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The Chinese democracy movement and organizations

By Chin Jin - posted Friday, 21 December 2012


It is my view that the modern Chinese democratic movement is the continuation of the Revolution of 1911 led by Dr Sun Yat-sen, which by chance, but successfully, overthrew the Qing Dynasty after nearly two decades of consistent armed struggle and founded the Republic of China where at that time an imperfect and short-lived democracy was put into practice.

The newborn democracy in China was interrupted by both communism and fascism, the Soviet Union which was instigating communist rebels within China, and Japan which invaded China, resulting in the crippling of the Chiang Kai-shek Kuomintang government, which eventually lost to the Chinese Communist Party in 1949.

Under the rigid political control of the Chinese Communist Party during Mao Zedong period from 1949 to 1976, there were no signs and voices of any tangible democratic movement.

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1978-79 saw a glimpse of a turning point with new opportunity for potential political advancement in China. The Chinese Communist Party slightly loosened its grip on public opinion because top leaders were preoccupied with the redistribution of internal power struggles. There appeared to be a tendency of introspection calling for change in China. The Xidan Democracy Wall in Beijing became the unique venue or place where people expressed their political viewpoints. I saw it as the inception of the modern Chinese democracy movement.

But this was short-lived. The Xidan Democracy Wall was officially closed in November 1979. Most of the activists of the Democracy Wall were arrested or silenced.

In November 1982, Dr. Wang, Bingzhang, a medicine PhD graduate ofMcGill University inMontreal Canadakick-started the"China Spring Democracy Movement" in New York, which lifted the curtain for the Chinese overseas democracy movement.

One year later in December 1983, the first conference of the China Spring Democracy Movement in New York gave birth to the first overseas Chinese democratic organization "the Chinese Alliance for Democracy", short for "CAD". The key target of CAD was to do away with the CCP's one-party ruleandbring democracy in China.

Because CAD was the first political opposition set up by young Chinese students, the incumbent ROC leader Chiang Ching-kuo was very keen to offer substantial support, which sadly discontinued after his sudden death in early 1988.

Dr Wang Bingzhang was trapped and kidnapped at the border of China and Vietnam by the joint efforts of Vietnamese thugs or mafia and Chinese agents in June 2002, who was later given life jail term by the Chinese authorities in early 2003. I would like to regard Dr Wang Bingzhang as the founding father of the overseas Chinese democratic movement.

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In April 1989, the death of Hu Yaobang triggered 1989 Beijing democratic movement. Alarmed by the millions of people assembling in Tiananmen Square, on 4 June, Deng Xiaoping ordered to crackdown the movement, causing the blood-bath massacre that shocked the whole world.

As the result, the liberal-minded Party chief Zhao Ziyang stepped down, the probable political reform initiated by the CCP completely vanished all of a sudden and a peaceful transition of the CCP following the footstep of KMT in Taiwan from a revolutionary party to a parliamentary one almost impossible.

A group of fleeing democrats of Tiananmen Square Massacre jointly drafted a proposal on 20 July 1989 to set up of the Federation for A Democratic China. They called for all Chinese to unite under the banner of "liberty, democracy, rule of law and human rights" to push for democracy in China. In September, 1989, the Federation for a Democratic China, known as FDC, was founded in Paris France.

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About the Author

Chin Jin is an M.A. graduate of the University of Western Sydney and Chair of the Federation For A Democratic China, Australia.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Chin Jin

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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