Dangerous Memories of Tiananmen Square

Dangerous Memories of Tiananmen Square

The contours of today’s brash, powerful China were shaped by decisions made in the immediate aftermath of the Tiananmen crackdown. It was then that the paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, pushed economic liberalization without any political reforms, a pattern that continues to this day, allowing disposable incomes to increase 1,700 percent since 1989. He put in place a massive patriotic education campaign, which has fostered a generation of young Chinese nationalists. He also laid the groundwork for the ballooning security apparatus, tasked with preventing the spread of protests by monitoring those from whom the public needs protection — such as bereaved mothers who refuse to forget how the state killed their children.

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