The Spectacle Blog

Thoughts on Tiananmen (Or Why Communism Didn’t Completely Collapse in 1989)

By on 6.4.14 | 10:19PM

If one asks about the year 1989 chances are the event they most remember was the fall of the Berlin Wall. Others might refer to 1989 as the year that communism collapsed.

Well, communism might have collapsed in Eastern Europe in 1989 (with the Soviet Union soon to follow), but there was no such collapse in China when security forces cleared Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989. 
 
Although China has more than its share of dissidents, its pro-democracy movement has never returned to its halcyon days in April-May 1989 and the regime has seen to it that it stays that way. 
 
In the 25 years since the Tiananmen crackdown, China has become more powerful. It could become the world's biggest economy sometime this yearOnce China has the largest and most powerful economy in the world, the title of world's largest and most powerful military in the world might not be far behind. As Mark Steyn has argued, it is only a matter of time that the interest on our debt held by China finances its entire military. 
 
It certainly doesn't help matters when President Obama bows before then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo nor it is helpful to show The Dalai Lama out of a White House side entrance and not even clear the garbage
 
Now I have no illusions that a Republican President would lead to democracy in China. There is a very good chance that at this moment in 2039 things might be a whole lot worse than they are now. But if this Republican President did not hesitate to criticize China, it could inspire Chinese dissidents the way Ronald Reagan calling the Soviet Union "an evil empire" inspired those imprisoned in the Soviet gulags during the 1980s such as Natan Sharansky. He recounts when news of Reagan's speech reached them they shared it with one another by tapping in their own unique form of Morse Code. If a future Republican President can supply the words, then the Chinese dissidents will supply the taps. 
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