldview, technological progress is inherently a national endeavor. Nations that fall behind will suffer. China experienced this first hand during its own CENTURY OF NATIONAL HUMILIATION. Such humiliation, the Industrial Party insists, need not occur again. China’s ADVANCE TOWARDS THE CENTER OF THE WORLD STAGE can be guaranteed—but only if China’s leaders care more for scientific research and industrial development than they do about less tangible political ideals.

 

See also: ADVANCE TOWARDS THE CENTER OF THE WORLD STAGE; CENTURY OF NATIONAL HUMILIATION; GREAT REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION; KEY CORE TECHNOLOGIES; WHITE LEFT.

中国的工业化将决定中国与世界的命运——兼论“工业党”对决“情怀党”

一、中国研发飞机为什么这么快

中国第四代军机J-20的亮相和第一次试飞,令国人欢欣鼓舞。但其意义决不限于国防方面。

现在已经没有人再敢怀疑J-20的真实性了。我们的研制速度为什么这么快?宋晓军在电视节目中谈到这个问题,有人将其归结为三句话:

第一,我们人多。指的是我们工程师多,科技工作者多,搞研发的人多。

第二,我们钱多。尽管很多人可能根本就不相信这一点,但这是事实。很多人都不知道,我们的制造业增加值,即使按汇率计算,也已经与美国持平,而今后,则将迅速将其落下。

第三,从第一、第二两条可以推论,我们搞得肯定比美国当年快。

我同意宋晓军的估计。是我们的估计更准确,还是那些悲观论者更准确?我们就往后看吧。

二、中国实现工业化的决心和能力

先进飞机的独立设计与制造,是一个民族科技工业综合能力的体现。四代机研发成功,最大的意义就在于它突出展现了中国人在工业化道路上的决心和能力。

近代以来中华民族通过实现工业化来一雪耻辱的决心是无比强烈举世罕匹的。从1840年鸦片战争以后,我们要摆脱被外国人欺负和奴役的命运,要在科技上赶超上去,要回归祖先的荣光 ,求强求富,这就是我们全民族的追求,170多年了,这股劲头谁也改变不了。按毛主席的话说,就是我们要重新屹立于世界民族之林,这是比较客气的说法。毛主席还说过,相对于其他民族 ,我们中国要对世界有更大的贡献。这是什么意思?这就是说我们将来要超过他们。

这种想法、追求、决心,绝对不仅仅是以毛泽东为代表的共产党才有的,这是超越政党,超越政权的更替 ,超越政治制度,超越一时的知识分子中流行的所谓的文化思潮的。从曾胡左李,到康梁,到孙文,到蒋介石,也莫不如此。当然成就另当别论。

光有决心是不够的,还要有能力。在此我们受惠于祖先几千年积累而成的传统。首先我认为,一个能制作出非常繁复的艺术品的民族,也能够擅长于制作精细、高端的工业品;一个民族 在农耕文明时期形成的手工艺素质,在工业文明时代将起到相当决定性的作用;一个民族具有高超手工艺素质的人口的多少,将决定它能否在工业化中取得强势地位,甚至将决定它能否取得 世界领导地位。在这一点上,我们尊敬欧洲文明,但我们自己也相当优秀,因为我们恰恰有长期能干细活的做精致物品的工匠的传统。

除此之外,众所周知,我们还有重视教育、重视学习的 传统。另外,根据西方人的评测,我们的平均智商也高。拥有了这些传统,在驾驭现代工业和科技方面,我们就绝不输于西方人。

其实我这种见解并不新鲜,比如说上世纪三十年代——那个 时候中国正处在最暗淡的时期,英国科学史学者贝尔纳在其名着《科学的社会功能》中就指出,中国人搞科学是没问题的:“从中国已有的成绩可以看出,经过适当改造的中国文化传统,可 以为科学事业提供一个非常良好的基础。的确,只要有了表现在中国文化的一切形式中的那种细心、踏实和分寸感,我们可以有理由相信中国还会对科学做出即令不比西方更大,至少也和西 方一样大的贡献。”

由于上述现实压力与文明传统相结合,产生了一个歪打正着的现实结果,就是与世界其他国家相比,我们的基础教育太好了。这让我们拥有了与西方诸强展开竞争甚至进一步完成超越的 能力。现代工业与科技的竞争,千条万绪,最核心的就是要有高素质的劳动力,包括普通工人到工程师和科学家。

当然这个世界上很多国家都有高素质的劳动力,发达国家劳动力普遍素质比较 高。但是,我们比他们更强的是,我们不仅有高素质的劳动力,而且数量还很多,这个他们就不如我们了。比如说美国,这个世界上如果把我们中国刨除在外的话,它的劳动力从质量和数量 上来讲就最出色了,这成就了美国今天的霸主地位。可是我们中国比美国更多,所以我们超越它是没有问题的。印度人口跟我们差不多,但是高素质劳动力不如我们,这是事实,我们暂且不 论原因。道理就这么简单,但是现在好多人看不到,中美在这方面比较,中国占有优势。柴卫东在《生化超越战》里强调,“真传一句话,假传万卷书”。我今天讲话为什么气这么粗?中国 人的有什么别人没有的长处?大道至简,没什么多说的,就一条:中国有更多的高素质的劳动力。

宋晓军有一次跟我说:在当今这个世界,工业体系越来越复杂,产业链拉得越来越长,单凭一个国家的力量就能做到覆盖整个产业链的,只有中国一国,连美国现在都没有这个能力,尽 管它过去曾有。我十分同意他的这个观点。美国自己现在都没有一个独立完整的产业链来支撑它现有的军事实力,所以它要把一些工作分包给它的盟国。当然它有这么多盟国是比我们强的地 方。它作为这个世界的老霸主,有很多仆从,它可以拿这些活让它们去干。但是中国用不着仆从,中国一个国家就可以,这一点美国绝对比不上。中国一个国家就可以覆盖整个产业链,靠的 是中国有无数优秀的工程师和科学家以及技工。

工业时代竞争靠的无非就是这几条:别人造不出来的东西你能造出来,别人能造出来的东西你造得比他好,别人造得同样好的东西,你造得比他便宜。要做到这几点,就得依靠无数特别 优秀的工程师和科学家以及技工,而今天中国拥有得最多。劳动力比中国还廉价的国家有的是,它们为什么就不行呢?是因为他们劳动力的素质不如中国。

感谢了祖先以后,我们还要感谢今天中国广大的中小学教师。也许他们并没有这样的大局观,他们不知道前面我们讲的那些东西,但是,正是他们的默默无闻的工作为我们培养出了大量 的优秀的学生,这些学生在数学和科学上超过了其他发达国家的学生,使我们在竞争中充满了信心。不久前上海学生代表中国首次参加国际标准化测试,语文、数学和科学就都得了第一名。 美国的学生不仅跟中国比是不行的,在发达国家当中也不名列前茅,只有语文测试还凑合。正是有了这么多优秀的学生,使得我们将来可以制造出无数像四代机这样的惊喜。这一点可能好多 人不同意,今天暂不展开,将来专门论述。

工业化需要高素质的劳动力,反过来说,如果有了高素质的劳动力,而你却在工业化上停滞不前,那也是很危险的。你必须给我们这些具有极好的数学和科学潜能的年轻人找到出路,不 给他们出路是不行的。就拿富士康跳楼事件来说,平心而论,富士康的工作条件在中国算是好的,里面卫生、娱乐、体育、健身设施等等都很完备,但是照样这么多人跳楼,说明了什么?说 明了我们这么优秀的劳动力是不可能满足于像富士康这样低级别的工作与生活的。

仅仅只能给中国那些高素质的劳动力提供富士康那样的工作,其实就是委屈人家,就是屈才。大家都有点误会,以为在那个DG干活的不就是些农民工嘛。其实不然,好多人可能小时候是 农村的,长大后人家已经是正儿八经的大学生了。就算不是大学生,那更多的也是因为我们大学的教育资源不够,不是他素质低,他的素质很可能远远高于美国那些上大学的人。去年美国《 时代周刊》评年度人物,是中国的农民工。其封面上的那几个工人,是很有代表性的,决不是傻大黑粗的样貌,而是透露着精明和自信。你现在拿第一代农民工的待遇来打发他们,他们当然 不干了。过去是有份活干、有口饭吃就可以了,现在不行了,饭和活他们都挑剔了,因为他们的素质比第一代强多了,他们要求的是配得上他们能力的工作和生活。

所以中国的政治家,无论 其自身的爱好倾向如何,都必须为我们这些具有很优秀的科学家和工程师潜能的年轻人找到更好的出路,要给这些人创造发展空间。你得让他们当科学家和工程师,而不是当富士康的这种血 汗工厂里的工人。这是未来维护社会稳定的一个非常重要的任务。他要是不跳楼而去干别的了呢?所以你要维持社会稳定,你就要给我们这些具有科学家和工程师潜质的人找到出路,你不往 高端工业化道路上走怎么行呢?你不输出工业化怎么行呢?所以说,中国大量理工科人才的存在这件事本身,就是决定中国社会发展方向的一个重要变量。这一点无论什么政治制度都改变不了 ,更惶论具体的政治领导人是谁。

三、我们宁可打铁炼铜,让美国人为我们载歌载舞

晓军有一天打电话跟我说:乔布斯搞的那些东西不是高端,这一点我们得讲清楚。我说:乔布斯搞苹果一代、二代、改进鼠标并推广其使用、在微软视窗之前做出图形界面,这些确实 都是高端,现在他搞的iphone之类,虽然很赚钱,但绝不是什么高端。

还有什么金融业、好莱坞、格莱美、NBA,我们决不要去羡慕。我们宁可打铁炼铜,让美国人去为我们载歌载舞。因为打铁炼铜才是力量所在,而那些东西,都是八旗败家的玩意儿。现在,我们正在建造世界上最大的八万吨级锻压机,它可以让我们比美国更有效率地制造飞机部件,而且还在计划建造更大的, 这些东西才是真正的高端。

四、工业化将成为中国的普世价值

以这些高素质劳动力为基础的工业化,不仅将改变中国的面貌,还将改变整个世界的面貌,不仅将决定中国的命运,还将决定世界的命运。工业化不可能局限于我们中国国内,我们一定会走出去。不仅仅我们的产品走出去,还要让我们的工业化走出去,让我们的高素质的人才走出去,让这个世界其他角落都实现工业化。我们有大量的科学家和工程师将来要到世界其他地方去工作,给他们带来文明,带来体面的生活,解决他们的贫困问题。这是西方人不愿意做或者也没能力做的一件事。

西方人确实是工业化的开创者,他们发明创造了很多很多的东西,我们不能说他们对这个世界上这些贡献是小的。但是,西方人没能让工业文明的光芒,照到这个世界的每一个人身上。 比如说非洲,他们掠夺了非洲,从奴隶贩卖到石油、钻石,却没有让非洲人民享受工业化的成果,没能让非洲人过上像他们那样的生活。

前面我们是从四代机讲起的,但是我们绝不是说,以为只要有些好的武器就会在这个世界上当老大了,我们没有那么狭隘,那么黩武。我们变好的同时也是要别人变好,这是中国人跟西 方先驱不一样的地方。实际上,在没有上层规划,没有思想、文化、舆论建设的情况下,中国的工业化已经走向了世界。非洲由于中国的存在经济发展上来了,非洲人民过得比过去好了。中国的工业化已经在惠及这个世界上没有被工业文明所照到的那些角落。西方人做不到的我们做到了。

《中国人在非洲》这本书讲到,当他们问一个美国非洲问题专家,说中国在非洲扩张你们美国人担心不担心的时候?那个美国专家说,上帝保佑中国人吧,毕竟是中国人在非洲干了这些 好事,而西方人没干。《中国人在非洲》总结道,中国把非洲这么一个有好几亿人口,却漂离了人类发展的轨道的大陆给拽了回来。这是极高的评价。你把一个大陆从濒临灭绝的这种境地拉 了回来,这难道不是万世不朽的功德吗?这就是我们的普世价值。让几亿人住上更好的房子,喝上干净的水,用上电,这怎么不是普世价值?这不比那些空话强多了嘛。

谁说我们没有普世价值?不仅民主是普世价值,科学也是普世价值,工业化也是普世价值。与西方不同,我们要让工业化惠及地球上每一个人,这就是中国的普世价值,就是我们现阶段的普世价值。我们承认我们目前的生活方式有问题,不够好,在这个意义上我们还要改进自己的生活方式,社会制度,而且进一步,不仅要比现在的中国好,而且要比西方更好。到那时,不仅要让工业化,我们还要让我们这整套更好的社会制度来惠及地球上的每一个人。

现在中国那些不大赞成追随西方的知识分子,在他们反对普世价值,强调特殊价值的时候,实际上还是一种没有自信的表现。我们的祖先其实是讲普世价值的,全“天下”都要向我们的文明靠拢学习,这就是孔子和孟子的普世价值。后来我们衰落了,反而怕了西方的普世价值,强调我们有自己的特殊价值。等到我们再强起来的时候,我们还会拿出我们自己新的普世价值来。

从中国大的国际战略格局来说,我们确实没有必要向任何其他国家再提出领土要求,960万平方公里土地作为一个大本营已足够了。当然,我们不对其他国家提出领土要求,不意味着我们 不在其他地区发挥影响,这是两回事。

五、中国工业化的绊脚石——情怀党

我对中国的前景、对中国工业化的前景如此乐观,可能多数人会感到惊讶。其实我指出的不过是显而易见的事实而已。为什么会产生惊讶?很简单,主流舆论根本不重视这一点。掌握话 语权的知识分子不承认这一点,好多人对此就是视而不见。为什么?

在此,我要引入工业党和情怀党这一维度。讨论和分析人类社会有很多的维度,比如说穷富维度,男女维度,民族维度,种族维度,等等。以中国现在的情况来看,确实存在着另外一个 维度,就是工业党对情怀党。据宋晓军说,这一提法是某大报的一个女记者发明的。顾名思义,工业党有工业化倾向,相对而言从知识结构、智能上来讲,比较适合于搞工业的——当然了, 他不一定非从事工业,比如说我认为我自己就是个工业党,但是我没有从事工业工作。思考问题的方式,他比较类似于科学家和工程师,而且他喜欢这类东西。工业党不是不讲情怀,他有自 己的情怀,比如说我看到四代机,虽不能像有些年轻人那么“眼泪哗哗的”,但我确实有几次眼睛湿润了,这也叫情怀,但是这是工业党的情怀。

至于情怀党呢,乐衷于讲情怀讲道德讲文化 讲情绪。能力方面,他们在逻辑、数学、科技知识上比较差,跟科学家、工程师有较大差别。从价值取向来说,他们往往倾向于忽视、贬低工业方面取得的成就。他们其实更多地带有前工业 文明或者说农业文明时代的纯粹文人的特色。①

当前中国主流的思想派别,是左派和右派(自由派)。不论左派、右派,其实都是情怀党。具体共同表现是,他们一面低估中国工业化的巨大成就,一面把美国看成神。美国人不可能出 问题,美国人不可能不如我们。右派因此而崇拜、热爱美国,想跟美国站在一起,甚至成为了带路党——美国侵占中国,他们自愿给美国人带路。左派虽然反美,但对美国所谓不可战胜的神 话,也是深信不疑。所以中美之间发生任何事情,他们都说中国是吃了亏,美国是赢了,美国是做了个局把我们装进去了。他们闭眼看不见美国今天所面临的困境,美国自家的金融危机也成 了美国给中国设的陷阱。

从四代机亮相以后左派和右派的反应,就可以看透情怀党的本质。拿网上的普通右派来说,一开始上来说四代机是假的,是政府的“五毛”走狗PS出来的。过了一阵子,知道没法说是假 的了,就改口说这个东西肯定不灵;后来不能就性能做文章了,就开始骂这个飞机不是攘外而是安内的。对此,有个年轻人对他们的评论很逗:中国人民确实富起来了,因为强拆的房子上大 概都按了相控陈雷达,所以要用四代机来拆。要没有相控阵雷达,强拆用得着四代机吗?

网上的普通左派也非常有意思。左派是反美的,不能跟右派一样。但是左派上来也是说,四代机没有当年的运十重要。运十是中国人民的伟大成就,但是跟四代机不矛盾,你拿运十来压 四代机丝毫没有道理。另一种说法是,现在领导人不行,人不行了什么武器都没用。再有就是说,现在的中国是个笑贫不笑娼的社会,你为四代机高兴,就是支持“中修”。

这是网上的普通右派、左派的代表性言论。至于左派跟右派的那些代表性知识分子,面对J-20大都失语,选择了沉默,不知如何解释了。为什么会出现这样一种情况呢?对此,一个年轻 人总结得非常好:

右派讲,没有宪政就搞不出来四代机;左派讲,没有“四大”(大鸣大放大辩论大字报)就搞不出来四代机,可是事实上四代机出来了。你说他们怎么解释?

我不是完全否定情怀党强调 的那些东西,如他们所言,中国确实在政治社会诸方面存在着很多缺陷,但是,即使存在着这种缺陷,中国人在工业化道路上还是大踏步地前进了,这是个事实。你不能否认这个成就。左派 和右派都是犯了同一毛病,他们闭眼不看这样的成就。他们以为这个世界只有他们关心的那一个维度,一叶障目不见泰山。

所以我这里把他们都归为情怀党。他们不知道这个世界上不仅仅只有民主专制、左派右派、姓社姓资这样的维度,实际上还有工业这样一个维度。在工业和情怀这个维度当中,他们左派和右派都被压扁在一个点上了,就是情怀党,他们一点点都不了解中国工业。而我们中国很可能在将来恰恰是工业这个维度超越了他们所关心那个维度。我认为,中国的工业化这个维度,远远重要于他们所关心那个维度。

我有不少私人朋友,不管左派右派,属于情怀党。与他们谈到这些问题时,他们常常说自己并没有感到中国工业、科技发展的成就。我就说你现在坐的高铁,你开车驶过的高速公路难道 不是成就吗?手机信号那么好、网速那么快难道你没有享受到吗?你怎么可以这么没良心呢?

这就是工业党跟情怀党的差别。情怀党是不讲事实的,他们只讲他们自己个人主观感受。中国有 无数特别优秀的工程师和科学家,他们从事着默默无闻的工作,为民族为人类做出了巨大贡献,而这些浮在面上的知识分子自己什么都不会,对国家贡献非常有限甚至是负面的。一群百无一 用的情怀党,却瞧不起人家。这个理我们要讲明白。

就在中国左右两派情怀党口水四溅大放空炮的时候,中国的工业化已经不声不响地走向了更高的级别和更广的范围。世界其他国家还能不能挡住我们的脚步呢?我认为根本挡不住。有些人可能还不相信,但是我觉得就是如此。如果说在十年以前,世界其他国家还有可能联起手来遏制中国的话,那么十年以后的今天即使他们都联起手来也遏制不住中国了。

那么,中国面临不面临危险呢?还是有危险的,主要是自己内部的。中国确实有很多弊病,比如贪污腐败、政治体制、贫富差距等等。但是在中国工业化进程中一片大好形势的情况下,这些问题都不致命,都可以慢慢解决。唯一致命的问题就是工业化进程被中断了,那我们民族就无法复兴了。能够让这种进程中断的威胁,我看主要就是情怀党。情怀党从各个方面给中国“下绊儿”,也就是说主要的危险还是内部危险。这个世界上没有其他国家能绊倒中国,只有中国自己才能绊倒中国,现在就是这个情况。如果情怀党完全得势,那就有可能阻断中国的工业化进程。因此说,中国现在最重要的斗争,与其说是左派跟右派,不若说首先是工业党跟情怀党的对决。

六、“情怀党让子弹飞,工业党让四代飞”

就在四代机亮相的同时,一部喜剧电影《让子弹飞》也开始在中国热映。与面对四代机时的失语相比,《让子弹飞》博得了情怀党们的热烈追捧。

《让子弹飞》讲的是对中国革命、中国历史的隐喻,体现了编导对中国革命、中国人民、中国历史的理解。对于这一隐喻,左派右派都各取所需,为他叫好。比如,右派认为此片揭露了 革命的真相。左派则认为此片是在肯定革命。无论是左派和右派,他们对这个东西的解读都有道理。影片编导也的确是这个意图。然而,这些隐喻有多大意义呢?

《让子弹飞》,首先我认为的确是一部出色的喜剧片,里面许多故事和俏皮话我都很喜欢。但是仅此而已,不必高看。左派右派所欣赏玩味的那些隐喻,面对中国今日的现实,已经显 得很苍白了。

我们已经用不着这些历史隐喻了。为什么?中国的大势是工业化,而且要把这个工业化推向全世界,不可阻挡。在这个大势当中,未来的中国社会变动,你叫它革命也好,叫它改革也好 ,或者你叫它什么别的东西也好,很可能《让子弹飞》这种东西根本就没用,那些历史的隐喻或者是近代历史的传统对我们今天的创新起不了太大的正面作用,已经过时了。年轻人看了此片只知道笑,没看懂内涵。没关系,他们的心灵用不着被这些阴暗的、沉重的东西所污染。我们现在已经弄出四代机来了,这里边其实有很多故事可挖掘,而那些人对此视而不见,还在津津乐 道于驳壳枪,能不说他们落伍吗?

我们的电影人,确实应该向美国人看齐,把背景设置在未来,拍科幻,探讨科学技术的进展到底会对人类产生什么影响,不要老是把背景设置在过去了。有 人说,我们拍不了科幻是因为钱的问题。这是因为钱的问题吗?我认为根本不是,而是我们的电影人知识结构有问题。我们的科学工业技术已经大踏步往前走了,但是文化依旧是严重滞后的 。

中国这些文化人,他们对工业化和我们这个民族在这方面取得的成就,毫无感觉,对于世界大势毫无感觉。中国的工业已进入了四代机时代,而文化还滞留在驳壳枪时代。情怀党们极度拔 高《让子弹飞》,对四代机却兴趣索然,通过这一反差可以看出他们在智力上的不堪。

对此,宋晓军在他的微博里揶揄道:“情怀党让子弹飞,工业党让四代飞”。也许很多人没看懂晓军的意思,他也不做解释,这个不好。我觉得晓军讲的是对的。

① 参阅王小东:《工程师治国强于文人治国》,《绿叶》2010年第七期。

​​Chinese Industrialization Will Determine the Fate of China and the World: A study of the “Industrial Party” and the “Sentimental Party”

I. Why has Chinese aircraft research and development progressed so quickly?

The debut and first test flight of the J-20 fourth-generation fighter jet was a joyous occasion for the Chinese people.1 But the significance of the project is not limited to national defense.

Nobody would now doubt the validity of the J-20 fighter program. Why was it able to be put into development so quickly? Song Xiaojun2 addressed this question in a recent television interview and summed it up with three statements:

First, our population is large. This means that we have a lot of engineers. We have a lot of technicians. We have a lot of people working in research and development programs.

