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State Legitimacy and Dynamics of the 1989 Pro-democracy Movement in Beijing

  • Dingxin Zhao
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Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)

Abstract

On the morning of April 22, 1989, 7 days after the breakout of the 1989 Pro-Democracy Student Movement in Beijing, a state funeral was held for Hu Yaobang inside the Great Hall of the People, west of Tiananmen Square. The night before, around 50,000 students went into the Square in order to be part of that funeral. Throughout the morning of April 22, the students inside the Square staged various protests, the themes of which were mostly irrelevant to Hu’s funeral. Among the protesting activities, the one that aroused most students’ emotions was the kneeling of three students in front of the Great Hall of the People. They knelt there for over half an hour with a petition in their hands, insisting that premier Li Peng comes out to receive the petition and meet with the students. Yet Li Peng did not appear. The students were distraught; some cried like babies, while others shouted anti-government slogans. The students were so upset that they initiated a citywide general class boycott the following day. The action of kneeling in conjunction with Li Peng’s failed appearance greatly mobilized the emotions of students and changed the course of the movement.

Keywords

Social Movement Chinese Communist Party State Legitimacy State Elite Student Leader 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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