History of China after Mao Zedong

Naman Tellakula

Deng Xiaoping and the 4 Modernizations

After Mao Zedong died in 1976, Deng Xiaoping became the leader of China. He started the "4 Modernizations". The 4 Modernizations were the progress in agriculture, industry, science, and defense. He was basically undoing Mao's work. Mao had the 4 Olds that he wanted to get rid of, and Deng Xiaoping had his 4 Modernizations that he wanted to start. Deng Xiaoping also invented the 4 Modernizations to improve China's economy. He wanted to have a communist government, but he changed from Mao's command economy to his mixed economy. He allowed trade with other countries. The government stayed like this until Deng Xiaoping retired in 1989 and died in 1997. It is because of Deng Xiaoping that China moved towards a market economy and wasn't a 100% communist nation.

Tiananmen Square Massacre

On April 15, 1989, Hu Yaobang, the General Secretary of the Communist Party, died of a heart attack. Yaobang was a member of the Communist Party, but he wanted change in the government. He wanted the government to become better. Students met at Tiananmen Square to mourn his death, but later they started protesting. The students started protesting communism and wanted better living conditions. Specifically, the students wanted 7 demands for the government:

1. Confirm that Hu Yaobang was a supporter of freedom and democracy

2. Admit that the campaigns of spiritual pollution had been wrong

3. Publish information about the incomes of state leaders and their family members

4. End the ban on privately run newspapers

5. Increase funding for education

6. End restrictions on demonstrations in Beijing

7. Provide objective coverage of students in official media

For over one and a half months, students protested in Tiananmen Square. They went on hunger strikes and marching through the streets. On June 2, an army trencher killed 3 people. This put fear in the students protesting. They set up roadblocks to prevent troops and the police from entering the center of the city. On the night of June 3, the tanks and armies and police got into Tiananmen Square and started killing people. By the evening of June 4, about a thousand people were killed. This would be later known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre or the June 4 Incident.