Jiang Wenran: Tiananmen 20 Years Later: The Withering of Ideologies

Wenran Jiang is associate professor of political science and Mactaggart Research Chair of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, Canada. From thestar.com:

Many young people who participated in the student demonstrations now live affluent middle-class lives, with their own apartments, cars and other modern gadgets, enjoying China’s new urban prosperity.

They look back at 1989 with mixed feelings of nostalgia and realism. “It was an exciting moment in Chinese history, and my heart is always with those students,” a friend told me recently in Beijing, “but I won’t go to Tiananmen now if the same thing happens again, and I won’t donate money and time as I did last time.”

“Why?” I pressed further.

“Well, I have benefited a lot from the reforms since then, and there is so much to lose if there are dramatic changes.”

Indeed, the Chinese government has made providing economic benefits to most citizens its top priority for the past two decades. As Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader who ordered the bloody crackdown, put it: “Economic development is the core.”

This doctrine is based on three pragmatic calculations.

June 7, 2009 1:11 AM
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Categories: Politics