第五章 边区的社会
CHAPTER V

BORDER REGION SOCIETY
第十八节 国民党逼死人的捐税
18. Death and Taxes

  一九四一年夏秋两季,我走过河南、河北两省,从黄河走到长江,目睹了本书前面某一章所描述的那场大饥荒的开始。每天走在路上,但见原野空旷,土地荒芜,十室九空,残破不堪,十分凄凉。当时许多地方的旱情并不很严重,所以我很奇怪,为什么土地会如此荒废。农民告诉我,他们背井离乡去逃荒,是因为国民党税吏、蒋军粮秣官横征暴敛,田赋超过了实际的产量。既然全部劳动果实都要被抢走,交不出捐税还要挨打坐牢,谁还种地呢?

  农民在官府衙门外的田野里掘野菜草根果腹,而我却在一个又一个国民党将领的演戏筵席上受着山珍海味的招待,不禁感到十分羞愧。可是,当我得知正是这些将领和国民党官吏把饥民的土地收去抵税,等候雨季放佃时,我就不仅感到羞愧,而且感到愤慨了。

  我在路途上的时候,每天都有农民来到我的马车跟前,向我哭诉自己的悲惨遭遇,每天晚上都有县官偷偷来到我的住所,求我在还来得及的时候,在老百姓还未全部饿死之前,帮帮忙——“看在上帝的面上帮帮忙吧!”我答应尽力而为。

  我回到重庆后履行诺言,在珍珠港事变前不久,写了一篇报道,叙述我所目睹的惨状,希望引起外界注意,迫使蒋介石或是出于羞愧或是出于策略考虑而为他那些不幸的臣民做点好事。但蒋介石的国际宣传局局长声称,这与他从内地传教士(他们当然没有挨饿)那里得到的消息不符,便把我的稿子扣下。这使我十分气恼,但也是在意料之中。然而,在这次据说是我所捏造出来的饥荒中,有好几百万农民死去了。

链接:刘震云《温故一九四二》

DURING the summer and autumn of 1941, while walking through Honan and Hupeh provinces, from the Yellow River to the Yangtze River, I witnessed the beginnings of that catastrophic famine which has been described in an earlier chapter of this book. It was depressing to walk along the road day after day and see desolate land, fallow fields and empty houses, tumbling with decay. Since, in many places, there had, as yet, been no severe drought, I was puzzled to know why the fields had been abandoned. Then peasants told me they had left their ancestral plots because Kuomintang tax collectors and requisition agents for Chiang Kai-shek's armies were demanding more grain from them than the land could possibly produce. Why work, when not only all the fruits of their labor would be taken from them, but when they would be beaten or imprisoned for not being able to produce the required taxes?

  I was ashamed to go from one Kuomintang general to another, eating special delicacies from their well-laid tables, while peasants were scraping the fields outside the yamens for roots and wild grass to stuff into their griping stomachs. But I was more than ashamed - I was overcome with a feeling of loathing - when I learned that these same generals and the Kuomintang officials were buying up land from starving farmers for arrears in taxes and were holding it to wait tenants and rainy days.

  As I walked along the road, each day, some peasant would come to my cart crying a new tale of woe and each night some county magistrate would steal quietly into my room and implore me to do something - "for God's sake do something!" - before it was too late and they all starved to death. Well, I tried.

  In keeping with promises I made, when I returned to Chungking, shortly before Pearl Harbor, I wrote a story describing the terrible conditions that I had seen with my own eyes, hoping thereby to call these conditions to the attention of the outside world and force Chiang Kai-shek, through either shame or policy, to do something for the lot of his hapless subjects. Much to my disgust, but not surprise, the director of the foreign publicity board, having declared that he had contrary information from missionaries in the interior (who no doubt were not starving), completely censored my dispatch. Yet, from this famine I was supposed to have conjured up out of my imagination, several million farmers died.
  这么多人是怎么死的?有人说是由于旱灾和歉收。可是蒋介石的官员、地主、税官却没有一个饿死的。华北解放区的气候同样恶劣,同样缺雨,却没有死这么多人。此中的差别在哪里?为什么这边的人挨饿,而那边的人却有饭吃?

  河南蒋管区的人民并不是因为老天爷不下雨而死的,而是因为骑在他们头上的统治者太贪婪了。应当说,他们是被捐税逼死的。

  我常常感到纳闷,这些农民为什么不反抗?为什么不冲进城去,打开粮仓,把军人用枪、税吏用秤从他们那里抢走的粮食拿回来呢!他们并非麻木不仁,他们并不想死;既然横竖是死,为什么不起来斗争,反抗那些封建统治者呢?事实上他们还是反抗了。一九四二年,日军打到豫北的时候,成千上万的农民配合民族敌人攻击汤恩伯的部队。这是很可以理解的。为什么不这么干呢?难道日军会比蒋军更坏吗?
  What killed those vast numbers of men and women? You will say drought and crop failure, but none of Chiang Kai-shek's officers, landlords or tax collectors died from want of food, nor did the people to the north, in the Liberated Areas where the climate and lack of rain were the same, die in any corresponding numbers. What was the difference? Why did one set of people starve and not another?

