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China 1989. Ben Parsons. Why did the Chinese pro-democracy movement fail?. Origins of and background to the movement Outline of events Strengths of the State Structural weaknesses of the movement Strategic weaknesses Poor student leadership Conclusion.

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China 1989

China 1989

Ben Parsons


Why did the Chinese pro-democracy movement fail?

  • Origins of and background to the movement

  • Outline of events

  • Strengths of the State

  • Structural weaknesses of the movement

  • Strategic weaknesses

  • Poor student leadership

  • Conclusion



Origins of and background to the movement1
Origins of and background to the movement

  • Cultural Revolution

    • Pressures on society

    • Changing status of students

  • Heightened resistance after the death of Mao Zedong (1976)

    • WeiJingsheng

    • Democracy Wall

  • Economic liberalisation

    • Calls for political reform


Outline of events
Outline of events

  • Death of reformer HuYaobang

  • On April 17th 1989, students assembled at TiananmenSquare in mourning

  • Posters called for democracy and an end to corruption

  • Growing numbers, continued after the mourning period

  • 26th April editorial and backlash

  • Gorbachev’s visit and the hunger strike, 15th May.


Outline of events1
Outline of events

  • Mass demonstrations include workers and residents

  • Government fluctuates

  • Martial Law 20th May

  • Army initially stopped

  • Assault at Dawn, June 4th.



Strengths of the state1
Strengths of the State

  • Peoples Liberation Army (PLA)

    • Some weaknesses

    • Initial failure

    • But always followed orders

  • The Government

    • Some divisions

      • Li Peng and ZahaoZidang

    • Errors of judgement

      • 26th April Editorial

    • Indecision

    • But divisions always quickly closed


  • Censorship and the press

    • Direct correlation

    • Strangled communication and publicity

      Why did the use of force not cause a backlash against the state?


Structural weaknesses of the movement
Structural weaknesses of the movement

  • No pre-history

    • No grass roots support

    • No mature structure

    • No commitment to understanding nonviolent tactics

  • Internal squabbles and parallel structures

    Did this cause a lack of strategic thinking?


Strategic weaknesses
Strategic weaknesses

  • Lack of understanding of nonviolent strategies

  • Reactionary

    • Upward spiral of actions

  • Poor tactics

    • Symbolic but not substantive



Poor student leadership
Poor student leadership

  • No respected electoral process for leadership

    • Internal divisions

  • Poor control

  • No single charismatic leader

    • Someone around who to rally

    • Someone to talk to the state

    • Someone to provide intellectual leadership


Conclusion
Conclusion

  • Failure due to

    • Strength of the state

    • No grass-roots support

    • Poor organisation

    • Lack of strategy

    • Poor leadership

  • Could noncooperation, boycotts and a charismatic leader have changed the outcome?



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