Second, we have a lot of money. Even if many may be utterly incredulous at this second point, it is true. Many people do not know that China's manufacturing value-added output, even adjusted for exchange, already ranks at the same level as the United States.3 From this point forward, it will grow at a speed that leaves all competitors behind.

​​Third, from the first and second points, we can infer that we can do things quicker than America could at the same point.

I agree with Song Xiaojun’s appraisal. Are we more accurate than the pessimists? We’ll come back to that later.

II. The capacity and determination for realizing China's industrialization

Independently designing and manufacturing advanced aircraft embodies a nation’s combined industrial and technological capacity. The greatest significance of the development of a fourth-generation fighter is that it clearly shows the capacity and determination of the Chinese [people] on the road of industrialization.

The matchless determination of the Chinese nation to wipe off the stain of humiliation by industrializing has no peer. Since 1840 and the Opium War, we have sought to cast off our fate of being bullied and enslaved by foreigners, to catch up with and then surpass the West in science and technology, to return to the glory of our ancestors, and to become strong and prosperous.4 For more than one hundred and seventy years, this was the pursuit of our entire nation. No one could subvert this drive. As Chairman Mao said, our desire was for China to once again stand tall among the nations of the world.5 This was a rather tactful way of putting it. Chairman Mao also said that China should make even more impressive contributions to the world than other nations.6 What does that mean? To state [the point] in other words, it means we need to surpass other countries. 

This view of things, this pursuit, and this determination is not invested solely in the Communist Party that Mao Zedong represented. It transcends political parties, changes in regimes, political systems, and whatever so-called cultural trends are popular among intellectuals of a particular period. From Zeng-Hu-Zuo-Li7 to Kang-Liang8 to Sun Wen9 to Jiang Jiesh,i10 it has always been this way. Of course, the actual achievements [of these figures] are another matter entirely.

Determination is not enough; capacity is required, too. In that respect, we benefited greatly from the traditions of our ancestors, accumulated over thousands of years. I believe, first of all, that a nation capable of creating intricate works of art will also necessarily excel at producing high-end manufactured goods. The quality of a nation’s craftsmanship during agrarian civilization will determine the quality of output during industrial civilization and the size of a nation's population of skilled craftsmen will be a determining factor on the road to industrialization, perhaps to the extent that it might decide global leadership. In light of this, we must respect European civilization—however, given our long tradition of craftsmanship, we also have a claim to excellence.

In addition, as everyone knows, we have a great tradition of emphasizing education and study. According to statistics from the West, we also have a high IQ. With these traditions, when it comes to mastering modern industry and technology, we are in no way inferior to Westerners.

This is not a novel statement! In fact, it was advanced in the 1930s, precisely when China was in its darkest hour, by British historian of science J.D. Bernal in a volume called The Social Function of Science.11 He said quite clearly that the Chinese have no problem with science: “...[F]rom what has been done [in science and learning] it is possible to see that Chinese cultural traditions, suitably modified, give an extraordinarily good basis for scientific work. Indeed, with the care, steadiness, and sense of balance shown in all other forms of Chinese culture, there is reason to believe that China may have at least as great a contribution to make to the development of science as the West, if not greater.”

The result of the above-mentioned pressures and cultural traditions is the development of an educational foundation much more impressive than that of other countries. This means that we have the capacity to compete with and even surpass the West. The contemporary competition over technology and industrialization is multifaceted, but crucial to it is having a high quality workforce12 that ranges from the average worker to engineers and technicians.

 Of course, many countries, especially in the developed world, have high quality workforces, but we still have an advantage, since we have the talent and also the numbers. Take the United States as an example: if you exclude China, America has the best quality and largest labor force, which has allowed them to attain their hegemonic position.  India has a population close to our own, but, for reasons that we will not get into now, the quality of their workforce is much lower. It's really that simple. But some people still can't see that China has the advantage over the United States. In Unrestricted Biochemical Warfare,13 Chai Weidong says that it is easier to transmit a library of lies than a single sentence of the truth. Why do I speak so forcefully on these matters? What are the advantages that the Chinese possess that others do not? To make it simple, there is only one point: China has a greater number of high quality workers.

Song Xiaojun once told me this: In our present world, as the industrial system grows more complex and supply chains stretch longer and longer, the only country that can encompass all of this is China. The United States does not have this ability, even if it used to. I emphatically agree with Song Xiaojun on these points. The United States does not even have independent and complete industrial supply chains to support its military, so it is forced to subcontract much of this work to allies. Of course, we must concede that their vast number of allies is one advantage they have over us. As the venerable hegemon, they have many servants, so this work can be given to them. But China doesn’t need servants; China can go it alone, which is something the United States cannot do. By itself, China can encompass the entire industrial supply chain, using its many excellent engineers, scientists, and technicians.

Competitiveness in an industrial age relies on these factors: making things that others cannot, making things better than others do, and making things cheaper than others can. To do those things relies on skilled technicians, scientists, and workers. China has a good supply of all of them. There are many countries where labor is cheaper than it is in China, so why do they fail to compete? It's because the quality of their labor force is not as high [as ours].

After expressing gratitude to our ancestors for this, we should thank China’s primary and secondary school teachers. Perhaps they do not see this bigger picture. They might not have any knowledge of the things we have discussed so far. However, the work they do, without attracting any public attention, produces students that outperform their peers in developed countries in both math and science. This is why we can be so confident about the present global competition. A short time ago, students from Shanghai, representing China in a standardized international exam, captured first place in language, math, and science. By comparison, American students do not place among the upper echelon except in language. It is precisely because we have so many talented students that we will be able to realize future inventions that will one day surpass the fourth-generation fighter. I realize that many people might disagree with this point, so I will set it aside for the moment and return to it later.

Industrialization requires a high quality workforce. Conversely, there is a great danger in continuing to produce a high quality workforce when the nation is in a state of industrial stagnation. This is a great danger. You must find an outlet for all of these young people with talent in math and science. You can’t simply ignore them. The Foxconn suicides can be taken as an example of this problem.14 Although conditions at the plant were relatively good for China, with all the facilities that workers might desire, they still killed themselves. This is proof that our high quality workforce cannot be satisfied with [only] basic living and working conditions. 

To merely offer China’s high quality workforce jobs at Foxconn is an insult and a misuse of talent. Many people have a misconception, dismissing the type of people that work at these facilities in places like Dongguan as merely migrant workers from the countryside.15 In fact, although they may have grown up in the countryside, most have been educated at universities in the city. Even if we are talking about workers without a university education, their problem is not that they lack quality, since they very likely outstrip the average American college graduate in this regard, but rather the problem for them is often the lack of resources for post-secondary education. Last year, when Time Magazine named the Chinese worker their “Person of the Year,”16 the people they chose to photograph for the cover were quite representative—not dumb brutes but clearly intelligent and confident. Of course people like that will refuse to work under the conditions experienced by the first generation of migrant workers. In the past all that workers arriving in the city expected was a job and a hot meal, but that is no longer the case. Because they are of higher quality than the first generation, they demand a job and lifestyle worthy of their abilities.

Therefore, Chinese politicians, whatever their predisposition, must find a way to create space for this next generation of scientists and technicians to develop themselves. They cannot be confined to a production line at a Foxconn plant. This is an important measure to ensure future social stability. After all, what if the disaffected worker decides not to jump off the building but to go and do something more extreme? So, maintaining social stability means finding a use for future scientists and technicians, which means pursuing industrialization. Is there any other way? The key variable for determining the course of China’s future development is thus the massive number of talented technical and scientific workers. This will hold true no matter what political system China may adopt or who our political leaders may be. 

III. Let the Americans sing and dance for us while we smelt our iron

[Song] Xiaojun called me up the other day and said: We need to make it clear that what Steve Jobs accomplished does not count as high-end. I replied: What he accomplished with the first two generations of Apple, improving the mouse, and developing a graphical interface before Microsoft did–that counts as high-end. Now he is working on the iPhone and things like that. Despite being very profitable, they do not qualify as high-end. 

Moreover, what is there to admire in the American financial industry, in Hollywood, in the Grammys, or in the NBA? We should keep smelting our iron and let the Americans do the singing and dancing. Iron and copper contain strength, and those things they pass their time with are like the decadent playthings of the Eight Banners.17 At present, we are building the world's largest 80,000-ton stamping die,18 which will allow us to make aerospace parts much more efficiently than the Americans can. That is truly high-end!

IV. Industrialization must become China’s universal value

On the foundation of a high quality workforce, industrialization has the potential to transform not only China’s appearance but the face of the entire world. It has the power to determine not only the fate of China, but the fate of the planet. Industrialization cannot be restricted to China, after all. We must go out to meet the world.19 Not only do we want our products to “go global,” we also want our industrialization to go global, and our high-quality talent to go global. We can spread industrialization to every corner of the world. Many of our scientists and technicians will travel around the world to work, bringing with them civilization, a dignified existence, and relief from poverty. This is one thing that Westerners have been unwilling or powerless to accomplish.

 It’s true that Westerners were the pioneers of industrialization. They invented and created many things. There is no denying their contribution to the world. However, they have failed to bring the radiance of industrial civilization to everyone in the world. In Africa, for example, they plundered and pillaged, from the slave trade to the exploitation of oil and diamonds, but they refused to allow Africans to enjoy the rewards of industrialization. They did not allow Africans to live like them.

I started with the fourth-generation fighter, but I am not saying that a few great weapons should allow us to lord over the world. We want the lives of others to improve. This is where the Chinese approach differs from the Western approach. As a matter of fact, Chinese industrialization is already spreading, without any top-down planning, ideology, culture, or public opinion building. The economy of Africa has grown from Chinese contributions. The African people are better off than they were before. Chinese industrialization is already benefiting the world and bringing the light of industrial civilization. We have done what the West could not.

In The Chinese in Africa,20 the author asks an American expert if he is worried about China’s expansion. The American expert answers that he is grateful. God bless them, he says, they are doing good things in Africa, and the West is not. The book argues that Chinese contributions have put Africa back on the path of development. This is high praise. But isn’t it a meritorious achievement to have pulled a continent on the brink of extinction back from the edge? That is a universal value. Giving hundreds of millions a chance at a better life, with clean water to drink, and access to electricity—how are these not universal values? This is much more powerful than empty words [offered by Westerners].

Who says we lack universal values? Democracy is not the only universal value. Science is a universal value. Industrialization is a universal value. Unlike Westerners, we want to make sure industrialization benefits everyone. This is China's universal value, which is the universal value at our present stage of development. We acknowledge that our present way of life has problems. It is not good enough yet. This means that we must improve both how we live and our social system. The goal must not be merely to be better than present-day China but to be even better than the West. By that point we will benefit everyone around the world not only with our industry but also with our superior social system. 

Those Chinese intellectuals that refuse to endorse the pursuit of the West, who say that we need our own [essentially Chinese] values, and who assert that we have a special system, are showing a lack of self-confidence. They refuse to embrace universal values and speak instead of values essential to China. In fact, our ancestors spoke of universal values and called on the entire world under heaven21 to learn from the universal values of Confucius and Mencius. Later, we fell behind, became afraid of the West’s talk of universal values, and started to emphasize our own particular values. But when we have once again risen in strength, we can bring forth new universal values of our own.

In terms of China’s strategic international position, we do not need to press for any further territorial claims to be addressed. Nine point six million square kilometers is sufficient as a base of operations. Of course, even if we do not press on territorial claims, we must exert an influence in other regions. Those are two different matters.

V. The Sentimental Party: the greatest obstacle to China’s industrialization

Regarding China’s future prospects and industrialization, my optimism might surprise many people. In fact, all of the things I have pointed out are obvious facts. Why would anybody be surprised? It's simple: mainstream opinion does not take any of this seriously. The intellectuals with discursive power will not admit any of it. Many turn a blind eye. Why?

Here, I would like to introduce another dimension: the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party. There are many possible dimensions [on which we can] discussing and analyze human society: rich and poor, men and women, ethnic divisions, racial divisions, and so forth. The present situation in China requires understanding this other dimension—the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party. According to Song Xiaojun, these terms were invented by a lady reporter at a major newspaper.22 Members of the Industrial Party, as the name implies, are inclined toward further industrialization. In terms of their intellect, they are more suited to work in industry. That does not mean that everyone in the Industrial Party is an engineer, since I consider myself a member but do not work in industry. People in the Industrial Party are similar to scientists or engineers in the way they think about things. That is not to say that they are without emotion. They have their own sentimentality. When I saw the fourth-generation fighter take flight, I did not break down and sob as some young people did, but a tear did come to my eye. That is emotion, but it is the emotion of the Industrial Party

The Sentimental Party, in contrast, prefers to focus on emotion in their lectures about morality and culture. They have a limited ability to use logic or scientific concepts, and they lack technical knowledge. In terms of their values, they tend to downplay achievements made in industry. In many ways, they are like the literati of pre-industrial and agricultural period. ①

 At present, the main ideological factions in China are the left and the right (that is, the liberals).23 Both left and right belong to the Sentimental Party. What they have in common is that they underestimate the achievements of China’s industrialization and tend to look at America as a god. They believe that it is not possible for Americans to have flaws, or for them to be inferior to us. The right worships and adores America. They want to stand with America, to the point that some of them have become part of what may be called the Lead-the-Way-Party, as they would gladly march at the front of an invading American column. The left may be anti-American in outlook, but they also believe completely in the myth of American invincibility. So, whatever happens in Chinese-American relations, they will say we came out worse. The United States always wins. They are unwilling to see the difficulties that America faces. They even believe that the financial crisis was simply a trap set for the Chinese.24

By the reactions of both left and right to the fourth-generation fighter, we can see the essence of the Sentimental Party. The rightists got online to say that the plane was fake. They said it must have been concocted in Photoshop by paid posters. After they were forced to admit that it was real, they changed their line to say that the plane was simply no good. Later, they took to saying that the plane was not meant for resisting foreign invasion but suppressing local people. One young man’s comment on them was quite amusing: he said that China must really have gotten wealthy if the stealth capabilities of fourth-generation fighters are required for forced demolitions.25

The average internet leftist was also quite funny. They are anti-American, so had to take a different approach from the rightists. But they also downplayed the fourth-generation fighter, claiming that the Y-1026 [a narrow-body jet airliner developed in the 1970s] from back in the day was far more important. The Y-10 was a great achievement of the Chinese people, but it doesn’t in any way negate the fourth-generation fighter. To place the two aircraft in opposition is unreasonable. Another thing they said was that since the leadership is no good and the masses are no good that any weapons they possess are also useless. Further, they said that modern China is a society that celebrates material wealth, rather than uplifting the poor. Anyone excited by the fourth-generation fighter, they said, was practicing “Chinese revisionism.”27

These comments are representative of the state of standard [online] commentary from the left and the right. As for right and left intellectuals, they mostly chose to ignore the J-20, and to remain silent, not knowing how to explain their positions. How could it be? A young person summed it up quite well:

“The rightists would say that a fourth-generation fighter could not be developed without constitutionalism. The leftists would say it could not be developed without the four freedoms (the free expression and airing of views, mass debate, and big-character posters) [enjoyed during the Cultural Revolution but removed from the country’s Constitution after Deng Xiaoping came to power].” But we have a fourth-generation fighter! How can they explain that?

I won’t completely deny the complaints of the Sentimental Party, since, as they say, there are many gaps in the political and social system that must be made up. However, even with those remaining [gaps], we have made great progress in industrialization. This is the truth. There is no denying that. Both the left and right suffer from the same problem [in their thinking]. They think of the world according only to the dimensions that they pay attention to. They cannot see the forest for the trees.

That is why I classify both sides of political opinion as belonging to the Sentimental Party. The world is not only about democracy versus dictatorship, leftism versus rightism, and socialism versus capitalism, but also has the dimension of industrialization. When it comes to the dimension of industry versus sentiment, both the left and right are stuck at the same point. They are both in the Sentimental Party. They do not understand Chinese industry. They do not realize that Chinese industrialization will eclipse the dimensions that they are fixated on. I believe Chinese industrialization is more important than those dimensions they pay such close attention to.

I have many friends on both the left and right that belong to the Sentimental Party. They often say that they have no sense of China’s industrial and technological development. I point to the high-speed trains they ride and the highways they drive on as achievements. They always have clear cellular signals and fast internet, don't they? Do they have no conscience?

This is the difference between the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party. Sentimental Party does not talk about facts but only what they feel. China has so many excellent engineers and scientists, toiling unknown to the public, making great contributions to the nation and humanity. Meanwhile, the intellectuals that skim along the surface of things have a limited perspective on these contributions, sometimes even denying them. The useless Sentimental Party looks down on other people. We need to figure out why.

While the right and left wings of the Sentimental Party bloviate, China’s industrialization has stealthily reached a higher level and is wider in scope than they know. Will any other country in the world be able to break our stride? I believe they cannot stand in our way. Some people may believe it is possible, but I do not see it. Perhaps it might have been possible ten years ago for some countries to unite to contain China, but that is now impossible, even with all their forces combined. 

With that said, does China still face any danger? Yes, but it principally comes from within. China still has many weaknesses, like corruption, [problems with] the political system, the gap between rich and poor, and so forth. But if China’s industrialization can continue to proceed in the right direction, these problems are not fatal and can be gradually resolved. The only critical problem would be the stagnation of industrialization itself. In that case, the rejuvenation of the nation would fail. The Sentimental Party would likely be the reason for any interruption to this process. Here the Sentimental Party would be the likely “stumbling block.” The danger we face comes from within. The only thing that can trip China up is China itself. That is the present situation. If the Sentimental Party gains the upper hand, it could halt the process of China's industrialization. Therefore, the most important struggle at present is not between left and right but between the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party.

VI. The Sentimental Party lets the bullets fly and the Industrial Party lets the fourth-generation fighter fly

At the same time the fourth-generation fighter appeared on the stage, a movie called Let the Bullets Fly28 captured the attention of the country. The Sentimental Party was unsure of what to say about the jet, but they enthusiastically embraced the film.

Let the Bullets Fly is a metaphor for the Chinese revolution and Chinese history. It expresses the director’s understanding of the Chinese revolution, the Chinese people, and Chinese history. The left and right both took what they wanted out of the metaphor and applauded the film. The right believes that the film reveals the true face of the revolution. The left believes that the film affirms the revolution. The interpretations of both sides have merit. This was intentional on the part of the director [Jiang Wen 姜文].29 But what do these metaphors really amount to?

Before anything else, I believe Let the Bullets Fly is an outstanding comedy, with many enjoyable storylines and gags. But that's all it is. The metaphors that the left and right delighted in pale in comparison to the reality of present-day China.

We have no use now for these historical metaphors. Why? The general trend in China is now industrialization, which is bound to expand to the entire world. This is an unstoppable force. This general trend will bring great change to China in the future. You can call it revolution, you can call it reform—call it whatever you want! It is possible that things like Let the Bullets Fly are of little use. These historical metaphors and contemporary historiographical conventions are of little positive use to today’s new path. The young people in the audience only understand enough to laugh along without understanding the deeper implications. It is of no use for their psyches to be contaminated by these gloomy, depressing things. We have already produced our fourth-generation fighter and there are plenty of movie plots to pull from that experience. But [the Sentimental Party] turned a blind eye, more interested in a guy waving a Mauser. Aren’t they all out of date?

Our filmmakers should emulate their American peers and make use of futuristic settings. They should make more science-fiction films. They should make movies that explore how science and technology will impact humanity. Some people say that the Chinese film industry does not make science-fiction films because of financial constraints. Does it really come down to money? I do not think so. It is because of the knowledge structure of our filmmakers. Industry, science, and technology have made great strides, but culture has lagged behind.

Chinese artists and literati have no sense of industrialization or our achievements as a nation on this front. They have no feeling whatsoever [for these things] or for the general trend in which the world is moving in. Chinese industrialization has entered the fourth generation, while, culturally, we are still brandishing Mausers. The Sentimental Party, which gleefully promoted Let the Bullets Fly, took no interest in the fourth-generation fighter, revealing their intellectual discomfiture.

That’s why Song Xiaojun said that the Sentimental Party let the bullets fly and the Industrial Party let the fourth-generation fighter fly. I suspect many people didn’t understand Xiaojun’s point, which is a pity. He didn't bother to explain. I believe Xiaojun was absolutely correct.

① See: Wang Xiaodong, “Gongchenshi Zhiguo Qiangyu Wenren Zhiguo 工程师治国强于文人治国 [Engineers Are Better Than Literati at Governing a Country],” Luye 绿叶 [Green Leaf] 7, 2010.

