Challenges the Party had to face?
- The global financial crisis in 2008-2009 was a big challenge for China. They got through that through a massive stimulus programme.
- The COVID-19 Crisis is probably the longest downturn for China post-Tiananmen or maybe since the late seventies.
- They now have a sort of global political crisis or global political fight over the origins of the virus, and responsibility and accountability for it as this can’t be turned around by a sort of wave of infrastructure spending.
How is China Handling it?
- China’s handling of this crisis really shows the deep weaknesses and also some of the strengths of their system.
- Weaknesses that were exposed: a lack of openness, lack of transparency, endemic bureaucratic problems, and a fear of offending and reporting to the centre.
- Strengths: The remarkable demonstration of the power of the Party-State.
- A display of power of the party is seen when they locked down in residences up to a 700 million people, they mobilised the army, they mobilised the paramilitary, they commandeered businesses to make for the state personal protective equipment, they shut factories, they shut businesses.
- It might be good internal propaganda if China is successful and they can portray China as successful compared to other countries.
- China’s logistical strengths, its industrial clusters, its ports, its railways, in other words, the ability to trade and do business are immensely powerful.
China’s Global Position affected?
- The US-China relationship continues to break down at a rapid pace.
- China’s relations with a lot of European countries, France, Germany, Britain, has been strained by the COVID-19 Crisis.
- Reasons for this being – The lack of transparency and a distaste at what many people see as China’s efforts to exploit the turnaround in their country and gain sort of a propaganda or PR win from it.
- There’s little doubt that the climate for China investing in the US is not going to get better soon.
- Europe in recent years has gradually been trying to put up more regulatory barriers to particular purchases of Chinese tech equipment.
Tiananmen Square Protests
- The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China in 1989.
- At issue was a frustration with the limits on political freedom in the country—given its one-party form of government, with the Communist Party holding sway—and ongoing economic troubles.
- Although China’s government had instituted a number of reforms in the 1980s that established a limited form of capitalism in the country, the poor and working-class Chinese still faced significant challenges, including lack of jobs and increased poverty.
- The students also argued that China’s educational system did not adequately prepare them for an economic system with elements of free-market capitalism.
- The protests started on April 15 and were forcibly suppressed on June 4 when the government declared martial law and sent the military to occupy central parts of Beijing.
- In what became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, troops with assault rifles and tanks fired at the demonstrators and those trying to block the military’s advance into Tiananmen Square. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded.