Culture and Politics in China: An Anatomy of Tiananmen Square

1st Edition

Peter Li

Routledge
Published August 30, 2007
Reference - 384 Pages
ISBN 9781412807340 - CAT# Y358101

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Summary

As the world watched the crumbling away of communist regimes in Eastern Europe, the pro-democracy movement in China was dealt a severe blow in June of 1989. Also referred to as the June 4th Incident, the Tiananmen Square protest included students, intellectuals, and workers demanding democratic reforms and social change. To break up the escalating protest armed soldiers stormed the square killing close to two hundred demonstrators and injuring thousands more. Culture and Politics in China explores the events, trends, and tendencies that led to the student demonstrations.

This volume objectively presents a wide range of information permitting readers a comprehensive understanding of the circumstances that culminated on the events of June 4, 1989. Documents include eyewitness accounts by student leaders Chai Ling and Wu'er Kaixi, the speeches of Deng Xiaoping and Yang Shangkun justifying the use of force, analysis of the events by the Marxist theorist Su Shaozhi, the writings of young intellectuals Yan Jiaqi, Liu Xiaobo, and others. Selections include essays on the May Fourth Movement of 1919 and the television documentary, the "Yellow River Elegy" which question the Chinese cultural tradition.

Leading political scientists contribute to this volume. Lee presents an analysis of the role of Deng Xiaoping in the events at Tiananmen Square, and his views on the Chinese Communist party-state and the pro-democracy movement King Tsao, who was at the square, views the demonstrations as a form of civil disobedience and dissent against the party-state. He gives an eyewitness account and a contextual analysis of some of the events and underlying themes. Steven Mark, a journalist, presents an analysis of the various roles of both the Chinese and Western press, beginning with their role in shaping public opinion before the demonstrations and continuing as the media scrambled to cover China's biggest news story since the communist takeover in 1949. Those who are interested in present and future developments in the world's most populous nation will find this volume indispensable.

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