mandag 3. juni 2019

Why Tiananmen Square’s real legacy may be Communist Party unity and the success of Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms

Sometime around June 4, 1989, rumours circulated that Deng Xiaoping had said that 200 lives were a small price for China to pay for 20 years of stability. While China clearly did not gain 20 years of stability, the case can be made that, in retrospect, by allowing the purge of the entire liberal wing of the Communist Party, June 4 brought “great unity” to that leadership, which has facilitated China’s rise to great-power status.

The decade of the 1980s was intellectually vibrant. China was deeply engrossed in searching for a pathway forward from Maoism to markets, but there were no successful models to follow. Moreover, the leadership was polarised – less so in the early 1980s but, by 1986, sharp contradictions split the leadership.