China After 1989 Part II

By | January 7, 2022

The so-called ‘double track’ policy (initially promoting the enrichment of the coastal provinces and thinking of those in the interior only after the economic strengthening of the former), which prevailed throughout the 1980s, began to show all its defects.: unemployment grew in the countryside, arable areas were visibly decreasing due to increasing urbanization, a widespread phenomenon of corruption among party cadres made life difficult and precarious for many rural businesses. But Beijing called this a secondary problem.

One of the pillars of the reform process was the imminent return, under the formula ‘one country of two systems’, of Hong Kong to China. Yet it was precisely from that front that disturbing signals began to arrive in the period following the events of Tien An Men. The shock of the events of June 1989 had led to the formation, favored by the English governor Wilson, of various political forces with a markedly democratic orientation and hostile to the Beijing regime. These new parties, and in particular the United Democrats led by M. Lee, had begun to establish themselves in September 1991, on the occasion of the votes for the renewal of the Legislative Council (the Parliament of Hong Kong), winning 12seats out of 18. It was a very worrying alarm bell for Deng who, even before the Conservatives could use the pretext of the Hong Kong elections to launch yet another attack on reforms, launched what was to be the definitive offensive: between the On January 18 and 30, 1992, he made a long journey in the southern provinces that the Chinese press later described as “the emperor’s journey to the south”. At each stage Deng urged China to follow the path of reforms and development without second thoughts and asked the productive forces of the country to guarantee an economic growth of 10 % instead of the 6 % foreseen by 8th Five-year plan; and each time he attacked the conservatives, citing them by name, accusing them of slowing down reforms and sabotaging the country’s development. A few months later he launched the same attack on those representatives of the armed forces hostile to him and his project: more than three hundred senior officers were removed from their posts. The Xiv Congress of the Communist Party, which opened in Beijing on October 12, 1992, effectively sanctioned Deng’s victory over the conservatives.

If 1992 was the year of Deng Xiaoping’s triumph, it was also the last to see him as a direct protagonist of the country’s political life: on January 22, 1993 the elderly leader appeared briefly in Shanghai for the celebrations of the year of the Rooster and on that occasion I reiterated his support for Jiang Zemin, defining him not as his political heir, but as the “pivot of the collegial leadership”. Soon after, and this was in fact Deng’s ‘testament’, political power passed to the troika made up of Jiang Zemin, Li Peng and Zhu Rongji. They had the task of watching over the good performance of the economy and above all the orderly return of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

According to YOUREMAILVERIFIER, the management of the existing one presupposed a stable situation both inside and outside the Chinese borders, but in foreign policy the Beijing troika soon found itself confronted with various problems. On May 28, 1993, the new US President B. Clinton announced that he would make the confirmation of the most favored nation trade clause conditional.respect for human rights in China and the cessation of the sale of missiles to countries considered ‘at risk’ in the Middle East area. Behind this sudden stiffening in Washington there were considerations of a humanitarian and strategic nature, but also, and perhaps above all, of an economic nature. The US trade deficit with China had reached the figure of 30 between 1992 and 1993 billions of dollars: China had in the USA the main recipient of its exports, while American imports in China were small. The China then did not recognize the right on intellectual property and copied books, discs and software from the American market and then resold them on the Asian market. Another element of the country’s difficulty on the international level was the official announcement, given on 23 September 1993, that the 2000 Olympics would have been hosted in Sidney: China had already presented its candidacy years before and was counting on this event of great appeal to relaunch development. The news was a huge blow to the economy and to the internal credibility of the Chinese government itself. Cornered in its international relations, Beijing initially responded by carrying out a nuclear test in the Lop Nor basin in Xinjiang province in October. But he soon resumed the difficult path of dialogue with the United States on economic and human rights issues. At the end of the year, the 19 November, Jiang Zemin traveled to the United States and met with President Clinton in Seattle. The meeting was successful, many of the disputes were resolved and new commitments were signed between the two countries.

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