Shades of Tiananmen: Protests Now Flourish in China


Jun 2, 2004

This commentary originally appeared in International Herald Tribune on June 2, 2004.

On the 15th anniversary of China's suppression of student protesters in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, few in the West seem aware that Beijing is again confronting a growing volume of popular protest. Even more surprising, reports of this widespread protest are being confirmed by China's own police forces, which used to routinely deny permission for most protest demonstrations.

Recent official police statistics are striking. The number of demonstrations increased from 8,700 to 32,000 from 1993 to 1999 — an increase of 268 percent. The number probably swelled past 40,000 in 2000. In no year during this period did protests increase by less than 9 percent, and in the financial crisis years of 1997 and 1998 they spiked by 25 and 67 percent, respectively...

Murray Scot Tanner is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization.

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