The next couple of classes will tackle the 1989 social movement popularly remembered in China as "6-4" and in the United States as "Tian'anmen." In discussion, we will touch on two of our unit questions, namely:
Watch about 10 minutes from Gate of Heavenly Peace (1995)
Debating democracy: Fang Lizhi and Deng Xiaoping
Review the two sets of quotations from Fang Lizhi and Deng Xiaoping drawn from last night’s reading, below. Consider:
"Be open to different ways of thinking . . . and willing to adopt the elements of those cultures that are clearly superior. A great diversity of thought should be allowed in colleges and universities. For if all thought is narrow and simplistic, creativity will die. At present there are certainly some people in power who still insist on dictating to others according to their own narrow principles. . . . We must not be afraid to speak openly about these things. In fact, it is our duty" (Fang Lizhi at Peking University, 4 November 1985. Schell and Delury, 300).
"Human rights are fundamental privileges that people have from birth, such as the right to think and be educated, the right to marry, and so on. But we Chinese consider these rights dangerous. Although human rights are universal and concrete, we Chinese lump freedom, equality, and brotherhood together with capitalism and criticize them all in the same terms. If we are the democratic country we say we are, these rights should be stronger here than elsewhere, but at present they are nothing more than an abstract idea" (Fang Lizhi at Tongji University in Shanghai, November 1986. Schell and Delury, 301).
"Democratization has come to mean something performed by superiors on inferiors" (Fang Lizhi at Tongji University in Shanghai, November 1986. Schell and Delury, 301).
"During the Cultural Revolution we had what was called mass democracy. In those days people thought that rousing the masses to headlong action was democracy and that it would solve all problems. But it turned out that when the masses were roused to headlong action, the result was civil war. We have learned our lesson from history" (Deng Xiaoping in January 1987. Schell and Delury, 303).
"Because we have one billion people, and their educational level is not very high, conditions are not yet ripe for direct elections" (Deng Xiaoping in 1987. Schell and Delury, 301-02).
"We cannot adopt the practice of the West. The greatest advantage of the socialist system is that when the central leadership makes a decision, it is promptly implemented without interference from any other quarters. When we decided to reform the economic structure, the whole country responded; when we decided to establish special economic zones, they were soon set up. We don't have to go through a lot of discussion and consultation, with one branch of government holding up another and decisions being made, but not carried out. From this point of view, our system is very efficient" (Deng Xiaoping to a Yugoslav diplomat in June 1987. Schell and Delury, 302).
"The United States brags about its political system. But politicians there say one thing during a presidential election, another after taking office, another at mid-term elections and still another with the approach of the next presidential election. . . . Compared with its policies, ours are very stable indeed" (Deng Xiaoping to visiting U.S. professor in June 1983. Schell and Delury, 302-03).
"Do not yield to the feelings for democracy. Democracy is only a means [to and end]" (Deng Xiaoping to Zhao Ziyang. Schell and Delury, 313).