Chinese democracy movement

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The Chinese democracy movement (simplified Chinese: 中国民主运动; traditional Chinese: 中國民主運動; pinyin: Zhōngguó Mínzhǔyùndòng, abbreviated as Mínyùn (simplified Chinese: 民运; traditional Chinese: 民運)) is actually a series of loosely organized political movements in China against continued one-party rule by the Communist Party. One such movement began during Beijing Spring in 1978 and was taken up again in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. In the 1990s, democracy movements underwent a decline both within China and overseas, and are fragmented and not considered by most analysts to be a serious threat to power to the government.



The origin of the movement was in 1976, when the brief liberalization known as Beijing Spring occurred after the Cultural Revolution. The founding document of the movement is considered to be the manifesto Fifth Modernization by Wei Jingsheng, who was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for authoring the document. In it, Wei argued that the empowering of the laboring masses was essential for modernization, that the Communist Party was controlled by reactionaries, and that the people must struggle to overthrow the reactionaries via a long and possibly bloody fight.

Throughout the 1980s, these ideas increased in popularity among college educated Chinese. In response to the growing corruption, the economic dislocation, and the sense that reforms in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were leaving China behind, the Tiananmen Square protests erupted in 1989. These protests were put down by government troops on June 4, 1989. In response, a number of pro-democracy organizations were formed by overseas Chinese student activists, and there was considerable sympathy for the movement among Westerners, who formed the China Support Network (CSN).

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