chapter
6 Pages

Introduction: The Specter of Tiananmen

WithWilliam Α. Joseph

A specter is haunting China. Karl Marx heralded the communist specter as an omen of a new socialist world; ironically, the specter of the Tiananmen massacre may well be a portent of the final chapter of communist rule in China and another installment in the global demise of communism. As Richard Baum points out in the opening chapter, there are numerous ways in which the party's "dramatic loss of prestige and popularity" in the wake of Tiananmen is apparent even while outright opposition is impossible in the prevailing climate of repression. Economic performance is an important component of the legitimacy of any government, and economic revitalization was the foundation of Deng Xiaoping's popularity prior to Tiananmen. One of the most ironic developments in post-Tiananmen China has been the selective use of "Maoism without Mao" by the leadership as part of an effort to bolster its ideological legitimacy and strengthen its political control.