1. Though Wang describes the J-20 as a fourth-generation stealth fighter jet, it is described in most sources as a fifth-generation fighter. It had its first test flight in January 2011, a few months before the publication of this piece. The development of the J-20 can be traced back to the early 2000s when reports of a new Chinese stealth fighter program started to emerge. Officially unveiled at the Zhuhai Airshow in 2016, the J-20 is designed to rival other advanced fifth-generation fighters like the U.S. F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. The jet incorporates cutting-edge technology to enhance its stealth capabilities, speed, and maneuverability, making it a crucial part of China's efforts to modernize its air force. On the maiden flight, see Jeremy Page, Julian E. Barnes,Chinese Stealth Fighter Makes First Test Flight,”The Wall Street Journal, 12 January 2011. For recent assessments of the capabilities and significance of the fighter, see Rick Joe, “J-20: The Stealth Fighter That Changed PLA Watching Forever,” The Diplomat, 11 January 2021; Matthew Jouppi, “Face It: China’s J-20 Is A Fifth-Generation Fighter,Aviation Weekly, 5 April 2021.
2. Along with co-authors Huang Jisu, Song Qiang, and Liu Yang, Song Xiaojun wrote the 2011 book Unhappy China: The Great Time, Grand Vision and Our Challenges [中国不高兴:大时代、大目标及我们的内忧外患] with Wang Xiaodong. Born in 1957, Song is a well-known military commentator on CCTV and Phoenix TV, two of the biggest state-owned news networks in China. He studied radar and sonar at a military academy and served as a naval communication officer before starting a career as a commentator in 1997. 
3. Manufacturing value added (MVA) of an economy is the estimate of the total output of all resident manufacturing industries. According to a recentPeople’s Daily report, China’s total industrial value added exceeded 40 trillion yuan in 2022, accounting for 33.2% of its GDP, and of which the manufacturing value-added accounted for 27.7% of its GDP. 
“Qui Nian Wo Guo Quanbu Gongye Zengjia Zhi Chao 40 Wan Yuan Ren Min Bing Zhi Zhi Zuo Ye Guimo Lianxu 13 Nian JU Shijie Shouwei 去年我国全部工业增加值超40万亿元 制造业规模连续13年居世界首位 [Last Year, Our State’s Total Industrial Value Added Exceeded 40 Trillion Yuan, and the Scale of Manufacturing Industry Ranked First in the World for 13 Consecutive Years],” Renmin Ribao 人民日报 [People’s Daily], 19 March 2023. 
4. Wang’s understanding of 19th century China follows the standard narrative of most Chinese nationalists. For a longer discussion of this narrative see the CST glossary entries CENTURY OF NATIONAL HUMILIATION and GREAT REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION.  
5. The proclamation that China would stand tall among the nations of the world likely comes from Mao Zedong’s report to a communist meeting in 1935 tilted “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism.” The original quote reads: “We Chinese have the spirit to fight the enemy to the last drop of our blood, the determination to recover our lost territory by our own efforts, and the ability to stand on our own feet among the nations of the world.” See Mao Zedong, “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism,” Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Vol 1, available on marxists.org. 
6. This sentiment is most clearly presented in Mao’s writings about China’s development and its relation with the broader world. For a longer discussion of Mao’s development concept, see Wang Yuyao 汪裕尧, “Mao Zedong de Fazhanguan He Xin Zhongguo de Fazhan 毛泽东的发展观和新中国的发展 [Mao Zedong's Development Concept and the Development of New China],” Central Party History and Documentation Research Institute, 5 September 2013.
7. Zeng-Hu-Zuo-Li refers to the four statesmen and military leaders during the late Qing Empire: Zeng Guofan 曾国藩, Hu Linyi 胡林翼, Zuo Zongtang 左宗棠, and Li Hongzhang 李鸿章. All played an important role in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion and leading Qing’s Self-Strengthening Movement to modernize the imperial military between 1861 to 1895.
Zeng Guofan (1811-1872) was a local Han official who advocated for the adoption of Western military technology and the translation of Western scientific knowledge. His private westernized militia played an instrumental role in ending the Taiping Rebellion.
Hu Linyi (1823-1894) served as governor of Hubei province during the Taiping rebellion and successfully defeated Taiping forces across the province. He later became a diplomat during the late Qing Dynasty and served as Qing's ambassador to the United States during a critical period in Sino-American relations.
Zuo Zongtang (1812-1885) led the imperial forces against the Taiping Rebellion. Zuo oversaw the construction of the Fuzhou Arsenal and naval academy, supervised the industrialization in Gansu Province, and served as an Imperial Commissioner in charge of military affairs in Gansu. 
Li Hongzhang (1823-1901) was a general and diplomat and the most important leader in Qing’s modernization movement. He built the Nanjing and Tianjin Arsenals, founded foreign language schools and military academies, supported the addition of Western technology into the imperial examinations along with a host of other policies to promote industrialization and entrepreneurship in the empire. 
8. Kang-Liang, i.e. Kang Youwei 康有为 (1858-1927) and his protegee Liang Qichao (1873-1929) 梁启超, were the imperial advisors who initiated the radical reform movement of the Qing Empire in 1898 known as the Hundred Days’  Reform. Together they advanced a series of imperial decrees that  included the abolition of the civil service examination system, the founding of a new system of national schools, the introduction of Western patent system, and the reformation of the military. The Hundred Days’ Reform was cut short by a conservative coup-d'etat. Kang and Liang were forced into exile, where they continued to advocate for reform and supported a constitutional monarchy. After China’s republican revolution in 1911, Kang and Liang returned to China and played an important role in the republican government under Yuan Shikai. 
9. Sun Wen (1866-1925), the original name of Sun Yat-sen 孙中山, was a Chinese revolutionary, politician, and the founding father of the Republic of China. He played a pivotal role in overthrowing the Qing Empire. Sun's political philosophy was encapsulated in the "Three Principles of the People": nationalism, democracy, and the livelihood of the people. These principles were central to his vision for a modern and democratic China.
10. Jiang Jieshi–the mandarin pronunciation of Chiang Kai-shek 蒋介石 (1887-1975)i–was a key military leader under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen and later served as the President of the Republic of China after Sun’s death. Chiang led the China during the Sino-Japanese war and fought against the communists in the Chinese Civil War, which ultimately retreating to Taiwan after the communist victory and the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. 
11. John Desmond Bernal was an international scientist who pioneered the use of X-ray crystallography in molecular biology. Raised in a Catholic family in Ireland, Bernal became a communist during his study at Cambridge University and subsequently joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1923. Published in 1939, The Social Function of Science was one of the earliest works on the sociology of science, in which science was presented as a social activity that was integrally tied to the whole spectrum of other social activities. A partial translation of the book was published in China in 1950 and a full translation was published in 1981. This quote about China’s capacity to develop science is excerpted from chapter 8, “An International Overview of Science.” 
12. The word “quality” [suzhi 素质] is a commonly employed in contemporary Chinese social thought. It describes a person’s qualities measured in terms of his or her behavior, education, ethics, and life ambitions. Rudeness and bad behavior are commonly considered marks of “low quality.” Invoked in a political context, the “poor quality”–or low suzhi–of the citizenry is frequently cited as justification for autocratic oversight of the Chinese population. 
For more extensive discussions of the term in contemporary Chinese, see  The Australian Centre on China in the World, “Suzhi 素质,” The China Story, access 9 October 2023; Andrew Kipnis, “Suzhi: A Keyword Approach,” The China Quarterly 186 (2006): 295–313.
13. Popular in online fringe political circles, engineer and independent researcher Chai Weidong's book claims to reveal the hazards of vaccines, genetically-modified food, and modern pharmaceuticals. Chai Weidong, Zhongguo fazhan chubanshe 生化超限战: 转基因食品和疫苗的阴谋 [Unrestricted Biochemical Warfare: The Conspiracy of Genetically-modified Food and Vaccines] (Beijing: Zhongguo Fazhan Chubanshe 中国发展出版社 [China Development Publishing Inc], 2011). 
14. This was a hot topic of discussion at the time when Wang Xiaodong wrote this piece. Fourteen Foxconn workers successfully committed suicide at a Foxconn  plant in Shenzhen, China  in 2010. The spate of suicides was ended through various adjustments on Foxconn’s part,  including an infamous series of suicide nets, marginally better labor conditions, and the movement of many  facilities inland, where the work force was closer to home.
15. Dongguan [东莞市] is an important industrial city in the Pearl River Delta that manufactures electronics and communications equipment. The city is the fourth largest export region in China, behind Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Suzhou. 
16. “The Chinese Worker” was a runner-up. A paragraph by Austin Ramzy, attached to portraits by Song Chao of migrant workers in Shenzhen, describes “tens of millions of workers who have left their homes,” contributing unknowingly to the recovery of the global economy. 
Austin Ramzy, “The Chinese Worker,” Time Magazine, 16 December 2009. 
17. Bāqí bàijiā, [八旗败家] literally the “decadence of the Eight Banners,” is a historical reference to the corruption and indulgence of the Manchu military class (organized into eight groups known as Banners) in the 18th century. According to traditional Chinese historiography, the descendants of the Manchu nobility who conquered China and established the Qing dynasty lost their martial vigor  during this century of peace and prosperity. Due to their decline, the Machu military was powerless in the face of the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64). Consequently, the Qing regime had to rely on militias organized by local Han officials to counter the internal turmoil, leading to the weakening of central power. In this analogy the Americans are a stand in for the Manchu bannermen: like them, Wang seems to say, the American preoccupation with amusement and wealth has weakened their ability to keep their country vital and strong.
18. A stamping die is a specialized machine tool that cuts and forms sheet metal into a desired shape or profile. The 80,000-ton stamping die referenced here was completed in 2017. See Xinhua Military News, “China's 80,000-ton die forging press ranks first in the world,” 27 September 2017.
19. Literally, “going out” [走出去], the slogan was advanced by Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao to describe official efforts to encourage Chinese exports, external investment, and growing connections with a globalized economy. 
20. Written by Zhao Zunsheng [赵遵生], The Chinese in Africa (2010) is a history of Chinese assistance to Africa in the 1970s, covering projects like the TAZARA Railway. While it does not cover 21st centuries ties between China and Africa,, it does connect Maoist period aid to a larger view of China's relationship with Africa, contrasting it favorably with Western exploitation.   Zhao Zunsheng 赵遵生, Zhgongguoren zai feizhou 中国人在非洲 [The Chinese in Africa] (Beijing: Zhejiang Renmin Chubanshe 浙江人民出版社 [Zhejiang People’s Publishing Inc.], 2010). 
21. The term tiānxià [天下], most literally translated as “all under heaven,“ and regularly rendered as “the empire,” or “the entire world” was used in imperial times to describe the reach of the emperor’s remit. The phrase has a universal ring that speaks to a sense of mission wider than any single nationality. For the struggle modern Chinese intellectuals have had adapting this term to contemporary Chinese politics, see Nadège Rolland, “China’s Vision for a New World Order,” NBR Special Report, The National Bureau of Asian Research, 27 January 2020. 
22. CST editors could not locate any usage of the term “Industrial Party” prior to Wang Xiaodong’s article.
23. See footnote 6 of the introduction.
24. Wang is referring to common conspiracy theories on the Chinese internet that assert the 2008 financial crisis was a trap that the United States set for China in order for it to default on its debts. For an example, see Qiu Lin 邱林, “Mei guo yi po chan shi Mei guo ren gei Zhongguo she de xianjing 美国已破产是美国人给中国设的陷阱 [The Claim that is United States is bankrupt is a trap set by Americans for China],” Sina Finance, 20 August 2010.
25. “Force demolition” [强拆] refers to the government and real estate developers’ practice of forcefully evicting residents and demolishing their houses for land sales or development purposes. For a longer explanation and analysis of this practice, see  Demolished: Forced Evictions and the Tenants' Rights Movement in China, (Washington DC: Human Rights Watch, 2004).
26. Wang Xiaodong treads a fine line here, since the Y-10 is a project beloved by leftist boosters of industrialism. For them, it's an example of a success under Maoist autarky, killed unfairly by the reformers, who wanted to import foreign technology.
27. Since the days of Mao, “Chinese revisionism” [中修] has meant the ideological revision of Chinese socialism in favor of capitalism. 
28. A blockbuster film released in 2010 directed by Jiang Wen that stars Chow Yun-fat and Ge You, Let the Bullets Fly is one part political satire and one part action film. Set as an American style Western in the warlord era of the 1920s, Jiang’s film could be seen either as a critique of the warlord and capitalist mentalities that justified Mao’s revolution, or as a critique of Chinese society during the reform era. For an introduction to the problems posed by the film, see Shelly Kraicer, “Let the Readings Fly: Jiang Wen Reaches for the Mainstream,” CinemaScope, iss. 47 (2011).
29. Readers would have known the director's name without it being given. Jiang Wen is associated to some extent with artistic decadence and skepticism of the revolutionary period. His two other major films as a director, In the Heat of the Sun 阳光灿烂的日子 (1994) and Devils on the Doorstep 鬼子来了 (2000), are about the Cultural Revolution and Sino-Japanese War, respectively. Both have been subject to official suppression at various times, despite being recognized as classics of Chinese cinema.

中国的工业化将决定中国与世界的命运——兼论“工业党”对决“情怀党”

一、中国研发飞机为什么这么快

中国第四代军机J-20的亮相和第一次试飞,令国人欢欣鼓舞。但其意义决不限于国防方面。

现在已经没有人再敢怀疑J-20的真实性了。我们的研制速度为什么这么快?宋晓军在电视节目中谈到这个问题,有人将其归结为三句话:

第一,我们人多。指的是我们工程师多,科技工作者多,搞研发的人多。

第二,我们钱多。尽管很多人可能根本就不相信这一点,但这是事实。很多人都不知道,我们的制造业增加值,即使按汇率计算,也已经与美国持平,而今后,则将迅速将其落下。

第三,从第一、第二两条可以推论,我们搞得肯定比美国当年快。

我同意宋晓军的估计。是我们的估计更准确,还是那些悲观论者更准确?我们就往后看吧。

二、中国实现工业化的决心和能力

先进飞机的独立设计与制造,是一个民族科技工业综合能力的体现。四代机研发成功,最大的意义就在于它突出展现了中国人在工业化道路上的决心和能力。

近代以来中华民族通过实现工业化来一雪耻辱的决心是无比强烈举世罕匹的。从1840年鸦片战争以后,我们要摆脱被外国人欺负和奴役的命运,要在科技上赶超上去,要回归祖先的荣光 ,求强求富,这就是我们全民族的追求,170多年了,这股劲头谁也改变不了。按毛主席的话说,就是我们要重新屹立于世界民族之林,这是比较客气的说法。毛主席还说过,相对于其他民族 ,我们中国要对世界有更大的贡献。这是什么意思?这就是说我们将来要超过他们。

这种想法、追求、决心,绝对不仅仅是以毛泽东为代表的共产党才有的,这是超越政党,超越政权的更替 ,超越政治制度,超越一时的知识分子中流行的所谓的文化思潮的。从曾胡左李,到康梁,到孙文,到蒋介石,也莫不如此。当然成就另当别论。

光有决心是不够的,还要有能力。在此我们受惠于祖先几千年积累而成的传统。首先我认为,一个能制作出非常繁复的艺术品的民族,也能够擅长于制作精细、高端的工业品;一个民族 在农耕文明时期形成的手工艺素质,在工业文明时代将起到相当决定性的作用;一个民族具有高超手工艺素质的人口的多少,将决定它能否在工业化中取得强势地位,甚至将决定它能否取得 世界领导地位。在这一点上,我们尊敬欧洲文明,但我们自己也相当优秀,因为我们恰恰有长期能干细活的做精致物品的工匠的传统。

除此之外,众所周知,我们还有重视教育、重视学习的 传统。另外,根据西方人的评测,我们的平均智商也高。拥有了这些传统,在驾驭现代工业和科技方面,我们就绝不输于西方人。

其实我这种见解并不新鲜,比如说上世纪三十年代——那个 时候中国正处在最暗淡的时期,英国科学史学者贝尔纳在其名着《科学的社会功能》中就指出,中国人搞科学是没问题的:“从中国已有的成绩可以看出,经过适当改造的中国文化传统,可 以为科学事业提供一个非常良好的基础。的确,只要有了表现在中国文化的一切形式中的那种细心、踏实和分寸感,我们可以有理由相信中国还会对科学做出即令不比西方更大,至少也和西 方一样大的贡献。”

由于上述现实压力与文明传统相结合,产生了一个歪打正着的现实结果,就是与世界其他国家相比,我们的基础教育太好了。这让我们拥有了与西方诸强展开竞争甚至进一步完成超越的 能力。现代工业与科技的竞争,千条万绪,最核心的就是要有高素质的劳动力,包括普通工人到工程师和科学家。

当然这个世界上很多国家都有高素质的劳动力,发达国家劳动力普遍素质比较 高。但是,我们比他们更强的是,我们不仅有高素质的劳动力,而且数量还很多,这个他们就不如我们了。比如说美国,这个世界上如果把我们中国刨除在外的话,它的劳动力从质量和数量 上来讲就最出色了,这成就了美国今天的霸主地位。可是我们中国比美国更多,所以我们超越它是没有问题的。印度人口跟我们差不多,但是高素质劳动力不如我们,这是事实,我们暂且不 论原因。道理就这么简单,但是现在好多人看不到,中美在这方面比较,中国占有优势。柴卫东在《生化超越战》里强调,“真传一句话,假传万卷书”。我今天讲话为什么气这么粗?中国 人的有什么别人没有的长处?大道至简,没什么多说的,就一条:中国有更多的高素质的劳动力。

宋晓军有一次跟我说:在当今这个世界,工业体系越来越复杂,产业链拉得越来越长,单凭一个国家的力量就能做到覆盖整个产业链的,只有中国一国,连美国现在都没有这个能力,尽 管它过去曾有。我十分同意他的这个观点。美国自己现在都没有一个独立完整的产业链来支撑它现有的军事实力,所以它要把一些工作分包给它的盟国。当然它有这么多盟国是比我们强的地 方。它作为这个世界的老霸主,有很多仆从,它可以拿这些活让它们去干。但是中国用不着仆从,中国一个国家就可以,这一点美国绝对比不上。中国一个国家就可以覆盖整个产业链,靠的 是中国有无数优秀的工程师和科学家以及技工。

工业时代竞争靠的无非就是这几条:别人造不出来的东西你能造出来,别人能造出来的东西你造得比他好,别人造得同样好的东西,你造得比他便宜。要做到这几点,就得依靠无数特别 优秀的工程师和科学家以及技工,而今天中国拥有得最多。劳动力比中国还廉价的国家有的是,它们为什么就不行呢?是因为他们劳动力的素质不如中国。

感谢了祖先以后,我们还要感谢今天中国广大的中小学教师。也许他们并没有这样的大局观,他们不知道前面我们讲的那些东西,但是,正是他们的默默无闻的工作为我们培养出了大量 的优秀的学生,这些学生在数学和科学上超过了其他发达国家的学生,使我们在竞争中充满了信心。不久前上海学生代表中国首次参加国际标准化测试,语文、数学和科学就都得了第一名。 美国的学生不仅跟中国比是不行的,在发达国家当中也不名列前茅,只有语文测试还凑合。正是有了这么多优秀的学生,使得我们将来可以制造出无数像四代机这样的惊喜。这一点可能好多 人不同意,今天暂不展开,将来专门论述。

工业化需要高素质的劳动力,反过来说,如果有了高素质的劳动力,而你却在工业化上停滞不前,那也是很危险的。你必须给我们这些具有极好的数学和科学潜能的年轻人找到出路,不 给他们出路是不行的。就拿富士康跳楼事件来说,平心而论,富士康的工作条件在中国算是好的,里面卫生、娱乐、体育、健身设施等等都很完备,但是照样这么多人跳楼,说明了什么?说 明了我们这么优秀的劳动力是不可能满足于像富士康这样低级别的工作与生活的。

仅仅只能给中国那些高素质的劳动力提供富士康那样的工作,其实就是委屈人家,就是屈才。大家都有点误会,以为在那个DG干活的不就是些农民工嘛。其实不然,好多人可能小时候是 农村的,长大后人家已经是正儿八经的大学生了。就算不是大学生,那更多的也是因为我们大学的教育资源不够,不是他素质低,他的素质很可能远远高于美国那些上大学的人。去年美国《 时代周刊》评年度人物,是中国的农民工。其封面上的那几个工人,是很有代表性的,决不是傻大黑粗的样貌,而是透露着精明和自信。你现在拿第一代农民工的待遇来打发他们,他们当然 不干了。过去是有份活干、有口饭吃就可以了,现在不行了,饭和活他们都挑剔了,因为他们的素质比第一代强多了,他们要求的是配得上他们能力的工作和生活。

所以中国的政治家,无论 其自身的爱好倾向如何,都必须为我们这些具有很优秀的科学家和工程师潜能的年轻人找到更好的出路,要给这些人创造发展空间。你得让他们当科学家和工程师,而不是当富士康的这种血 汗工厂里的工人。这是未来维护社会稳定的一个非常重要的任务。他要是不跳楼而去干别的了呢?所以你要维持社会稳定,你就要给我们这些具有科学家和工程师潜质的人找到出路,你不往 高端工业化道路上走怎么行呢?你不输出工业化怎么行呢?所以说,中国大量理工科人才的存在这件事本身,就是决定中国社会发展方向的一个重要变量。这一点无论什么政治制度都改变不了 ,更惶论具体的政治领导人是谁。

三、我们宁可打铁炼铜,让美国人为我们载歌载舞

晓军有一天打电话跟我说:乔布斯搞的那些东西不是高端,这一点我们得讲清楚。我说:乔布斯搞苹果一代、二代、改进鼠标并推广其使用、在微软视窗之前做出图形界面,这些确实 都是高端,现在他搞的iphone之类,虽然很赚钱,但绝不是什么高端。

还有什么金融业、好莱坞、格莱美、NBA,我们决不要去羡慕。我们宁可打铁炼铜,让美国人去为我们载歌载舞。因为打铁炼铜才是力量所在,而那些东西,都是八旗败家的玩意儿。现在,我们正在建造世界上最大的八万吨级锻压机,它可以让我们比美国更有效率地制造飞机部件,而且还在计划建造更大的, 这些东西才是真正的高端。

四、工业化将成为中国的普世价值

以这些高素质劳动力为基础的工业化,不仅将改变中国的面貌,还将改变整个世界的面貌,不仅将决定中国的命运,还将决定世界的命运。工业化不可能局限于我们中国国内,我们一定会走出去。不仅仅我们的产品走出去,还要让我们的工业化走出去,让我们的高素质的人才走出去,让这个世界其他角落都实现工业化。我们有大量的科学家和工程师将来要到世界其他地方去工作,给他们带来文明,带来体面的生活,解决他们的贫困问题。这是西方人不愿意做或者也没能力做的一件事。

西方人确实是工业化的开创者,他们发明创造了很多很多的东西,我们不能说他们对这个世界上这些贡献是小的。但是,西方人没能让工业文明的光芒,照到这个世界的每一个人身上。 比如说非洲,他们掠夺了非洲,从奴隶贩卖到石油、钻石,却没有让非洲人民享受工业化的成果,没能让非洲人过上像他们那样的生活。

前面我们是从四代机讲起的,但是我们绝不是说,以为只要有些好的武器就会在这个世界上当老大了,我们没有那么狭隘,那么黩武。我们变好的同时也是要别人变好,这是中国人跟西 方先驱不一样的地方。实际上,在没有上层规划,没有思想、文化、舆论建设的情况下,中国的工业化已经走向了世界。非洲由于中国的存在经济发展上来了,非洲人民过得比过去好了。中国的工业化已经在惠及这个世界上没有被工业文明所照到的那些角落。西方人做不到的我们做到了。

《中国人在非洲》这本书讲到,当他们问一个美国非洲问题专家,说中国在非洲扩张你们美国人担心不担心的时候?那个美国专家说,上帝保佑中国人吧,毕竟是中国人在非洲干了这些 好事,而西方人没干。《中国人在非洲》总结道,中国把非洲这么一个有好几亿人口,却漂离了人类发展的轨道的大陆给拽了回来。这是极高的评价。你把一个大陆从濒临灭绝的这种境地拉 了回来,这难道不是万世不朽的功德吗?这就是我们的普世价值。让几亿人住上更好的房子,喝上干净的水,用上电,这怎么不是普世价值?这不比那些空话强多了嘛。

谁说我们没有普世价值?不仅民主是普世价值,科学也是普世价值,工业化也是普世价值。与西方不同,我们要让工业化惠及地球上每一个人,这就是中国的普世价值,就是我们现阶段的普世价值。我们承认我们目前的生活方式有问题,不够好,在这个意义上我们还要改进自己的生活方式,社会制度,而且进一步,不仅要比现在的中国好,而且要比西方更好。到那时,不仅要让工业化,我们还要让我们这整套更好的社会制度来惠及地球上的每一个人。

现在中国那些不大赞成追随西方的知识分子,在他们反对普世价值,强调特殊价值的时候,实际上还是一种没有自信的表现。我们的祖先其实是讲普世价值的,全“天下”都要向我们的文明靠拢学习,这就是孔子和孟子的普世价值。后来我们衰落了,反而怕了西方的普世价值,强调我们有自己的特殊价值。等到我们再强起来的时候,我们还会拿出我们自己新的普世价值来。

从中国大的国际战略格局来说,我们确实没有必要向任何其他国家再提出领土要求,960万平方公里土地作为一个大本营已足够了。当然,我们不对其他国家提出领土要求,不意味着我们 不在其他地区发挥影响,这是两回事。

五、中国工业化的绊脚石——情怀党

我对中国的前景、对中国工业化的前景如此乐观,可能多数人会感到惊讶。其实我指出的不过是显而易见的事实而已。为什么会产生惊讶?很简单,主流舆论根本不重视这一点。掌握话 语权的知识分子不承认这一点,好多人对此就是视而不见。为什么?

