The recent protests in China have revealed the true state of the country’s discontent with the government, and it isn’t pretty. Wang Dan, who was one of the leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests, said in an interview this week that these anti-Communist Party demonstrations are the biggest since that historic protest and they further disprove Beijing’s myth of a harmonious society. The country must now address its deep social tensions or risk major upheaval in society, Mr Wang warned.
The Myth of a Harmonious Society
In 1989, China’s protests showed that the myth of a harmonious society was false. Thanks to recent crackdowns on criminals, demonstrators are calling into question Beijing’s efficacy and dissatisfaction with its rulers.
A leading member of Tiananmen Square protest Wang Dan issued a public statement yesterday, telling us that this isn’t the first time he has seen unrest.
He also encouraged others to speak up when they see injustices and said that it is important for people to have open minds about what their country needs to change.
If you’re just repeating slogans but don’t understand why, you won’t be able to influence anything, he said. The public must think deeply about why there are demonstrations, he said.
It’s hard for me to say exactly how long this movement will last. I’m not sure if the government will allow us to demonstrate tomorrow, so I’m here tonight. you can convince some leaders to listen and negotiate with the students, we’ll do our best to cooperate.
What is happening in China today is not new: People who live on the outskirts of town should know this well–Chinese protesters refuse to back down, even though it means violence against them or being arrested for no good reason.
What’s been going on in recent days has proven that at least some Chinese don’t buy into Xi Jinping’s talk about strengthening authoritarianism and his statements on censoring criticism.
And while young Chinese might not be familiar with Tiananmen Square, they are aware of the brutality their parents’ generation faced when they peacefully protested more than two decades ago.
The hope is that those same youth will never feel compelled to take such drastic action again; perhaps now under a more equitable set of circumstances.
The story ends here.
The Reality of China’s Protests
In China, protests have exploded this past week over tough anti-Covid policies. This is no surprise; in 1989, the Tiananmen square protests were sparked by discontent with Beijing’s rulers and ended in bloodshed.
But these recent demonstrations show that deep discontent persists despite Beijing’s efforts to maintain stability.
Wang Dan, who was one of the leaders of Tiananmen Square protest said thursday that the myth of a harmonious society has been shattered by these demonstrations and there are many underlying problems.
Indeed, China has faced many economic challenges in recent years and Beijing continues to struggle to meet high demands for jobs and public services as it scales its economy up.
What is different now from 1989, however, is how the new generation has found more channels to express their discontent – through Internet tools such as blogs and microblogs.
The new demonstrations also reveal a new sense of nationalism among young Chinese born after 1990 who reject outside criticism of China’s human rights record or interference in what they see as internal affairs. The bottom line, says dan wang, is that we need democracy.
Some people say our country doesn’t need democracy because we’re not like Egypt, he remarked. But I think if we don’t change the system then Egypt will happen here too.
He says he remains optimistic about his country’s future, but he worries about violence erupting in the next few years.
That’s why I’m against a violent revolution, he said. I want to keep peaceful revolution. We need to develop in a steady way, dan wang concludes. we should rely on ourselves. The bottom line, says dan wang, is that we need democracy.
Some people say our country doesn’t need democracy because we’re not like Egypt, he remarked. But I think if we don’t change the system then Egypt will happen here too. He says he remains optimistic about his country’s future, but he worries about violence erupting in the next few years.
That’s why I’m against a violent revolution, he said. I want to keep peaceful revolution. We need to develop in a steady way, dan wang concludes
The Implications of China’s Protests
On Thursday, Wang Dan, who was one of the leaders in Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, said that demonstrations in China sparked by tough anti-Covid policies explode the myth of a harmonious society and reveal deep discontent with Beijing’s rulers.
The author does not make his opinion about China clear, but he does say that these protests are important for Beijing to understand and take into account.
It is possible that the Chinese government wants people to believe there is peace and unity within their country, but if this becomes untrue then it could lead to many more problems than before.
Beijing has no choice but to listen to the grievances of its citizens and adjust its methods accordingly so that unrest does not continue. If this means enacting democratic reforms, the Chinese government will have to find a way to reconcile what they want with what is needed.
Demonstrations can be positive as long as they are peaceful, and Beijing needs to think carefully about how to address them. In order to keep the general public from being dissatisfied, the government needs to do some soul searching.
For example, why does so much of the economic growth only benefit a select few? Why is wealth inequality so high? Why did standards fall when Shanghai entered competition with Hong Kong?
Why do children go without shoes? When you start asking questions like this, you can see where Beijing went wrong and start correcting its mistakes.
However, something else must happen too: the media must stop painting the United States as evil, or else Beijing risks angering its own population even more.
It is possible that China’s current leadership is corrupt and inept; however, things can get worse if reporters write scathing articles on top of dissidents’ speeches.
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