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Regime Resilience and Civil Resistance in Post-Tiananmen China

1989 Tiananmen Democracy Movement & 2018 Chinese #MeToo Movement. (Source: South China Morning Post & Harvard Magazine.)

By: Yang Jianli and Han Lianchao |

In the 1980s, conflicting patterns of economic liberalization led to a widespread protest movement across the People’s Republic of China (PRC, China). Tensions reached an apex in Beijing on June 4th, 1989, as the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) dogmatic insistence on unchallenged social control led to what became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre. In memory of the 30th anniversary of the Party’s brutal and lethal suppression of their own people, this paper provides a comprehensive review of the CCP’s post-Tiananmen survival strategy and the people’s enduring tradition of civil resistance in China. While the Party’s methods of quelling civil dissent have strengthened in the decades following Tiananmen, the authors identify elements of growing discord in the PRC. Through an evaluation of the perseverance of civil resistance in China, the authors conclude the people’s ongoing struggle against the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party apparatus is far from over.