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.