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Democracy Wall

In November and December 1978, prompted by hints of political change, people began putting up posters in public places expressing their views and telling of their suffering during the Cultural Revolution.

In Beijing, the most outspoken posters appeared on a section of wall near the Forbidden City, and this became known as Democracy Wall. At first, the new leadership under Deng Xiaoping allowed the posters to stay.

But criticism continued to mount and protesters started arriving in the capital demanding that rulings handed down during the Cultural Revolution be reversed.

The most prominent critic, Wei Jingsheng, called for China to adopt democracy as the "fifth modernisation", implicitly criticising Deng who had said China only needed four.

The Party decided to act, arresting and imprisoning the movement's leaders.

Mr Wei spent the next 18 years in jail, before being exiled to the US in 1997.

Activsts put up posters on the Democracy Wall (AP)
The posters were too outspoken for the Party


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