在此,我要引入工业党和情怀党这一维度。讨论和分析人类社会有很多的维度,比如说穷富维度,男女维度,民族维度,种族维度,等等。以中国现在的情况来看,确实存在着另外一个 维度,就是工业党对情怀党。据宋晓军说,这一提法是某大报的一个女记者发明的。顾名思义,工业党有工业化倾向,相对而言从知识结构、智能上来讲,比较适合于搞工业的——当然了, 他不一定非从事工业,比如说我认为我自己就是个工业党,但是我没有从事工业工作。思考问题的方式,他比较类似于科学家和工程师,而且他喜欢这类东西。工业党不是不讲情怀,他有自 己的情怀,比如说我看到四代机,虽不能像有些年轻人那么“眼泪哗哗的”,但我确实有几次眼睛湿润了,这也叫情怀,但是这是工业党的情怀。

至于情怀党呢,乐衷于讲情怀讲道德讲文化 讲情绪。能力方面,他们在逻辑、数学、科技知识上比较差,跟科学家、工程师有较大差别。从价值取向来说,他们往往倾向于忽视、贬低工业方面取得的成就。他们其实更多地带有前工业 文明或者说农业文明时代的纯粹文人的特色。①

当前中国主流的思想派别,是左派和右派(自由派)。不论左派、右派,其实都是情怀党。具体共同表现是,他们一面低估中国工业化的巨大成就,一面把美国看成神。美国人不可能出 问题,美国人不可能不如我们。右派因此而崇拜、热爱美国,想跟美国站在一起,甚至成为了带路党——美国侵占中国,他们自愿给美国人带路。左派虽然反美,但对美国所谓不可战胜的神 话,也是深信不疑。所以中美之间发生任何事情,他们都说中国是吃了亏,美国是赢了,美国是做了个局把我们装进去了。他们闭眼看不见美国今天所面临的困境,美国自家的金融危机也成 了美国给中国设的陷阱。

从四代机亮相以后左派和右派的反应,就可以看透情怀党的本质。拿网上的普通右派来说,一开始上来说四代机是假的,是政府的“五毛”走狗PS出来的。过了一阵子,知道没法说是假 的了,就改口说这个东西肯定不灵;后来不能就性能做文章了,就开始骂这个飞机不是攘外而是安内的。对此,有个年轻人对他们的评论很逗:中国人民确实富起来了,因为强拆的房子上大 概都按了相控陈雷达,所以要用四代机来拆。要没有相控阵雷达,强拆用得着四代机吗?

网上的普通左派也非常有意思。左派是反美的,不能跟右派一样。但是左派上来也是说,四代机没有当年的运十重要。运十是中国人民的伟大成就,但是跟四代机不矛盾,你拿运十来压 四代机丝毫没有道理。另一种说法是,现在领导人不行,人不行了什么武器都没用。再有就是说,现在的中国是个笑贫不笑娼的社会,你为四代机高兴,就是支持“中修”。

这是网上的普通右派、左派的代表性言论。至于左派跟右派的那些代表性知识分子,面对J-20大都失语,选择了沉默,不知如何解释了。为什么会出现这样一种情况呢?对此,一个年轻 人总结得非常好:

右派讲,没有宪政就搞不出来四代机;左派讲,没有“四大”(大鸣大放大辩论大字报)就搞不出来四代机,可是事实上四代机出来了。你说他们怎么解释?

我不是完全否定情怀党强调 的那些东西,如他们所言,中国确实在政治社会诸方面存在着很多缺陷,但是,即使存在着这种缺陷,中国人在工业化道路上还是大踏步地前进了,这是个事实。你不能否认这个成就。左派 和右派都是犯了同一毛病,他们闭眼不看这样的成就。他们以为这个世界只有他们关心的那一个维度,一叶障目不见泰山。

所以我这里把他们都归为情怀党。他们不知道这个世界上不仅仅只有民主专制、左派右派、姓社姓资这样的维度,实际上还有工业这样一个维度。在工业和情怀这个维度当中,他们左派和右派都被压扁在一个点上了,就是情怀党,他们一点点都不了解中国工业。而我们中国很可能在将来恰恰是工业这个维度超越了他们所关心那个维度。我认为,中国的工业化这个维度,远远重要于他们所关心那个维度。

我有不少私人朋友,不管左派右派,属于情怀党。与他们谈到这些问题时,他们常常说自己并没有感到中国工业、科技发展的成就。我就说你现在坐的高铁,你开车驶过的高速公路难道 不是成就吗?手机信号那么好、网速那么快难道你没有享受到吗?你怎么可以这么没良心呢?

这就是工业党跟情怀党的差别。情怀党是不讲事实的,他们只讲他们自己个人主观感受。中国有 无数特别优秀的工程师和科学家,他们从事着默默无闻的工作,为民族为人类做出了巨大贡献,而这些浮在面上的知识分子自己什么都不会,对国家贡献非常有限甚至是负面的。一群百无一 用的情怀党,却瞧不起人家。这个理我们要讲明白。

就在中国左右两派情怀党口水四溅大放空炮的时候,中国的工业化已经不声不响地走向了更高的级别和更广的范围。世界其他国家还能不能挡住我们的脚步呢?我认为根本挡不住。有些人可能还不相信,但是我觉得就是如此。如果说在十年以前,世界其他国家还有可能联起手来遏制中国的话,那么十年以后的今天即使他们都联起手来也遏制不住中国了。

那么,中国面临不面临危险呢?还是有危险的,主要是自己内部的。中国确实有很多弊病,比如贪污腐败、政治体制、贫富差距等等。但是在中国工业化进程中一片大好形势的情况下,这些问题都不致命,都可以慢慢解决。唯一致命的问题就是工业化进程被中断了,那我们民族就无法复兴了。能够让这种进程中断的威胁,我看主要就是情怀党。情怀党从各个方面给中国“下绊儿”,也就是说主要的危险还是内部危险。这个世界上没有其他国家能绊倒中国,只有中国自己才能绊倒中国,现在就是这个情况。如果情怀党完全得势,那就有可能阻断中国的工业化进程。因此说,中国现在最重要的斗争,与其说是左派跟右派,不若说首先是工业党跟情怀党的对决。

六、“情怀党让子弹飞,工业党让四代飞”

就在四代机亮相的同时,一部喜剧电影《让子弹飞》也开始在中国热映。与面对四代机时的失语相比,《让子弹飞》博得了情怀党们的热烈追捧。

《让子弹飞》讲的是对中国革命、中国历史的隐喻,体现了编导对中国革命、中国人民、中国历史的理解。对于这一隐喻,左派右派都各取所需,为他叫好。比如,右派认为此片揭露了 革命的真相。左派则认为此片是在肯定革命。无论是左派和右派,他们对这个东西的解读都有道理。影片编导也的确是这个意图。然而,这些隐喻有多大意义呢?

《让子弹飞》,首先我认为的确是一部出色的喜剧片,里面许多故事和俏皮话我都很喜欢。但是仅此而已,不必高看。左派右派所欣赏玩味的那些隐喻,面对中国今日的现实,已经显 得很苍白了。

我们已经用不着这些历史隐喻了。为什么?中国的大势是工业化,而且要把这个工业化推向全世界,不可阻挡。在这个大势当中,未来的中国社会变动,你叫它革命也好,叫它改革也好 ,或者你叫它什么别的东西也好,很可能《让子弹飞》这种东西根本就没用,那些历史的隐喻或者是近代历史的传统对我们今天的创新起不了太大的正面作用,已经过时了。年轻人看了此片只知道笑,没看懂内涵。没关系,他们的心灵用不着被这些阴暗的、沉重的东西所污染。我们现在已经弄出四代机来了,这里边其实有很多故事可挖掘,而那些人对此视而不见,还在津津乐 道于驳壳枪,能不说他们落伍吗?

我们的电影人,确实应该向美国人看齐,把背景设置在未来,拍科幻,探讨科学技术的进展到底会对人类产生什么影响,不要老是把背景设置在过去了。有 人说,我们拍不了科幻是因为钱的问题。这是因为钱的问题吗?我认为根本不是,而是我们的电影人知识结构有问题。我们的科学工业技术已经大踏步往前走了,但是文化依旧是严重滞后的 。

中国这些文化人,他们对工业化和我们这个民族在这方面取得的成就,毫无感觉,对于世界大势毫无感觉。中国的工业已进入了四代机时代,而文化还滞留在驳壳枪时代。情怀党们极度拔 高《让子弹飞》,对四代机却兴趣索然,通过这一反差可以看出他们在智力上的不堪。

对此,宋晓军在他的微博里揶揄道:“情怀党让子弹飞,工业党让四代飞”。也许很多人没看懂晓军的意思,他也不做解释,这个不好。我觉得晓军讲的是对的。

① 参阅王小东:《工程师治国强于文人治国》,《绿叶》2010年第七期。

​​Chinese Industrialization Will Determine the Fate of China and the World: A study of the “Industrial Party” and the “Sentimental Party”

I. Why has Chinese aircraft research and development progressed so quickly?

The debut and first test flight of the J-20 fourth-generation fighter jet was a joyous occasion for the Chinese people.1 But the significance of the project is not limited to national defense.

Nobody would now doubt the validity of the J-20 fighter program. Why was it able to be put into development so quickly? Song Xiaojun2 addressed this question in a recent television interview and summed it up with three statements:

First, our population is large. This means that we have a lot of engineers. We have a lot of technicians. We have a lot of people working in research and development programs.

Second, we have a lot of money. Even if many may be utterly incredulous at this second point, it is true. Many people do not know that China's manufacturing value-added output, even adjusted for exchange, already ranks at the same level as the United States.3 From this point forward, it will grow at a speed that leaves all competitors behind.

​​Third, from the first and second points, we can infer that we can do things quicker than America could at the same point.

I agree with Song Xiaojun’s appraisal. Are we more accurate than the pessimists? We’ll come back to that later.

II. The capacity and determination for realizing China's industrialization

Independently designing and manufacturing advanced aircraft embodies a nation’s combined industrial and technological capacity. The greatest significance of the development of a fourth-generation fighter is that it clearly shows the capacity and determination of the Chinese [people] on the road of industrialization.

The matchless determination of the Chinese nation to wipe off the stain of humiliation by industrializing has no peer. Since 1840 and the Opium War, we have sought to cast off our fate of being bullied and enslaved by foreigners, to catch up with and then surpass the West in science and technology, to return to the glory of our ancestors, and to become strong and prosperous.4 For more than one hundred and seventy years, this was the pursuit of our entire nation. No one could subvert this drive. As Chairman Mao said, our desire was for China to once again stand tall among the nations of the world.5 This was a rather tactful way of putting it. Chairman Mao also said that China should make even more impressive contributions to the world than other nations.6 What does that mean? To state [the point] in other words, it means we need to surpass other countries. 

This view of things, this pursuit, and this determination is not invested solely in the Communist Party that Mao Zedong represented. It transcends political parties, changes in regimes, political systems, and whatever so-called cultural trends are popular among intellectuals of a particular period. From Zeng-Hu-Zuo-Li7 to Kang-Liang8 to Sun Wen9 to Jiang Jiesh,i10 it has always been this way. Of course, the actual achievements [of these figures] are another matter entirely.

Determination is not enough; capacity is required, too. In that respect, we benefited greatly from the traditions of our ancestors, accumulated over thousands of years. I believe, first of all, that a nation capable of creating intricate works of art will also necessarily excel at producing high-end manufactured goods. The quality of a nation’s craftsmanship during agrarian civilization will determine the quality of output during industrial civilization and the size of a nation's population of skilled craftsmen will be a determining factor on the road to industrialization, perhaps to the extent that it might decide global leadership. In light of this, we must respect European civilization—however, given our long tradition of craftsmanship, we also have a claim to excellence.

In addition, as everyone knows, we have a great tradition of emphasizing education and study. According to statistics from the West, we also have a high IQ. With these traditions, when it comes to mastering modern industry and technology, we are in no way inferior to Westerners.

This is not a novel statement! In fact, it was advanced in the 1930s, precisely when China was in its darkest hour, by British historian of science J.D. Bernal in a volume called The Social Function of Science.11 He said quite clearly that the Chinese have no problem with science: “...[F]rom what has been done [in science and learning] it is possible to see that Chinese cultural traditions, suitably modified, give an extraordinarily good basis for scientific work. Indeed, with the care, steadiness, and sense of balance shown in all other forms of Chinese culture, there is reason to believe that China may have at least as great a contribution to make to the development of science as the West, if not greater.”

The result of the above-mentioned pressures and cultural traditions is the development of an educational foundation much more impressive than that of other countries. This means that we have the capacity to compete with and even surpass the West. The contemporary competition over technology and industrialization is multifaceted, but crucial to it is having a high quality workforce12 that ranges from the average worker to engineers and technicians.

 Of course, many countries, especially in the developed world, have high quality workforces, but we still have an advantage, since we have the talent and also the numbers. Take the United States as an example: if you exclude China, America has the best quality and largest labor force, which has allowed them to attain their hegemonic position.  India has a population close to our own, but, for reasons that we will not get into now, the quality of their workforce is much lower. It's really that simple. But some people still can't see that China has the advantage over the United States. In Unrestricted Biochemical Warfare,13 Chai Weidong says that it is easier to transmit a library of lies than a single sentence of the truth. Why do I speak so forcefully on these matters? What are the advantages that the Chinese possess that others do not? To make it simple, there is only one point: China has a greater number of high quality workers.

Song Xiaojun once told me this: In our present world, as the industrial system grows more complex and supply chains stretch longer and longer, the only country that can encompass all of this is China. The United States does not have this ability, even if it used to. I emphatically agree with Song Xiaojun on these points. The United States does not even have independent and complete industrial supply chains to support its military, so it is forced to subcontract much of this work to allies. Of course, we must concede that their vast number of allies is one advantage they have over us. As the venerable hegemon, they have many servants, so this work can be given to them. But China doesn’t need servants; China can go it alone, which is something the United States cannot do. By itself, China can encompass the entire industrial supply chain, using its many excellent engineers, scientists, and technicians.

Competitiveness in an industrial age relies on these factors: making things that others cannot, making things better than others do, and making things cheaper than others can. To do those things relies on skilled technicians, scientists, and workers. China has a good supply of all of them. There are many countries where labor is cheaper than it is in China, so why do they fail to compete? It's because the quality of their labor force is not as high [as ours].

After expressing gratitude to our ancestors for this, we should thank China’s primary and secondary school teachers. Perhaps they do not see this bigger picture. They might not have any knowledge of the things we have discussed so far. However, the work they do, without attracting any public attention, produces students that outperform their peers in developed countries in both math and science. This is why we can be so confident about the present global competition. A short time ago, students from Shanghai, representing China in a standardized international exam, captured first place in language, math, and science. By comparison, American students do not place among the upper echelon except in language. It is precisely because we have so many talented students that we will be able to realize future inventions that will one day surpass the fourth-generation fighter. I realize that many people might disagree with this point, so I will set it aside for the moment and return to it later.

Industrialization requires a high quality workforce. Conversely, there is a great danger in continuing to produce a high quality workforce when the nation is in a state of industrial stagnation. This is a great danger. You must find an outlet for all of these young people with talent in math and science. You can’t simply ignore them. The Foxconn suicides can be taken as an example of this problem.14 Although conditions at the plant were relatively good for China, with all the facilities that workers might desire, they still killed themselves. This is proof that our high quality workforce cannot be satisfied with [only] basic living and working conditions. 

To merely offer China’s high quality workforce jobs at Foxconn is an insult and a misuse of talent. Many people have a misconception, dismissing the type of people that work at these facilities in places like Dongguan as merely migrant workers from the countryside.15 In fact, although they may have grown up in the countryside, most have been educated at universities in the city. Even if we are talking about workers without a university education, their problem is not that they lack quality, since they very likely outstrip the average American college graduate in this regard, but rather the problem for them is often the lack of resources for post-secondary education. Last year, when Time Magazine named the Chinese worker their “Person of the Year,”16 the people they chose to photograph for the cover were quite representative—not dumb brutes but clearly intelligent and confident. Of course people like that will refuse to work under the conditions experienced by the first generation of migrant workers. In the past all that workers arriving in the city expected was a job and a hot meal, but that is no longer the case. Because they are of higher quality than the first generation, they demand a job and lifestyle worthy of their abilities.

Therefore, Chinese politicians, whatever their predisposition, must find a way to create space for this next generation of scientists and technicians to develop themselves. They cannot be confined to a production line at a Foxconn plant. This is an important measure to ensure future social stability. After all, what if the disaffected worker decides not to jump off the building but to go and do something more extreme? So, maintaining social stability means finding a use for future scientists and technicians, which means pursuing industrialization. Is there any other way? The key variable for determining the course of China’s future development is thus the massive number of talented technical and scientific workers. This will hold true no matter what political system China may adopt or who our political leaders may be. 

III. Let the Americans sing and dance for us while we smelt our iron

[Song] Xiaojun called me up the other day and said: We need to make it clear that what Steve Jobs accomplished does not count as high-end. I replied: What he accomplished with the first two generations of Apple, improving the mouse, and developing a graphical interface before Microsoft did–that counts as high-end. Now he is working on the iPhone and things like that. Despite being very profitable, they do not qualify as high-end. 

Moreover, what is there to admire in the American financial industry, in Hollywood, in the Grammys, or in the NBA? We should keep smelting our iron and let the Americans do the singing and dancing. Iron and copper contain strength, and those things they pass their time with are like the decadent playthings of the Eight Banners.17 At present, we are building the world's largest 80,000-ton stamping die,18 which will allow us to make aerospace parts much more efficiently than the Americans can. That is truly high-end!

IV. Industrialization must become China’s universal value

On the foundation of a high quality workforce, industrialization has the potential to transform not only China’s appearance but the face of the entire world. It has the power to determine not only the fate of China, but the fate of the planet. Industrialization cannot be restricted to China, after all. We must go out to meet the world.19 Not only do we want our products to “go global,” we also want our industrialization to go global, and our high-quality talent to go global. We can spread industrialization to every corner of the world. Many of our scientists and technicians will travel around the world to work, bringing with them civilization, a dignified existence, and relief from poverty. This is one thing that Westerners have been unwilling or powerless to accomplish.

 It’s true that Westerners were the pioneers of industrialization. They invented and created many things. There is no denying their contribution to the world. However, they have failed to bring the radiance of industrial civilization to everyone in the world. In Africa, for example, they plundered and pillaged, from the slave trade to the exploitation of oil and diamonds, but they refused to allow Africans to enjoy the rewards of industrialization. They did not allow Africans to live like them.

I started with the fourth-generation fighter, but I am not saying that a few great weapons should allow us to lord over the world. We want the lives of others to improve. This is where the Chinese approach differs from the Western approach. As a matter of fact, Chinese industrialization is already spreading, without any top-down planning, ideology, culture, or public opinion building. The economy of Africa has grown from Chinese contributions. The African people are better off than they were before. Chinese industrialization is already benefiting the world and bringing the light of industrial civilization. We have done what the West could not.

In The Chinese in Africa,20 the author asks an American expert if he is worried about China’s expansion. The American expert answers that he is grateful. God bless them, he says, they are doing good things in Africa, and the West is not. The book argues that Chinese contributions have put Africa back on the path of development. This is high praise. But isn’t it a meritorious achievement to have pulled a continent on the brink of extinction back from the edge? That is a universal value. Giving hundreds of millions a chance at a better life, with clean water to drink, and access to electricity—how are these not universal values? This is much more powerful than empty words [offered by Westerners].

Who says we lack universal values? Democracy is not the only universal value. Science is a universal value. Industrialization is a universal value. Unlike Westerners, we want to make sure industrialization benefits everyone. This is China's universal value, which is the universal value at our present stage of development. We acknowledge that our present way of life has problems. It is not good enough yet. This means that we must improve both how we live and our social system. The goal must not be merely to be better than present-day China but to be even better than the West. By that point we will benefit everyone around the world not only with our industry but also with our superior social system. 

Those Chinese intellectuals that refuse to endorse the pursuit of the West, who say that we need our own [essentially Chinese] values, and who assert that we have a special system, are showing a lack of self-confidence. They refuse to embrace universal values and speak instead of values essential to China. In fact, our ancestors spoke of universal values and called on the entire world under heaven21 to learn from the universal values of Confucius and Mencius. Later, we fell behind, became afraid of the West’s talk of universal values, and started to emphasize our own particular values. But when we have once again risen in strength, we can bring forth new universal values of our own.

In terms of China’s strategic international position, we do not need to press for any further territorial claims to be addressed. Nine point six million square kilometers is sufficient as a base of operations. Of course, even if we do not press on territorial claims, we must exert an influence in other regions. Those are two different matters.

V. The Sentimental Party: the greatest obstacle to China’s industrialization

Regarding China’s future prospects and industrialization, my optimism might surprise many people. In fact, all of the things I have pointed out are obvious facts. Why would anybody be surprised? It's simple: mainstream opinion does not take any of this seriously. The intellectuals with discursive power will not admit any of it. Many turn a blind eye. Why?

