China Since Tiananmen: Authoritarian Impermanence

Issue Date July 2009
Volume 20
Issue 3
Page Numbers 37-40
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Like all contemporary nondemocratic systems, the Chinese system suffers from weak legitimacy at the level of regime type. The most likely form of transition for China remains the model of Tiananmen, when three elements came together: a robust plurality of disaffected citizens, a catalytic event, and a split in the leadership. Had China chosen the path of dialogue in 1989, it might be more stable today.

About the Author

Andrew J. Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University and a member of the steering committee of the Asian Barometer Survey. His books include China’s Search for Security (with Andrew Scobell, 2012).

View all work by Andrew J. Nathan