The Search for Modern China

By Jonathan D. Spence | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 27 Century's End

RETURNING TO GROWTH

Despite Deng Xiaoping's expressions of confidence, the crisis of 1989 showed that aspects of China's past were still much in evidence. To take one short-term parallel, the political maneuvering by Deng Xiaoping proved how far the Communist party still was from solving its leadership and succession problems. Deng's rejection of his two chosen heirs, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, and his sudden benediction of the previously little-known Jiang Zemin as party secretary-general was eerily reminiscent of Mao's attempt to install Hua Guofeng after he had turned against Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao. In a longer historical context, Deng's insistence that economic reforms and the dramatic changes they brought should still be kept totally separate from any changes in the political superstructure and modes of public expression reawakened historical memories of the late Qing dream—that China could join the modern world entirely on its own terms, without sacrificing its prevailing ideological purity. Some Chinese even noticed parallels between Deng's suppression of the Democracy movement in 1989 and the Empress Dowager Cixi's countercoup in the face of Emperor Guangxu's ambitious reform program of 1898.

The Chinese scholars and students who had joined together to vent their frustrations in the spring and summer of 1989 also raised echoes of their own, echoes of earlier groups of Chinese who had taken great personal risks in order to emphasize that educated Chinese had a moral obligation to criticize the shortcomings of their rulers even if those rulers warned them that such criticisms were unacceptable and that they would be punished. Wittingly or not, the Chinese who marched and spoke out in 1976, 1978,

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The Search for Modern China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Search for Modern China i
  • Title Page iv
  • Contents ix
  • Maps xv
  • Tables xvii
  • Preface to the Second Edition xix
  • Preface to the First Edition xxiii
  • Acknowledgments for the Second Edition xxvii
  • Acknowledgments for the First Edition xxix
  • The Use of Pinyin xxxi
  • Conquest and Consolidation 1
  • The Late Ming 7
  • The Manchu Conquest 26
  • Kangxi's Consolidation 49
  • Yongzheng's Authority 74
  • Chinese Society and the Reign of Qianlong 96
  • China and the Eighteenth-Century World 117
  • Fragmentation and Reform 139
  • The First Clash with the West 145
  • The Crisis Within 167
  • Restoration Through Reform 192
  • New Tensions in the Late Qing 215
  • The End of the Dynasty 243
  • Envisioning State and Society 265
  • The New Republic 271
  • A Road is Made" 290
  • The Fractured Alliance 314
  • The Guomindang in Power 342
  • Communist Survival 375
  • War and Revolution 411
  • World War II 419
  • The Fall of the Guomindang State 459
  • The Birth of the People's Republic 489
  • Planning the New Society 514
  • Deepening the Revolution 544
  • Cultural Revolution 565
  • Re-Entering the World 587
  • Reopening the Doors 595
  • Redefining Revolution 618
  • Levels of Power 647
  • Testing the Limits 677
  • Century's End 705
  • Appendixes A1
  • Notes and Permissions A3
  • Further Readings A23
  • Glossary A47
  • Illustration Credits A71
  • A Note on the Calligraphy A75
  • Index A77
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