Sunday, 31 May 2009

Twenty Years On II

I have asked before and I ask again, exactly who were those demonstrators in Tiananmen Square? I for one would love to know. After all, one certainly does not need to be an advocate of liberal democracy to be an opponent of the regime in China. And various other types of such opponent are decidedly more numerous and long-established in China even today, never mind in 1989.

There are the Koumintang, and those to the right even of that. There are the Xinjiang Islamists, the people who want to restore life expectancy in Tibet to half its current level by bringing back theocratic feudalism, and a number of equally unpleasant separatist tendencies elsewhere. There are the Trotskyists, and those Stalinists who are not Maoists. There are now, and up to a point there were even then, those who hold to the old, old Maoist faith against China’s transformation into the giant standing contradiction of the theory that capitalism and freedom go hand in hand. And many more besides.

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