The Struggle For Democracy In China

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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Democracy has been the objective in controversial struggles for a multitude of nations. Though the meaning of democracy changes each time it translates into a different language, and might not propose the same idea to everyone everywhere. For example, democracy translated into Chinese is "minzhu", or "people-as-masters". This ideology is not a concept deep-seated in Chinese culture or it's political philosophy. It actually goes completely against Confucian beliefs, "which stresses harmony and obedience. But neither is democracy a concept that has just recently taken hold in the minds of Chinese youth who have seen the wonders of democracy in Western-style discos and fast food" (Barme par. 2). The youths' concluded that these luxuries were achieved through democracy and if China converted, then they too will get the amenities that western countries have. But more importantly, they longed for ideas such as: an end to corruption, freedom of expression, free elections, accurate news reporting, etc.

These were the desires that led to the pro-democracy movement and the events that occurred at Tiananmen Square.

The first gathering at the Tiananmen Square was to commemorate the death of Former Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang. Then the official memorial service for him was held in the Great Hall of the People where three student representatives demanding to meet with Premier Li Peng, carried a petition and kneeled on the steps of the Great Hall in front of a hundred thousand students. Li Peng did not respond to the students and they refused to let minor officials pass on the petition. Angered by the officials' indifference to their petition, the students decide to boycott their classes.

On April 26 the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily published an editorial saying that the student protests are just an "organized conspiracy to sew chaos." Not long after over...