Beijing Spring, 1989: Confrontation and Conflict: the Basic Documents

By Michel Oksenberg; Lawrence R. Sullivan et al. | Go to book overview

Sun Liping of Beijing University deemed that the arguments from both sides reflected two kinds of concerns: those in favor of neo-authoritarianism are worried about the chaotic state of social life in view of the deepening crises in China's social and economic problems; on the other hand, those opposed to it are concerned that neo-authoritarianism would put an end to the just-unfolding process of democratization. He himself has a third concern: if we cannot make a wise choice and decision, it is possible that two kinds of social conditions, characterized by the lack of order and democracy, will prevail. Consequently, he believed that it is imperative to build up the authority of the law before anything else and steadily promote the process of democratization and legalization.


9
Commenting on Neo-Authoritarianism

WU JIAXIANG

Source: Shijie jingji daobao (World economic herald) ( Shanghai) ( January 16, 1989): 12; FBIS, February 1, pp. 33-35.

Sensitive people may have already noticed that a strange soul is flapping its wings in the ideological forest. That strange soul is neo-authoritarianism.

At the outset the strange soul was only an ambiguous shadow. In 1986 when the democrats in Beijing felt discontented with their achievements, in Shanghai, I heard a lot of young scholars talking about competent political leaders, the role played by the centralization of state power in the process of modernization, the situation in various East Asian countries, and Samuel P. Huntington. Later on, I read a report written by a young scholar named Wang Huning, who strongly advocated the centralization of state power in the process of reform. However, Wang Huning's views were misunderstood as hindering the process of democratization.

Almost at the same time Beijing University and the Central Party School jointly held a "Salon Forum" in Beijing. Zhang Bingjiu, a young scholar who is doing research for his doctorate, delivered a speech at the "Salon Forum." In his speech, Zhang Bingjiu said that at the present stage China should adopt a semi- centralized political system commensurate with the development of China's commodity economy.

Understandably, these premature views of Zhang Bingjiu were given the cold shoulder. Later on, conscientious discussions on such new views were also sus

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