Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom: Why China Was So Worried About Those Student Protests

On History News Network, Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom writes:

Western reports on the recent anti-Japanese protests by Chinese students have often stressed the need to pay attention to one sort of historical issue: ongoing controversies related to Japan’s treatment of its World War II atrocities. But to make sense fully of what has been going on in China, it is equally important, as some commentators have noted, to keep in mind a different sort of history: the history of Chinese youth movements. To understand why a regime that initially seemed content to allow and even encourage anti-Japanese demonstrations suddenly switched gears a couple of weeks ago and began to try to get educated youths off the streets, it is crucial to look backward to what Beijing students have done in May, and on May 4th in particular, in the past.

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