Dr. Brook, a scholar of Chinese history and Professor at the University of British Columbia, discusses his book about the massacre in Beijing and various details about what actually happened.
The discussion then focuses on the former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, twice purged by Mao Zedong and whose own son had been injured and crippled during the chaos of the Cultrual Revolution (1966-1976). Deng acted to use overwhelming, and lethal force, on the students.
Defenders of Deng suggest the killing was a necessary step to promote stability. They note how tens of millions of people were brought into the middle class through Deng’s market friendly polices. The actions were also justified as preventing chaos like China had experienced during the Cultural Revolution in the ten years before Mao’s death in 1976. Dr Brook discusses this view and legacy of Deng, and the history of democracy in China.
The interview then turns to what Dr. Brook sees as the future for China with President Xi now set to rule for life, like Mao before him.