  The people of Chiang Kai-shek's part of Honan did not die because God sent no rain; they died because of the greed of the men who governed them. Literally, they were taxed to death.

  I used to wonder why these people did not revolt. Why didn't they storm into the cities, break open the granaries and take out the food that had been robbed from them by a soldier with a gun or a tax collector with a weighing scale? They were not apathetic; they did not want to die; but since they were going to die anyway, why did they not go down fighting, why did they not rebel against their feudal lords and masters? Well, the answer is, they did. In 1942, when the Japanese invaded northern Honan, thousands of farmers turned on the soldiers of General Tang Eng-po and quite understandably joined hands with the national enemy of China. And after all, why not: could the Japanese be worse than the army of Chiang Kai-shek?
  有位北平教授也许心中想到这个事件,所以在一九四七年警告蒋介石说,路易十六是因为实施腐败和暴虐的税制而被赶下台的。“除非你改革税制,”这位教授预言说,“否则法国大革命就会在中国重演。”

  教授的话里只有一点错误:革命不是将要在中国发生,而是已经发生了。发生革命的部分原因是苛捐杂税把农民压得喘不过气来,这时只要有谁出来帮他们甩掉背上的重负,让他们重新站立起来,那么他们就会跟着谁走。
  Perhaps this incident was in the mind of the Peiping professor who, in 1947, warned Chiang Kai-shek that Louis XVI was brought down by a corrupt and vicious tax system. "Unless you reform the tax system," prophesied the professor, "a French Revolution will come to China."

  There was only one mistake in that professor's remark: the revolution was not about to come to China; it had already come. And partly, it had come because heavy taxes had crushed the peasant to earth so that he was ready to listen to the first one who would lift the terrible burden from his back and let him stand erect again.
  苛捐杂税在中国并非新事,自从清朝被推翻,军阀开始用枪从农民那里征粮养兵以来,就一直存在。不过这些残暴的军阀,在蒋介石政权面前,可就是小巫见大巫了。蒋介石政权从中国农民那里榨取的财富,恐怕比中国悠久而曲折的历史上的任何一个统治者都多。

  近年来,蒋介石的职业辩护士把沉重的捐税归因于抗日战争。可是他们无法说明,何以国民党几乎是从其当政之日起,就向人民敲骨吸髓地征收重税。

  即使在蒋介石政权的所谓黄金时代,即一九二九年至一九三三年期间,据官方材料,中国农民必须交纳的五花八门的捐税,也有一百八十八种之多。一九三二年,据说是蒋介石实现大治之年,就在这一年,中国多数地区的田赋也比美国高三倍。

  然而比正式田赋更苛刻的,是各种名目的杂税,其数值往往十倍于正税。在前清末年,杂税从未超过正税的十二分之一,而在蒋介石的鼎盛时代,杂税竟高达正税的十倍!
  Intolerable taxes are nothing new in China. They have existed ever since the Manchus were overthrown and the warlords began to feed their armies with grain taken from the peasant at the point of a gun. But even these crude knights of violence pale into amateur insignificance before the regime of Chiang Kai-shek which has probably squeezed more wealth out of China's farmers than any ruler in Cathay's long and tortuous history.

  Although of recent years, the professional apologists of Chiang Kai-shek have been blaming high taxes on the Japanese war, it is curious to note that the Kuomintang government, almost from the day it took power, has been taxing the people out of all proportion to what they can stand.

  Even in the so-called halcyon days of Chiang Kai-shek's regime, from 1929 to 1933, there were, according to official investigations, 188 different kinds of taxes to which the Chinese peasantry had to submit. In 1932, when Chiang was supposedly bringing a new and better regime to China, the rate of the land tax in most of the country was four times what it was in the United States.

  Far worse than the formal land tax, however, were the surtaxes which were usually ten times the principal tax. In the days of the decadent Manchus, the surtax had never exceeded one-twelfth of the land tax, yet in the days of Chiang's prosperity it was ten times!

