China’s Communist Party Is Still Fighting for Its Survival 30 Years After Tiananmen

China’s Communist Party Is Still Fighting for Its Survival 30 Years After Tiananmen
A Chinese paramilitary policeman stands guard in front of Mao Zedong’s portrait on Tiananmen Gate on the 30th anniversary of a bloody crackdown of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing, June 4, 2019 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

China’s notorious security apparatus and strict internet censors did their best to ensure a quiet day on Tuesday, which marked the 30th anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. “Technical upgrades” prevented social media users from performing simple functions, such as changing their profile picture on WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app. Overseas, Chinese nationals found themselves blocked from posting on Weibo, the popular Chinese social networking website. Financial information provider Refinitiv censored Reuters news stories about Tiananmen after Chinese authorities threatened to suspend its operations in China if it did not comply.

But days earlier, a trove of newly leaked speeches delivered by Chinese leaders in the aftermath of the 1989 crackdown provided a rare look at the Communist Party’s internal politics after hundreds if not thousands of pro-democracy protesters had been killed by the Chinese military.

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