Day School: Tiananmen 1989

Ref: C2225249

The horrific massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, Beijing in 1989 shocked the world. In this fascinating course we de-construct what happened, tracing its origins to the death of Chairman Mao in 1976 and the opening up of China under Peng Xiao Peng in 1978. We will also reflect on how the Massacre colours modern Chinese politics today with the rise of Xi Jin Ping.

Course aim

Tiananmen 1989 explains how the terrible massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing occurred, tracing its origins back to the end of the Cultural Revolution and the free market reforms of Deng Xiao Peng.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explain how China began a process of opening-up to the West and some liberal reforms in the period 1978-1989.
  • Describe how the pro-democracy student protests came about and why.
  • Explain the reaction of Deng Xiao Peng and the Politburo to the demands for reform and their resistance to political change.
  • Demonstrate how the massacre of 1989 has effectively stifled the Chinese democracy debate and increased the authoritarian powers of the Communist Party of China.
  • Describe how China has become increasingly authoritarian and centralised under President Xi Jin Ping.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

Day School: Tiananmen 1989


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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