Here, I would like to introduce another dimension: the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party. There are many possible dimensions [on which we can] discussing and analyze human society: rich and poor, men and women, ethnic divisions, racial divisions, and so forth. The present situation in China requires understanding this other dimension—the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party. According to Song Xiaojun, these terms were invented by a lady reporter at a major newspaper.22 Members of the Industrial Party, as the name implies, are inclined toward further industrialization. In terms of their intellect, they are more suited to work in industry. That does not mean that everyone in the Industrial Party is an engineer, since I consider myself a member but do not work in industry. People in the Industrial Party are similar to scientists or engineers in the way they think about things. That is not to say that they are without emotion. They have their own sentimentality. When I saw the fourth-generation fighter take flight, I did not break down and sob as some young people did, but a tear did come to my eye. That is emotion, but it is the emotion of the Industrial Party

The Sentimental Party, in contrast, prefers to focus on emotion in their lectures about morality and culture. They have a limited ability to use logic or scientific concepts, and they lack technical knowledge. In terms of their values, they tend to downplay achievements made in industry. In many ways, they are like the literati of pre-industrial and agricultural period. ①

 At present, the main ideological factions in China are the left and the right (that is, the liberals).23 Both left and right belong to the Sentimental Party. What they have in common is that they underestimate the achievements of China’s industrialization and tend to look at America as a god. They believe that it is not possible for Americans to have flaws, or for them to be inferior to us. The right worships and adores America. They want to stand with America, to the point that some of them have become part of what may be called the Lead-the-Way-Party, as they would gladly march at the front of an invading American column. The left may be anti-American in outlook, but they also believe completely in the myth of American invincibility. So, whatever happens in Chinese-American relations, they will say we came out worse. The United States always wins. They are unwilling to see the difficulties that America faces. They even believe that the financial crisis was simply a trap set for the Chinese.24

By the reactions of both left and right to the fourth-generation fighter, we can see the essence of the Sentimental Party. The rightists got online to say that the plane was fake. They said it must have been concocted in Photoshop by paid posters. After they were forced to admit that it was real, they changed their line to say that the plane was simply no good. Later, they took to saying that the plane was not meant for resisting foreign invasion but suppressing local people. One young man’s comment on them was quite amusing: he said that China must really have gotten wealthy if the stealth capabilities of fourth-generation fighters are required for forced demolitions.25

The average internet leftist was also quite funny. They are anti-American, so had to take a different approach from the rightists. But they also downplayed the fourth-generation fighter, claiming that the Y-1026 [a narrow-body jet airliner developed in the 1970s] from back in the day was far more important. The Y-10 was a great achievement of the Chinese people, but it doesn’t in any way negate the fourth-generation fighter. To place the two aircraft in opposition is unreasonable. Another thing they said was that since the leadership is no good and the masses are no good that any weapons they possess are also useless. Further, they said that modern China is a society that celebrates material wealth, rather than uplifting the poor. Anyone excited by the fourth-generation fighter, they said, was practicing “Chinese revisionism.”27

These comments are representative of the state of standard [online] commentary from the left and the right. As for right and left intellectuals, they mostly chose to ignore the J-20, and to remain silent, not knowing how to explain their positions. How could it be? A young person summed it up quite well:

“The rightists would say that a fourth-generation fighter could not be developed without constitutionalism. The leftists would say it could not be developed without the four freedoms (the free expression and airing of views, mass debate, and big-character posters) [enjoyed during the Cultural Revolution but removed from the country’s Constitution after Deng Xiaoping came to power].” But we have a fourth-generation fighter! How can they explain that?

I won’t completely deny the complaints of the Sentimental Party, since, as they say, there are many gaps in the political and social system that must be made up. However, even with those remaining [gaps], we have made great progress in industrialization. This is the truth. There is no denying that. Both the left and right suffer from the same problem [in their thinking]. They think of the world according only to the dimensions that they pay attention to. They cannot see the forest for the trees.

That is why I classify both sides of political opinion as belonging to the Sentimental Party. The world is not only about democracy versus dictatorship, leftism versus rightism, and socialism versus capitalism, but also has the dimension of industrialization. When it comes to the dimension of industry versus sentiment, both the left and right are stuck at the same point. They are both in the Sentimental Party. They do not understand Chinese industry. They do not realize that Chinese industrialization will eclipse the dimensions that they are fixated on. I believe Chinese industrialization is more important than those dimensions they pay such close attention to.

I have many friends on both the left and right that belong to the Sentimental Party. They often say that they have no sense of China’s industrial and technological development. I point to the high-speed trains they ride and the highways they drive on as achievements. They always have clear cellular signals and fast internet, don't they? Do they have no conscience?

This is the difference between the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party. Sentimental Party does not talk about facts but only what they feel. China has so many excellent engineers and scientists, toiling unknown to the public, making great contributions to the nation and humanity. Meanwhile, the intellectuals that skim along the surface of things have a limited perspective on these contributions, sometimes even denying them. The useless Sentimental Party looks down on other people. We need to figure out why.

While the right and left wings of the Sentimental Party bloviate, China’s industrialization has stealthily reached a higher level and is wider in scope than they know. Will any other country in the world be able to break our stride? I believe they cannot stand in our way. Some people may believe it is possible, but I do not see it. Perhaps it might have been possible ten years ago for some countries to unite to contain China, but that is now impossible, even with all their forces combined. 

With that said, does China still face any danger? Yes, but it principally comes from within. China still has many weaknesses, like corruption, [problems with] the political system, the gap between rich and poor, and so forth. But if China’s industrialization can continue to proceed in the right direction, these problems are not fatal and can be gradually resolved. The only critical problem would be the stagnation of industrialization itself. In that case, the rejuvenation of the nation would fail. The Sentimental Party would likely be the reason for any interruption to this process. Here the Sentimental Party would be the likely “stumbling block.” The danger we face comes from within. The only thing that can trip China up is China itself. That is the present situation. If the Sentimental Party gains the upper hand, it could halt the process of China's industrialization. Therefore, the most important struggle at present is not between left and right but between the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party.

VI. The Sentimental Party lets the bullets fly and the Industrial Party lets the fourth-generation fighter fly

At the same time the fourth-generation fighter appeared on the stage, a movie called Let the Bullets Fly28 captured the attention of the country. The Sentimental Party was unsure of what to say about the jet, but they enthusiastically embraced the film.

Let the Bullets Fly is a metaphor for the Chinese revolution and Chinese history. It expresses the director’s understanding of the Chinese revolution, the Chinese people, and Chinese history. The left and right both took what they wanted out of the metaphor and applauded the film. The right believes that the film reveals the true face of the revolution. The left believes that the film affirms the revolution. The interpretations of both sides have merit. This was intentional on the part of the director [Jiang Wen 姜文].29 But what do these metaphors really amount to?

Before anything else, I believe Let the Bullets Fly is an outstanding comedy, with many enjoyable storylines and gags. But that's all it is. The metaphors that the left and right delighted in pale in comparison to the reality of present-day China.

We have no use now for these historical metaphors. Why? The general trend in China is now industrialization, which is bound to expand to the entire world. This is an unstoppable force. This general trend will bring great change to China in the future. You can call it revolution, you can call it reform—call it whatever you want! It is possible that things like Let the Bullets Fly are of little use. These historical metaphors and contemporary historiographical conventions are of little positive use to today’s new path. The young people in the audience only understand enough to laugh along without understanding the deeper implications. It is of no use for their psyches to be contaminated by these gloomy, depressing things. We have already produced our fourth-generation fighter and there are plenty of movie plots to pull from that experience. But [the Sentimental Party] turned a blind eye, more interested in a guy waving a Mauser. Aren’t they all out of date?

Our filmmakers should emulate their American peers and make use of futuristic settings. They should make more science-fiction films. They should make movies that explore how science and technology will impact humanity. Some people say that the Chinese film industry does not make science-fiction films because of financial constraints. Does it really come down to money? I do not think so. It is because of the knowledge structure of our filmmakers. Industry, science, and technology have made great strides, but culture has lagged behind.

Chinese artists and literati have no sense of industrialization or our achievements as a nation on this front. They have no feeling whatsoever [for these things] or for the general trend in which the world is moving in. Chinese industrialization has entered the fourth generation, while, culturally, we are still brandishing Mausers. The Sentimental Party, which gleefully promoted Let the Bullets Fly, took no interest in the fourth-generation fighter, revealing their intellectual discomfiture.

That’s why Song Xiaojun said that the Sentimental Party let the bullets fly and the Industrial Party let the fourth-generation fighter fly. I suspect many people didn’t understand Xiaojun’s point, which is a pity. He didn't bother to explain. I believe Xiaojun was absolutely correct.

① See: Wang Xiaodong, “Gongchenshi Zhiguo Qiangyu Wenren Zhiguo 工程师治国强于文人治国 [Engineers Are Better Than Literati at Governing a Country],” Luye 绿叶 [Green Leaf] 7, 2010.

1. Though Wang describes the J-20 as a fourth-generation stealth fighter jet, it is described in most sources as a fifth-generation fighter. It had its first test flight in January 2011, a few months before the publication of this piece. The development of the J-20 can be traced back to the early 2000s when reports of a new Chinese stealth fighter program started to emerge. Officially unveiled at the Zhuhai Airshow in 2016, the J-20 is designed to rival other advanced fifth-generation fighters like the U.S. F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. The jet incorporates cutting-edge technology to enhance its stealth capabilities, speed, and maneuverability, making it a crucial part of China's efforts to modernize its air force. On the maiden flight, see Jeremy Page, Julian E. Barnes,Chinese Stealth Fighter Makes First Test Flight,”The Wall Street Journal, 12 January 2011. For recent assessments of the capabilities and significance of the fighter, see Rick Joe, “J-20: The Stealth Fighter That Changed PLA Watching Forever,” The Diplomat, 11 January 2021; Matthew Jouppi, “Face It: China’s J-20 Is A Fifth-Generation Fighter,Aviation Weekly, 5 April 2021.
2. Along with co-authors Huang Jisu, Song Qiang, and Liu Yang, Song Xiaojun wrote the 2011 book Unhappy China: The Great Time, Grand Vision and Our Challenges [中国不高兴:大时代、大目标及我们的内忧外患] with Wang Xiaodong. Born in 1957, Song is a well-known military commentator on CCTV and Phoenix TV, two of the biggest state-owned news networks in China. He studied radar and sonar at a military academy and served as a naval communication officer before starting a career as a commentator in 1997. 
3. Manufacturing value added (MVA) of an economy is the estimate of the total output of all resident manufacturing industries. According to a recentPeople’s Daily report, China’s total industrial value added exceeded 40 trillion yuan in 2022, accounting for 33.2% of its GDP, and of which the manufacturing value-added accounted for 27.7% of its GDP. 
“Qui Nian Wo Guo Quanbu Gongye Zengjia Zhi Chao 40 Wan Yuan Ren Min Bing Zhi Zhi Zuo Ye Guimo Lianxu 13 Nian JU Shijie Shouwei 去年我国全部工业增加值超40万亿元 制造业规模连续13年居世界首位 [Last Year, Our State’s Total Industrial Value Added Exceeded 40 Trillion Yuan, and the Scale of Manufacturing Industry Ranked First in the World for 13 Consecutive Years],” Renmin Ribao 人民日报 [People’s Daily], 19 March 2023. 
4. Wang’s understanding of 19th century China follows the standard narrative of most Chinese nationalists. For a longer discussion of this narrative see the CST glossary entries CENTURY OF NATIONAL HUMILIATION and GREAT REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION.  
5. The proclamation that China would stand tall among the nations of the world likely comes from Mao Zedong’s report to a communist meeting in 1935 tilted “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism.” The original quote reads: “We Chinese have the spirit to fight the enemy to the last drop of our blood, the determination to recover our lost territory by our own efforts, and the ability to stand on our own feet among the nations of the world.” See Mao Zedong, “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism,” Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Vol 1, available on marxists.org. 
6. This sentiment is most clearly presented in Mao’s writings about China’s development and its relation with the broader world. For a longer discussion of Mao’s development concept, see Wang Yuyao 汪裕尧, “Mao Zedong de Fazhanguan He Xin Zhongguo de Fazhan 毛泽东的发展观和新中国的发展 [Mao Zedong's Development Concept and the Development of New China],” Central Party History and Documentation Research Institute, 5 September 2013.
7. Zeng-Hu-Zuo-Li refers to the four statesmen and military leaders during the late Qing Empire: Zeng Guofan 曾国藩, Hu Linyi 胡林翼, Zuo Zongtang 左宗棠, and Li Hongzhang 李鸿章. All played an important role in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion and leading Qing’s Self-Strengthening Movement to modernize the imperial military between 1861 to 1895.
Zeng Guofan (1811-1872) was a local Han official who advocated for the adoption of Western military technology and the translation of Western scientific knowledge. His private westernized militia played an instrumental role in ending the Taiping Rebellion.
Hu Linyi (1823-1894) served as governor of Hubei province during the Taiping rebellion and successfully defeated Taiping forces across the province. He later became a diplomat during the late Qing Dynasty and served as Qing's ambassador to the United States during a critical period in Sino-American relations.
Zuo Zongtang (1812-1885) led the imperial forces against the Taiping Rebellion. Zuo oversaw the construction of the Fuzhou Arsenal and naval academy, supervised the industrialization in Gansu Province, and served as an Imperial Commissioner in charge of military affairs in Gansu. 
Li Hongzhang (1823-1901) was a general and diplomat and the most important leader in Qing’s modernization movement. He built the Nanjing and Tianjin Arsenals, founded foreign language schools and military academies, supported the addition of Western technology into the imperial examinations along with a host of other policies to promote industrialization and entrepreneurship in the empire. 
8. Kang-Liang, i.e. Kang Youwei 康有为 (1858-1927) and his protegee Liang Qichao (1873-1929) 梁启超, were the imperial advisors who initiated the radical reform movement of the Qing Empire in 1898 known as the Hundred Days’  Reform. Together they advanced a series of imperial decrees that  included the abolition of the civil service examination system, the founding of a new system of national schools, the introduction of Western patent system, and the reformation of the military. The Hundred Days’ Reform was cut short by a conservative coup-d'etat. Kang and Liang were forced into exile, where they continued to advocate for reform and supported a constitutional monarchy. After China’s republican revolution in 1911, Kang and Liang returned to China and played an important role in the republican government under Yuan Shikai. 
9. Sun Wen (1866-1925), the original name of Sun Yat-sen 孙中山, was a Chinese revolutionary, politician, and the founding father of the Republic of China. He played a pivotal role in overthrowing the Qing Empire. Sun's political philosophy was encapsulated in the "Three Principles of the People": nationalism, democracy, and the livelihood of the people. These principles were central to his vision for a modern and democratic China.
10. Jiang Jieshi–the mandarin pronunciation of Chiang Kai-shek 蒋介石 (1887-1975)i–was a key military leader under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen and later served as the President of the Republic of China after Sun’s death. Chiang led the China during the Sino-Japanese war and fought against the communists in the Chinese Civil War, which ultimately retreating to Taiwan after the communist victory and the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. 
11. John Desmond Bernal was an international scientist who pioneered the use of X-ray crystallography in molecular biology. Raised in a Catholic family in Ireland, Bernal became a communist during his study at Cambridge University and subsequently joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1923. Published in 1939, The Social Function of Science was one of the earliest works on the sociology of science, in which science was presented as a social activity that was integrally tied to the whole spectrum of other social activities. A partial translation of the book was published in China in 1950 and a full translation was published in 1981. This quote about China’s capacity to develop science is excerpted from chapter 8, “An International Overview of Science.” 
12. The word “quality” [suzhi 素质] is a commonly employed in contemporary Chinese social thought. It describes a person’s qualities measured in terms of his or her behavior, education, ethics, and life ambitions. Rudeness and bad behavior are commonly considered marks of “low quality.” Invoked in a political context, the “poor quality”–or low suzhi–of the citizenry is frequently cited as justification for autocratic oversight of the Chinese population. 
For more extensive discussions of the term in contemporary Chinese, see  The Australian Centre on China in the World, “Suzhi 素质,” The China Story, access 9 October 2023; Andrew Kipnis, “Suzhi: A Keyword Approach,” The China Quarterly 186 (2006): 295–313.
13. Popular in online fringe political circles, engineer and independent researcher Chai Weidong's book claims to reveal the hazards of vaccines, genetically-modified food, and modern pharmaceuticals. Chai Weidong, Zhongguo fazhan chubanshe 生化超限战: 转基因食品和疫苗的阴谋 [Unrestricted Biochemical Warfare: The Conspiracy of Genetically-modified Food and Vaccines] (Beijing: Zhongguo Fazhan Chubanshe 中国发展出版社 [China Development Publishing Inc], 2011). 
14. This was a hot topic of discussion at the time when Wang Xiaodong wrote this piece. Fourteen Foxconn workers successfully committed suicide at a Foxconn  plant in Shenzhen, China  in 2010. The spate of suicides was ended through various adjustments on Foxconn’s part,  including an infamous series of suicide nets, marginally better labor conditions, and the movement of many  facilities inland, where the work force was closer to home.
15. Dongguan [东莞市] is an important industrial city in the Pearl River Delta that manufactures electronics and communications equipment. The city is the fourth largest export region in China, behind Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Suzhou. 
16. “The Chinese Worker” was a runner-up. A paragraph by Austin Ramzy, attached to portraits by Song Chao of migrant workers in Shenzhen, describes “tens of millions of workers who have left their homes,” contributing unknowingly to the recovery of the global economy. 
Austin Ramzy, “The Chinese Worker,” Time Magazine, 16 December 2009. 
17. Bāqí bàijiā, [八旗败家] literally the “decadence of the Eight Banners,” is a historical reference to the corruption and indulgence of the Manchu military class (organized into eight groups known as Banners) in the 18th century. According to traditional Chinese historiography, the descendants of the Manchu nobility who conquered China and established the Qing dynasty lost their martial vigor  during this century of peace and prosperity. Due to their decline, the Machu military was powerless in the face of the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64). Consequently, the Qing regime had to rely on militias organized by local Han officials to counter the internal turmoil, leading to the weakening of central power. In this analogy the Americans are a stand in for the Manchu bannermen: like them, Wang seems to say, the American preoccupation with amusement and wealth has weakened their ability to keep their country vital and strong.
18. A stamping die is a specialized machine tool that cuts and forms sheet metal into a desired shape or profile. The 80,000-ton stamping die referenced here was completed in 2017. See Xinhua Military News, “China's 80,000-ton die forging press ranks first in the world,” 27 September 2017.
19. Literally, “going out” [走出去], the slogan was advanced by Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao to describe official efforts to encourage Chinese exports, external investment, and growing connections with a globalized economy. 
20. Written by Zhao Zunsheng [赵遵生], The Chinese in Africa (2010) is a history of Chinese assistance to Africa in the 1970s, covering projects like the TAZARA Railway. While it does not cover 21st centuries ties between China and Africa,, it does connect Maoist period aid to a larger view of China's relationship with Africa, contrasting it favorably with Western exploitation.   Zhao Zunsheng 赵遵生, Zhgongguoren zai feizhou 中国人在非洲 [The Chinese in Africa] (Beijing: Zhejiang Renmin Chubanshe 浙江人民出版社 [Zhejiang People’s Publishing Inc.], 2010). 
21. The term tiānxià [天下], most literally translated as “all under heaven,“ and regularly rendered as “the empire,” or “the entire world” was used in imperial times to describe the reach of the emperor’s remit. The phrase has a universal ring that speaks to a sense of mission wider than any single nationality. For the struggle modern Chinese intellectuals have had adapting this term to contemporary Chinese politics, see Nadège Rolland, “China’s Vision for a New World Order,” NBR Special Report, The National Bureau of Asian Research, 27 January 2020. 
22. CST editors could not locate any usage of the term “Industrial Party” prior to Wang Xiaodong’s article.
23. See footnote 6 of the introduction.
24. Wang is referring to common conspiracy theories on the Chinese internet that assert the 2008 financial crisis was a trap that the United States set for China in order for it to default on its debts. For an example, see Qiu Lin 邱林, “Mei guo yi po chan shi Mei guo ren gei Zhongguo she de xianjing 美国已破产是美国人给中国设的陷阱 [The Claim that is United States is bankrupt is a trap set by Americans for China],” Sina Finance, 20 August 2010.
25. “Force demolition” [强拆] refers to the government and real estate developers’ practice of forcefully evicting residents and demolishing their houses for land sales or development purposes. For a longer explanation and analysis of this practice, see  Demolished: Forced Evictions and the Tenants' Rights Movement in China, (Washington DC: Human Rights Watch, 2004).
26. Wang Xiaodong treads a fine line here, since the Y-10 is a project beloved by leftist boosters of industrialism. For them, it's an example of a success under Maoist autarky, killed unfairly by the reformers, who wanted to import foreign technology.
27. Since the days of Mao, “Chinese revisionism” [中修] has meant the ideological revision of Chinese socialism in favor of capitalism. 
28. A blockbuster film released in 2010 directed by Jiang Wen that stars Chow Yun-fat and Ge You, Let the Bullets Fly is one part political satire and one part action film. Set as an American style Western in the warlord era of the 1920s, Jiang’s film could be seen either as a critique of the warlord and capitalist mentalities that justified Mao’s revolution, or as a critique of Chinese society during the reform era. For an introduction to the problems posed by the film, see Shelly Kraicer, “Let the Readings Fly: Jiang Wen Reaches for the Mainstream,” CinemaScope, iss. 47 (2011).
29. Readers would have known the director's name without it being given. Jiang Wen is associated to some extent with artistic decadence and skepticism of the revolutionary period. His two other major films as a director, In the Heat of the Sun 阳光灿烂的日子 (1994) and Devils on the Doorstep 鬼子来了 (2000), are about the Cultural Revolution and Sino-Japanese War, respectively. Both have been subject to official suppression at various times, despite being recognized as classics of Chinese cinema.

Cite This Article

Wang Xiaodong. “​​Chinese Industrialization Will Determine the Fate of China and the World—A study of the ‘Industrial Party’ and the ‘Sentimental Party.’” Translated by Dylan Levi King. San Francisco: Center for Strategic Translation, 2023.

Originally published in Wang Xiaodong 王小东. “​​Zhongguo de Gongyehua Jiang Jueding Zhongguo Yu Shijie de Minyun—Jianlun Gongyedang diujue Qinghuaidang 中国的工业化将决定中国与世界的命运—兼论‘工业党’对决 ‘情怀党’ [Chinese Industrialization Will Determine the Fate of China and the World—A study of the ‘Industrial Party’ and the ‘Sentimental Party’].” Luye 绿叶 [Green Leaf], no. 1 (2011).

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A Study of the “Industrial Party” and the “Sentimental Party”

兼论“工业党”对决“情怀党”

Author
Wang Xiaodong
王小东
original publication
Green Leaf
《绿叶》
publication date
January 1, 2011
Translator
Dylan Levi King
Translation date
October 1, 2023

Introduction

Two centuries separate the first boom of British cannonade over Chinese waters from the booming of the Zhuhai Airshow, held biyearly in the skies above the shoreline where the Opium War began. Here the PLA’s finest aircraft can be seen, and heard, in flight. These machines roar triumphant for crowds of patriotic onlookers—a distant echo of the roaring canon-fire that so rudely introduced China to the modern world two centuries ago. Linking blasts past and present is a debate that snakes through the history of modern China.1 At issue in this dispute is why China’s experience of modernity was so harrowing: Why did this great people, once so central to the story of human civilization, fall behind the West? Is there something inherent in Chinese culture that kept it from pioneering the forces of modernity? Should these forces be mastered at all? Are modern machines of wealth and war the proper benchmark for national success? In other words, just how central to the story of China’s national rejuvenation are the planes that fly from Zhuhai?

