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September 07, 1989 - Image 9

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-07

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r

The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition -Thursday, September 7, 1989- Pag&9

The

:
ry

Tiananmen Square

tragedy

University professors shed light on the student movement
by Wendy Worthen
Daily Staff Writer

Faculty members from the Uni-
versity's renown Center for Chinese
Studies were enlisted this summer
by many local and national news
sources to help interpret the Chinese
government's brutal crackdown on
the student-led democracy movement
in Beijing.
* Professor Kenneth Lieberthal, di-
1rector of the Center for Chinese
Studies, was visiting China during
the June 4 massacre in Tiananmen
Square. Fresh from appearing on
ABC's Nightline, he along with five
other faculty members, analyzed the
political, economic, and intellectual
implications of the events in Beijing
at a University forum in June.
Discussing developments in the
Chinese leadership since the student
protests began, Lieberthal said, "The
octogenarians at the highest levels of
China's government saw the student
demonstrators as a manageable irri-
tant - the students did not chal-
lenge the system itself. The
protestors did become a fundamental
challenge, however, when those at
the top became divided as to how to

handle the problem."
Economics Professor Robert
Dernberger, a former congressional
ad-visor on the Chinese economy,
offered an economic view of the
situation. He said the hard-line con-
servatives who won control of the
Chinese leadership now face extreme
economic problems, the most press-
ing being a huge decrease in foreign
exchange as other countries levy
economic sanctions against China.
Philosophy Professor Donald
Munro offered an explanation of
what type of "democracy" the
Beijing students have been fighting
for.
"At one end, some students want
to be treated as individuals with in-
dividual rights. They want govern-
ment tolerance of independent stu-
dent organizations," said Munro.
"(The Chinese people) are more clear
on the right to individual organiza-
tion. For them, student organiza-
tions and free labor union -plural-
ism of organization- would be
democracy."
Political Science Professor

Leonard Woodcock, a former U.S.
Ambassador to China, gave a broader
view of Chinese politics.
"Corruption, nepotism, and infla-
tion have become ever-more disturb-
ing problems to the Chinese. The
government was more divided than
the outside world knew; power was
invested in individuals, and under
stress, the leadership became unsta-
ble," said Woodcock.
He said there is conflicting ideol-
ogy between those who are survivors
of the Cultural Revolution and the
students who speak of democracy to-
day.
"An unbridgeable chasm separates
elderly leaders from youth. Con-
servative elders of the Communist
Party are intellectually isolated," said
Woodcock.

UM News in
The Daily
764-0552

i-ILE PHTOUI
Over 300 students demonstrated in early June in the Diag to condemn the Chinese government for their
actions against the students in Tiananmen Square. The protestors also demanded action from the US.
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