IR : Why-shouldnt-Chinese-people-fight-for-democracy-Are-they-really-happy-with-their-present-government-2
Answer by Andy Lee Chaisiri:
Chinese in the military dictatorship of Taiwan fought for democracy through the 80's and finally seized it in 1996
Taiwan was ruled by the brutal military dictatorship of the Republic of China (, KMT) for most of the 20th century, and their leaders were infamous for using lethal violence to put down dissent. By 1979 Taiwan had a healthy sized middle class as well as a whole generation of adults who had been born in Taipei. Pro-democracy events grew but were brutally put down by the KMT. The saw the arrest of pro-democracy leader and the murder of his mother and twin 7 year old daughters (stabbed to death under police custody, an 'unsolved' crime to this day).
This incredibly brutal government oppression only galvanized the people of Taiwan to further action, and moderates among the KMT also began to side with the common man over their aging cadre of military leaders. After a hard decade of struggle Taiwan earned their first democratically elected president in 1996 (electing Taiwan-born).
But Taiwan and mainland China are very different places in terms of scale and society
Notice the size
Around the time the democracy movement got steam was when Taiwan was nearing the(economic growth and average income hitting a plateau between generations). Taiwan is also much, much, much smaller than mainland China's (20-something million vs over 1 billion). There was also an issue of identity as the mainland Chinese KMT had basically forced their way into Taipei 1949, but the children of those mainlanders were growing up without ever having set foot in their 'ancestral home' of mainland China. Most importantly, Taiwan's highest authority through the 70's and 80's, (the son of KMT founder ) had an expressed interest in pushing Taiwan towards democracy, and last of all Taiwan's existence depended on the guarantee of US military aid, so any pressure from the US would have a deep impact on them.
As far as I know the Chinese Communist Party ruling mainland China today hasn't had any jailed protester's families 'mysterious' stabbed to death under their watch in the 21st century, so they seem to be more reasonable than the KMT was in the early 80's. Maybe when the mainland's populace as relatively large of a middle class and as much of an economic slow down as Taiwan did, and the CCP doesn't feel as threatened by major western powers, there could be democratic reform for the rest of China.
How close or far that future is to today, who knows.
By the way this is what Taiwan's democracy looks like. Multiply this by 1 billion and you get mainland Chinese democracy!