China Beijing Spring

With 150,000 students on the march, Deng agrees to open a dialogue. Will talk be enough?

The night before the march, Jia Guangxi and his five roommates at Peking University toasted one another with farewell glasses of wine. "Some of us even wrote last wills," recalled Jia, 18, an economics major from Inner Mongolia. And why not? Chinese officials, having tolerated eleven days of protests by tens of thousands of students, were darkly warning of a crackdown that would put an end to the demonstrations once and for all.

On Thursday morning Jia rose early, grabbed a megaphone and headed for the headquarters of the student organizing committee. As his classmates poured out of their dormitories, Jia...

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