With so many references to Tiananmen showing up in the news, we wanted to take a quick break from our time away to recommend a couple of the best uses of 1989 analogies (if we weren't on hiatus, we'd also look at some of the worst, and there have been some pretty bad ones). One powerful rumination on the relevance of China's 1989 for thinking about Iran's 2009 is by Andrew Leonard of the "How the World Works" blog at Salon.com:
"Watching the extraordinary political events unfold in Iran, I am reminded of the massive protests that swept across China twenty years ago. Here are a couple of comparative ideas:
1) Protests of this sort start out spontaneously, in response to some unexpected political event (election fraud in Iran, Hu Yaobang's death in China). But they create a self-reinforcing momentum, driven by the regime's response to popular mobilization. In China, an editorial, reportedly written under the supervision of Deng Xiaoping, was published on April 26th that harshly (in PRC political terms) criticized the student demonstrators. This sparked the massive march of April 27th, which propelled the movement forward.