Why the collapse of the Soviet Union is China's nightmare?

WION Delhi Jun 04, 2020, 09.03 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

File photo: China's President Xi Jinping Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

What the Communist Party of China grew to value the most was stability and it was achieved by suppressing political rights and human rights.

In the 1950s, the Chinese used to say, "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) of today is the China of tomorrow." But after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it became, "The USSR of yesterday must not become the China of tomorrow."

China viewed the USSR as a 'pole' in a multipolar world. Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader who retired in 1992, used to refer to the USSR as the polar bear. 

Also Read: From brutal Tiananmen crackdown to China's re-emergence: A timeline of events

The Chinese leaders went to great lengths to prevent the Soviet Union from disintegrating.

Since 1989 when China suppressed pro-democracy demonstrations in and around central Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the Communist Party of China (CPC) fears a similar fate. The party knew it had to change in order to survive. However, with this, it did not mean political reform, but more oppression and boosting its economy.

Deng Xiaoping's vision of a 'socialist market economy' became the Communist Party's official policy. In 1992, When Deng Xiaoping went for his second tour of southern China, he pressed for faster economic reforms Paramount leader Deng Xiaoping tours southern China to press for faster economic reforms Voices within the party that opposed market liberalisation were silenced. By October 1992, China was looking at increased foreign trade and investment.

Also Read: Soft and hard power: Steps India needs to take to counter China

In 1997, when Hong Kong was handed over to China, Beijing played safe and pressed for the policy of 'One Nation With Diversity'. What the party grew to value the most was stability and it was achieved by suppressing political rights and human rights.

After the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, Deng had reportedly said, "200 lives are a small price to pay for 20 years of stability." Clearly, when Deng Xiaoping said reform, he meant a new brand of socialism. 

China has never provided a full accounting of the 1989 violence. The death toll given by officials days later was over 200, most of them soldiers, but rights groups and witnesses say the death toll could have run into the thousands.

Xi Jinping continues to follow Deng's line and he is not ready to compromise on the party's absolute grip on power. In 2017, Xi Jinping said, "China presents a new option for countries who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence." However, he did not tell the world that under its economic figures, China is hiding large-scale suppression and violation of human rights.