Chinese intellectuals and statesmen have been debating variations on these questions since the 1840s. The dispute is perennial: as soon as one generation digs into settled battlelines a new generation of thinkers arises to start the fight anew.2 Translated below is a prominent entry in the 21st century round of this debate. Its author, writer and scholar Wang Xiaodong, sides strongly on the side of the aircraft—or perhaps more accurately, the legion of scientists, engineers, and technicians that make the production of advanced fighter aircraft possible in the first place.

Closely associated with an internet subculture known in China as the “industrial party” (it is from the essay translated below that the subculture takes its name), Wang is an ardent techno-nationalist who believes that industrial might and technological advance are the most meaningful measure of China’s national progress and the only proper source for the Communist Party’s ruling legitimacy. This is not a modest vision. His essay starts as a commemoration of a new PLA aircraft; it ends as a declaration of China’s industrial manifest destiny.  

Wang is several generations older than most commentators associated with the industrial party. Born in 1955, Wang came of age at a time when the resources of the entire Chinese economy were being plowed into defense industrialism. After the Cultural Revolution ended, Wang enrolled at Peking University to study mathematics. He would continue his studies at the Tokyo Institute of Technology during the 1980s, when the achievements of Japanese industrial policy reached their zenith.3 With a scathing review of the 1988 television series River Elegy—which condemns the Chinese people as blocked from modernity by their own hidebound and authoritarian traditions—Wang established a national reputation as a nationalist firebrand.4 He would cultivate this reputation in the years to come with regular attacks on other Chinese thinkers, accusing Chinese liberals in particular of seeing their homeland only through the racist and self-serving lens that Westerners applied to China. Wang’s efforts would culminate in the 2009 best seller Unhappy China, in which Wang and a few other nationally prominent intellectuals decried the “weak country psychology” that haunted the Chinese psyche and urged their countrymen to adopt a more confident and confrontational attitude towards the leading Western powers.5  

The essay translated below was written only a few years after Unhappy China was published. It expresses the same confidence in Chinese power that defined Wang’s earlier work but sketches a far more ambitious—and original—vision for China’s future. Wang's trademark denunciations of hypocrisy abroad and internalized racism at home are gone. Instead, Wang writes of bullet trains and manufacturing hubs, fighter jets and foundries. In the manufacture of copper wiring and steel beams Wang finds an objective measure of strength and progress. Nationalists who fret about American financial might, cultural prestige, or discursive power confuse the byproducts of strength for their source. “What is there to admire in the American financial industry, in Hollywood, in the Grammys, or in the NBA?,” Wang asks. “Let the Americans sing and dance while we smelt our iron.” 

Wang believes that China is predestined to win all contests in smelting iron. The future of global manufacturing lies in China. No other country has a potential population of scientists, engineers, and technical workers as large. In Wang’s eyes Westerners have the skills, but not the numbers; India and the rest of the third world might have the numbers, but Wang asserts that their populations do not have the intelligence or industriousness to measure up to their Chinese counterparts.

By this logic the existing supply chains of the early 2010s presage the future of the global economy. “The United States does not even have independent and complete industrial supply chains to support its military.” Thus “as the industrial system grows more complex and supply chains stretch longer and longer, the only country that can encompass all of this is China.” In light of “its many excellent engineers, scientists, and technicians” China is the “one nation that can do it alone.” 

Yet industrial and technological autarky are not Wang’s goal. To the contrary, Wang believes that the Chinese pattern of industrialization must be spread across the earth. He imagines a day when “our scientists and technicians will travel around the world to work, bringing with them civilization, a dignified existence, and relief from poverty. This is one thing that Westerners have been unwilling or powerless to accomplish.” Chinese must have faith that this is the course of their nation’s future. After all, “democracy is not the only universal value. Science is a universal value. Industrialization is a universal value.” It is the destiny of the Chinese people to become the avatar of these new universal values.

The only people with the power to derail this destiny are the Chinese themselves. Wang has no patience for the left-right distinctions6 that normally dominate Chinese political debates: for Wang the only divide that really matters is between those Chinese who belong to the “party of industry” [工业党]  and those who belong to the “party of sentiment” [情怀党].7

Wang’s industrialists include not only engineers, research scientists, and technicians, but anyone disposed towards a scientific worldview. In contrast to sentimentalists who—like the Odes memorizing literati of old—waste their time debating the merits and meaning of media, rhetoric, and art, members of the industrial party focus their attention squarely on the physical world. Beneath the word games and emotional appeals of political philosophy lies a world of material things that can be measured, calculated, and manipulated. The technological advances that allow human beings to measure and manipulate objective physical realities are the crowning achievements of the human species. But this is only understood by those who value statistics over sentiment and material victories over intangible moral values. These are the people who—for the sake of humanity’s future—must run China. 

Events seem to vindicate Wang’s manifesto. Over the last decade, the “industrial party” has grown from a phrase in an essay to a vibrant online subculture with members across China.8 When the United States began sanctioning telecommunication companies like ZTE and Huawei, the Chinese public turned to the statistics stuffed essays of these intellectuals in order to understand the course and consequences of the new Sino-American tech war. The policies favored by the industrial party—building self-sufficient industrial supply chains inside China, exporting Chinese-style infrastructure to the developing world, fusing China’s civil and military technological development, pouring national resources into basic scientific research, and an industrial policy that privileges heavy industry over software or consumer tech9—have all been adopted by the Communist Party of China. Xi Jinping himself speaks of “saving the nation with science and education.”10 In 2023 Party slogans come custom-made for the future the industrial party yearns for.

Yet the industrial party’s affiliation with the communist party-state is less sure than current policy alignments might suggest. “The key variable for determining the course of China’s future development,” Wang argues, is not the leadership of the Communist Party of China, but “the massive number of talented technical and scientific workers [in China]. This will hold true no matter what political system China may adopt or who our political leaders may be.”

This is not how committed Chinese communists speak. For Wang and other members of the industrial party, the Communist Party of China is a useful tool for constructing their favored future—but it is only that.11 In Wang’s words, China’s industrial destiny “is not invested solely in the Communist Party that Mao Zedong represented. It transcends political parties, changes in regimes, political systems, and whatever so-called cultural trends are popular among intellectuals of a particular period.” In other words, the united front between industrialist intellectuals and Communist Party cadres will last only as long as the “historic mission” of the Communist Party overlaps with the transcendent cause of the industrial party. For now that overlap seems secure—but as the Communist Party espouses its own set of transcendent ideals, this may not always be so.

—THE EDITORS

1. Orville Schell and John Delury trace the contrasting answers to these questions from the Opium Wars to the 21st century in Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the 20th Century (New York: Random House, 2013).
2. The paradigmatic example of the debate over the role science and technology might play in China’s NATIONAL REJUVENATION were the “science and metaphysics” debates of the 1920s and 1930s. For an account of this debate see Yanbing Guorong, “The Debate between Scientists and Metaphysicians in Early Twentieth Century: Its Theme and Significance,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 2, no 1 (December 2002): 79-95; and D.W.Y. Kwok, Scientism in Chinese Thought, Nineteen Hundred to Nineteen Fifty (New York: Biblo-Moser, 1972).
3. Vivian Wang, “A Godfather of Chinese Nationalism Has Second Thoughts,” The New York Times, 27 October 2022.
4. The essay is can be found at Wang Xiaodong 王小东, “Nandao Gaogui He Zhihui Yongyuan Buneng Xieshou Erxing Ma 难道高贵和智慧永远不能携手而行吗?[Can Nobility and Wisdom Never Go Hand in Hand?],” Aisixiang 爱思想, July 2008.  
5. Song Qiang 宋强, Huang Jisu 黄纪苏, Song Xiaojun 宋晓军, Wang Xiaodong 王小东 and Liu Yang ​​刘仰, Zhongguo Bu Gaoxing: Dashidai, Damubiao Ji Women de Neiyou Waihuan 中国不高兴:大时代、大目标及我们的内忧外患 [Unhappy China: The Great Time, the Grand Vision and Our Challenges​​] (Nanjin: Jiangsu Renmin Chubanshe 江苏人民出版社 [Jiangsu People’s Publishing Inc], 2009). 
The book also garnered substantial press coverage in the west. For a summary, see David Barunski, “Unhappy China and Why it is Cause For Unhappiness,” China Media Project, 2 April 2009.
6. Like Westerners, Chinese understand their politics in terms of a right-to-left spectrum. But “right” and “left” carry a very different valence in China, where the “left” is generally associated with nostalgia for Maoism, unapologetic nationalism, disdain for limited government, and a hostility to capitalist enterprise, and the “right” is associated with market reforms, support for civil liberties, and a more cosmopolitan worldview. Jennifer Pan and Yiqing Xu, “China’s Ideological Spectrum,” The Journal of Politics 80, no. 1 (2018): 254–273.
7. Though Wang does not explicitly say so, the term “sentimental party” may be a reference to the science and metaphysics debates of the 1920s, when Chinese intellectuals were heavily divided on the question of how important the western scientific worldview would be to solving China’s problems. Liang Qichao based one of his most influential attacks on scientism on the argument that “the sentimental aspect of [man’s] outlook on life lies beyond science.” Wang’s response is less to argue the contrary point than to diminish the importance of subjective experience all together. For the Liang quote see Guorong, “The Debate between Scientists and Metaphysicians in Early Twentieth Century,” 81.
8. Lu Nanfeng 卢南峰, Wu Qing 吴靖, “Lishi zhuanzhe zhong de hongda xushi: gongyedang wangluo sichao de zhengzhi fengxi 历史转折中的宏大叙事: ‘工业党’网络思潮的政治分析 [Historical Transformation and Grand Narrative: A Political Analysis of the ‘Industrial Party,’ an Online Intellectual Trend],”  东方学刊 [Dongfang Review], 9 September 2018. An English translation is available at, David Ownby,Historical Transformation and Grand Narrative: A Political Analysis of the ‘Industrial Party,’ an Online Intellectual Trend,” Reading the China Dream, undated. See also, Dylan Levi King, “China’s Exit to Year Zero,” Palladium Magazine, April 9 2021; T.J. Ma, “Development Blogging: Understanding Social Media Support for BRI,” Panda Paw Dragon Claw, 10 February 2019. 
For more Chinese language discussion of the demographics and influence of the industrial party: Lu Nanfeng 卢南峰, Wu Qing 吴靖, “‘Gongyedang’ yu ‘xiaofenghong’ youshenme butong ‘工业党”’与’小粉红’有什么不同 [What is the Difference between the Industrial Party and the Little Pinkies],” Souhu, 17 June 2019; Yu Liang 余亮, “‘Gongyedang’ Yishi, yizhong bei hushi de renwen jinshen ‘工业党’意识,一种被忽视的人文精神 [An ‘Industrial Party’ Awareness, a Neglected Humanistic Spirit], Guancha 观察 [Observer.cn], 20 August 2019. 
9. The bias against consumer tech is one factor that distinguishes Chinese techno-optimists from their international counterparts. Wang’s invective against Steve Jobs—referenced in the essay translated below, but more fully laid out in his essay “Steve Jobs' Brilliant Success is Precisely a Sign of America’s Decline”—captures the standard industrial party view of this question. 
“Qiaobusi Huiguang Chenggong Qiaqia Shi Meiguo Shuailuo de Biaozhi 乔布斯辉煌的成功恰恰是美国衰落的标志 [Steve Jobs' brilliant success is precisely a sign of America's decline],” Aisixiang 爱思想, 10 October 2011.
For similar assessments by the senior Chinese leadership, see Lingling Wei and Stella Yifan Xie, “Communist Party Priorities Complicate Plans to Revive China’s Economy,Wall Street Journal, 27 August 2023.
10. Xi Jinping, “Gaoju Zhongguo Tese Shehui Zhuyi Weida Qizhi Wei Quanmian Jianshe Shehui Zhuyi Xiandaihua Guojia ER Tuanjie Fendou Zai Hong Guogong Chandang Di Ershi CI Quanguo Daibiao Dahui Shang de Baogao 高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜 为全面建设社会主义现代化国家而团结奋斗——在中国共产党第二十次全国代表大会上的报告 [Holding High the Great Banner of Socialism With Chinese Characteristics, and Uniting to Strive for the Comprehensive Construction of a Socialist Modernized Country–Report at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China],” Xinhua, 25 October 2022.
11. In a long 2008 essay, Wang himself argued that China must undertake democratization because democracies have historically excelled at building nationalist spirit among their citizens and have a proven track record of fighting more successfully during great power wars.
Wang Xiaodong, “Minzu Shencun Jinzheng yu Mingzhu Zhidu 民族生存竞争与民主制度 [The National Competition for Survival and Democracy],” Aisixiang 爱思想, 17 July 2008.
On the relationship between the industrial policy and other factions of online opinion, including those more explicitly in favor of communist rule, see Kristin hi-Kupfer, Mareike Ohlberg, Simon Lang, Bertram Lang, “Ideas and Ideologies Competing For China's Political Future,” Merics Papers on China 5, Mercator Institute for China Studies, October 2017.   

​​Chinese Industrialization Will Determine the Fate of China and the World: A study of the “Industrial Party” and the “Sentimental Party”

I. Why has Chinese aircraft research and development progressed so quickly?

The debut and first test flight of the J-20 fourth-generation fighter jet was a joyous occasion for the Chinese people.1 But the significance of the project is not limited to national defense.

Nobody would now doubt the validity of the J-20 fighter program. Why was it able to be put into development so quickly? Song Xiaojun2 addressed this question in a recent television interview and summed it up with three statements:

First, our population is large. This means that we have a lot of engineers. We have a lot of technicians. We have a lot of people working in research and development programs.

Second, we have a lot of money. Even if many may be utterly incredulous at this second point, it is true. Many people do not know that China's manufacturing value-added output, even adjusted for exchange, already ranks at the same level as the United States.3 From this point forward, it will grow at a speed that leaves all competitors behind.

​​Third, from the first and second points, we can infer that we can do things quicker than America could at the same point.

I agree with Song Xiaojun’s appraisal. Are we more accurate than the pessimists? We’ll come back to that later.

II. The capacity and determination for realizing China's industrialization

Independently designing and manufacturing advanced aircraft embodies a nation’s combined industrial and technological capacity. The greatest significance of the development of a fourth-generation fighter is that it clearly shows the capacity and determination of the Chinese [people] on the road of industrialization.

The matchless determination of the Chinese nation to wipe off the stain of humiliation by industrializing has no peer. Since 1840 and the Opium War, we have sought to cast off our fate of being bullied and enslaved by foreigners, to catch up with and then surpass the West in science and technology, to return to the glory of our ancestors, and to become strong and prosperous.4 For more than one hundred and seventy years, this was the pursuit of our entire nation. No one could subvert this drive. As Chairman Mao said, our desire was for China to once again stand tall among the nations of the world.5 This was a rather tactful way of putting it. Chairman Mao also said that China should make even more impressive contributions to the world than other nations.6 What does that mean? To state [the point] in other words, it means we need to surpass other countries. 

This view of things, this pursuit, and this determination is not invested solely in the Communist Party that Mao Zedong represented. It transcends political parties, changes in regimes, political systems, and whatever so-called cultural trends are popular among intellectuals of a particular period. From Zeng-Hu-Zuo-Li7 to Kang-Liang8 to Sun Wen9 to Jiang Jiesh,i10 it has always been this way. Of course, the actual achievements [of these figures] are another matter entirely.

Determination is not enough; capacity is required, too. In that respect, we benefited greatly from the traditions of our ancestors, accumulated over thousands of years. I believe, first of all, that a nation capable of creating intricate works of art will also necessarily excel at producing high-end manufactured goods. The quality of a nation’s craftsmanship during agrarian civilization will determine the quality of output during industrial civilization and the size of a nation's population of skilled craftsmen will be a determining factor on the road to industrialization, perhaps to the extent that it might decide global leadership. In light of this, we must respect European civilization—however, given our long tradition of craftsmanship, we also have a claim to excellence.

In addition, as everyone knows, we have a great tradition of emphasizing education and study. According to statistics from the West, we also have a high IQ. With these traditions, when it comes to mastering modern industry and technology, we are in no way inferior to Westerners.

This is not a novel statement! In fact, it was advanced in the 1930s, precisely when China was in its darkest hour, by British historian of science J.D. Bernal in a volume called The Social Function of Science.11 He said quite clearly that the Chinese have no problem with science: “...[F]rom what has been done [in science and learning] it is possible to see that Chinese cultural traditions, suitably modified, give an extraordinarily good basis for scientific work. Indeed, with the care, steadiness, and sense of balance shown in all other forms of Chinese culture, there is reason to believe that China may have at least as great a contribution to make to the development of science as the West, if not greater.”

The result of the above-mentioned pressures and cultural traditions is the development of an educational foundation much more impressive than that of other countries. This means that we have the capacity to compete with and even surpass the West. The contemporary competition over technology and industrialization is multifaceted, but crucial to it is having a high quality workforce12 that ranges from the average worker to engineers and technicians.

 Of course, many countries, especially in the developed world, have high quality workforces, but we still have an advantage, since we have the talent and also the numbers. Take the United States as an example: if you exclude China, America has the best quality and largest labor force, which has allowed them to attain their hegemonic position.  India has a population close to our own, but, for reasons that we will not get into now, the quality of their workforce is much lower. It's really that simple. But some people still can't see that China has the advantage over the United States. In Unrestricted Biochemical Warfare,13 Chai Weidong says that it is easier to transmit a library of lies than a single sentence of the truth. Why do I speak so forcefully on these matters? What are the advantages that the Chinese possess that others do not? To make it simple, there is only one point: China has a greater number of high quality workers.

Song Xiaojun once told me this: In our present world, as the industrial system grows more complex and supply chains stretch longer and longer, the only country that can encompass all of this is China. The United States does not have this ability, even if it used to. I emphatically agree with Song Xiaojun on these points. The United States does not even have independent and complete industrial supply chains to support its military, so it is forced to subcontract much of this work to allies. Of course, we must concede that their vast number of allies is one advantage they have over us. As the venerable hegemon, they have many servants, so this work can be given to them. But China doesn’t need servants; China can go it alone, which is something the United States cannot do. By itself, China can encompass the entire industrial supply chain, using its many excellent engineers, scientists, and technicians.

Competitiveness in an industrial age relies on these factors: making things that others cannot, making things better than others do, and making things cheaper than others can. To do those things relies on skilled technicians, scientists, and workers. China has a good supply of all of them. There are many countries where labor is cheaper than it is in China, so why do they fail to compete? It's because the quality of their labor force is not as high [as ours].

After expressing gratitude to our ancestors for this, we should thank China’s primary and secondary school teachers. Perhaps they do not see this bigger picture. They might not have any knowledge of the things we have discussed so far. However, the work they do, without attracting any public attention, produces students that outperform their peers in developed countries in both math and science. This is why we can be so confident about the present global competition. A short time ago, students from Shanghai, representing China in a standardized international exam, captured first place in language, math, and science. By comparison, American students do not place among the upper echelon except in language. It is precisely because we have so many talented students that we will be able to realize future inventions that will one day surpass the fourth-generation fighter. I realize that many people might disagree with this point, so I will set it aside for the moment and return to it later.

Industrialization requires a high quality workforce. Conversely, there is a great danger in continuing to produce a high quality workforce when the nation is in a state of industrial stagnation. This is a great danger. You must find an outlet for all of these young people with talent in math and science. You can’t simply ignore them. The Foxconn suicides can be taken as an example of this problem.14 Although conditions at the plant were relatively good for China, with all the facilities that workers might desire, they still killed themselves. This is proof that our high quality workforce cannot be satisfied with [only] basic living and working conditions. 

To merely offer China’s high quality workforce jobs at Foxconn is an insult and a misuse of talent. Many people have a misconception, dismissing the type of people that work at these facilities in places like Dongguan as merely migrant workers from the countryside.15 In fact, although they may have grown up in the countryside, most have been educated at universities in the city. Even if we are talking about workers without a university education, their problem is not that they lack quality, since they very likely outstrip the average American college graduate in this regard, but rather the problem for them is often the lack of resources for post-secondary education. Last year, when Time Magazine named the Chinese worker their “Person of the Year,”16 the people they chose to photograph for the cover were quite representative—not dumb brutes but clearly intelligent and confident. Of course people like that will refuse to work under the conditions experienced by the first generation of migrant workers. In the past all that workers arriving in the city expected was a job and a hot meal, but that is no longer the case. Because they are of higher quality than the first generation, they demand a job and lifestyle worthy of their abilities.

Therefore, Chinese politicians, whatever their predisposition, must find a way to create space for this next generation of scientists and technicians to develop themselves. They cannot be confined to a production line at a Foxconn plant. This is an important measure to ensure future social stability. After all, what if the disaffected worker decides not to jump off the building but to go and do something more extreme? So, maintaining social stability means finding a use for future scientists and technicians, which means pursuing industrialization. Is there any other way? The key variable for determining the course of China’s future development is thus the massive number of talented technical and scientific workers. This will hold true no matter what political system China may adopt or who our political leaders may be. 

III. Let the Americans sing and dance for us while we smelt our iron

[Song] Xiaojun called me up the other day and said: We need to make it clear that what Steve Jobs accomplished does not count as high-end. I replied: What he accomplished with the first two generations of Apple, improving the mouse, and developing a graphical interface before Microsoft did–that counts as high-end. Now he is working on the iPhone and things like that. Despite being very profitable, they do not qualify as high-end. 

Moreover, what is there to admire in the American financial industry, in Hollywood, in the Grammys, or in the NBA? We should keep smelting our iron and let the Americans do the singing and dancing. Iron and copper contain strength, and those things they pass their time with are like the decadent playthings of the Eight Banners.17 At present, we are building the world's largest 80,000-ton stamping die,18 which will allow us to make aerospace parts much more efficiently than the Americans can. That is truly high-end!

IV. Industrialization must become China’s universal value

On the foundation of a high quality workforce, industrialization has the potential to transform not only China’s appearance but the face of the entire world. It has the power to determine not only the fate of China, but the fate of the planet. Industrialization cannot be restricted to China, after all. We must go out to meet the world.19 Not only do we want our products to “go global,” we also want our industrialization to go global, and our high-quality talent to go global. We can spread industrialization to every corner of the world. Many of our scientists and technicians will travel around the world to work, bringing with them civilization, a dignified existence, and relief from poverty. This is one thing that Westerners have been unwilling or powerless to accomplish.

 It’s true that Westerners were the pioneers of industrialization. They invented and created many things. There is no denying their contribution to the world. However, they have failed to bring the radiance of industrial civilization to everyone in the world. In Africa, for example, they plundered and pillaged, from the slave trade to the exploitation of oil and diamonds, but they refused to allow Africans to enjoy the rewards of industrialization. They did not allow Africans to live like them.

I started with the fourth-generation fighter, but I am not saying that a few great weapons should allow us to lord over the world. We want the lives of others to improve. This is where the Chinese approach differs from the Western approach. As a matter of fact, Chinese industrialization is already spreading, without any top-down planning, ideology, culture, or public opinion building. The economy of Africa has grown from Chinese contributions. The African people are better off than they were before. Chinese industrialization is already benefiting the world and bringing the light of industrial civilization. We have done what the West could not.

