By Eva Cheng
Beginning in late 1978, the Communist Party of China's ``reform and door opening'' program has purportedly sought to strengthen China's socialist course by introducing market mechanisms to speed the development of the productive forces. However, by the 1990s, especially in the second half, when state-owned enterprises were privatised en masse, displacing numerous workers and increasingly depriving retired workers of their hard-earned entitlements, the CPC's claims of staying on the socialist path had become a subject of hot debate.
The corruption and degeneration of a section of the CPC were issues even before the so-called reform, and were certainly made worse by the influx of foreign capital in the 1980s. This added to growing frustration with workers' worsening plight, forming the backdrop to the student protests beginning in 1986-87 and escalating into a series of bold mobilisations in early 1989, which Beijing answered by massacring the protesters on June 4, 1989.