Tiananmen and Beyond: China’s Great Leap Backward

Issue Date Winter 1990
Volume 1
Issue 1
Page Numbers 9-17
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This past spring the world looked on in wonder as millions filled the streets of Beijing and 80 other Chinese cities, defying the Communist regime and demanding democracy. Epoch-making events seemed to be in the offing, yet the military assault launched on June 4 transformed China overnight from a country seemingly on the road to democratic reform to one displaying anew the worst features of totalitarian oppression. What could account for such a sudden and shocking change of direction?

About the Author

Merle Goldman is professor emerita of Chinese history at Boston University, associate of the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University, and author of the forthcoming book From Comrade to Citizen: The Struggle for Political Rights in China.

View all work by Merle Goldman