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Photo Essay of a Failed Reform: Beida, Tiananmen Square and the Defeat of Deng Xiaoping, 1975-76

Photo Essay of a Failed Reform: Beida, Tiananmen Square and the Defeat of Deng Xiaoping, 1975-76
1 Devonshire Place, Room 208N, Munk School of Global Affairs
Time: Apr 10th, 2:00 pm End: Apr 10th, 4:00 pm
Interest Categories: East Asian Studies (FAS), 2000-
Talk by Dr. David Zweig, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The Asian Institute presents

Photo Essay of a Failed Reform: Beida, Tiananmen Square and the Defeat of Deng Xiaoping, 1975-76

In mid-1975, Deng Xiaoping, with Mao’s blessing, initiated reforms that targeted the negative consequences of the Cultural Revolution. To bolster Deng’s effort, Mao endowed him with penultimate authority over the party, government and military. However, in late October, Mao turned on Deng, and within five months, Mao and the radicals toppled Deng from power.
Chinese society supported Deng’s changes. In January 1976, Beijingers used Zhou’s death to express fears that his moderate policies and persona would be swept aside by the radicals. In early-April, several million Beijingers took over Tiananmen Square and denounced the radicals and challenged Mao’s vision for China’s future.

As a foreign student at Peking University, I observed and photographed four key points in this historic struggle: (1) the initial establishment of a “big character poster” compound at Peking U; (2) emotional mourning for Zhou Enlai in Tiananmen Square following his death: (3) the intensified assault on Deng in February 1976 at Peking U; and (4) the massive demonstration of support in Tiananmen Square on April 3rd and 4th for the end of Maoist politics

David Zweig is Chair Professor, Division of Social Science, and Director, Center on China’s Transnational Relations (www.cctr.ust.hk), HKUST. He is an Adjunct Professor, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha, Hunan, and Vice-President of the Center on China’s Globalization (Beijing). He lived in China for 4 years (1974-76, 1980-81, 1986 and 1991-92), and in Hong Kong since 1996. In 1984-85, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. His Ph.D. is from The University of Michigan (Political Science, 1983).

He is the author of four books, including Internationalizing China: domestic interests and global linkages (Cornell Univ. Press, 2002) and a new edited book, Sino-U.S. Energy Triangles: Resource Diplomacy under Hegemony, with Hao Yufan (Routledge: 2015). In 2013, he received The Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship, Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, and in 2015 received grant from the RGC for a project entitled, “Coming Home: Reverse Migration of Entrepreneurs and Academics in India and Turkey in Light of the Chinese Experience.”

This event is free and open to all. Registration is required. For further information, please contact the Martina Mimica at (416) 946-8996


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