Written by William Hurst.
In his Independence Day Speech, on 17 August 1964, Sukarno famously declared the start of what he called the “Year of Dangerous Living”. In the 14 months following that speech, Indonesia was indeed rocked by violent struggles between parties and factions with competing Communist, religious, and right-wing militarist visions for its future, even as Sukarno embarked upon his most radical foreign policy initiatives within Southeast Asia and in withdrawing from important multilateral bodies and organisations. The culmination of all this, of course, was the coup and counter-coup, beginning on 30 September 1965, that led to Sukarno’s fall, Suharto’s seizure of power, and the inauguration of his “New Order” regime that went on to hold power for more than three decades. Contemporary Indonesian history to a remarkable degree turned on this one critical juncture. China has faced similar moments in its recent past – 1953, 1958, 1966, 1978, and 1989 all come to mind – but the current period marks a similar inflexion point in China’s political, economic, and social development. Continue reading “China’s Critical Year”