State Legitimacy and Dynamics of the 1989 Pro-democracy Movement in Beijing

  • Dingxin ZhaoEmail author
Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)


On the morning of April 22, 1989, 7 days after the breakout of the 1989 Pro-Democracy Student Movement in Beijing, a state funeral was held for Hu Yaobang inside the Great Hall of the People, west of Tiananmen Square. The night before, around 50,000 students went into the Square in order to be part of that funeral. Throughout the morning of April 22, the students inside the Square staged various protests, the themes of which were mostly irrelevant to Hu’s funeral. Among the protesting activities, the one that aroused most students’ emotions was the kneeling of three students in front of the Great Hall of the People. They knelt there for over half an hour with a petition in their hands, insisting that premier Li Peng comes out to receive the petition and meet with the students. Yet Li Peng did not appear. The students were distraught; some cried like babies, while others shouted anti-government slogans. The students were so upset that they initiated a citywide general class boycott the following day. The action of kneeling in conjunction with Li Peng’s failed appearance greatly mobilized the emotions of students and changed the course of the movement.


Social Movement Chinese Communist Party State Legitimacy State Elite Student Leader 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Axelrod, Robert M. 1984. The Evolution of Cooperation. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  2. Bendix, Reinhard. 1962. Max Weber, An Intellectual Portrait. Garden City, NJ: Anchor.Google Scholar
  3. Benford, Robert D. 1997. “An Insider’s Critique of the Social Movement Framing Perspective.” Sociological Inquiry 67:409–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blau, Peter M. 1963. “Critical Remarks on Weber's Theory of Authority.” American Political Science Review 57:305–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blumer, Herbert. 1946. “Elementary Collective Behavior.” pp. 170–178 in New Outline of The Principle of Sociology, edited by A. M. Lee. New York, NY: Barnes and Noble.Google Scholar
  6. Braungart, Richard G., and Braungart Margaret M. 1992. “From Protest to Terrorism: The Case of SDS and the Weathermen.” International Social Movement Research 4:45–78.Google Scholar
  7. Brook, Timothy 1992. Quelling the People. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Chen, Xiaoya. 1996. The Democratic Movement on Tian-an-men Square, 1989. Taibei: Fengyunshidai Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  9. Chen, Xitong. 1989. “Guanyu zhizhi dongluan he pingxi fangeming baoluan de qingkuang baogao.” (A report on the situations concerning the suppression of turmoil and anti-revolutionary rebellion). pp. 959–987 in Bajiu zhongguominyun jishi (Daily reports on the movement for democracy in China), edited by W. Mouren.Google Scholar
  10. Chen, Yizi. 1990a. Zhongguo, shinian gaige yu bajiu minyun: Beijing liusi tusha de beihou (China, ten years of reform and the 1989 democratic movement: behind the June 4th massacre). Taibei: Lianjing Chuban Gongsi.Google Scholar
  11. Chen, Yun. 1990b. “Speech to CPC Central Advisory Commission Standing Committee.” pp. 331–333 in Beijing Spring, 1989: Confrontation and Conflict, edited by M. Oksenberg, L. R. Sullivan, and M. Lambert. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  12. Cheng, Chu-yuan. 1990. Behind the Tiananmen Massacre. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  13. Collins, Randall. 1990. “Stratification, Emotional Energy, and the Transient Emotions.” pp. 27–57 in Research Agendas in the Sociology of Emotions, edited by T. D. Kemper. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  14. Collins, Randall. 1995. “Prediction in Macrosociology: The Case of the Soviet Collapse.” American Journal of Sociology 100:1552–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Converse, Philip. 1964. “The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics.” pp. 206–261 in Ideology and Discontent, edited by D. E. Apter. New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  16. Creel, Herrlee Glessner. 1953. Chinese Thought from Confucius to Mao Tse-tung. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. Deng, Fang. 1997. “Information Gaps and Unintended Outcomes of Social Movements: The 1989 Chinese Student Movement.” American Journal of Sociology 102:1085–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Deng, Xiaoping. 1983. Deng Xiaoping wenxuan (The selected works of Deng Xiaoping), Vol. 2. Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe.Google Scholar
