Economic Reform, University Expansion, and Student Discontents

Dingxin Zhao

in The Power of Tiananmen

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2001 | ISBN: 9780226982601
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226982625 | DOI:
Economic Reform, University Expansion, and Student Discontents

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Relationships between the state and society before and during the 1980s facilitated the formation of a group of radical intellectuals and students in China, and their activities and interactions with the state paved the way for the rise of the 1989 Beijing Student Movement. Why did this group support the movement? Evidence suggests that this had much to do with a set of state policy changes during the period of reform. These changes created an alienated academy ripe for activism. In addition, the mutual reinforcement of state policy and social demands led to a great expansion of higher education. This chapter examines this whole process and its negative impact on intellectuals and students. It argues that an overexpansion of enrollment in universities had a greater impact on China than on developed nations because of the fact that the university is a radical institution in China. It first discusses China's economic reform measures that include the “four modernizations” development strategy and then looks at socialism, the problems of job placement after graduation, and the rise of student activism in universities.

Keywords: China; economic reform; universities; student activism; four modernizations; socialism; job placement; intellectuals; students; 1989 Beijing Student movement

Chapter.  8893 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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