Ocnus.Net
News Before It's News
About us | Ocnus? |

Front Page 
 
 Africa
 
 Analyses
 
 Business
 
 Dark Side
 
 Defence & Arms
 
 Dysfunctions
 
 Editorial
 
 International
 
 Labour
 
 Light Side
 
 Research
Search

Business Last Updated: Apr 17, 2019 - 1:35:06 PM


Legacy of Tiananmen protests still haunts China 30 years on
By Week, Apr 16, 2019
Apr 16, 2019 - 11:22:03 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

Trade-off between economic prosperity and political freedoms now coming under strain

Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong recreate the famous 'Tank Man' protest

Thirty years on from the start of protests that would culminate in the Tiananmen Square massacre, the resulting trade-off between economic prosperity and political freedom is finally coming under strain.

While 4 June 1989 has gone down in history, in part thanks to the famous “tank man” photo, the origins of the protest date back earlier.

Thirty years ago on Monday, Beijing students gathered to mourn Hu Yaobang, a reformist official, kickstarting what CNN calls “the most important Chinese mass movement of the last half-century”.

Soon, massive crowds calling for change were converging on the central plazas of dozens of Chinese cities. On 20 May, the government imposed martial law in Beijing, and two weeks later, on 4 June, the movement ended after tanks were sent into Tiananmen Square and soldiers fired on unarmed civilians on the streets of the capital.

Estimates of the number of dead range from a few hundred to more than 2,000.

Remi Castets, an expert in Chinese affairs at Bordeaux University/Sciences Po told Euronews on the 25th anniversary of the massacre, the protesters’ demand could be divided into three main issues: the democratisation of the regime and the establishment of a multi-party system; a push to limit growing inequality; and a fight against corruption and nepotism in the party.

By brutally cracking down on protesters “the message from the Chinese Communist Party couldn’t have been clearer: Beijing would tolerate economic change, but not political change”, says Time magazine’s Michael Schuman.

The party has spent the intervening three decades trying to erase the protests from history, “and young people here have little knowledge or understanding of what happened that day” says the BBC.

All the while the attitude of China’s leadership has remained unchanged. While President Xi Jinping has moved to stamp out corruption and address inequality, he has also cracked down on political dissent, in the process assuming more personal power than any ruler since Mao Zedong.

Bonnie Girard in The Diplomat writes “the real and lasting legacy of Tiananmen Square is that, by not meaningfully confronting the Chinese government with palpable, long-term consequences for the murder of their unarmed citizens, extreme censorship and political repression have become institutionalised in China”.

“Today, those tools underpin the foundation of the state” she says.

Yet the trade-off between economic prosperity and political freedom which has sustained the relationship between the state and its citizens is now coming under strain.

As Castets says “as long as the Chinese government manages to maintain a growth rate above seven per cent, it can control social unrest. Because with a seven per cent growth rate, China remains able to integrate newcomers into the labour market”.

The problem is that growth has steadily fallen over the past decade, and now sits at around 6%, posing an existential threat to the regime.

Shuman says “if China is to lift itself into the ranks of the most advanced economies and rejuvenate its competitiveness, its people require the freedoms Tiananmen’s protesters fought for”.

“The Communist Party has to wake to the fact that Tiananmen’s legacy is holding the nation back” he concludes.


Source:Ocnus.net 2019

Top of Page

Business
Latest Headlines
‘We ate their lunch’: How Pelosi got to ‘yes’ on Trump’s trade deal
Oil trail reveals Turkey funding Syrian Kurdish rivals
Shipping Entering Uncharted Waters with New IMO Fuel Rules
EU Commission chief vows tough stance on Turkey amid escalating row with Greece
Trilateral Gas Talks on Future Russian Gas Transit via Ukraine
Aviation and shipping set to face differing fortunes under EU Green Deal
Russia Shifting Cargo Traffic Away From Baltic Ports to Its Own
Russia cements role as gas 'kingpin' with three new pipelines
China’s Trade With Europe Bypasses Russia in Both the North and the South
Russia’s Flawed Justice Is Holding Its Economy Back