China’s Democracy Movement Essay

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer


The China’s democracy movement denotes the various slackly planned political movements in the People’s Republic of China. The movements were targeted at diluting and consequently end the single-party rule by the Communist Party. Among these movements was the Beijing Spring in 1978.

The Beijing Spring was succeeded by various democratic movements aimed at the same government despite the Democracy Wall movement reaching its climax in 1979. Currently, Chinese people experiences considerable democracy albeit with, Chinese characteristics.

Main Body

Beginning of Chinese Democracy

Prior to the erection of the sculpture at Tiananmen Square, democracy in China had begun a century earlier. The democracy was then presented by insurgences, arrests, expulsions, and unending debates on the most appropriate methods of understanding and implementing such a compound type of social organization.

Democracy in China was lead nearly solely by a banished writer known as Liang Qichao. Qichao was involved in demonstrations in Beijing in 1895. He was calling for augmented contribution in governing by the Chinese people. It was actually the first recognized demonstration in the history of China and marked the China’s beginning of democratic eras (Paltemaa 601).

New Democratic Revolution

In 1919, Mao Zedong and the Chinese communists accepted democracy. They also accepted embracing the perspectives of Qichao. The day was 4th May 1919. They named it the inauguration of the ‘New Democratic Revolution’. The day belonged to the Chinese Communist Party.

However, the sole resemblance between the Zedong and Qichao’s democracies was the idea of national accord and personal considerations. Zedong held that the state ought to draw on the energies of the people to emerge stronger. He believed that national laws implemented from the top would never realize the backing of the citizens (Dao 41).

The Cultural Revolution

The Cultural Revolution took place between 1966 and 1976. It was, partially, a fundamental effort to realize Zedong’s ‘Great Democracy’ irreversibly. He had recognized that the application of authority had generated a novel advantaged class; the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy was the largest hurdle to the attainment of his model of democracy.

He attacked specific party members yet maintained that the party had legitimacy to leadership. He got close to entirely dent the validation for party backing. Another political heavyweight, Deng Xiaoping, swiftly reversed the situation. He had initially been expelled during the Cultural Revolution. Once he rose to the reigns in the late 1970s, he pushed for a rhetorical type of democracy.

The democracy appeared to be more of a pastime. He wanted the political competition to be conducted in a space restricted by four lines. The limiting lines were socialism, the totalitarianism of the public, the blending of Marxism-Leninism, and the party control (Dao 41).

The main hurdle to democracy was not encompassed in the party. The medieval culture of the Chinese was to blame during the era. The culture was so solid that revolution would not bend it let alone revolutionize it. Revolution would only be achieved through piecemeal education of the populace. This was to be under the leadership of a powerful authority.

Having recognized the specifics, Deng headed to reverse the deep-seated extremes of the Gang of Four era. He sought a variety of political, social and monetary policy restructurings. The changes would allow the country to draw near to the West. They would facilitate the transformation the country had strived for from Qichao’s time (Goldman 2).

Democracy Wall Movement

The beginning of modern Chinese Democracy Movement is typically associated with the Democracy Wall Movement that exploded in mid-November 1978. It was the first indication of political revolution. The participants sought to condemn the Tiananmen Incident of 1976. The political detainees were cleared of all the allegations. The move generated a pro-democracy crusade that swiftly got past the confines of what Deng conceived as gradual.

There was rapid and heightened nonparty-led re-education. The Democracy Wall Movement was a straight test to party totalitarianism. Posters were mounted on the tall wall bordering Tiananmen. The protesters sought various kinds of social and political change. Initially, the residents gathered to read and deliberate on the posters. The deliberations eventually generated into study groups. Secretive journals started being printed.

They included the ‘Beijing Spring,’ ‘Enlightenment’ and the ‘April 5th’. They called for everything from monetary transformation to establishing a multi-party political system. The leaders of the movement argued that they did not seek the toppling of particular officials. Instead, they insisted on the destruction of the ancient state apparatus (Goldman 3).

During this period, among the brashest and most deep-seated activist was Wei Jingsheng. He was an electrician and son to prominent party bureaucrats. He was outrageously unswerving and non-Marxist in his spasm. He focused on both Deng and the party. He was the sole campaigner of democracy after Qichao. He asserted that the right of the citizens was not a favor extended by the state. Instead, it was a natural right.

Additional, he asserted that personal rights were detached from those of the state. However, he was not enthusiastic about admitting that democracy involved struggle and chaos. Also, he could not articulate how the tussle of persons in the protection of their rights would result in the prevalence of harmony (Goldman 4).

Political Persecution

In March 1979, the government mobilized its machinery leading to the arrest of Wei and several non-Marxists. Their journal publications were shut down. The movement was labeled as the renaissance of the deep-seated Gang of Four. Consequently, Wei was sentenced to serve 15 years in incarceration. The charges were inflated. He was accused of leaking classified information to foreigners.

They were charged with the publication of counter-revolutionary reports. The period was marked by the admiration of Wei by many democracy activists for his courage.

However, he was not venerated for what he said. The methods he used to attain his objective were not only contrary to Marxism and the communist party, but also of the whole Chinese scholarly custom. The movement lasted until 1981. Currently, the leadership does not violently resist pro-democracy advocates (Einhorn 43).

Contemporary Democracy

During the last three decades, China has undergone political reform and opening that has led to unexpected economic and social modifications. The remarkable democratic development is closely associated with the progressive and increasing changes at the grassroots level as well as the Communist Party (Taylor and Calvillo 136).

Borrowing from Deng, the citizens in recent years have been conducting competitive elections for local leadership. His ideology continues to guide the perception of the citizens and the party members.


The Chinese democratic model has been marked with a non-violent approach to ensuring changes in the state machinery and the removal of particular Communist Party leaders. Many pro-democracy activists have been expelled from the party and some exiled for their radical position about the party bureaucracy.

However, in recent years, the country has experienced renewed efforts to democratization. The democracy taking root in China has Chinese characteristics as opposed to Western democracy. Democracy takes place only within the confines of the Communist Party. Multi-party democracy remains a pipedream.

Works Cited

Dao, Bei. “The Birth of Today, a Literary Magazine,” Civil Rights Forum 2.2 (1998): 40-41. Print.

Einhorn, Bruce. “Hong Kong may be Starting a Long March Toward Democracy.” Business Week 1.1 (2004): 42-43. Print.

Goldman, Merle. “The Twentieth Anniversary of the Democracy Wall Movement.” Harvard Asia Quarterly 2.1 (1999): 1-5.

Paltemaa, Lauri. “The Democracy Wall Movement, Marxist Revisionism, and the Variations on Socialist Democracy.” Journal of Contemporary China 16.53 (2007): 601-625. Print.

Taylor, Jon and Carolina Calvillo. “Crossing the River by Feeling the Sones: Grassroots Democracy with Chinese Characteristics.” Journal of Chinese Political Science 15.1 (2010): 135-151. Print.

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