  19. Ding, Zilin. 1994. Liusi shounanzhe mingce (The June 4th death list). Hong Kong: The Nineties Monthly.Google Scholar
  20. Dittmer, Lowell. 1974. Liu Shao-ch’i and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  21. Dittmer, Lowell. 1989. “The Tiananmen Massacre.” Problems of Communism 38:2–15.Google Scholar
  22. Dittmer, Lowell. 1990. “Patterns of Elite Strife and Succession in Chinese Politics.” China Quarterly 123:405–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Eckstein, Harry, and Ted R. Gurr. 1975. Patterns of Authority: A Structural Basis for Political Inquiry. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  24. Evans, John H. 1997. “Multi-organizational Fields and Social Movement Organization Frame Content: The Religious Pro-Choice Movement.” Sociological Inquiry 67:451–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gao, Xin. 1995. “Dangnei kaimingpai zai “liusi” zhong de ganga juese.” (The awkward position of the communist party enlightened faction during “June fourth”). China Spring 4:19–22; 5:14–21.Google Scholar
  26. Garfinkel, Harold. 1967. Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs. NJ: Prentice-hall.Google Scholar
  27. Gartner, Scott Sigmund, and Gary M. Segura. 1997. “Appearances Can be Deceptive: Self-Selection, Social Group Identification, and Political Mobilization.” Rationality and Society 9:131–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gitlin, Todd. 1980. The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  29. Goldstone, Jack, and Karl-Dieter Opp. 1994. “Rationality, Revolution, and 1989 in Eastern Europe: Introduction.” Rationality and Society 6:5–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Habermas, Jurgen. 1975. Legitimation Crisis. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  31. Han, Minzhu and Sheng Hua. 1990. Cries for Democracy: Writings and Speeches from the 1989 Chinese Democracy Movement. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Huigu yu Fansi (Retrospection and introspection) 1993. Germany: Rhine Forum.Google Scholar
  32. Kristof, Nicholas D. 1990. “How the Hardliners Won.” pp. 171–184 in Tiananmen: China's Struggle for Democracy, edited by W. L. Y. Yang and M. L. Wagner. Baltimore, MD: University of Maryland Press.Google Scholar
  33. Li, Lu. 1990. Moving the Mountain. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Li, Peng. 1989. “Li Peng huijian yahang nianhui keren.” (Li Peng met with the delegates of Asian development bank annual meeting). People’s Daily, May 6.Google Scholar
  35. Lichbach, Mark Irving. 1995. The Rebel’s Dilemma. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  36. Linz, Juan, and Alfred Stepan. 1978. The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Liu, Alan P. L. 1990. “Aspects of Beijing’s Crisis Management: The Tiananmen Square Demonstration.” Asian Survey 30:505–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. MacFarquhar, Roderick. 1974. The Origin of the Cultural Revolution, I: Contradictions among the People 1956–1957. London: Oxford, University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Nathan, Andrew J. 1990. China's Crisis: Dilemmas of Reform and Prospects for Democracy. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Oberschall, Anthony. 1994. “Rational Choice in Collective Protests.” Rationality and Society 6:79–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Oberschall, Anthony. 1996. “Opportunities and Framing in the Eastern European Revolts of 1989.” pp. 93–121 in Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements, edited by D. McAdam, J. D. McCarthy and M. N. Zald. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Oksenberg, Michel, Lawrence R. Sullivan, and Marc Lambert, eds. 1990. Beijing Spring, 1989: Confrontation and Conflict. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  44. Opp, Karl-Dieter. 