世界金權第一王胡錦濤
◎ 許行

● 中國當今的政制是一個極權體制,中國的經濟是一種權力經濟,這是多數人所認同的定論。但是未及預見的是,極權體制與權力經濟結合在一起所發揮出來的能量,不僅成為本國權力集團的凝聚劑,更且擠進世界市場和國際政治舞台,受到國際富豪和政客的迎合。

 


● 中國國家主席胡錦濤 4 月 28 日在美國西雅圖參觀微軟總部,與世界首富比爾•蓋茨(右)晤談。

權力與財富結合的怪胎
世界上沒有一個國家的當權者手上擁有如此多可以支配的財富,也沒有一個當權者擁有如此集中的權力。油國沙烏地阿拉伯國王手上的財富和權力都很充足,但他掌權的國家不是一個擁有世界人口五分之一的大國。毛澤東當年擁有比當今領導核心高得多的權力,但他卻沒有今天這麼多可支配的國家財富。布殊的權力受國會和反對黨牽制,能動用的財富只限於聯邦政府的預算。普京憑他舊日特務頭子的權勢雖能駕馭反對黨的挑戰,但手上可支配的財富除了石油之外別無其他長物。可是時勢配合,令木訥平庸、無勝人之智的胡錦濤,居然成了當今世界上權力最集中、可支配財富最多的一國之主。這是新世紀的怪胎,也是歷史的怪胎。

中國GDP大增長寡頭受益
現在且來看看中國新權力者手上擁有多少可以支配的財富。

不久之前,國家統計局宣布,二○○五年中國國內生產總值GDP為十八萬二千三百二十一億元人民幣,按照去年平均臻v折算,等於二萬二千二百五十七億美元,超過法國和英國,成為世界第四大經濟體(第一是美國,第二第三是日本和德國)。

GDP增長最受益的有兩方面,一方面是在中國的中外大企業,另一方面是政府的國庫收入。 截至今年三月,全國約有二十五萬二千多家外國投資企業,其中有香港企業五萬二千家,台灣的二萬四千家,日本的近二萬家,美國的二萬一千家,韓國的六千五百家,德國的二千三百六十家。它們分佈在全國三十四個省市,以廣東、上海、江蘇、山東、四川、北京、天津居多。中國的生產總值,絕大部分是由這些外資企業產生出來的。外資利用中國的廉價勞動力將中國變成「世界工廠」。它們的投資,給中國帶來巨大的外匯儲備,也推動中國龐大的國際貿易,造成巨額貿易順差,既使中國晉升為入世界第三貿易大國,也使國庫財源廣進。

現在中國外匯儲備多達八千七百五十一億美元,超過日本,成為世界上最大外匯儲備國。外匯儲備的來源,主要是外國投資的流入和國際貿易順差的收入。今年五月,國家外匯管理局宣佈,去年國際收支盈餘二千二百三十八億美元,比二○○一年高出三倍以上。去年經常項目盈餘(包括商品和服務的流入)猛增百分之一百三十三,達一千六百零八億美元;投資流入雖比上一年低,仍有一千一百一十億美元。

有人將這種情況稱之為「國富民窮」,其實國家只是一個抽象名詞,操縱國家的是權力者及其集團,只有他們才能支配這麼龐大的財富。稱之為「權勢者富人民窮」才名實相副,正如新華網上一位網民所說的,GDP的增長說明不了國民富裕的程度,只益了那些寡頭的荷包。

權力者壟斷了國家資源、企業和國庫
權力集團另一可支配的財源,是他們壟斷了國家的資源。無論天上、地上、地下的資源,從航天航空,到水源、土地、礦山、交通、電力、石油、電信、傳媒以及一切大企業,都操縱在他們手裡。

中國企業聯合會和中國企業家協會評選出中國五百強企業,其中首十名依次是:中國石化、國家電網、中國石油、中國移動、中國工商銀行、中國人壽保險、中國電信、中化集團、上海寶鋼、中國建設銀行。這十家公司全是國有企業。其實五百家強勢企業中,大部分也是國有企業,縱使有些企業有外資入股,稱為中外合資,實際上國有股仍居於控制地位,而那些真正私營的大企業,都要與權力集團保持良好關係才能生存。

