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Tiananmen Square Document 24: Department of State Intelligence Brief, "Current Situation in China: Background and Prospects," Ca., 1989
One week after the bloody crackdown of June 3-4, State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research issued this brief, explaining the current situation within the context of the Chinese leadership crisis that had been broiling for two years and especially "the power struggle for the succession to Deng Xiaoping." The document suggests that only Communist Party Secretary Zhao Ziyang "seemed to understand the depth of public grievances and the urgent need to address them in some realistic fashion," and that hard-liners in the leadership saw the crackdown as an opportunity to undermine his leadership and restore a more authoritarian government. Thus Deng split with Zhao, his protégé, and "gave carte blanche to Yang Shangkun and Li Peng to enforce martial law and quash the demonstrations." Commenting on prospects for future political reforms, the document asserts that, "There is probably little residual faith that the government can be counted on to move forward on demands for political freedoms, an open and accurate press, and an end to official corruption."
To access the document, please click here.
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