Ting Wai: Zhao Ziyang and the Development of China’s Democracy

From South Korea’s Digital Chosunilbo:

Starting from around mid-1980s, Chinese intellectuals started to enjoy an exceptionally free and stimulating atmosphere. They dared out to speak on how to reform the nation, not only on the economic, social and cultural arena, but also on the political institutions and political culture. I remember that during the period from 1986 to 1989, many outspoken voices and challenging opinions that were used to be regarded as subverting the socialist system could find channels to get published. Some advocated the idea of check and balance to prevent the political decay that resulted from long period of absolute power. Others proposed that though concepts like and human rights were products of western civilization, in reality, just like the classical music of Mozart and Beethoven, they have become universal values. So there should be no problem for the Chinese to accept them as part of our culture. Some others even tried to find out possible ways of reforming political institutions, even though one-party dictatorship had to be maintained. In brief, this is the golden period concerning press freedom and freedom of expression in the history of the People’s Republic of China, and all these ideas were voiced out when was first the acting Party Secretary (January-September 1987) and then Party Secretary (October 1987 to June 1989).

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