I wonder what happened to those people? I would love to find out what they've done with their lives. How do they feel about the way current urban China has embraced capitalism without really embracing democracy? Are they still activists?
"...the head of the official student union of Peking University at that time. His name is Xiao Jianhua. Mr. Xiao never opposed the government, and the events of June 1989 did not make him one of China’s “most wanted.” Instead, they catapulted him into the ranks of its most wealthy.
The Polish opposition was watching the events in China with apprehension, asking itself if their communist partners could turn once again into their oppressors, rejecting the election results and following the example of their Chinese counterparts. The Chinese communist leaders looked in turn with terror at the news from Poland, fearing the “Polish disease” would spread to their land. They were committed to stopping it before it contaminated wider swaths of the Chinese society. As it turned out, the different strategies pursued by these movements were instrumental in determining both the peaceful outcome in Poland and the violent burial of democratic hopes in China.
Poland’s self-limiting revolution emphasized the importance of nonviolent discipline within the resistance together with the building of a broad-based coalition of diverse groups in order to wage powerful actions of non-cooperation and disobedience. For a movement as strong as Solidarity, the goal was relatively unassertive. It was not calling for full-fledged democracy; that remained an unfulfilled dream as long as 100,000 Soviet troops were stationed in Poland. Instead, the opposition limited itself by choosing a more concrete and seemingly achievable goal: free trade unions.
In contrast to the Polish self-limiting revolution, the Chinese activists pushed immediately for full democratization. This happened despite the fact that the students did not manage to build a broad-based coalition of workers, peasants and intellectuals. With internal divisions among their multiple leadership centers, more radical students were unsatisfied with the concessions offered by the regime. They won free student associations and greater media freedom — and they decided to press on with the demands for genuine democracy in China. This strengthened the hand of the hardliners in the Chinese Communist Politburo that overpowered moderate voices within their own ranks.
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