What was the overall effect of China's crushing of student uprisings in the spring of 1989?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most profound effects of China's reactions to Prodemocratic demonstrations was the intense level of brutality that the government employed against its own people.  This demonstration of power and force was on display for the whole world to see.  It evoked the United Nations' claim that the Chinese officials who perpetrated it were in "massive violation" regarding their approach to human rights.  The United Nations repudiated China on these grounds, making it clear that China's acceptance into the world organization was predicated on its tolerance and sense of respect for political rights and expression.  This was violated in the government show of power in Tiananmen Square.  Nations around the world were quick to point to such a show of force as representative of how China's modernization and liberalization in economics did not extend to the realm of political rights and political expression.  They called the demonstration of power as "unacceptable" and were "dismayed by the bloody repression."  In this, the overall effect of the demonstrations were to evoke international condemnation and anger.  It went very far in developing a narrative that suggests Chinese intolerance to public criticism.

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