茉莉花新闻网

中華青年思想與行動的聚合地

《私人革命》:“社会新秩序”下四位中国女性的命运

MICHELLE T. KING

2024年7月9日

杨缘的采访对象面对的是一项艰巨的任务:跨越中国的城乡差别。图为深圳市区。 David Kirton/Reuters

PRIVATE REVOLUTIONS: Four Women Face China’s New Social Order, by Yuan Yang

《私人革命:面对社会新秩序的四位中国女性》,作者:杨缘

There’s an unforgettable moment in Yuan Yang’s new book, when an idealistic university student is tasked with conducting a survey by going door-to-door to random addresses in Shenzhen, China’s manufacturing megalopolis.

在杨缘的新书中,有一个令人难忘的片段:在中国的制造业之都深圳,一个充满理想主义的大学生受命到随机选定的地址做登门调查。

In one poor neighborhood, the female student asks a young man, living in a tiny apartment with four other adults and a baby, to rate his current job satisfaction. His immediate reaction is to ask whether she has been sent by the Communist Party.

在一个贫困社区,这名女学生请一个年轻男子就自己目前的工作满意度打分;他和另外四个成年人以及一个婴儿挤在一间小公寓里。他的下意识反应是问她是不是共产党派来的。

02yuan yang cover master1050

Though she denies it, he responds, “I’m guessing they did send you, so let’s just say we are completely, utterly satisfied with everything in our lives.”

虽然她否认了,对方还是回答说,“我猜你就是他们派来的,所以我只能说我们对生活中的一切都完全、非常满意。”

That story, which takes place in the early 2010s, highlights Yang’s concern with the fate of China’s laborers, as well as the class distinctions that structure the encounter.

这件事发生在2010年代初,它凸显了杨缘对中国劳动者命运的关切,以及这次相遇背后的阶级差异。

In 2016, Yang returned to China, where she had spent her early childhood, to work as a journalist for The Financial Times. Over the next six years, Yang followed four young women as they navigated what she calls China’s “new social order.” All of them, like Yang, were born in the late 1980s and 1990s, coming-of-age after the “optimistic giddiness” of their parents’ generation, one characterized by increasing prosperity in the wake of Deng Xiaoping’s market reforms in the 1980s.

2016年,杨缘回到她度过幼年时光的中国,任《金融时报》记者。在接下来的六年里,她跟随四位年轻女性,记录下她们在她谓之中国“新社会秩序”下的闯荡经历。她们都和杨缘一样,出生于20世纪80年代末和90年代,在父母那一代人的“如痴如醉的乐观”之后长大,经过80年代邓小平的市场改革,从那代人身上可以看到中国的日渐繁荣。

Leiya, June, Siyue and Sam (the neighborhood surveyor) must contend with a very different economic landscape — one underscored not by giddy optimism, but by anxious precarity.

蕾雅(音)、琼(音)、思悦(音)和萨姆(音,就是上文提到的那名小区勘查员)这四个人必须面对的,是一个截然不同的经济环境——凸显它的不是令人忘乎所以的乐观,而是对缺乏稳定的焦虑。

As Yang notes, she happens to have been on the ground just as “deepening political repression and censorship” in China — coinciding with Xi Jinping’s rise to power in 2013 — made it ever more dangerous for journalists and their informants to shine a light on social problems that the Communist Party would rather not discuss. The riveting book that results from Yang’s persistence is a powerful snapshot of four young Chinese women attempting to assert control over the direction of their lives, escape the narrow confines of their patriarchal rural roots and make it in the big city.

正如杨缘所指出的,当中国的“政治镇压和审查变得越来越严重”——这伴随着2013年习近平的上台——使得记者与他们的信源在揭露共产党不愿意讨论的社会问题方面变得更加危险之际,她就在现场。这本引人入胜的书源于杨缘的坚持,它以极具感染力的笔触描绘了四位年轻的中国女性试图掌控自己的生活方向,她们摆脱了农村根深蒂固的父权制的桎梏,在大城市取得了成功。

In so doing, these women are traversing what is arguably the biggest socioeconomic hurdle in Chinese society — the rural-urban divide. The Maoist-era household registration system was relaxed under market reforms in the 1980s and early 1990s, such that rural migrants could move to China’s coastal cities for work, powering the factories of the country’s economic boom.

在此过程中,这些女性跨越了中国社会最大的社会经济障碍——城乡差别。在20世纪80年代和90年代初的市场改革中,毛泽东时代的户籍制度放宽了,农民工可以到沿海城市打工,为中国经济繁荣时期的工厂提供劳动力。

And move they did, with now more than one-third of the country’s labor force considered to be rural migrants. Yet, huge hurdles remain: Such migrants are still by and large denied key social services in cities, such as pensions, medical care and education for their children.

他们搬到了城市,现在中国超过三分之一的劳动力被视为农民工。然而,巨大的障碍依然存在:这些流动人口总体上仍无法享受城市的关键社会服务,如养老金、医保和子女教育。

Yang’s reportage offers up the raw human stories behind these colossal numbers. Because she documents each woman’s journey from childhood, including encounters with casual sexism, intermittent personal violence and the impossible weight of parental expectations, we can appreciate just how far they have come as adults — and just how far they have to fall.

