In the first three months of 1989, more than six-thousand corrupt officials were convicted. Many more were beyond the reach of investigators since some had the protection of high-ranking party officials in Beijing.
Then Deng’s right-hand man, who was very popular with the people, died from a heart attack. Without his voice to speak for the people, anger erupted over the corruption and rising prices. People flooded Tiananmen Square.
The protesters were not demanding Western style politics or an end to Communist Party rule as many in the West believe. They wanted the government to listen to their opinions about reforms and corruption. The banners the protesters carried said, “We Support the Great Glorious Communist Party of China.”
However, inside the Great Hall of China, Deng was told the demonstrators wanted to overthrow the Communist Party. Deng reacted with anger. He believed that Western style democracy would end China’s growth. He said, “We can’t have the separation of powers. We can’t copy the West.”
College students and workers came to Tiananmen Square to show support. Russia’s President Gorbachev arrived to see China’s progress. The demonstrations were happening at the worst possible time. The protesters were an embarrassment.
As soon as Gorbachev left, Deng called a meeting to discuss what to do. There were reports that people all over China were protesting.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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