The 1989 Watershed in China

Barry Naughton

in Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199895977
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199980116 | DOI:
The 1989 Watershed in China

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The year 1989 marked an important turning point in China's economic reform. Reform was gradual and incremental both before and after 1989, but the post-1989 process was more obviously directed by centralized power, wielded with increasing effectiveness. The process increasingly favored government and Communist Party interests: some social groups suffered major losses, and the distribution of income and power became more unequal. These changes were ultimately caused by the Tiananmen incident and the collapse of the Soviet Union. These events dramatically shrank the international “space” China had formerly enjoyed, while convincing Chinese leaders of the need to consolidate their economic system and increase government and Party power. Both economically and politically, China and Russia changed places after 1989.

Keywords: China; economic reform; tiananmen; deng xiaoping; US-China relations; Chen Yun; Zhao Ziyang

Chapter.  8901 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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