West miscasts Tiananmen protesters

While scanning the coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, I found this interesting editorial, which questions the depiction of the student protesters as pro-democracy.

The truth is that the students in the square had only the haziest
understanding of western-style democracy. To the extent that the
protests were directed at abuses of an existing system by an emerging
elite, they were motivated more by outrage at the betrayal of socialist
ideals than by aspirations for a new system. The mood in the square was
at least as much conservative as it was activist.

arguments may seem arcane two decades later. But, in my view, they are
keenly relevant. The styling of Tiananmen as a pro-democracy movement
helped to miscast the west’s narrative on China’s past and future.–James Kynge, Financial Times

One thought on “West miscasts Tiananmen protesters

  1. Democracy is a socialist ideal. So, if the protesters abhored the betrayal of socialism and democracy, then they were pro-democracy. Is “progressive” only applicable to pro-capitalists in your world?

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