中國經濟改革初期,國企給人的印象是老大難的虧空企業。事實上許多老大難國企經過多年淘汰,或被低價轉讓給權貴親屬之外,所剩有限,凡是留在權貴者手裡的中央級國企,都是獲利甚豐的。 今年二月間,財政部副部長朱志剛宣稱,二○○五年國有企業利潤猛增,突破九百億人民幣,其中中央企業的利潤佔七成以上,計六千四百一十三億。

國際石油價格的猛漲,給中石化、中石油帶來意外的利潤。中石油開闢西氣東輸,擁有新疆塔里木全部油氣資源, 又收購了哈薩克斯坦PK石油公司,使它在全球五十家最大石油公司中,以總收入而論,位居第九,比中石化的第二十八高得多。

國庫便是中共權力者的財庫
權力集團第三個財源是國稅收入。根據財政部發表的二○○五年預算執行情況報告,去年全國財政總收入突破三萬億元,計三萬一千六百二十七點九八億元,這是包括中央和地方的收入;若將中央和地方分開來計算,中央收入為一萬七千二百四十九點七九億元,地方收入為二萬六千五百六十五點七二億元。

國家財政收入絕大部分屬於稅務收入。《福布斯》發表的「全球二○○五年稅務負擔指數」表明,中國稅負之高,全球排名第二。在稅務收入之中,企業的盈利稅是主要的,其中五百家企業的納稅額,二○○四年佔全國稅收五分之一,如大慶油田、中石油、上海煙草、玉溪紅塔煙等,都是名列前茅的,但暴利的地產商卻成了「納稅侏儒」。最難逃避稅務的是薪工收入者,現在稅務局正在利用電腦,按身分證建立個人收入檔案,而且將起徵額訂得很低,月入一千五百元起徵,因此,個人所得稅成了全國第四大稅種,二○○四年個人所得稅總收入突被一千七百億元,其中百分之六十五屬於薪工階層。一位大學畢業不久的王穎女士,在北京一間出版社工作,月入二千五百元,卻要納稅一百零五元,她抱怨說,這樣的生活,只能維持溫飽,連小病都不敢生,更別提買房了。

權力和財富凝結出利益共同體
權力集團就是運用這麼大的國庫財源去豢養統治人民的官僚、警察和軍隊。除此之外,尚有兩個想像不到的妙用。其一是國家財富使整個龐大權力集團凝結成利益共同體。中共的最高權力者與過去帝皇不同。帝皇與輔權者的關係是主子和臣屬關係,而現在的中共,無論是黨主席、黨中央、總理、國務院各部委主管,甚至地方諸侯,都成了利益分享的共同體。每一個在權位上的領導者,都有自己權勢所及的那一領域堛滌]富供他支配、享受,甚至轉化為己有。就連一些己經退休的舊領導者,一樣可以澤庇子孫,惠及姻親。

中央財政與地方財政的分權,使得地方諸侯在支配地方資源和財富時氣壯聲宏。一些富裕省市的頭頭,如上海和廣東,他們能運用的權力和財富,遠勝過昔日的諸侯和軍閥。現在甚至連一個鎮的頭頭,也可以任意動用鎮的資源,建造政績工程,從中中飽私囊。全國九百六十萬平方公里的土地上,所有大小當權者都像坐在一隻禍福與共的船上,浮則俱榮,沉則俱枯,無形中成了一種權力結盟。

不僅如此,權力和財富一樣可以伸入到社會上企業精英、知識精英和文化精英的隊伍中,形成社會精英與掌權者之間無形的利益同盟。

這些現象,在毛澤東時代是無法想像的;就連鄧小平時代,也只是露出一點萌芽,無人料到會有今日的效果。

人們常說,毛澤東統治中國靠的是槍桿子和筆桿子。現在筆桿子不起作用了,胡錦濤靠的是槍桿子、警棍子和銀彈子。

銀彈使國際富豪和政客臣服
權力和財富的另一妙用是,它能順利進入世界市場和國際政壇,受到世界富豪的逢迎,並且在國際政壇上縱橫捭闔,讓那些本來期望中國和平演變的政客,擔心中國崛起。

