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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

slide2

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
slide9

Strengths of the State

  • 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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