Pro-Democracy Movements in Post-Mao China

  • Ka-ho Mok


‘Down with bureaucratism, return democracy to us’; ‘Long live democracy, down with autocracy’; ‘Give us freedom or let us die’; these were the catchwords in the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square of 1989. The spontaneous demonstrations that broke out in Beijing and other cities were unprecedented and unanticipated in the history of the People’s Republic of China. Although the movement was formed by students and intellectuals, it was also joined by the urban workers, ordinary citizens, government bureaucrats and even overseas Chinese. Su Shaoshi (1990), the former director of the Institute for Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought at CASS, regards the 1989 democracy movement as the largest mass movement in recent Chinese history since it received broad participation from many circles. The movement not only revealed the deep-seated grievances of the students toward the education system and the unfair treatment of intellectuals in particular, but also pointed out social evils such as corruption, inflation, profiteering and economic difficulties in general. Besides, it also brought antagonism between the state and the urban population into the open.


Cultural Revolution Political Reform Student Demonstration Party Secretary Student Movement 
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Copyright information

© Ka-ho Mok 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ka-ho Mok
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public and Social AdministratioCity University of Hong KongChina

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