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Tiananmen and the end of Chinese enlightenment

Thirty years on, Beijing's leaders will struggle to suppress liberal ideas if economy runs into trouble

| China

When the tanks of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) rolled into Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, the crackdown not only ended the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators, but it also cut short a decade of Chinese political enlightenment.

If this enlightenment movement, which provided inspiration for many political leaders, thinkers and young college students, had not been suppressed, China would have become a different country.

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