Behind the Tiananmen Massacre: Social, Political, and Economic Ferment in China

Chu-Yuan Cheng, Author Westview Press $56.5 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8133-1047-3
This is a comprehensive review and analysis of the causes and effects of the 1989 pro-democracy movement in the People's Republic of China and its bloody climax. Cheng explains how the display of power by student-led masses threatened the Deng regime and triggered intra-Party strife that entangled the students, making a peaceful resolution difficult. He describes the elaborate cover-up by the government and incidentally corrects mistaken reporting by Western media, including stories of clashes on the outskirts of Beijing that he claims never took place. Providing a broad historical context to the 1989 turmoil, Cheng shows that the movement--like the uprisings in Eastern Europe five months later--developed from grievances that had been suppressed for decades. He concludes that the June 4 massacre brought economic reform to an abrupt halt, damaged the Beijing government's international status and was ``completely unnecessary and unjustified.'' The book is an authoritative piece of scholarship by the chairman of the Asian studies committee at Ball State University, Indiana. Photos. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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