中國低價商品泛濫世界,消費者喜,競爭者愁。美中貿易因此長期出現逆差,至今到了白宮難以忍受的程度。但得益於中國市場的美國富豪對中國當權者則禮遇有加。

胡錦濤這次訪美便是這麼一回事。過去,中國領導核心去美國訪問,善於使用「釋囚外交」,放一兩個政治犯出去,擋住對方人權壓力的悠悠之口。現在中國進了聯合國人權委員會,不怕美國打人權牌,於是連已被撤銷控訴的《紐約時報》駐北京記者趙岩,該放都不放,卻讓吳儀帶去一百五十億美元訂單,實行銀彈攻勢。反正所有訂單都是他們的囊中之物,航空公司是他們的,電子公司也是他們的,連農產品進口公司也是他們的;他們要下訂單就下訂單,要下給誰就下給誰,以致微軟的蓋茨和波音的柯偉德忙不迭地加以逢迎。

更厲害的是,他們憑著外資進入中國的准入權,「逼良為娼」,迫使雅虎、微軟和 Google 放棄普世的人權價值,甘心充當中國網絡封鎖的看門狗,為的是要打入中國市場。更壞的是思科,居然肯參與控制網絡資訊的「金盾工程」,替中共設計出一套精密的電子過濾系統,成為中國網絡自由的劊子手。

這是一種高超的銀彈政策,中共無須拿出錢,只是允許你進來賺錢,便能使美國大企業臣服。

共產主義帝國異化到這個地步,是誰也沒法料到的。「蘇東波」垮了,朝鮮古巴在飢寒中掙扎,中國竟獨自崛起,成了新世紀尚揹著共產主義招牌的怪胎。

(許行:資深政論家、本刊顧問)

 

Hu Jintao:The world's top wielder of money and power
By Xu Xing

China ' s political system is totalitarian. Its economy is driven by political power. But many people fail to foresee that the energy generated by joining together a totalitarian system and a controlled economy not only can hold together its power bloc, but can also let China squeeze into the world market and the international political arena and be catered to by international tycoons and politicians.

N o other ruler in the world has so much wealth at his disposable, and none has such a high concentration of power in his hands. The king of oil-producing Saudi Arabia has ample wealth and power, but his country does not boast one-fifth of the world ' s population. Mao Zedong had much more power than the present ruling bloc, but never had so much wealth at his disposal. Bush ' s power is checked by Congress and the opposition party. The only wealth at his disposal is the federal budget. Being the former head of Russia ' s secret police, Putin is able to rein in the opposition, but for wealth has only oil and gas at his disposable. But coincidentally, Hu Jintao, an inarticulate and mediocre person with no particular wisdom, has become the world leader with the highest concentration of power and the largest amount of wealth at this disposal. This is not only a freak of the new century but of history.

Rapid GDP growth benefits only the oligarchy
Let us examine how much wealth is at the disposal of China ' s new power holder.

Not too long ago, China 's National Bureau of Statistics announced that last year ' s gross domestic product was 18,232.1 billion yuan , or approximately US$2,225.7 billion, surpassing France and the U.K. to become the world ' s fourth largest economy after the U.S. , Japan and Germany .

Two interests have benefited most from the growth in China ' s GDP: the big domestic and foreign enterprises operating in China on the one hand, and the government treasury on the other. Up to last March, China had about 252,000 enterprises with foreign investment. Among them, 52,000 are from Hong Kong, 24,000 from Taiwan , close to 20,000 from Japan , 21,000 from the U.S. , 6,500 from Korea and 2,360 from Germany . They operate in all 34 provinces and municipalities, but mostly in Guangdong , Shanghai , Jiangsu , Shantong , Sichuan , Beijing and Tianjin . Almost all of China ' s GDP comes from foreign enterprises. Foreign investors exploit China ' s cheap labor, turning it into the “ Factory for the World. ” Their investments have generated large amounts of foreign reserves for China . But while helping China ' s international trade to grow, they have also created a huge trade surplus, making China the third largest country in international trade and bringing vast amount of wealth into the government treasury.

