China Since Tiananmen: The Massacre’s Long Shadow

Issue Date July 2009
Volume 20
Issue 3
Page Numbers 5-16
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Twenty years after the June 4 massacre put an end to the demonstrations for democracy, its impact is still felt as much by the government as by the opposition. In order to recapture the legitimacy that it had lost in 1989, the Party launched a policy of cooptation of the elites which revealed itself quite efficient. It has kept absolute control over the political field and has tried to erase the memory of the 1989 prodemocracy movement. The massacre and the repression that followed have forced the opposition to renounce demonstrations. A new category of dissidents emerged, which expresses itself through petitions demanding the respect of human rights and democratization of the regime, while members of the young generation have turned to the law to promote rights awareness in society.

About the Author

Jean-Philippe Béja, a senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Center for International Studies and Research (Sciences-Po) in Paris, is currently based at the French Center for the Study of Contemporary China in Hong Kong. His publications include A la recherche d’une ombre chinoise: Le mouvement pour la démocratie en Chine, 1919–2004 (2004).

View all work by Jean-Philippe Béja