The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 heralded the end of
communism in Europe, but Foreign Policy's Jefferey N.
it may have cemented the Communist Party's place in China. With
China's ruling party celebrating its 60th anniversary
questions over how it survived are timely. Did the party survive in Beijing not despite the fall of the Berlin
Wall but because of it?
One reason the CCP had endured was that,
in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1991 implosion of the Soviet
Union, its demise had seemed so inevitable.
unlike the Eastern European states, had early warning that its regime was about
to fall; the entire world seemed to know it. That sense of urgency made Chinese
leaders avid students of the Soviet Union's downfall. The CCP charged official
think tanks with discovering the keys to maintaining a monopoly on power, while
avoiding the fate of erstwhile counterparts in Budapest, Bucharest, Prague, and
should be no surprise, then, that CCP leaders took steps to counter each of
these lessons throughout the 1990s. [...] Perhaps most importantly, China made itself less
susceptible to the "Polish disease," a term for the cross-class
mobilization associated with the Solidarity movement, coined originally in East
Germany and eventually made popular in Beijing policy circles.
Wasserstrom concludes, "One reason the Berlin Wall fell was because it
once seemed so
likely to endure. And one reason China's Communist Party has endured is
once seemed so certain to fail."
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