With US$875.1 billion of foreign reserves, China has now surpassed Japan to become the country with the largest amount of foreign reserves. China ' s foreign reserves come mainly from foreign investment inflow and its international trade surplus. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange announced last May that last year ' s international balance of payment resulted in a surplus of US$223.8 billion, more than three times that of 2001. Last year ' s current account (including inflow of goods and services) surplus shot up 133 percent to US$160.8 billion; and investment inflow, although down from last year, still reached US$110 billion.

This phenomenon is sometimes termed “ a wealthy state with an impoverished populace. ” But in fact, here the word “ state ” is only an abstract term; what is real is the power bloc that controls it, and only it can maneuver such huge amount of wealth. It is more appropriate to say “ a wealthy power elite rich and impoverished populace. ” Just as a web user wrote on Xinhuanet.com , China ' s GDP growth does not measure how rich people are, but only the expanding purse of the oligarchy.

Power elite monopolize state resources, enterprises and state treasury
Another source of wealth at the disposal of the power bloc comes from their monopoly of state resources. Resources above, upon and beneath the soil, from aerospace and airline travel to water resources, land, hills and mountains with mining resources, transportation, electric power, oil and gas, communications, media as well as all big enterprises, are all controlled by this elite. China Enterprise Confederation and China Enterprise Directors Association recently named the year ' s top 500 Chinese enterprises. As it happens, the top 10, Sinopec, State Power Grid Corporation, CNPC, China Mobile, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Life, China Telecom, Sinochem, Bao Steel Group and China Construction Bank, are all state enterprises, and indeed, most of the top 500 are state enterprises. Although some are China-foreign joint ventures containing a certain degree of foreign capital, China holds the controlling interests. As for the genuine privately-own big corporations, they must maintain good relationships with the power bloc in order to survive.

In the initial stage of China ' s economic reform, state enterprises had the image of lao-da-nan , or “ antiquated, colossal and unwieldy, ” always losing money. But in the intervening years, many lao-da-nan state enterprises have been either weeded out or sold at bargain-basement prices to relatives of the power elite, with only a select few continuing to operate. All of the central-level state enterprises that remain in the hands of the power elite are highly profitable. Deputy Finance Minister Zhu Zhigang announced last February that in 2005, the profits of state enterprises increased sharply to over 90 billion yuan , among which central-level enterprises accounted for more than 70 percent, for total profits of 64.3 billion yuan .

A surge in international oil prices brought unexpected profits to Sinopec and CNPC. Responsible for the “ West to East Pipeline ” project, CNPC owns all of the oil and gas resources of Xinjiang ' s Tarim Basin , and has acquired PK Oil Company from Kazakhstan . Among the 50 largest oil companies in the world, CNPC now ranks ninth in terms of total revenue, much higher than the 28 th -ranking Sinopec.

State Treasury as the treasure trove of the Communist power elite
The third source of wealth of the power bloc is central tax revenue. According to the report on the implementation of the 2005 Budget made public by the Treasury Department, China ' s internal revenue last year totaling 3,162.798 billion yuan , breaking the 3,000 billion yuan barrier. After separating the contributions of the central from local levels, the central level revenue amounts to 1,724.979 billion yuan compared with 2,656.572 billion yuan at the local level.

Most of the national revenue comes from tax money. According to the “ 2005 World Tax Burden Index ” published by Forbes , China has the world ' s second highest tax burden, and the vast majority of tax revenue comes from corporate profits. In 2004, total taxes from the top 500 enterprises accounted for one fifth of the country ' s tax revenue. For example, Daqing Oilfield, CNPC, Shanghai Tobacco and Yuxi Hongta Tobacco are all at the top of the list. However, real estate businesses, though reaping exorbitant profits, enjoyed the status of “ tax dwarfs. ” People who have the most difficulty avoiding taxation are salaried workers. Now tax departments use computers to establish income records for all individuals, and have set the tax threshold very low. An individual starts to pay tax on a monthly income of 1,500 yuan , less than US$200. Hence, individual income tax has now become the fourth largest category of tax revenue.

