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Out Of Mao's Shadow Essay

2279 words - 9 pages

For several decades, since the death of Mao Zedong, dissidence among the public has increased against the single-party system of Mao’s Chinese Communist Party, or CCP. The CCP, which Mao co-founded, has ruled China since 1949 with little or no opposition party. The ruling party has long crushed dissent since its founding. Three authors have looked into the dissidence. The first is Merle Goldman in her analytical essay of the intellectual class in China entitled “China’s Beleaguered Intellectuals” (2009). In this essay, Goldman focuses on the intellectuals’ struggle for political and intellectual freedom from the CCP. Goldman’s view for the future of China is one containing more political freedoms. On the other hand, Andrew G. Walder’s critical essay “Unruly Stability: Why China’s Regime Has Staying Power,” (2009) refutes Goldman’s claim that China’s intellectuals have the ability to change domestic policy. He argues that, while political dissent has become more commonplace, the CCP and authoritarian control is here to stay. The third author, Philip P. Pan and his novel Out of Mao’s Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China (2008) has a more neutral tone and shows both the side of the intellectuals and the CCP. This paper will use Pan’s book in order to determine which view, either Goldman’s or Walder’s, is correct.
The first section of Pan’s book called “Remembering,” discusses two of the major role-players, Zhao Ziyang and Lin Zhao, during the different campaigns and revolutions throughout China’s history, and the way the public recalls their deaths. Both Zhao Ziyang and Lin Zhao’s lives and deaths received differing treatment by the government censors and the public. Zhao Ziyang was an important senior member in the CCP. His most infamous role in Chinese history ended his political career. In 1989, he supported a massive student uprising that protested for the liberalizing laws and more independence from the party. The CCP decided to crackdown on the protest, but Zhao Ziyang voted against the measure, and afterwards stripped of power. Because of his disloyalty, the party placed Zhao Ziyang under house where he died in 2007, still refusing to denounce the students. The party tried to hide his accomplishments as market reformer, erase him from history, and hide his death. “The Beijing Evening News buried the item on page sixteen, under a brief about the Golden Globes ceremony in the US” (Pan, 5). The reaction of his death by the public, recalled through the eyes if an ex-Tiananmen protestor, Wang Junxiu, is an emotional reflection of how the government treated the public wishing to pay their respects, despite the government’s warning. The party ordered people not to mention his death. However, through internet discussion boards and cellphone texts, “Hundreds came to pay their respects, and police tried to stop them they stood outside in the cold. Some refused to leave and were dragged away” (Pan, 5).
The government’s reactions to...

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