In The Chinese in Africa,20 the author asks an American expert if he is worried about China’s expansion. The American expert answers that he is grateful. God bless them, he says, they are doing good things in Africa, and the West is not. The book argues that Chinese contributions have put Africa back on the path of development. This is high praise. But isn’t it a meritorious achievement to have pulled a continent on the brink of extinction back from the edge? That is a universal value. Giving hundreds of millions a chance at a better life, with clean water to drink, and access to electricity—how are these not universal values? This is much more powerful than empty words [offered by Westerners].

Who says we lack universal values? Democracy is not the only universal value. Science is a universal value. Industrialization is a universal value. Unlike Westerners, we want to make sure industrialization benefits everyone. This is China's universal value, which is the universal value at our present stage of development. We acknowledge that our present way of life has problems. It is not good enough yet. This means that we must improve both how we live and our social system. The goal must not be merely to be better than present-day China but to be even better than the West. By that point we will benefit everyone around the world not only with our industry but also with our superior social system. 

Those Chinese intellectuals that refuse to endorse the pursuit of the West, who say that we need our own [essentially Chinese] values, and who assert that we have a special system, are showing a lack of self-confidence. They refuse to embrace universal values and speak instead of values essential to China. In fact, our ancestors spoke of universal values and called on the entire world under heaven21 to learn from the universal values of Confucius and Mencius. Later, we fell behind, became afraid of the West’s talk of universal values, and started to emphasize our own particular values. But when we have once again risen in strength, we can bring forth new universal values of our own.

In terms of China’s strategic international position, we do not need to press for any further territorial claims to be addressed. Nine point six million square kilometers is sufficient as a base of operations. Of course, even if we do not press on territorial claims, we must exert an influence in other regions. Those are two different matters.

V. The Sentimental Party: the greatest obstacle to China’s industrialization

Regarding China’s future prospects and industrialization, my optimism might surprise many people. In fact, all of the things I have pointed out are obvious facts. Why would anybody be surprised? It's simple: mainstream opinion does not take any of this seriously. The intellectuals with discursive power will not admit any of it. Many turn a blind eye. Why?

Here, I would like to introduce another dimension: the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party. There are many possible dimensions [on which we can] discussing and analyze human society: rich and poor, men and women, ethnic divisions, racial divisions, and so forth. The present situation in China requires understanding this other dimension—the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party. According to Song Xiaojun, these terms were invented by a lady reporter at a major newspaper.22 Members of the Industrial Party, as the name implies, are inclined toward further industrialization. In terms of their intellect, they are more suited to work in industry. That does not mean that everyone in the Industrial Party is an engineer, since I consider myself a member but do not work in industry. People in the Industrial Party are similar to scientists or engineers in the way they think about things. That is not to say that they are without emotion. They have their own sentimentality. When I saw the fourth-generation fighter take flight, I did not break down and sob as some young people did, but a tear did come to my eye. That is emotion, but it is the emotion of the Industrial Party

The Sentimental Party, in contrast, prefers to focus on emotion in their lectures about morality and culture. They have a limited ability to use logic or scientific concepts, and they lack technical knowledge. In terms of their values, they tend to downplay achievements made in industry. In many ways, they are like the literati of pre-industrial and agricultural period. ①

 At present, the main ideological factions in China are the left and the right (that is, the liberals).23 Both left and right belong to the Sentimental Party. What they have in common is that they underestimate the achievements of China’s industrialization and tend to look at America as a god. They believe that it is not possible for Americans to have flaws, or for them to be inferior to us. The right worships and adores America. They want to stand with America, to the point that some of them have become part of what may be called the Lead-the-Way-Party, as they would gladly march at the front of an invading American column. The left may be anti-American in outlook, but they also believe completely in the myth of American invincibility. So, whatever happens in Chinese-American relations, they will say we came out worse. The United States always wins. They are unwilling to see the difficulties that America faces. They even believe that the financial crisis was simply a trap set for the Chinese.24

By the reactions of both left and right to the fourth-generation fighter, we can see the essence of the Sentimental Party. The rightists got online to say that the plane was fake. They said it must have been concocted in Photoshop by paid posters. After they were forced to admit that it was real, they changed their line to say that the plane was simply no good. Later, they took to saying that the plane was not meant for resisting foreign invasion but suppressing local people. One young man’s comment on them was quite amusing: he said that China must really have gotten wealthy if the stealth capabilities of fourth-generation fighters are required for forced demolitions.25

The average internet leftist was also quite funny. They are anti-American, so had to take a different approach from the rightists. But they also downplayed the fourth-generation fighter, claiming that the Y-1026 [a narrow-body jet airliner developed in the 1970s] from back in the day was far more important. The Y-10 was a great achievement of the Chinese people, but it doesn’t in any way negate the fourth-generation fighter. To place the two aircraft in opposition is unreasonable. Another thing they said was that since the leadership is no good and the masses are no good that any weapons they possess are also useless. Further, they said that modern China is a society that celebrates material wealth, rather than uplifting the poor. Anyone excited by the fourth-generation fighter, they said, was practicing “Chinese revisionism.”27

These comments are representative of the state of standard [online] commentary from the left and the right. As for right and left intellectuals, they mostly chose to ignore the J-20, and to remain silent, not knowing how to explain their positions. How could it be? A young person summed it up quite well:

“The rightists would say that a fourth-generation fighter could not be developed without constitutionalism. The leftists would say it could not be developed without the four freedoms (the free expression and airing of views, mass debate, and big-character posters) [enjoyed during the Cultural Revolution but removed from the country’s Constitution after Deng Xiaoping came to power].” But we have a fourth-generation fighter! How can they explain that?

I won’t completely deny the complaints of the Sentimental Party, since, as they say, there are many gaps in the political and social system that must be made up. However, even with those remaining [gaps], we have made great progress in industrialization. This is the truth. There is no denying that. Both the left and right suffer from the same problem [in their thinking]. They think of the world according only to the dimensions that they pay attention to. They cannot see the forest for the trees.

That is why I classify both sides of political opinion as belonging to the Sentimental Party. The world is not only about democracy versus dictatorship, leftism versus rightism, and socialism versus capitalism, but also has the dimension of industrialization. When it comes to the dimension of industry versus sentiment, both the left and right are stuck at the same point. They are both in the Sentimental Party. They do not understand Chinese industry. They do not realize that Chinese industrialization will eclipse the dimensions that they are fixated on. I believe Chinese industrialization is more important than those dimensions they pay such close attention to.

I have many friends on both the left and right that belong to the Sentimental Party. They often say that they have no sense of China’s industrial and technological development. I point to the high-speed trains they ride and the highways they drive on as achievements. They always have clear cellular signals and fast internet, don't they? Do they have no conscience?

This is the difference between the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party. Sentimental Party does not talk about facts but only what they feel. China has so many excellent engineers and scientists, toiling unknown to the public, making great contributions to the nation and humanity. Meanwhile, the intellectuals that skim along the surface of things have a limited perspective on these contributions, sometimes even denying them. The useless Sentimental Party looks down on other people. We need to figure out why.

While the right and left wings of the Sentimental Party bloviate, China’s industrialization has stealthily reached a higher level and is wider in scope than they know. Will any other country in the world be able to break our stride? I believe they cannot stand in our way. Some people may believe it is possible, but I do not see it. Perhaps it might have been possible ten years ago for some countries to unite to contain China, but that is now impossible, even with all their forces combined. 

With that said, does China still face any danger? Yes, but it principally comes from within. China still has many weaknesses, like corruption, [problems with] the political system, the gap between rich and poor, and so forth. But if China’s industrialization can continue to proceed in the right direction, these problems are not fatal and can be gradually resolved. The only critical problem would be the stagnation of industrialization itself. In that case, the rejuvenation of the nation would fail. The Sentimental Party would likely be the reason for any interruption to this process. Here the Sentimental Party would be the likely “stumbling block.” The danger we face comes from within. The only thing that can trip China up is China itself. That is the present situation. If the Sentimental Party gains the upper hand, it could halt the process of China's industrialization. Therefore, the most important struggle at present is not between left and right but between the Industrial Party and the Sentimental Party.

VI. The Sentimental Party lets the bullets fly and the Industrial Party lets the fourth-generation fighter fly

At the same time the fourth-generation fighter appeared on the stage, a movie called Let the Bullets Fly28 captured the attention of the country. The Sentimental Party was unsure of what to say about the jet, but they enthusiastically embraced the film.

Let the Bullets Fly is a metaphor for the Chinese revolution and Chinese history. It expresses the director’s understanding of the Chinese revolution, the Chinese people, and Chinese history. The left and right both took what they wanted out of the metaphor and applauded the film. The right believes that the film reveals the true face of the revolution. The left believes that the film affirms the revolution. The interpretations of both sides have merit. This was intentional on the part of the director [Jiang Wen 姜文].29 But what do these metaphors really amount to?

Before anything else, I believe Let the Bullets Fly is an outstanding comedy, with many enjoyable storylines and gags. But that's all it is. The metaphors that the left and right delighted in pale in comparison to the reality of present-day China.

We have no use now for these historical metaphors. Why? The general trend in China is now industrialization, which is bound to expand to the entire world. This is an unstoppable force. This general trend will bring great change to China in the future. You can call it revolution, you can call it reform—call it whatever you want! It is possible that things like Let the Bullets Fly are of little use. These historical metaphors and contemporary historiographical conventions are of little positive use to today’s new path. The young people in the audience only understand enough to laugh along without understanding the deeper implications. It is of no use for their psyches to be contaminated by these gloomy, depressing things. We have already produced our fourth-generation fighter and there are plenty of movie plots to pull from that experience. But [the Sentimental Party] turned a blind eye, more interested in a guy waving a Mauser. Aren’t they all out of date?

Our filmmakers should emulate their American peers and make use of futuristic settings. They should make more science-fiction films. They should make movies that explore how science and technology will impact humanity. Some people say that the Chinese film industry does not make science-fiction films because of financial constraints. Does it really come down to money? I do not think so. It is because of the knowledge structure of our filmmakers. Industry, science, and technology have made great strides, but culture has lagged behind.

Chinese artists and literati have no sense of industrialization or our achievements as a nation on this front. They have no feeling whatsoever [for these things] or for the general trend in which the world is moving in. Chinese industrialization has entered the fourth generation, while, culturally, we are still brandishing Mausers. The Sentimental Party, which gleefully promoted Let the Bullets Fly, took no interest in the fourth-generation fighter, revealing their intellectual discomfiture.

That’s why Song Xiaojun said that the Sentimental Party let the bullets fly and the Industrial Party let the fourth-generation fighter fly. I suspect many people didn’t understand Xiaojun’s point, which is a pity. He didn't bother to explain. I believe Xiaojun was absolutely correct.

① See: Wang Xiaodong, “Gongchenshi Zhiguo Qiangyu Wenren Zhiguo 工程师治国强于文人治国 [Engineers Are Better Than Literati at Governing a Country],” Luye 绿叶 [Green Leaf] 7, 2010.

1. Though Wang describes the J-20 as a fourth-generation stealth fighter jet, it is described in most sources as a fifth-generation fighter. It had its first test flight in January 2011, a few months before the publication of this piece. The development of the J-20 can be traced back to the early 2000s when reports of a new Chinese stealth fighter program started to emerge. Officially unveiled at the Zhuhai Airshow in 2016, the J-20 is designed to rival other advanced fifth-generation fighters like the U.S. F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. The jet incorporates cutting-edge technology to enhance its stealth capabilities, speed, and maneuverability, making it a crucial part of China's efforts to modernize its air force. On the maiden flight, see Jeremy Page, Julian E. Barnes,Chinese Stealth Fighter Makes First Test Flight,”The Wall Street Journal, 12 January 2011. For recent assessments of the capabilities and significance of the fighter, see Rick Joe, “J-20: The Stealth Fighter That Changed PLA Watching Forever,” The Diplomat, 11 January 2021; Matthew Jouppi, “Face It: China’s J-20 Is A Fifth-Generation Fighter,Aviation Weekly, 5 April 2021.
2. Along with co-authors Huang Jisu, Song Qiang, and Liu Yang, Song Xiaojun wrote the 2011 book Unhappy China: The Great Time, Grand Vision and Our Challenges [中国不高兴:大时代、大目标及我们的内忧外患] with Wang Xiaodong. Born in 1957, Song is a well-known military commentator on CCTV and Phoenix TV, two of the biggest state-owned news networks in China. He studied radar and sonar at a military academy and served as a naval communication officer before starting a career as a commentator in 1997. 
3. Manufacturing value added (MVA) of an economy is the estimate of the total output of all resident manufacturing industries. According to a recentPeople’s Daily report, China’s total industrial value added exceeded 40 trillion yuan in 2022, accounting for 33.2% of its GDP, and of which the manufacturing value-added accounted for 27.7% of its GDP. 
“Qui Nian Wo Guo Quanbu Gongye Zengjia Zhi Chao 40 Wan Yuan Ren Min Bing Zhi Zhi Zuo Ye Guimo Lianxu 13 Nian JU Shijie Shouwei 去年我国全部工业增加值超40万亿元 制造业规模连续13年居世界首位 [Last Year, Our State’s Total Industrial Value Added Exceeded 40 Trillion Yuan, and the Scale of Manufacturing Industry Ranked First in the World for 13 Consecutive Years],” Renmin Ribao 人民日报 [People’s Daily], 19 March 2023. 
4. Wang’s understanding of 19th century China follows the standard narrative of most Chinese nationalists. For a longer discussion of this narrative see the CST glossary entries CENTURY OF NATIONAL HUMILIATION and GREAT REJUVENATION OF THE CHINESE NATION.  
5. The proclamation that China would stand tall among the nations of the world likely comes from Mao Zedong’s report to a communist meeting in 1935 tilted “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism.” The original quote reads: “We Chinese have the spirit to fight the enemy to the last drop of our blood, the determination to recover our lost territory by our own efforts, and the ability to stand on our own feet among the nations of the world.” See Mao Zedong, “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism,” Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Vol 1, available on marxists.org. 
6. This sentiment is most clearly presented in Mao’s writings about China’s development and its relation with the broader world. For a longer discussion of Mao’s development concept, see Wang Yuyao 汪裕尧, “Mao Zedong de Fazhanguan He Xin Zhongguo de Fazhan 毛泽东的发展观和新中国的发展 [Mao Zedong's Development Concept and the Development of New China],” Central Party History and Documentation Research Institute, 5 September 2013.
7. Zeng-Hu-Zuo-Li refers to the four statesmen and military leaders during the late Qing Empire: Zeng Guofan 曾国藩, Hu Linyi 胡林翼, Zuo Zongtang 左宗棠, and Li Hongzhang 李鸿章. All played an important role in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion and leading Qing’s Self-Strengthening Movement to modernize the imperial military between 1861 to 1895.
Zeng Guofan (1811-1872) was a local Han official who advocated for the adoption of Western military technology and the translation of Western scientific knowledge. His private westernized militia played an instrumental role in ending the Taiping Rebellion.
Hu Linyi (1823-1894) served as governor of Hubei province during the Taiping rebellion and successfully defeated Taiping forces across the province. He later became a diplomat during the late Qing Dynasty and served as Qing's ambassador to the United States during a critical period in Sino-American relations.
Zuo Zongtang (1812-1885) led the imperial forces against the Taiping Rebellion. Zuo oversaw the construction of the Fuzhou Arsenal and naval academy, supervised the industrialization in Gansu Province, and served as an Imperial Commissioner in charge of military affairs in Gansu. 
Li Hongzhang (1823-1901) was a general and diplomat and the most important leader in Qing’s modernization movement. He built the Nanjing and Tianjin Arsenals, founded foreign language schools and military academies, supported the addition of Western technology into the imperial examinations along with a host of other policies to promote industrialization and entrepreneurship in the empire. 
8. Kang-Liang, i.e. Kang Youwei 康有为 (1858-1927) and his protegee Liang Qichao (1873-1929) 梁启超, were the imperial advisors who initiated the radical reform movement of the Qing Empire in 1898 known as the Hundred Days’  Reform. Together they advanced a series of imperial decrees that  included the abolition of the civil service examination system, the founding of a new system of national schools, the introduction of Western patent system, and the reformation of the military. The Hundred Days’ Reform was cut short by a conservative coup-d'etat. Kang and Liang were forced into exile, where they continued to advocate for reform and supported a constitutional monarchy. After China’s republican revolution in 1911, Kang and Liang returned to China and played an important role in the republican government under Yuan Shikai. 
9. Sun Wen (1866-1925), the original name of Sun Yat-sen 孙中山, was a Chinese revolutionary, politician, and the founding father of the Republic of China. He played a pivotal role in overthrowing the Qing Empire. Sun's political philosophy was encapsulated in the "Three Principles of the People": nationalism, democracy, and the livelihood of the people. These principles were central to his vision for a modern and democratic China.
10. Jiang Jieshi–the mandarin pronunciation of Chiang Kai-shek 蒋介石 (1887-1975)i–was a key military leader under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen and later served as the President of the Republic of China after Sun’s death. Chiang led the China during the Sino-Japanese war and fought against the communists in the Chinese Civil War, which ultimately retreating to Taiwan after the communist victory and the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. 
11. John Desmond Bernal was an international scientist who pioneered the use of X-ray crystallography in molecular biology. Raised in a Catholic family in Ireland, Bernal became a communist during his study at Cambridge University and subsequently joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1923. Published in 1939, The Social Function of Science was one of the earliest works on the sociology of science, in which science was presented as a social activity that was integrally tied to the whole spectrum of other social activities. A partial translation of the book was published in China in 1950 and a full translation was published in 1981. This quote about China’s capacity to develop science is excerpted from chapter 8, “An International Overview of Science.” 
12. The word “quality” [suzhi 素质] is a commonly employed in contemporary Chinese social thought. It describes a person’s qualities measured in terms of his or her behavior, education, ethics, and life ambitions. Rudeness and bad behavior are commonly considered marks of “low quality.” Invoked in a political context, the “poor quality”–or low suzhi–of the citizenry is frequently cited as justification for autocratic oversight of the Chinese population. 
For more extensive discussions of the term in contemporary Chinese, see  The Australian Centre on China in the World, “Suzhi 素质,” The China Story, access 9 October 2023; Andrew Kipnis, “Suzhi: A Keyword Approach,” The China Quarterly 186 (2006): 295–313.
13. Popular in online fringe political circles, engineer and independent researcher Chai Weidong's book claims to reveal the hazards of vaccines, genetically-modified food, and modern pharmaceuticals. Chai Weidong, Zhongguo fazhan chubanshe 生化超限战: 转基因食品和疫苗的阴谋 [Unrestricted Biochemical Warfare: The Conspiracy of Genetically-modified Food and Vaccines] (Beijing: Zhongguo Fazhan Chubanshe 中国发展出版社 [China Development Publishing Inc], 2011). 
14. This was a hot topic of discussion at the time when Wang Xiaodong wrote this piece. Fourteen Foxconn workers successfully committed suicide at a Foxconn  plant in Shenzhen, China  in 2010. The spate of suicides was ended through various adjustments on Foxconn’s part,  including an infamous series of suicide nets, marginally better labor conditions, and the movement of many  facilities inland, where the work force was closer to home.
15. Dongguan [东莞市] is an important industrial city in the Pearl River Delta that manufactures electronics and communications equipment. The city is the fourth largest export region in China, behind Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Suzhou. 
16. “The Chinese Worker” was a runner-up. A paragraph by Austin Ramzy, attached to portraits by Song Chao of migrant workers in Shenzhen, describes “tens of millions of workers who have left their homes,” contributing unknowingly to the recovery of the global economy. 
Austin Ramzy, “The Chinese Worker,” Time Magazine, 16 December 2009. 
17. Bāqí bàijiā, [八旗败家] literally the “decadence of the Eight Banners,” is a historical reference to the corruption and indulgence of the Manchu military class (organized into eight groups known as Banners) in the 18th century. According to traditional Chinese historiography, the descendants of the Manchu nobility who conquered China and established the Qing dynasty lost their martial vigor  during this century of peace and prosperity. Due to their decline, the Machu military was powerless in the face of the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64). Consequently, the Qing regime had to rely on militias organized by local Han officials to counter the internal turmoil, leading to the weakening of central power. In this analogy the Americans are a stand in for the Manchu bannermen: like them, Wang seems to say, the American preoccupation with amusement and wealth has weakened their ability to keep their country vital and strong.
18. A stamping die is a specialized machine tool that cuts and forms sheet metal into a desired shape or profile. The 80,000-ton stamping die referenced here was completed in 2017. See Xinhua Military News, “China's 80,000-ton die forging press ranks first in the world,” 27 September 2017.
19. Literally, “going out” [走出去], the slogan was advanced by Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao to describe official efforts to encourage Chinese exports, external investment, and growing connections with a globalized economy. 
20. Written by Zhao Zunsheng [赵遵生], The Chinese in Africa (2010) is a history of Chinese assistance to Africa in the 1970s, covering projects like the TAZARA Railway. While it does not cover 21st centuries ties between China and Africa,, it does connect Maoist period aid to a larger view of China's relationship with Africa, contrasting it favorably with Western exploitation.   Zhao Zunsheng 赵遵生, Zhgongguoren zai feizhou 中国人在非洲 [The Chinese in Africa] (Beijing: Zhejiang Renmin Chubanshe 浙江人民出版社 [Zhejiang People’s Publishing Inc.], 2010). 
21. The term tiānxià [天下], most literally translated as “all under heaven,“ and regularly rendered as “the empire,” or “the entire world” was used in imperial times to describe the reach of the emperor’s remit. The phrase has a universal ring that speaks to a sense of mission wider than any single nationality. For the struggle modern Chinese intellectuals have had adapting this term to contemporary Chinese politics, see Nadège Rolland, “China’s Vision for a New World Order,” NBR Special Report, The National Bureau of Asian Research, 27 January 2020. 
22. CST editors could not locate any usage of the term “Industrial Party” prior to Wang Xiaodong’s article.
23. See footnote 6 of the introduction.
24. Wang is referring to common conspiracy theories on the Chinese internet that assert the 2008 financial crisis was a trap that the United States set for China in order for it to default on its debts. For an example, see Qiu Lin 邱林, “Mei guo yi po chan shi Mei guo ren gei Zhongguo she de xianjing 美国已破产是美国人给中国设的陷阱 [The Claim that is United States is bankrupt is a trap set by Americans for China],” Sina Finance, 20 August 2010.
25. “Force demolition” [强拆] refers to the government and real estate developers’ practice of forcefully evicting residents and demolishing their houses for land sales or development purposes. For a longer explanation and analysis of this practice, see  Demolished: Forced Evictions and the Tenants' Rights Movement in China, (Washington DC: Human Rights Watch, 2004).
26. Wang Xiaodong treads a fine line here, since the Y-10 is a project beloved by leftist boosters of industrialism. For them, it's an example of a success under Maoist autarky, killed unfairly by the reformers, who wanted to import foreign technology.
27. Since the days of Mao, “Chinese revisionism” [中修] has meant the ideological revision of Chinese socialism in favor of capitalism. 
28. A blockbuster film released in 2010 directed by Jiang Wen that stars Chow Yun-fat and Ge You, Let the Bullets Fly is one part political satire and one part action film. Set as an American style Western in the warlord era of the 1920s, Jiang’s film could be seen either as a critique of the warlord and capitalist mentalities that justified Mao’s revolution, or as a critique of Chinese society during the reform era. For an introduction to the problems posed by the film, see Shelly Kraicer, “Let the Readings Fly: Jiang Wen Reaches for the Mainstream,” CinemaScope, iss. 47 (2011).
29. Readers would have known the director's name without it being given. Jiang Wen is associated to some extent with artistic decadence and skepticism of the revolutionary period. His two other major films as a director, In the Heat of the Sun 阳光灿烂的日子 (1994) and Devils on the Doorstep 鬼子来了 (2000), are about the Cultural Revolution and Sino-Japanese War, respectively. Both have been subject to official suppression at various times, despite being recognized as classics of Chinese cinema.