杨缘讲述了这些巨大数字背后一个个真实面孔的故事。因为她记录的是这四名女性从童年开始的人生旅程,包括遭遇不经意间的性别歧视,偶尔的人身暴力,以及父母的期望带来的无法承受的压力,我们可以见证她们作为成年人经历了怎样的成长——以及她们可能的跌落有多深。

Two of the women escape the confines of their villages through education: June beats the odds and becomes a university student and then a tech worker, while Siyue manages to parlay a lousy private university education into an unexpected career as an English interpreter, tutor and entrepreneur. Another, Leiya, takes the most direct track out of her village by going to work in a Shenzhen factory as a teen, eventually becoming an organizer for workers’ rights.

其中两名女性通过教育逃离了村庄的束缚:琼突破重重困难成为了一名大学生,然后投身科技行业;而思悦则设法将糟糕的民办大学教育经历转变为出人意料的职业生涯,走上了英语翻译、家教和创业者之路。那个叫蕾雅的女孩走的是最直接的一条离开村庄之路,她十几岁去深圳打工,最后成为了工人权益的组织者。

Middle-class “success,” however, offers no respite: Exhaustion is palpable as these young women continue to hustle and grind just to stay afloat. As Yang explains, this is the omnipresent Chinese fear of “falling off the ladder.” And over the last 30 years, as massive socioeconomic inequality has taken root, “the ladder has grown very tall.”

然而,中产阶级的“成功”并没有带来喘息的机会:为了维持生计,这些年轻女性继续奔波劳碌,疲惫显而易见。杨缘解释道,这就是中国人无处不在的对于“从梯子上掉下来”的恐惧。而在过去的30年里,随着巨大的社会经济不平等变得根深蒂固,“梯子越来越高了。”

The social milieu that Yang’s subjects inhabit, hovering between rural pasts and urban futures, is riddled with uncertainty. Lives and destinies can change overnight, with one pen stroke — and an ensuing new government policy.

杨缘笔下的主人公所处的社会环境徘徊在农村的过去与城市的未来之间,充满着不确定性。生活和命运可以在一夜之间发生改变,只需大笔一挥——还有随之而来的新的国家政策。

The wildly successful educational company that Siyue creates, for example, loses much of its staff once the government decides to crack down on the relatively unregulated private tutoring industry. Leiya’s careful navigation of a byzantine points system to ensure that her daughter has a chance at entering a desirable school in Shenzhen is derailed when the school district map is redrawn. These setbacks offer no time for self-pity or reflection: Pivot they must, and they do, in order to survive.

例如,思悦创办的这家非常成功的教育公司,一旦政府决定打击相对不受监管的私人补习行业,它就会失去大部分员工。为了确保女儿有机会在深圳进入一所理想的学校,蕾雅在繁琐复杂的积分系统中小心摸索,却因学区重新划分而功亏一篑。对于这些挫折,她们没有时间自怜或反思:为了生存,她们必须做出调整,而且也确实做到了。

We celebrate when Siyue, who never marries but gives birth to a child on her own, decides to raise her daughter in the company of other strong, single women. At that point, even her own highly critical mother admits: “Why bother getting married? If you’re a girl making money, in the modern world …” She doesn’t complete the thought, but it’s a notable victory.

我们为思悦感到高兴,她一直没有结婚,但自己生了一个孩子,她决定在其他坚强的单身女性的陪伴下抚养女儿。在这一点上,就连她非常挑剔的母亲也承认:“为什么要结婚呢?如果你是一个有本事赚钱的女孩,在现代社会......”她没有把话说完,但这是一个值得注意的胜利。

These bursts of light, unfortunately, come all too seldom for the book’s protagonists, and feel less likely still going forward, as government policies under Xi squeeze all the breath out of Chinese civil society. The book’s ending remains unresolved, as the lives of Yang’s subjects continue to unfold.

令人遗憾的是,对于这本书的主人公来说,这些光芒闪现的时刻太少了,而随着习近平领导下的政府政策将中国公民社会的所有活力挤压殆尽,这种可能性看起来在今后也会越来越小。这本书的结尾是开放性的,因为杨缘的采访对象的生活仍在继续。

The question remains: If only private — not political — revolutions are open to China’s citizens today, are these self-transformations truly enough? How many times must you have your source of livelihood smashed, see your savings squandered in a bum real estate deal or fail to find work as a college graduate before you give up and “lie flat” — or, for those with means, move abroad?

问题仍然存在:如果今天的中国只有私人革命而非政治革命,那么这些自我转变真的够吗?多少次你的生计来源被摧毁,多少次你的积蓄被浪费在一笔糟糕的房地产交易上,大学毕业后你要多少次找不到工作,才会放弃并“躺平”——或者,对那些有条件的人来说,移民国外?

The vast majority of China’s workers today have no other choice: They must keep on climbing the ladder.

今天,中国的绝大多数打工人别无选择:他们必须继续攀登这个阶梯。

PRIVATE REVOLUTIONS: Four Women Face China’s New Social Order | By Yuan Yang | Viking | 294 pp. | $30

《私人革命:面对社会新秩序的四位中国女性》,杨缘/著 | Viking出版社,294页,30美元

同类信息

查看全部

茉莉花论坛作为一个开放社区,允许您发表任何符合社区规定的文章和评论。

茉莉花新闻网

        中国茉莉花革命网始创于2011年2月20日,受阿拉伯之春的感召,大家共同组织、发起了中国茉莉花革命。后由数名义工无偿坚持至今,并发展成为广受翻墙网民欢迎的新闻聚合网站并提供论坛服务。

新闻汇总

邮件订阅

输入您的邮件地址:

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram