Gov 81 Midterm-0

Gov 81 Midterm-0 - Midterm Exam Question 1 Stephanie...

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Midterm Exam Stephanie Cochran Question 1 Gov 81.18; Prof Chen 2/8/06 1) To what extent has faction politics influenced the development of the 1989 student movement? Is the tragic ending inevitable? Why or why not? The 1989 student movement, which ended tragically in Tiananmen Square, was among the most infamous human rights abuses in the 20 th century, and was arguably one of the most important events in contemporary China. To this day, the Chinese government is very careful about addressing questions concerning the movement and the decision they made to use military force against their own people. Many scholars have argued that factional politics within the Chinese government was the main reason for the development of the 1989 student movement; however, there are certainly other plausible explanations. The development of this movement was caused by a host of factors, but the key factor behind the 1989 student movement was fundamental question in Chinese politics: the legitimacy of CCP rule. A state-society model, or government-people model best explains why the student protest movement developed the way it did in 1989 because this model encompasses the political, economic, and social variables that combined to produce the 1989 movement and Tiananmen disaster. The tragic ending could have been avoided through compromise; however, after a certain point it was clear that the CCP had few options and that a violent, tragic ending would be inevitable. Although faction politics were a factor influencing the development of the 1989 movement, the main factors were state-society relations and the question of CCP legitimacy. Protests are often employed to resist change as well as to initiate it. Modern Chinese history often views protests and demonstrations by students as necessary political behavior to force change on the government, and students in China have a long history of using protests for this means. This history began with the May Fourth Movement in 1919, when students formed a mass protest as a reaction by Chinese intellectuals to the aggression of the West and Japan on Chinese political independence and territorial sovereignty. The May Fourth Movement also represented China’s desperate search for ways to modernize the nation. (Wang, 270) Since then, students have been the forerunners of change. Many leading members of the Chinese Communist Party entered the political scene as participants in student demonstrations in the 1930s. Chinese history is marked with student demonstrations or similar political behavior that too often ended in tragedy and bloodshed. The 1989 student movement has its roots in this protest culture and was another page of Chinese history where students protested in order to instill change in the government. The leaders of this movement also hoped to make a name for themselves in politics; however they also dared to jeopardize their future careers by expressing dissent and criticism over the fundamental question in Chinese politics, the legitimacy of Chinese rule. (Wang, 273)
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