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China: Thoughts on bankruptcy of the last ‘Animal Farm’

Nanjie Village, the last “Animal Farm” in China, has been known by the Chinese as the ‘red billionaire village’ and ‘communism village’ until the recent revealment by newspapers that it has arrears around 1 billion yuan although it gradually changed its economic system years ago in light of some ‘capitalistic elements’. In a relevant review, Blogger Xiong Peiyun thought it indicates the failure of ‘communism myth’.

南街村的神话破灭了。有记者调查发现,早在三年前这个“共产主义”样板村便已经悄悄私有化,而且目前负债十几亿元,濒临破产。然而,对于已经发生的这一切,许多村民却一无所知。
据称,2004年11月,南街村集团以“维护管理层的稳定”为由悄悄改行股份制,并宣布对王宏斌等13位村干部的“股权激励计划”。自称每月仍拿着250元工资的村党委书记王宏斌因此获得9%的股权,“共产主义引路人”从此华丽转身,变成了“红色资本家”。

The Nanjie myth is now broken. A reporter survey found that as early as three years ago, the “communist” model village had been already quietly privatization with liabilities of more than 1 billion yuan and was on the brink of bankruptcy. However, all this has already occurred, and many villagers are ignorant.
It is said that in November 2004, Nanjie Group quietly diverted shareholding system in the name of “safeguard the stability of the management of the cadre”, and announced the “Equity Incentive Plan” by Wang Hongbin and 13 village cadres. Still claiming to be holding a monthly wage of 250 yuan, village party secretary Wang Hongbin won 9 percent of the stock. The “communism guides”since then gorgeously turned into the “red capitalists.”

不得不说,南街村的走红更像是一场与改革开放背道而驰的试验。事实上,对于许多人来说,南街神话的破产早在意料之中。改革开放三十年,尽管这片土地仍在生长理想主义,但是在这个更相信常识的世界里已经不再恭维任何“神话”。
表面上,南街村向人们展示了一个平等的世界。每日清晨,村民们在《东方红》的乐曲声中齐齐走进工厂,每天下午又在《大海航行靠舵手》的乐曲声中齐齐走出工厂;他们强调着自己的集体主义,每月只有少量的工资,领导与职工同工同酬。从上世纪九十年代开始,一个拥有财政(银行)、武装力量(武装部、民兵营、派出所)、司法机关(法庭)、“法律”(“村规民约”)、工业部门、农业部门等设置的“小国家”在南街村现出雏形。南街村人自称其为“毛主席共和国”,而王宏斌也因此被外人称为“南街村的小毛主席”。

We have to say that, the case of Nanjie Village is a reform which completely goes against the current open policy. In fact, to most people, the bankruptcy of Nanjie myth is as early as we expected. 30 years after the reform and open-door policy, although this piece of land is still the soil of idealism, but in our common sense people no longer compliment any “myth.”
On the surface, Nanjie Village showcased an equal world. Every morning, in the melody of “East is Red” villagers go together into factories, and every afternoon in the sound of music “Sea voyage on the teachings of the steersman” they come together out of the factory; They stressed their own collectivism, although they only had a small amount of wages and workers are equally paid as the leaders. From the beginning of the 1990s, with a financial (banking), the Armed Forces (forces, the militia camps, police stations), the judiciary (the court), “the law” ( “villager constitution”), the industrial sector, the agricultural sector settings, such as the “small countries”, Nanjie Village was claiming to be the “Republic of Chairman Mao”, and when Wang was also known to the outsider as “Nanjie's small Chairman Mao.”

乔治•奥威尔的《动物庄园》因为参透政治与人性被公认为二十世纪最伟大的政治寓言。在这个从希望转向忧伤的故事里,动物庄园的新主人们曾经为自己建立了“所有动物一律平等”的原则激动不已,不幸的是,不受约束的掌权者很快成为动物庄园里的新特权阶级,上述原则因此不得不让位于“所有动物一律平等,但是有些动物更加平等。”而这些转变在南街村中都依稀可见。

George Orwell's “Animal Farm” is recognized as the 20th century's greatest political fable because it elucidates political and human nature. In the happy-go-sad story, the new manors in animal farm are so excited because they have established the “All animals are equal” principle, but, unfortunately, those in power will soon become unrestricted animals in the new privileged class. The above principles had to give way to “all animals are equal, but some are more equal.” These changes can also be vaguely seen in Nanjie Village.

