At present, the Democracy Movement is growing on three fronts: the first front consists mainly of a reform faction in the Party, and debate is currently taking place within this faction as to the scale of democratic reform in China; the second front is composed mainly of intellectuals drawn from literary, artistic and theoretical circles, and profound and wide-ranging discussions are being carried out at present on this from concerning China’s policies on politics, literature and art; the third front, upon which I lay particular stress, consists mainly of young students and young workers. Over the past year, this latter front has developed vigorously, notably through its participation in election campaigns and related areas of activity; already this year, the process of direct election of People’s Representatives (to local People’s Congresses) has got underway in Fudan University in Shanghai, Hunan Teachers Training College, Peking University, People’s University in Peking, Guizhou University and other places. This third front has displayed an increasing sense of assertiveness over the question of its own right to exist and be involved in the affairs of the nation.

I feel it would be wrong to take such a view. Regardless of whether one is talking about an official movement or a movement of the people, the important thing is to look at what the actual aims of the movement are. The people’s movement is indeed demanding a more profound democratization than the official one, but in terms of the kinds of democratic reform which China is able to carry out at the present time—the separation of Party and government, direct involvement in politics by the people, journalistic freedom and freedom of the press—the reform faction in the Party, the intellectuals and the young fighters for democracy are actually united around common objectives. To this extent, no distinction can be made between an official movement and a people’s movement.

So far these contradictions have not become acute, although the first signs of this are just beginning to appear. On the one hand, for example, the reform faction in the Party has been publishing articles for a reform of the political system, while on the other hand an article by a special commentator recently appeared in Red Flag magazine calling for a nationwide curbing of ‘dissident’ activity. This is a reflection of the fact that the reform faction in the Party still does not trust the masses, that it fears the masses will raise even more radical demands which may get in the way of the Party’s own vested interests. This faction would actually like to carry out a kind of intra-Party reform under the one-party dictatorship of the Communist Party, whereas the popular masses are calling for opposition towards the one-party dictatorship. The popular masses acknowledge the leadership of the Communist Party, but they do not acknowledge one-party dictatorship and a political situation in which the Communist Party controls everything. It is very likely that at some point in the future a clash may occur between the official and people’s movements over this point, but for the meantime this conflict is not an acute one.

At present, these common objectives still lie on the abstract plane of democratic reform—in economics, for example, the devolving of power on to the enterprise; in the sphere of literature and art, the genuine allowing of ‘a hundred flowers to bloom and a hundred schools of thought to contend’; and in the political sphere, the election of People’s Congresses at all levels of the state by the popular masses themselves. On these points, the three groups are relatively in accord. A specific example of this was the recent campus upheaval in Hunan. Bureaucrats in Hunan Teachers Training College suppressed the democratic rights of the young students, so the students held demonstrations in support of their rights. In this action they gained backing not only from the intellectuals, but also from the Centre. As far back as one can remember, the Centre has always criticized student actions; this time was different, however, and the Centre held that it was Su Ming of the Hunan Election Campaign Commitee that was in the wrong. This shows that the objectives of the reform faction within the Party, the intellectuals and the young students are relatively convergent.

It is the young workers and students who will exert the greatest influence, because they are the youth and the future belongs to them.

What I mean is that their thinking is the most non-conservative; mainly because they grew up in the ten years of the Cultural Revolution, relatively few of them adhere to orthodox socialist ideologies of either a Stalinist or Maoist cast. They yearn to find something which they themselves can recognize as being genuinely socialist ideology. Although some students do reject Marxism and socialism, they only constitute a minority; the majority of young fighters for democracy are tireless in their efforts on behalf of what they themselves mean by socialism. Under present circumstances, it is they who are most likely to supply the powerful social impetus, the force for public opinion, which is needed to promote the reform of society.

At present things are still at the embryonic stage—running journals and organizing study groups, for example. However, an (unofficial) organization comprising twenty-nine cities across the country has been formed, the National Association of the People’s Press; this is a nationwide body which, although fairly loosely structured, nevertheless acts as the forerunner of a certain tendency, namely the uniting of various sources of public opinion across the country into a force capable of transforming society. Furthermore, this generation of youth—whether in the Party, government, army or in the factories and enterprises—is a generation of successors. It is the thinking of this generation which will determine that of the future society.