From Tiananmen to Shenzhen: Transition to Capitalism

  • Jianyong Yue
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


Deng Xiaoping saved the regime from collapse in the summer of 1989 and played an equally important role in stabilizing it in the critical three years that ensued. He drew three major lessons from Tiananmen: no democracy, no appeasing the people, and appeasing the West. The impact of the Global 1989 and eagerness to make his reform legacy irreversible prompted Deng to embrace (global) capitalism in a more radical way. Underscoring high growth as the source of political legitimacy, Deng opened the door for market Leninist reforms at the expense of social justice. 1992 marked the beginning of the party state’s transformation from a left-wing dictatorship to a right-wing dictatorship.


Lessons from Tiananmen No democracy No appeasing the people Appeasing the West Global 1989 Legitimacy Market Leninist reforms Left-wing dictatorship Right-wing dictatorship 

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianyong Yue
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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