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Tradition and Dissent in China: The Tuidang Movement and its Challenge to the Communist Party Open Access

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In the fall of 2004, a series of editorials appeared in a Chinese dissident newspaper run by Falun Gong adherents in the United States. The editorials served as the catalyst for what may be the largest dissident movement in China in over two decades. The movement, known as Tuidang ("withdraw from the party"), has seen as many as tens of millions of Chinese citizens publicly denounce the Communist Party. Unlike the student movement of 1989 or the more recent Charter 08--both of which embraced the language of western democracy--the Tuidang movement employs distinctly Chinese language and meaning that is more Confucian than humanist. The movement calls to revive traditional moral virtues and to cast off the `foreign' ideology of Communism, which is portrayed as antithetical to true Chinese values, human nature, and universal laws. The Tuidang movement offers an alternative ideology that is at once compelling and accessible.

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