  对农民这种骇人听闻的剥削,在抗日战争时期自然又达到了空前的新高度。为了进行这场战争,蒋介石在其纸币变得毫无价值的情况下被迫放弃货币税,改收实物税,要农民交粮。

  四川省是蒋介石在抗日时期的大后方,那里对农民征收实物税,有时达到稻米产量的百分之五十九;在湖南洞庭湖一带是百分之五十三;在云南是百分之四十九。地主头上的税虽然增加了,可是他们总是以增加租子的办法把负担转嫁给佃户。如果佃户过去向地主交百分之五十的稻谷或麦子,现在就要交百分之七十、八十或九十。有时超过百分之一百,我在成都平原就看到达种情况。这样佃户还得去买米来缴租。也就是说,佃户在稻田里干了一年,到头来自己却得不到一粒米。

  抗日战争的结束并没有使备受压迫的庄稼汉松一口气。虽然国民党政府正式宣布在内地和光复地区免税一年,但是实际上农民还要拿出更多的钱粮交特别捐。

  这一类捐税多少还是固定的,虽然名目繁多,却还不及农民实际捐税负担的一半。这是因为兵捐这种古老的赋税形式在西方早已废除了,在中国却从来没有消失。由于连年内战和抗日战争,兵捐实际上比过去几个世纪更普遍了。


  Such hitherto unheard-of exploitation of the peasantry, of course, reached even more unprecedented heights during the war against Japan. In order to carry on that struggle, his paper money having become worthless, Chiang was forced to abandon money taxation and to demand the farmer's grain by a tax in kind.

  In Szechuan Province, which Chiang made his stronghold during the Japanese war, sometimes as much as 59 per cent of the crop per mow of paddy field was taken by tax collectors; in Hunan, near the Tungting Lake, it was 53 per cent; in Yunan 49 per cent. While the landowners normally bear the burden of increased taxes, they most often shifted this burden to their tenants in the form of increased rent. And where tenants formerly gave half of their rice or wheat crop to the landlord, they now had to give 70, 80 and 90 per cent of that crop. Sometimes, as I discovered on the Chengtu Plain, it was over 100 per cent, so that the tenant had to go out and buy rice to meet his taxes. In other words he might work all year in his paddy fields and yet not have one grain of rice for himself.

  The end of the war against Japan, however, brought no relief to the hard-pressed cultivator. Although the Kuomintang government formally exempted peasants in the hinterland and in the areas recovered from Japan from taxes for one year, the farmers actually were forced to donate much more money and grain in special taxes.

  Such levies were more or less fixed. Numerous as they were, they failed to tell even half the picture of the peasant's tax burden. This was so because military requisition, an obsolete form of taxation, which long ago ceased to exist in Western nations, never became extinct in China. In fact, owing to the numerous civil wars and to the war against Japan, they have become more prevalent than in many centuries.

  近二十五年来,中国兵捐的负担确实吓人。由于军费无着,军官层层盘剥,拖欠粮饷,以及搜刮之风盛行,不少中国军队就依靠兵捐来获取粮食、衣服、房屋以及巨额银行存款。粮食、牲畜、车辆、房屋、金钱以至人丁,都是军官们征派的对像。不过若是没有蒋介石官吏以及地方豪绅的合作,对农民的这种剥削是不能实现的。其实,兵捐就是官吏们用来掠夺人民以自肥的一种手段。他们的主要手法是在征集兵捐时层层加码。军官们派五斤面,地方官和交绅就加到八斤;派五斤草就加到十斤;派四辆车就加到十五辆;派六十个民夫就加到九十个,派一千块钱就加到一千五百块,等等。因此,战争永远是地方官发财的捷径。

  一九四七年,在国民党统治区的河南安阳县,我发现蒋军军官在地方豪绅配合下所征派的兵捐常常是田赋的一千倍以上。光说数字不免抽象,据我所知,兵捐之重,不仅使农民常常失去全部土地、粮食和衣物甚至迫使他们卖儿卖女,把妻子给税吏为佣为妾。

  国民党逼死人的捐税已成为历史的往事,那么共产党在这方面的政绩如何呢?
  The burden of these requisitions for the last quarter-century in China has really been staggering. Because of lack of funds, squeeze among officers, arrears in pay and plain greed, many Chinese troops depended on requisitions to get their food, clothing, housing and a fat bank account. Grain, cattle, carts, homes, money and even human beings have all been grist for the army officers' mill. Such exploitation of the peasantry, however, was not realized without the co-operation of Chiang's officials and the local gentry. As a matter of fact, requisitions have been an institution through which the officials could rob the people and enrich themselves. They did this principally by adding to the requisitions at the time of collection. Thus, an assessment of five catties of flour became eight; five catties of hay, ten; four carts, fifteen; sixty transport carriers, ninety; and one thousand dollars requisitioned by officers was raised to fifteen hundred by gentry and officials. Thus, war, for the officials, was always the swiftest and straightest road to riches.

  In 1947, behind the Kuomintang lines in Anyang County in Honan Province, I discovered that requisitions by Chiang's officers, co-operating with the gentry, were often over one thousand times the land tax. But such figures are only academic; for I found requisitions were so bad that often farmers not only lost all their land, grain and clothing, but also had to hand over their children as slaves and their wives as servants and concubines to the tax collectors and requisition officers.

  The Kuomintang's taxation-unto-death is ancient history now. But did the Reds bring anything better?