Turning to Nationalism: Another Crisis of Regime Legitimacy for the CCP
In this chapter we argue that the CCP adopted nationalism as a new mode of regime legitimation because of the failure of the party’s economic legitimacy during the 1980s. This was manifested by the mass demonstrations that took place across China during 1989, most notably in Tiananmen Square. The aggressive, anti-foreign tone of the early 1990s Patriotic Education Campaign was deliberately linked to the international condemnation and sanctions imposed on China in response to the military crackdown that brought the Tiananmen protests to a shuddering halt. We explain how the outraged albeit, in practise, moderate foreign response to Tiananmen was used by the CCP as evidence that Western nations were still acting like imperialist powers, determined to prevent China from resuming its rightful place in the world.
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