Modernization and Tienanmen Square

By: Bitsy and Shannon

Deng Xiaoping and The Four Modernizations

Deng Xiaoping was a paramount leader of China in 1978 through 1992. After the death of Mao Zedong, Deng led China to a more market economy. He believed in China being a republic, he held power with many other elders known as the "Eight Elders". Although Deng still kept Communism in China, he did help the economy by gearing it more towards Market so people had more rights; such as small businesses. At first Deng wasn't against Mao, but then he started to see how bad China's economy became, and decided to change it. He did this by making the 4 modernizations. The Four Modernizations were goals first set forth by Zhou Enlai in 1963, and enacted by Deng Xiaoping, starting in 1978, to strengthen the fields of agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology in China. Class struggle was no longer the central focus as it had been under Mao. The change in political climate was reflected in the propaganda posters of the 70s and 80s, which now promoted the creation of a society of civilized and productive citizens all working toward the welfare of the country and contributing to the modernization effort. These altered China's centralized system and brought in a "Chinese democracy movement." As great numbers of Chinese students went to pursue advanced degrees in scientific fields, demands grew at home for more artistic, literary, and political expression. By the mid-1980s, students, teachers, scientists, and journalists were publicly criticizing the Communist Party. The movement was tolerated, even encouraged, for a while. Re-opening China's doors to the outside world brought in hard cash and technical expertise from the West. Joint ventures with foreign specialists and capitalists were welcomed. New Chinese laws that legitimized private business and land sales encouraged even more foreign investment.

Tiananmen Square Massacre

Chinese troops went through Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing, killing and arresting thousands of pro-democracy protesters. The Chinese government hurt the protesters shocked the West and brought denunciations and sanctions from the United States. In May 1989, a million Chinese crowded into central Beijing to protest for greater democracy and call for the resignations of Chinese Communist Party leaders deemed too repressive. June 4, 1989, however, Chinese troops and security police stormed through Tiananmen Square, firing indiscriminately into the crowds of protesters. Tens of thousands of the young students tried to escape the rampaging Chinese forces. Other protesters fought back, stoning the attacking troops and overturning and setting fire to military vehicles. Reporters and Western diplomats on the scene estimated that at least 300, and perhaps thousands, protesters had been killed 10,000 were arrested. The savagery of the Chinese government’s attack shocked both its allies and Cold War enemies. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared that he was saddened by the events in China. He said he hoped that the government would adopt his own domestic reform program and begin to democratize the Chinese political system. In the United States, editorialists and members of Congress denounced the Tiananmen Square massacre and pressed for President George Bush to punish the Chinese government. A little more than three weeks later, the U.S. Congress voted to impose economic sanctions against the People’s Republic of China in response to the brutal violation of human rights.