纽约邮报书评: 失去的新中国 （Ethan Gutmann 著，Peter Brookes 评）
New York Post Book Review by Peter Brookes, the director of
Asian Studies at the Heritage Foundation
June 13, 2004 -- LOSING THE NEW CHINA: A STORY OF AMERICAN COMMERCE, DESIRE AND BETRAYAL
BY ETHAN GUTMANN
ENCOUNTER BOOKS, 253 PAGES, $25.95
AMERICA'S romance with China began over 200 years ago when the New York trading ship, Empress of China, hit landfall in Canton (near modern day Hong Kong) in 1784.
The profit on that perilous voyage was quite small, but by the turn of the 19th century, 20 to 30 American ships each year were engaged in the China trade, exchanging American ginseng, furs, cotton, beer and tobacco for Chinese tea, spices and silk.
With profit rates as high as 1,500 percent for each voyage, many of America's famous early families ?Astor, Perkins, Higginson, Cabot, Delano, Lawrence and Lowell ?traced their wealth to trade with the new Far East.
Today, the family names have been replaced with the names of multinational corporations, but the lure and lust for the mythical China market remains. Ethan Gutmann's "Losing the New China" gives the reader an inside, no-holds-barred, American expatriate's view of the U.S.-Sino trade relationship during the late 1990s when the question of China was all the rage in public policy circles.
Filled with personal accounts of ambitious American entrepreneurs, Princelings (young, western-educated, well-connected, Chinese who broker business deals), Chinese nationalism, corruption and even (some) sex, Gutmann exposes the unseemly side of seeking El Dorado in the burgeoning Chinese economy.
With 10 percent annual growth rates and the promise of great riches, Gutmann contends some American firms were willing to sell advanced technology to stay in the good graces of the Chinese government despite dismal profit rates.
Gutmann implies (though not strongly enough) that the advanced American technology that we are selling to China (and the Chinese are reverse engineering) may end up being incorporated into the military planes, naval ships and ballistic missiles of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Although free trade can be mutually beneficial, it can come at a cost.
True: A robust trading relationship with China could lead to the peaceful evolution of the authoritarian Chinese political system, resulting in more openness and greater respect for the human rights of 1.2 billion Chinese.
But the transfer of advanced technology could encourage the PLA to try to determine democratic Taiwan's future by force and ultimately lead to China replacing the United States as the pre-eminent power in the Pacific ?a Chinese goal ?at some point later in this century.
Gutmann's critics will decry the fact that he's only telling one side of the story. And there's no doubt that the pro-trade crowd does not get its day in court here. But this book does serve to remind readers that despite our current focus on Iraq and terrorism, the rise of China looms before us as one of this century's most prominent foreign policy challenges.
Peter Brookes is the director of Asian Studies at the Heritage Foundation. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org