Twenty years ago, China could have followed the path of the Soviet Union. Now the picture is very different: but China's leaders could still learn from Gorbachevby Archie Brown / June 4, 2009 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
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Twenty years ago today in China the prolonged pro-democracy demonstration in Tiananmen Square was brought to a brutal end, when troops and tanks moved in and hundreds of people were killed on the streets of Beijing. While the western world remembers this event, it’s worth bearing in mind that June marks another, very different anniversary. Just 20 years ago democratic reforms in the Soviet Union also astonished the world. Contested elections brought into being the First Congress of People’s Deputies, held between 25 May and 9 June. From the outset, this was a legislature in which the executive was criticised and real debate took place. Its proceedings were televised live and watched by more than half the adult population.