中国的工业化将决定中国与世界的命运——兼论“工业党”对决“情怀党”

一、中国研发飞机为什么这么快

中国第四代军机J-20的亮相和第一次试飞,令国人欢欣鼓舞。但其意义决不限于国防方面。

现在已经没有人再敢怀疑J-20的真实性了。我们的研制速度为什么这么快?宋晓军在电视节目中谈到这个问题,有人将其归结为三句话:

第一,我们人多。指的是我们工程师多,科技工作者多,搞研发的人多。

第二,我们钱多。尽管很多人可能根本就不相信这一点,但这是事实。很多人都不知道,我们的制造业增加值,即使按汇率计算,也已经与美国持平,而今后,则将迅速将其落下。

第三,从第一、第二两条可以推论,我们搞得肯定比美国当年快。

我同意宋晓军的估计。是我们的估计更准确,还是那些悲观论者更准确?我们就往后看吧。

二、中国实现工业化的决心和能力

先进飞机的独立设计与制造,是一个民族科技工业综合能力的体现。四代机研发成功,最大的意义就在于它突出展现了中国人在工业化道路上的决心和能力。

近代以来中华民族通过实现工业化来一雪耻辱的决心是无比强烈举世罕匹的。从1840年鸦片战争以后,我们要摆脱被外国人欺负和奴役的命运,要在科技上赶超上去,要回归祖先的荣光 ,求强求富,这就是我们全民族的追求,170多年了,这股劲头谁也改变不了。按毛主席的话说,就是我们要重新屹立于世界民族之林,这是比较客气的说法。毛主席还说过,相对于其他民族 ,我们中国要对世界有更大的贡献。这是什么意思?这就是说我们将来要超过他们。

这种想法、追求、决心,绝对不仅仅是以毛泽东为代表的共产党才有的,这是超越政党,超越政权的更替 ,超越政治制度,超越一时的知识分子中流行的所谓的文化思潮的。从曾胡左李,到康梁,到孙文,到蒋介石,也莫不如此。当然成就另当别论。

光有决心是不够的,还要有能力。在此我们受惠于祖先几千年积累而成的传统。首先我认为,一个能制作出非常繁复的艺术品的民族,也能够擅长于制作精细、高端的工业品;一个民族 在农耕文明时期形成的手工艺素质,在工业文明时代将起到相当决定性的作用;一个民族具有高超手工艺素质的人口的多少,将决定它能否在工业化中取得强势地位,甚至将决定它能否取得 世界领导地位。在这一点上,我们尊敬欧洲文明,但我们自己也相当优秀,因为我们恰恰有长期能干细活的做精致物品的工匠的传统。

除此之外,众所周知,我们还有重视教育、重视学习的 传统。另外,根据西方人的评测,我们的平均智商也高。拥有了这些传统,在驾驭现代工业和科技方面,我们就绝不输于西方人。

其实我这种见解并不新鲜,比如说上世纪三十年代——那个 时候中国正处在最暗淡的时期,英国科学史学者贝尔纳在其名着《科学的社会功能》中就指出,中国人搞科学是没问题的:“从中国已有的成绩可以看出,经过适当改造的中国文化传统,可 以为科学事业提供一个非常良好的基础。的确,只要有了表现在中国文化的一切形式中的那种细心、踏实和分寸感,我们可以有理由相信中国还会对科学做出即令不比西方更大,至少也和西 方一样大的贡献。”

由于上述现实压力与文明传统相结合,产生了一个歪打正着的现实结果,就是与世界其他国家相比,我们的基础教育太好了。这让我们拥有了与西方诸强展开竞争甚至进一步完成超越的 能力。现代工业与科技的竞争,千条万绪,最核心的就是要有高素质的劳动力,包括普通工人到工程师和科学家。

当然这个世界上很多国家都有高素质的劳动力,发达国家劳动力普遍素质比较 高。但是,我们比他们更强的是,我们不仅有高素质的劳动力,而且数量还很多,这个他们就不如我们了。比如说美国,这个世界上如果把我们中国刨除在外的话,它的劳动力从质量和数量 上来讲就最出色了,这成就了美国今天的霸主地位。可是我们中国比美国更多,所以我们超越它是没有问题的。印度人口跟我们差不多,但是高素质劳动力不如我们,这是事实,我们暂且不 论原因。道理就这么简单,但是现在好多人看不到,中美在这方面比较,中国占有优势。柴卫东在《生化超越战》里强调,“真传一句话,假传万卷书”。我今天讲话为什么气这么粗?中国 人的有什么别人没有的长处?大道至简,没什么多说的,就一条:中国有更多的高素质的劳动力。

宋晓军有一次跟我说:在当今这个世界,工业体系越来越复杂,产业链拉得越来越长,单凭一个国家的力量就能做到覆盖整个产业链的,只有中国一国,连美国现在都没有这个能力,尽 管它过去曾有。我十分同意他的这个观点。美国自己现在都没有一个独立完整的产业链来支撑它现有的军事实力,所以它要把一些工作分包给它的盟国。当然它有这么多盟国是比我们强的地 方。它作为这个世界的老霸主,有很多仆从,它可以拿这些活让它们去干。但是中国用不着仆从,中国一个国家就可以,这一点美国绝对比不上。中国一个国家就可以覆盖整个产业链,靠的 是中国有无数优秀的工程师和科学家以及技工。

工业时代竞争靠的无非就是这几条:别人造不出来的东西你能造出来,别人能造出来的东西你造得比他好,别人造得同样好的东西,你造得比他便宜。要做到这几点,就得依靠无数特别 优秀的工程师和科学家以及技工,而今天中国拥有得最多。劳动力比中国还廉价的国家有的是,它们为什么就不行呢?是因为他们劳动力的素质不如中国。

感谢了祖先以后,我们还要感谢今天中国广大的中小学教师。也许他们并没有这样的大局观,他们不知道前面我们讲的那些东西,但是,正是他们的默默无闻的工作为我们培养出了大量 的优秀的学生,这些学生在数学和科学上超过了其他发达国家的学生,使我们在竞争中充满了信心。不久前上海学生代表中国首次参加国际标准化测试,语文、数学和科学就都得了第一名。 美国的学生不仅跟中国比是不行的,在发达国家当中也不名列前茅,只有语文测试还凑合。正是有了这么多优秀的学生,使得我们将来可以制造出无数像四代机这样的惊喜。这一点可能好多 人不同意,今天暂不展开,将来专门论述。

工业化需要高素质的劳动力,反过来说,如果有了高素质的劳动力,而你却在工业化上停滞不前,那也是很危险的。你必须给我们这些具有极好的数学和科学潜能的年轻人找到出路,不 给他们出路是不行的。就拿富士康跳楼事件来说,平心而论,富士康的工作条件在中国算是好的,里面卫生、娱乐、体育、健身设施等等都很完备,但是照样这么多人跳楼,说明了什么?说 明了我们这么优秀的劳动力是不可能满足于像富士康这样低级别的工作与生活的。

仅仅只能给中国那些高素质的劳动力提供富士康那样的工作,其实就是委屈人家,就是屈才。大家都有点误会,以为在那个DG干活的不就是些农民工嘛。其实不然,好多人可能小时候是 农村的,长大后人家已经是正儿八经的大学生了。就算不是大学生,那更多的也是因为我们大学的教育资源不够,不是他素质低,他的素质很可能远远高于美国那些上大学的人。去年美国《 时代周刊》评年度人物,是中国的农民工。其封面上的那几个工人,是很有代表性的,决不是傻大黑粗的样貌,而是透露着精明和自信。你现在拿第一代农民工的待遇来打发他们,他们当然 不干了。过去是有份活干、有口饭吃就可以了,现在不行了,饭和活他们都挑剔了,因为他们的素质比第一代强多了,他们要求的是配得上他们能力的工作和生活。

所以中国的政治家,无论 其自身的爱好倾向如何,都必须为我们这些具有很优秀的科学家和工程师潜能的年轻人找到更好的出路,要给这些人创造发展空间。你得让他们当科学家和工程师,而不是当富士康的这种血 汗工厂里的工人。这是未来维护社会稳定的一个非常重要的任务。他要是不跳楼而去干别的了呢?所以你要维持社会稳定,你就要给我们这些具有科学家和工程师潜质的人找到出路,你不往 高端工业化道路上走怎么行呢?你不输出工业化怎么行呢?所以说,中国大量理工科人才的存在这件事本身,就是决定中国社会发展方向的一个重要变量。这一点无论什么政治制度都改变不了 ,更惶论具体的政治领导人是谁。

三、我们宁可打铁炼铜,让美国人为我们载歌载舞

晓军有一天打电话跟我说:乔布斯搞的那些东西不是高端,这一点我们得讲清楚。我说:乔布斯搞苹果一代、二代、改进鼠标并推广其使用、在微软视窗之前做出图形界面,这些确实 都是高端,现在他搞的iphone之类,虽然很赚钱,但绝不是什么高端。

还有什么金融业、好莱坞、格莱美、NBA,我们决不要去羡慕。我们宁可打铁炼铜,让美国人去为我们载歌载舞。因为打铁炼铜才是力量所在,而那些东西,都是八旗败家的玩意儿。现在,我们正在建造世界上最大的八万吨级锻压机,它可以让我们比美国更有效率地制造飞机部件,而且还在计划建造更大的, 这些东西才是真正的高端。

四、工业化将成为中国的普世价值

以这些高素质劳动力为基础的工业化,不仅将改变中国的面貌,还将改变整个世界的面貌,不仅将决定中国的命运,还将决定世界的命运。工业化不可能局限于我们中国国内,我们一定会走出去。不仅仅我们的产品走出去,还要让我们的工业化走出去,让我们的高素质的人才走出去,让这个世界其他角落都实现工业化。我们有大量的科学家和工程师将来要到世界其他地方去工作,给他们带来文明,带来体面的生活,解决他们的贫困问题。这是西方人不愿意做或者也没能力做的一件事。

西方人确实是工业化的开创者,他们发明创造了很多很多的东西,我们不能说他们对这个世界上这些贡献是小的。但是,西方人没能让工业文明的光芒,照到这个世界的每一个人身上。 比如说非洲,他们掠夺了非洲,从奴隶贩卖到石油、钻石,却没有让非洲人民享受工业化的成果,没能让非洲人过上像他们那样的生活。

前面我们是从四代机讲起的,但是我们绝不是说,以为只要有些好的武器就会在这个世界上当老大了,我们没有那么狭隘,那么黩武。我们变好的同时也是要别人变好,这是中国人跟西 方先驱不一样的地方。实际上,在没有上层规划,没有思想、文化、舆论建设的情况下,中国的工业化已经走向了世界。非洲由于中国的存在经济发展上来了,非洲人民过得比过去好了。中国的工业化已经在惠及这个世界上没有被工业文明所照到的那些角落。西方人做不到的我们做到了。

《中国人在非洲》这本书讲到,当他们问一个美国非洲问题专家,说中国在非洲扩张你们美国人担心不担心的时候?那个美国专家说,上帝保佑中国人吧,毕竟是中国人在非洲干了这些 好事,而西方人没干。《中国人在非洲》总结道,中国把非洲这么一个有好几亿人口,却漂离了人类发展的轨道的大陆给拽了回来。这是极高的评价。你把一个大陆从濒临灭绝的这种境地拉 了回来,这难道不是万世不朽的功德吗?这就是我们的普世价值。让几亿人住上更好的房子,喝上干净的水,用上电,这怎么不是普世价值?这不比那些空话强多了嘛。

谁说我们没有普世价值?不仅民主是普世价值,科学也是普世价值,工业化也是普世价值。与西方不同,我们要让工业化惠及地球上每一个人,这就是中国的普世价值,就是我们现阶段的普世价值。我们承认我们目前的生活方式有问题,不够好,在这个意义上我们还要改进自己的生活方式,社会制度,而且进一步,不仅要比现在的中国好,而且要比西方更好。到那时,不仅要让工业化,我们还要让我们这整套更好的社会制度来惠及地球上的每一个人。

现在中国那些不大赞成追随西方的知识分子,在他们反对普世价值,强调特殊价值的时候,实际上还是一种没有自信的表现。我们的祖先其实是讲普世价值的,全“天下”都要向我们的文明靠拢学习,这就是孔子和孟子的普世价值。后来我们衰落了,反而怕了西方的普世价值,强调我们有自己的特殊价值。等到我们再强起来的时候,我们还会拿出我们自己新的普世价值来。

从中国大的国际战略格局来说,我们确实没有必要向任何其他国家再提出领土要求,960万平方公里土地作为一个大本营已足够了。当然,我们不对其他国家提出领土要求,不意味着我们 不在其他地区发挥影响,这是两回事。

五、中国工业化的绊脚石——情怀党

我对中国的前景、对中国工业化的前景如此乐观,可能多数人会感到惊讶。其实我指出的不过是显而易见的事实而已。为什么会产生惊讶?很简单,主流舆论根本不重视这一点。掌握话 语权的知识分子不承认这一点,好多人对此就是视而不见。为什么?

在此,我要引入工业党和情怀党这一维度。讨论和分析人类社会有很多的维度,比如说穷富维度,男女维度,民族维度,种族维度,等等。以中国现在的情况来看,确实存在着另外一个 维度,就是工业党对情怀党。据宋晓军说,这一提法是某大报的一个女记者发明的。顾名思义,工业党有工业化倾向,相对而言从知识结构、智能上来讲,比较适合于搞工业的——当然了, 他不一定非从事工业,比如说我认为我自己就是个工业党,但是我没有从事工业工作。思考问题的方式,他比较类似于科学家和工程师,而且他喜欢这类东西。工业党不是不讲情怀,他有自 己的情怀,比如说我看到四代机,虽不能像有些年轻人那么“眼泪哗哗的”,但我确实有几次眼睛湿润了,这也叫情怀,但是这是工业党的情怀。

至于情怀党呢,乐衷于讲情怀讲道德讲文化 讲情绪。能力方面,他们在逻辑、数学、科技知识上比较差,跟科学家、工程师有较大差别。从价值取向来说,他们往往倾向于忽视、贬低工业方面取得的成就。他们其实更多地带有前工业 文明或者说农业文明时代的纯粹文人的特色。①

当前中国主流的思想派别,是左派和右派(自由派)。不论左派、右派,其实都是情怀党。具体共同表现是,他们一面低估中国工业化的巨大成就,一面把美国看成神。美国人不可能出 问题,美国人不可能不如我们。右派因此而崇拜、热爱美国,想跟美国站在一起,甚至成为了带路党——美国侵占中国,他们自愿给美国人带路。左派虽然反美,但对美国所谓不可战胜的神 话,也是深信不疑。所以中美之间发生任何事情,他们都说中国是吃了亏,美国是赢了,美国是做了个局把我们装进去了。他们闭眼看不见美国今天所面临的困境,美国自家的金融危机也成 了美国给中国设的陷阱。

从四代机亮相以后左派和右派的反应,就可以看透情怀党的本质。拿网上的普通右派来说,一开始上来说四代机是假的,是政府的“五毛”走狗PS出来的。过了一阵子,知道没法说是假 的了,就改口说这个东西肯定不灵;后来不能就性能做文章了,就开始骂这个飞机不是攘外而是安内的。对此,有个年轻人对他们的评论很逗:中国人民确实富起来了,因为强拆的房子上大 概都按了相控陈雷达,所以要用四代机来拆。要没有相控阵雷达,强拆用得着四代机吗?

网上的普通左派也非常有意思。左派是反美的,不能跟右派一样。但是左派上来也是说,四代机没有当年的运十重要。运十是中国人民的伟大成就,但是跟四代机不矛盾,你拿运十来压 四代机丝毫没有道理。另一种说法是,现在领导人不行,人不行了什么武器都没用。再有就是说,现在的中国是个笑贫不笑娼的社会,你为四代机高兴,就是支持“中修”。

这是网上的普通右派、左派的代表性言论。至于左派跟右派的那些代表性知识分子,面对J-20大都失语,选择了沉默,不知如何解释了。为什么会出现这样一种情况呢?对此,一个年轻 人总结得非常好:

右派讲,没有宪政就搞不出来四代机;左派讲,没有“四大”(大鸣大放大辩论大字报)就搞不出来四代机,可是事实上四代机出来了。你说他们怎么解释?

我不是完全否定情怀党强调 的那些东西,如他们所言,中国确实在政治社会诸方面存在着很多缺陷,但是,即使存在着这种缺陷,中国人在工业化道路上还是大踏步地前进了,这是个事实。你不能否认这个成就。左派 和右派都是犯了同一毛病,他们闭眼不看这样的成就。他们以为这个世界只有他们关心的那一个维度,一叶障目不见泰山。

所以我这里把他们都归为情怀党。他们不知道这个世界上不仅仅只有民主专制、左派右派、姓社姓资这样的维度,实际上还有工业这样一个维度。在工业和情怀这个维度当中,他们左派和右派都被压扁在一个点上了,就是情怀党,他们一点点都不了解中国工业。而我们中国很可能在将来恰恰是工业这个维度超越了他们所关心那个维度。我认为,中国的工业化这个维度,远远重要于他们所关心那个维度。

我有不少私人朋友,不管左派右派,属于情怀党。与他们谈到这些问题时,他们常常说自己并没有感到中国工业、科技发展的成就。我就说你现在坐的高铁,你开车驶过的高速公路难道 不是成就吗?手机信号那么好、网速那么快难道你没有享受到吗?你怎么可以这么没良心呢?

这就是工业党跟情怀党的差别。情怀党是不讲事实的,他们只讲他们自己个人主观感受。中国有 无数特别优秀的工程师和科学家,他们从事着默默无闻的工作,为民族为人类做出了巨大贡献,而这些浮在面上的知识分子自己什么都不会,对国家贡献非常有限甚至是负面的。一群百无一 用的情怀党,却瞧不起人家。这个理我们要讲明白。

就在中国左右两派情怀党口水四溅大放空炮的时候,中国的工业化已经不声不响地走向了更高的级别和更广的范围。世界其他国家还能不能挡住我们的脚步呢?我认为根本挡不住。有些人可能还不相信,但是我觉得就是如此。如果说在十年以前,世界其他国家还有可能联起手来遏制中国的话,那么十年以后的今天即使他们都联起手来也遏制不住中国了。

那么,中国面临不面临危险呢?还是有危险的,主要是自己内部的。中国确实有很多弊病,比如贪污腐败、政治体制、贫富差距等等。但是在中国工业化进程中一片大好形势的情况下,这些问题都不致命,都可以慢慢解决。唯一致命的问题就是工业化进程被中断了,那我们民族就无法复兴了。能够让这种进程中断的威胁,我看主要就是情怀党。情怀党从各个方面给中国“下绊儿”,也就是说主要的危险还是内部危险。这个世界上没有其他国家能绊倒中国,只有中国自己才能绊倒中国,现在就是这个情况。如果情怀党完全得势,那就有可能阻断中国的工业化进程。因此说,中国现在最重要的斗争,与其说是左派跟右派,不若说首先是工业党跟情怀党的对决。

六、“情怀党让子弹飞,工业党让四代飞”

就在四代机亮相的同时,一部喜剧电影《让子弹飞》也开始在中国热映。与面对四代机时的失语相比,《让子弹飞》博得了情怀党们的热烈追捧。

《让子弹飞》讲的是对中国革命、中国历史的隐喻,体现了编导对中国革命、中国人民、中国历史的理解。对于这一隐喻,左派右派都各取所需,为他叫好。比如,右派认为此片揭露了 革命的真相。左派则认为此片是在肯定革命。无论是左派和右派,他们对这个东西的解读都有道理。影片编导也的确是这个意图。然而,这些隐喻有多大意义呢?

《让子弹飞》,首先我认为的确是一部出色的喜剧片,里面许多故事和俏皮话我都很喜欢。但是仅此而已,不必高看。左派右派所欣赏玩味的那些隐喻,面对中国今日的现实,已经显 得很苍白了。

我们已经用不着这些历史隐喻了。为什么?中国的大势是工业化,而且要把这个工业化推向全世界,不可阻挡。在这个大势当中,未来的中国社会变动,你叫它革命也好,叫它改革也好 ,或者你叫它什么别的东西也好,很可能《让子弹飞》这种东西根本就没用,那些历史的隐喻或者是近代历史的传统对我们今天的创新起不了太大的正面作用,已经过时了。年轻人看了此片只知道笑,没看懂内涵。没关系,他们的心灵用不着被这些阴暗的、沉重的东西所污染。我们现在已经弄出四代机来了,这里边其实有很多故事可挖掘,而那些人对此视而不见,还在津津乐 道于驳壳枪,能不说他们落伍吗?

我们的电影人,确实应该向美国人看齐,把背景设置在未来,拍科幻,探讨科学技术的进展到底会对人类产生什么影响,不要老是把背景设置在过去了。有 人说,我们拍不了科幻是因为钱的问题。这是因为钱的问题吗?我认为根本不是,而是我们的电影人知识结构有问题。我们的科学工业技术已经大踏步往前走了,但是文化依旧是严重滞后的 。

中国这些文化人,他们对工业化和我们这个民族在这方面取得的成就,毫无感觉,对于世界大势毫无感觉。中国的工业已进入了四代机时代,而文化还滞留在驳壳枪时代。情怀党们极度拔 高《让子弹飞》,对四代机却兴趣索然,通过这一反差可以看出他们在智力上的不堪。

对此,宋晓军在他的微博里揶揄道:“情怀党让子弹飞,工业党让四代飞”。也许很多人没看懂晓军的意思,他也不做解释,这个不好。我觉得晓军讲的是对的。

① 参阅王小东:《工程师治国强于文人治国》,《绿叶》2010年第七期。

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