China in Transition, 1986–88: The Cultural Impact of the Open Door Policy
The cultural impact of the open-door policy went far beyond anything the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership had imagined, causing the conservative ideologues to decry the invasion of Western “bourgeois liberalism” as foreign “spiritual pollution.” The workings of Western democracy and the freedom of its people made a deep impression on Chinese visitors to the West. University students, in particular, felt a social responsibility to be the vanguard of such change. China, from 1986 to 1988, was experiencing the growing pains of rapid economic development and the agony of changing values. Society was buffeted by student unrest, ideological confusion, a leadership crisis, widespread corruption, high inflation, and a loss of a clear sense of direction. Yet, within the depths of the chaos and turbulence, some promise of regeneration and a better future were dimly discernible.
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