Peace Essay

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China and Iran: Transition to Democracy
Throughout the course of history, there have been Communist, Socialist, Democratic governments and dictatorships, but the most equitable form of government has been Democracy. All these different forms of government have been successful at some time, but in today's world in order for the process of democratization to succeed, many factors have to be favorable for success to be achieved. In this essay, the democratization of China and Iran will be discussed. One has been successful where the other has not emerged. The process and factors that lead to their present outcomes will be discussed.

The democratization of China had been a very slow process. China's process of democratization has been long in coming, "for 160 years since the Opium War, China has struggled through countless tortuous paths in pursuit of democratization. Millions of people with lofty ideals sacrificed for it; a number of them were killed by those who resisted democratization, but even more died as a result of internal conflicts."1 These deaths were not in vain, they taught the people of China a very valuable lesson and after the Cultural Revolution(1966 to 1969), which was a crucial period when many political and social reforms were initiated, the people of China started to accept these political reforms. "The legitimacy of the Communist government had been exhausted. Cultural Revolution raised questions to the Chinese about the legitimacy of the former communist regime."2

There were many events that led to the democratization. The incident at Tiananmen Square was a major event (June 1989) in twentieth century Chinese history, as well as one of the causes of the downfall of communism in many countries. During this incident students marched and demonstrated against the CCP. It was watched by the world via television, it marked the beginning of the third period of modern Chinese foreign policy. The first was coterminous with Mao Zedong's rule, 1949-1976, and the second was coterminous with the economic reform movement of 1977-1988, led by Deng Xiaoping. Under Mao, Beijing's foreign policy was determined mostly by domestic factors. The first of these was revolutionary politics. The most important domestic change was replacement of Maoist radicalism by Dengist pragmatic moderation and a corresponding shift from the primacy of politics to that of economics. "Tiananmen symbolized the beginning of the end of communist rule in China, contributed to the end of Marxism-Leninism globally, and affected China's foreign relations in two ways. Domestically, it temporarily halted reformism and elevated the power of the elderly conservative ideologues, their neo-Maoist philosophy, and the power of the army in the political arena."10

"In 1978, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, who was credited with bringing about China's post 1978 economic reforms and with leading the country onto the path of modernization, ordered to open up the economy and began to reform."3 After the change brought forward by the Cultural Revolution the Chinese government began to make political reforms that led to the formation and acceptance of democratization. "These 25 years of success established the legitimacy of the present government."4 During this time the opposition to reform were more open to peaceful debate than in the past. "These past twenty years differed from the past one hundred in a sense that even though some people viewed democratization with extremely orthodox communism and others with extremely liberal capitalism; they didn't clash with each other as in the past simply because of differences in opinions."5 There differences of opinion sparked constructive debate over the underlining issues which eventually led them to unity.

A greater impact on China's political modernization is "in the late 1980's and early 1990's a wave of democratization swept through the Soviet camp, the former Soviet Union and Eastern European...
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