Tiananmen at 21
Whether you call it the “Tiananmen Square Massacre” or the “June Fourth Incident” (as it’s known in the People’s Republic of China), what happened in Beijing 21 years ago today was a significant event in Chinese political history. The pro-democracy protests that occurred over a number of months and the culmination of the demonstrations in violence remain salient and stunning. Since those days, China’s economy has opened up to the West and grown dramatically, but questions about human rights violations and policies of censorship and repression persist.
Edward Tse, Booz & Company’s Senior Partner Chairman for Greater China, who recently came by Big Think’s offices to discuss China’s economic future, told us that, looking ahead, we’re probably going to continue to see a gradual evolution in China toward a more democratic system: “Right now within the Communist Party there is quite a bit discussion about a so-called ‘internal democracy,‘” he said. “In other words, creating some competition internally within the party on certain key posts of the assignments. And we expect this evolution will continue to happen.” Tse also spoke about the issue of Google’s withdrawal from China and why it may be difficult for Western companies to enter the Chinese market.
For more insights on political progress and democracy in China, check out Big Think’s interview with Mark Leonard, the Executive Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, who talked about misperceptions in the West about China’s current political system and explained how China’s system of polling on a local level functions. Tom Malinowski, the Washington Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch, also spoke about China in his Big Think interview, discussing the difficult balance between supporting human rights and encouraging economic development in China.