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This chapter suggests that the pattern of political relaxation followed by public censure against the party as identified in this book is far from unprecedented in the PRC, with reference to the 1957 Hundred Flowers Campaign and the late 1970s “scar literature” and Democracy Wall movements. In both cases, the party backlash against its critics was much more virulent than anything experienced by the modern-day nationalist dissenters, although some pro-Republican era activists have been harassed, arrested and sometimes incarcerated. We then assess the extent to which nationalist dissent is representative of public opinion in China and examine the challenges that such dissent poses for CCP decision-making.
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