多年以来,“班长”王宏斌一直兼着南街村党委书记、南街村集团董事长及临颍县委副书记三个职务。显然,在这个“共和国”里,王宏斌有着独一无二的权威。关于这一点,荒诞的“永动机”项目能在南街村上马已是明证。
政治不平等无疑是诸多社会不平等的根源。明眼人都知道,“红色亿元村”里所谓的“平等”从一开始便已经风雨飘摇。否则,2003年5月当南街村主任王金忠因心脏病突发身亡时,人们怎会在清理其遗物时在他的办公室保险柜里发现2000万现金及多本户主为王金忠的房产证?一直宣称月薪250元的领导者怎么有那么多钱和房产?同样,当南街村以外的某些中国官员因为“二奶起义”忙得焦头烂额时,在王金忠追悼会当天同样有几个抱着小孩的王的“二奶”、“三奶”来到现场,对王生前拥有的财产提出要求。

Over the years, “the squad leader” Wang Hongbin has been secretary of the party committee of Nanjie, chairman of Nanjie Corporation and deputy secretary of Linying County. Clearly, in the “Republic”, Wang possesses a unique authority. On this point, the absurd “perpetual motion machine” project has been launched in Nanjie.
Political inequality is the root of many social inequalities. It is apparent that the “red billion village” and the so-called “equality” has been precarious from the outset. Otherwise, in May 2003 when Nanjie director Wang Jinzhong died of a heart attack, how can people in the liquidation of his belongings found 20 million yuan in his office safe and a number of households which are headed by Wang Jinzhong Property card? Having been declared a monthly salary of 250 yuan, how can he get so much money and property? Similarly, when the officials in other parts of China are so agonized about “mistresses uprising”, in the funeral of Wang Jinzhong some mistresses of him holding a few children came to the scene, asking for Wang's owned property.

所谓“没有财产就没有公正”,分立的财产制度更被视为“文明的开始”。显然,三十年改革开放的一个重要成果即在于承认了“私民”社会。与此背道而驰的是,南街村共同富裕的标志却是要消灭任何私人存款,用王宏斌的话说是让村里人“富得一分钱存款都没有”。目空一切的集体主义背后,是村民从物质到精神都不得不仰仗集体及其领导者的鼻息,陷入权利意义上的双重贫困。

It is said that “without property there is no justice”. A system of separation of property plays the role as “the beginning of civilization.” Obviously, 30 years of reform and open policy directly induces the outcome of an important recognition of the “private” society. But in the opposite direction is the common prosperity of the Nanjie's case. It is necessary to eliminate any private deposits, in the words of Wang that the purpose is to let the village become “too rich to have a penny in deposits.” Behind the supercilious collectivism, there is a kind of materialism in which the villagers had to sheerly rely and follow the collective leadership, right into the spiritual and factual poverty.

当说,今日世界并不崇尚“人吃人”,但是这并不排除一些人将另一些人“虚拟化”再吃掉。比如通过各种文化、理想等虚拟价值将原本有肉有欲的人驯化成“机器人”,然后完成对“机器人”的操纵与盘剥。南街村最是意味深长的口号莫过于——“这个世界是傻子的世界,由傻子去支持,由傻子去推动,由傻子去创造,是最后属于傻子的。”正是这种洗脑式管理使村民一方面心甘情愿地成为领导者个人理想及其他隐秘力量共谋的试验品;另一方面又在机器人般的奉献与集体归属中被遮蔽了权利,以至于“老大哥”、“老二哥”、“老三哥”们变成“红色资本家”时竟被蒙在鼓里。

It is obvious that the world of today is not advocating “people eating people,” but this does not mean some people will not be “virtualized” and eaten by others. For example, through a variety of cultures, ideals and virtual values people can be tamed and domesticated into “robots” whose only function is being manipulated and exploited. The most sarcastic slogan in Nanjie Village is – “The world is the fool's world- supported, driven and created by the fool.” This brainwashing, on the one hand, makes the villagers willingly become the victims of a leader's personal ideals and other hidden forces ; on the other hand, the robot-like dedication and collective ownership rights was obscured, so that they were totally kept in the dark when the”Big Brother”, “Second Brother” and “Third Brother” had already turned into “red capitalists”.

南街神话或许只是最后的“动物庄园”。半个多世纪以前,乔治•奥威尔预言了“动物庄园”的荒诞,中国改革近三十年后,王宏斌们则用用南街村的“政治行为艺术”验证了“动物庄园”的破灭。记得奥威尔曾经说过,那些奉献鲜血、辛劳、眼泪和汗水的领袖,总是比那些奉献安全和愉悦的领袖从他们的追随者那里获得更多的东西。透过南街神话的破灭,我们同样可以说:那些自称愿意为追随者奉献一切的领袖,在追随者那里所拿走的将远比他奉献的多。

Nanjie Village myth is perhaps the last “Animal Farm”. More than half a century ago, George Orwell predicted the absurdity of “Animal Farm”, and nearly 30 years after China's reform, Wang Hongbing and his followers used their “political behavior art” to prove the bankruptcy of “Animal Farm”. Orwell once said, those leaders who sacrifice their blood, toil, tears and sweat, always get more than those who sacrifice safety and pleasure for their followers. In the case of Nanjie Village, we can say the same: those who call themselves leaders willing to sacrifice everything for their followers will get more from the followers than what the leaders dedicate to them.

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