1997. “Can Identity Theory Better Explain the Rescue of Jews in Nazi Europe Than Rational Actor Theory? pp. 233–253 in Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, edited by M, Dobkowski and I. Wallimann. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  45. Seymour, James, ed. 1980. The Fifth Modernization: China’s Human Rights Movement, 1978–1979. New York, NY: Human Rights Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  46. Shibutani, Tamotsu. 1986. Social Processes: An Introduction to Sociology. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  47. Shiu, Gary, and Daniel Sutter. 1996. “The Political Economy of Tiananmen Square.” Rationality and Society 8:325–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Snow, David A., E. Burke Rochford Jr., Steven K. Worden, and Robert D. Benford. 1986. “Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation.” American Sociological Review 51:464–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Snow, David A., and Robert D. Benford. 1988. “Ideology, Frame Resonance, and Participant Mobilization.” International Social Movement Research 1:197–217.Google Scholar
  50. Snow, David A., and Robert D. Benford. 1992. “Master Frames and Cycles of Protest.” pp. 133–155 in Frontiers in Social Movement Theory, edited by A. D. Morris and C. M. Mueller. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Teiwes, Frederick C. 1990. Politics at Mao's Court. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  52. Turner, Ralph H., and Lewis M. Killian. 1987. Collective Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  53. Wang, Chaohua. 1992. “Luelun xuesheng de qunti xingxiang ji yingxiang.” (A preliminary discussion of the group image of the students and its impact). Democracy China 10:75–80.Google Scholar
  54. Weber, Max. 1978. “The Nature of Social Action.” pp. 7–32 in Max Weber: Selections in Translation, edited by W. G. Runciman and E. Mathews. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Wolfe, Alan. 1977. The Limits of Legitimacy. New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  56. Wu, Mouren. 1989. Bajiu zhongguo minyun jishi (Daily reports on the movement for democracy in China).Google Scholar
  57. Xu, Jiatun. 1993. Xu Jiatun huiyilu (A memoir of Xu Jiatun). Hong Kong: Xianggang Lianhebao Youxian Gongsi.Google Scholar
  58. Yang, Shangkun. 1990. “Main Points of Yang Shangkun’s Speech at the Emergency Enlarged Meeting of the Central Military Commission.” pp. 320–327 in Beijing Spring, 1989: Confrontation and Conflict, edited by Michel Oksenberg, Lawrence R. Sullivan, and Marc Lambert. Armonk: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  59. Zhang, Boli. 1994. “Huiyi Tiananmen minzhu daxue.” (Recollections of the Tiananmen Square democracy university) China Spring 1:84–89.Google Scholar
  60. Zhao, Dingxin. 1994. “Defensive Regime and Modernization.” Journal of Contemporary China 7:28–46.Google Scholar
  61. Zhao, Dingxin. 1997. “Decline of Political Control in Chinese Universities and the Rise of the 1989 Chinese Student Movement.” Sociological Perspectives 40:159–82.Google Scholar
  62. Zhao, Dingxin. 1998. “Ecologies of Social Movements: Student Mobilization During the 1989 Pro-democracy Movement in Beijing.” American Journal of Sociology 103:1–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zhao, Dingxin. 2001. The Power of Tiananmen: State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement. Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  64. Zhao, Ziyang. 1990. “Students’ Reasonable Demands to Be Met Through Democratic, Legal Channels: Zhao.” pp. 254–256 in Beijing Spring, 1989: Confrontation and Conflict, edited by M. Oksenberg, L. R. Sullivan, and M. Lambert. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  65. Zhao, Ziyang. 1994b. “Zhao Ziyang Zibianshu.” (Zhao Ziyang's Self-defense). China Spring 7:8–14.Google Scholar
  66. Zhonggong Beijing shiwei bangongting (The general office of CCP Beijing Committee). 1989. Beijing Ribao Chubanshe.Google Scholar
  67. Zuo, Jiping, and Robert D. Benford. 1995. “Mobilization Processes and the 1989 Chinese Democracy Movement.” The Sociological Quaterly 36(1):131–56.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations