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

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

hope on you. The people pin their hopes on you. All young people across the country, all compatriots of the whole country, let us work with one heart and one mind, work hard, surmount all difficulties and make joint efforts to invigorate the Chinese nation.


29
Zhao Urges Nation to Maintain Stability

Source: China Daily ( Beijing--in English) ( May 4, 1989): 1.

The leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) called on the entire nation to firmly oppose social unrest and maintain stability and unity, essential to reform and modernization.

Addressing a meeting yesterday commemorating the seventieth anniversary of the May 4th Movement, Zhao Ziyang, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, asked the Chinese people to appreciate the hard-won stable situation since the third plenary session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the CPC.

"We have lived ten good years since then," Zhao said. But if social unrest returns with large-scale social conflict and disruption of production, study and work, a country of promise will be turned into a country of hopelessness and turbulence, he added.

Zhao's speech was amid the two-week-old campus unrest in Beijing, which culminated last Thursday in a mass student demonstration crying for democracy, press freedom, and the elimination of corruption following an eleven-day boycott of classes at some universities.

If social disturbances arise, there will be no room for the economic construction, reform and the development of democracy and science that are expected by the whole country, including the vast majority of students, Zhao said.

"When we have stability we sometimes aren't aware of its value," he said to the more than 8,000 young people, including university students, who attended the meeting at the Great Hall of the People. "But once we lose it we feel deep regret."

Recalling modern Chinese history since 1840, when China was first defeated by the Western powers in the "Opium War," the party leader asked, "Haven't we had enough of social turmoil?" Since that time China has had only about twenty years of stability.

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