This year marks the hundreth anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, an event which is portrayed by the CCP as being a step on the revolutionary ladder towards communism. In reality, however, it signalled the advent of Chinese nationalism.
The May Fourth Movement was a series of protests, beginning in Beijing and spreading across the country, against what became the CCP’s most favoured of enemies, China’s unfair treatment at the hands of foreign powers. In this instance, the Movement protested the weak response of the Chinese government to the Treaty of Versailles and, ultimately, the Empire of Japan.
The protests were not without merit, as the wishes of China were largely ignored by the Western powers at the Paris Peace Conference. The effect of the Treaty of Versailles, at least in the eyes of the Western powers, was to punish and diminish Germany through disarmament and taking away territory. One of those territories was Shandong in China, captured from Germany during World War One by the Empire of Japan. Chinese officials and diplomats attempted to secure the return of the province to China, but failed. Shandong was to remain in the hands of the Empire of Japan.
Upon learning of that failure, the students of Beijing began to mobilise in protest against the Treaty, and also against the government. These protests quickly spread throughout China, and the students were joined by others similarly disgusted with the ineffectual Chinese government and elites. Thus, a nationalist movement was born.
This year also marks the anniversary of another student protest, as it is the thirtieth anniversary of the “June 4 Incident”, whereby thousands of students set upon Tiananmen Square and the surrounding streets in Beijing, as well as cities across China, in protest at their own restrictive and incompetent government. The fates of many of those students is still covered-up by the Chinese government to this day, though it is well known that many of them were beaten and gunned down in the streets they had peacefully occupied.
So what better way for the current Chinese government to celebrate the role of students in the body politic, than by using those same students to enforce Communist ideology amongst their classmates? What better way to celebrate the role of universities in Chinese history, than to launch spurious investigations into academics?
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Chinese celebration without some human rights lawyers also thrown on the bonfire.