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Article Dans Une Revue Popular Music Année : 1995

The ‘East is red’ goes pop


In 1989 the Western media left its consumers with the romantic impression that it was merely the students who were demonstrating for ‘democracy’, as if emulating the student demonstrations of twenty years before in Europe and America. But there were workers involved too, who had illegally organised unofficial labour unions, and beyond concerns about democratic rights, there was the impetus of a socio-economic crisis. Most of those killed by the tanks in Tiananmen were workers, not students. People from all walks of life had marched and demonstrated throughout China from Canton ti Lhasa. Nine months before the Tiananmen massacre of June 1989, reversals in official economic policy put a halt to investment and constructions, and the problem of unemployment of rural migrants who had come to the towns was exacerbated. This migration was illegal but had been tolerated since labour was needed for construction. In 1989 anywhere between 60 to 100 million unemployed and homeless people were moving around the country en masse. At one time 250,000 were camped at Canton railway station.

Dates et versions

hal-02166089 , version 1 (26-06-2019)



Gregory B. Lee. The ‘East is red’ goes pop: Commodification, hybridity and nationalism in Chinese popular song and its televisual performance. Popular Music, 1995, 14 (1), pp.95-110. ⟨10.1017/S0261143000007649⟩. ⟨hal-02166089⟩
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