The Tiananmen Square: A Student Movement In China

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A country’s decision to use force on its own people is always a difficult one. A country that has gone through many changes and still trying to find its way has to balance many factors when attempting to determine how to respond to a demonstration of it’s citizens. The use of military force to clear protesters from China’s historically and politically significant Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989 was the result of a tumultuous debate about the direction China must follow in the post-Mao era among its’ political leaders who felt their hand was forced to ensure the progress and stability of China’s future by a student movement that voiced serious concerns over the speed and legitimacy of proposed reforms. The demonstrations in Tiananmen Square …show more content…
There were many warning signs of a response of force to the growing movement of students and intellectuals that rallied in Tiananmen Square during the summer of 89. A speech given the month before by Li Peng expressed the concerns of politicians to prevent any protest or uprising because of the possibility of it diminishing the progress attempting to be made by reforms when he stated that, “any social turbulence and chaos which will hamper the advancement of reform and construction and gravely impair the fundamental interests of the people. . . runs counter to the aspiration of the masses of people.” It was this type of thinking that would be echoed during the debates that occurred as to whether it would be necessary to use force against the protesters. While there were numerous legitimate concerns that the student demonstrators were protesting against their grievances mostly revolved around a desire to accelerate and ensure the political and economic reforms that they had seen attempting to take place under the leadership of Hu Yaobang. Zhao Ziyang asserts that, “at its core, the spirit of the student demonstrations was a demand for the deepening of reform and opposition to the conservative forces.” It was these conservative forces that desired slow reform, led by Deng Xiaoping would point out that, “of course we want to build socialist democracy, but we can’t possibly do it in a hurry.” While the politicians did realize that reform was needed, they felt it needed to happen at their own pace. When an editorial was published on April 26th that described the movement as being influenced by “an extremely small number of people” and that “their purpose was to sow dissension among the people, plunge the whole country into chaos, and sabotage the political situation of stability and

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