Maoist militant revolution died with Mao on 9 September 1976. Deng Xiaoping’s political reform, in spite of the great expectations it raised and the promises given by the 1979–89 ten-year modernization push, met an equally tragic death on 4 June 1989, when he sent in his tanks to crush the peaceful pro-democracy demonstration in Tiananmen Square. Before 3 June, no one foresaw that the 1989 pro-democracy movement would end up more disastrously than its equally famous forerunner, the May Fourth Movement, exactly seventy years earlier in 1919. Of course, there are many differences between the two movements, but there are also many fundamental similarities. The most salient and remarkable similarity between the two historic events, which should cause the most soul-searching among the Chinese people, particularly the intellectuals, is the tragic, almost fatalistic, way that intellectuals’ attempts at democratizing China met the same ignoble fate at the hands of similar traditional Chinese despots. In terms of democratization, which was one of the principal modernization goals of the May Fourth Movement, the Chinese reformist elites, both cultural and political, achieved very little in their seventy-year long and painful struggles.
KeywordsDemocratization Process Authoritarian Rule Taiwan Strait Institutional Democracy Fourth Movement
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