China's Legal Awakening: Legal Theory and Criminal Justice in Deng's Era

By Carlos Wing-Hung Lo | Go to book overview

Chapter Ten
Trials of Dissidents of the 1989 Democratic Movement: the Limits of Socialist Justice

From the point of view of Deng and the hard-liners, the military crack-down was a successful operation, since China regained its 'hard-won' political stability -- the regime's 'highest interest'.1 As in all crisis situations, the Four Cardinal Principles provided the basis for Party leadership.2 Since order was stabilized, the newly reorganized Party was ready to resume intermittent socialist reform, along lines adopted by the 1978 Third Plenum.3 The Party reiterated the policy of economic construction and strengthening democracy and the legal system.4 Yet most observers of China signalled the ouster of Zhao as the end of the liberal era in China,5 which had

____________________
1
See "N.P.C Meeting Focuses on Rebellion", Beijing Review No. 29, 17-23 July 1989, pp. 4-5.
2
See the reprint of "Deng's speech on Upholding the Four Cardinal Principles", Beijing Review No. 29, 17-23 July 1989, pp. 16-17. For further reference, see "Upholding Fundamentals for National Construction", Beijing Review No. 31, 31 July - 6 August 1989, p. 4. For further attempts at rallying Party leadership on the basis of the "Four Cardinal Principles", see Jiang Zemin, "Speech at the Meeting in Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China", Beijing Review No. 41, 9-15 October 1989, pp. 11-24.
3
The Party leadership was re-organized at the Fourth Plenum of the 13th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, held in Beijing 23-24 June 1989. See "CPC Central Committee Holds Plenum", Beijing Review No. 27, 3-9 July 1989, p. 4.
4
See "Jiang Reiterates Party's Policies", Beijing Review No. 28, 10-16 July 1989, p. 4. For details of policies in the wake of the military suppression, see Jiang Zemin, "Speech at the Meeting . . .", loc. cit., particularly pp. 15-22. For an authoritative view from Deng Xiaoping, see "No Change in Reform Policy -- Deng", Beijing Review No. 39, 25 September - 1 October 1989, p. 5.
5
See George Hicks (ed.), The Broken Mirror:China After Tiananmen, United Kingdom, Longman Group UK Limited, 1990.

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