In 2004, individual income tax revenue amounted to 170 billion yuan , among which 65 percent came from salaried workers. Miss Wang Ying, a recent university graduate who works for a publisher in Beijing , makes 2,500 yuan a month, but has to pay 105 yuan in tax. She complained that this level of take-home pay was barely adequate to meet basic expenses, and could not even cover expenses for a minor illness, let alone for buying an apartment.

Power and wealth join as a special interest group
The power bloc uses this huge resource of the Treasury to feed the bureaucrats, the police and the armed forces who rule the people. But there are two additional and less obvious uses to which treasury funds are applied. On the one hand, national wealth has turned the vast power bloc into a special interest group. The supreme leadership of the Communists differs from that of imperial times. The relationship between an emperor and his subordinates was one of a master and his subjects. But the current Communist regime, from the General Secretary, central party organs, premier and heads of State Council departments to the various “ lords ” of the provinces, forms one big community sharing common interests. Each of those in power can boldly and openly dispose of, enjoy or even privatize the wealth on his own turf, and even after retirement, some officials are able to pass on this benefit to offspring and in-laws.

Heads of some wealthy local governments such as Shanghai and Guangdong have much more power and wealth at their disposal than local lords and generals in the old days. Now even some township heads are able to allocate township resources to “ Potemkin projects ” that serve little purpose beyond fattening their own pockets. In a country about the size of the United States , all those in power, big or small, ride the same boat, sharing fortune and misfortune. While the boat stays afloat, all prosper, but if it should sink, all will perish. From this is formed an invisible power alliance.

More than that, power and wealth can also extend to the ranks of the corporate, knowledge and cultural elite, forming a common interest alliance between these social elites and the holders of power. This phenomenon would have been unimaginable in Mao ' s era. In Deng Xiaoping ' s era, it showed its first signs of development, but no one could have anticipated what we see today.

People often say Mao ruled China with gun and pen. Now the pen is no longer effective. Hu Jintao relies on guns, police batons and silver bullets.

Silver bullet subdues international tycoons and politicians
Another clever use of power and wealth is to obtain an entr e e into the world market and international political arena, and there to be fawned on by tycoons and engage in Machiavellian political maneuvering, while politicians who once hoped to see China undergo a peaceful transformation into democracy now fret over its emergence.

China ' s cheap merchandise floods the world, making consumers rejoice and competitors worry. U.S.-Sino trade, always at a deficit, has grown to an extent that the White House finds hard to tolerate. But benefiting from China ' s market, American tycoons treat China ' s leaders with the greatest courtesy.

Hu Jintao ' s recent visit to the U.S. provided a typical example. When Chinese leaders have visited the U.S. in the past, they tactfully played “ ransom diplomacy, ” releasing one or two political prisoners for exile abroad as a means of fending off pressure on human rights. Now as a member of the United Nations ' newly-formed Human Rights Council, China no longer feel a need to play human rights games with the U.S. Zhao Yan, a detained New York Times researcher against whom charges were temporarily dropped, did not regain his freedom prior to Hu ' s U.S. tour. Instead, China launched a silver bullet offensive, dispatching Vice Premier Wu Yi to the U.S. with a shopping list totaling US$15 billion. In any case, all of the shopping lists are in China ' s pockets: with airplane companies, electric companies, even agricultural import companies, they can buy what they want from whomever they like. Hence, the heads of Microsoft and Boeing were more than eager to fawn on Hu and his entourage.

China has proved itself even more formidable in wielding market entry permits, and thereby coercing Yahoo, Microsoft and Google into prostituting universal human rights principles to serving as willing watchdogs for China ' s Internet. Cisco is even worse, participating in the “ Golden Shield ” project designed to control information on the Internet. By designing a sophisticated electronic filtering system for the authorities, Cisco has become China ' s executioner of Internet freedom.

This is indeed a sophisticated silver bullet policy, which costs China nothing. The act of letting big American enterprises come in to make money is enough to tame them.

No one could have foreseen a communist empire transformed to this extent. The Soviet bloc has collapsed; North Korea and Cuba are struggling in poverty; only China has emerged as a freakish product of the new century while still carrying its communist banner.

(Xu Xing: is a seasoned political commentator and adviser to Open Magazine )