(CHINA from MAO to DENG – continued)
Ten years later, the rising at Tiananmen Square would be more in the minds of Americans when they thought of China than it would be in the minds of the people in China. People in China were still looking forward to gradual and orderly political and economic progress. Mao's little red book and other items related to Mao were hot items for sale to tourists. The likeness of Mao could be seen hanging from the rear view mirror of taxis – and seen as cute rather than as a serious political expression. But for the Communist Party, Mao, despite his mistakes, was still revered as a founder, deserving respect for his participation in the struggles in revolutionary China. At least a few people looked upon the Mao with a touch of nostalgia because people in his day, they said, were less self-centered. In the countryside a few women, disturbed by an unpleasant development of some sort, could be seen praying at one of the few Mao statues that remained.
The government was allowing individual expressions of dissent, and in bookstores were books by a dissident or two. The Party hoped that with an economic growth rate up around eight percent the masses would remain content with rule by their "people's party." But growth began to slow a little by late 1998. Unemployment was rising. Tensions remained between the Communist Party and those who wished for political pluralism, and the Party continued to forbid organization of any political opposition.
China: a New History, by John King Fairbank and Merle Goldman, 1998
Hungry Ghosts, by Jasper Becker, Free Press, 1997
Remembering Deng Xiaoping – by PBS, NewsHour
Copyright © 1998-2011 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.