Iran, China, Tiananmen

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I have thus far resisted the temptation to write about what’s happening in Iran and what took place in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The differences are so huge (an election for one thing, however flawed, along with a completely different ruling structure, not to mention history, society etc, all very different), it seems to me, to make comparisons pointless. Looking at it from another angle–what China’s rulers are thinking as they watch these images on TV, is far more interesting. It’s been no surprise that coverage in the official media of the demonstrations and crackdown has been extremely muted. Nor that the internet police are busily deleting comments on Iran almost as soon as they are put up (though not all. As long as there are no comparisons to China/Tiananmen, some comments get through. For example, this article titled “Iran Tightens Media Control, Closing Websites and Blogs” initially gathered 955 comments, but only 249 of them are displayed.) 

As Philip Bowring says in this piece in the International Herald Tribune, the senior cadres in Party headquarters will undoubtedly be congratulating themselves on their strict adherence to the two man conclusions their analysts drew from the events around Tiananmen: Party unity is the number one priority, particularly in times of crisis and b) never, never budge an inch on making any concessions on democracy because once you give an inch…..