Learn more about Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping Simplified Chinese: 邓小平; Traditional Chinese: 鄧小平; pinyin: Dèng Xiǎopíng; Wade-Giles: Teng Hsiao-p'ing; August 22, 1904–February 19, 1997) was a leader in the Communist Party of China (CCP). Deng never held office as the head of state or the head of government, but served as the de facto leader of the People's Republic of China from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. He pioneered "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" and Chinese economic reform, also known as the "socialist market economy". Critics and supporters alike have claimed many of his reforms helped bring his country closer to capitalism.(
Deng formed the core of the "second generation" CCP leadership. Under his tutelage, China developed one of the fastest growing economies in the world while keeping the Communist Party of China in tight overall control.
Deng, a Hakka, was born Deng Xixian on August 22, 1904 in Paifang village in Xiexing township, Guang'an County, Sichuan Province. He was educated in France, as were many notable Asian revolutionaries (such as Ho Chi Minh and Zhou Enlai), where he discovered Marxism-Leninism.
Deng married 3 times. His first wife, Zhang Xiyuan, one of his schoolmates from Moscow, died when she was 24, a few days after giving birth to Deng's first child, a baby girl, who also died. His second wife, Jin Weiying, left him after he came under political attack in 1933. His third wife, Zhuo Lin, was the daughter of an industrialist in Yunnan Province. She became a member of the Communist Party in 1938, and a year later married Deng in front of Mao's cave dwelling in Yan'an. They had five children: three daughters (Deng Lin, Deng Nan, Deng Rong) and two sons (Deng Pufang, Deng Zhifang).
 Early career
In the summer of 1920, Deng Xiaoping graduated from the Chongqing Preparatory School. He and 80 schoolmates, participating in a work-study program for Chinese students, boarded a ship for France (traveling steerage) and in October arrived in Marseilles. Deng, the youngest of all the Chinese students, had just turned 16 (Spence 1999, 310).* He spent most of his time in France working, first at the Le Creusot Iron and Steel plant in central France, then later as a fitter in the Renault factory in the Paris suburb of Billancourt, as a fireman on a locomotive and as a kitchen helper in restaurants. He barely earned enough to survive. He also briefly attended middle schools in Bayeux and Chatillon.
In France, under the influence of his seniors (Zhao Shiyan, Zhou Enlai and others), Deng began to study Marxism and do political propaganda work. In 1922 he joined the Chinese Communist Youth League in Europe. In the second half of 1924 he joined the Chinese Communist Party and became one of the leading members of the General Branch of the Youth League in Europe. During 1926 Deng studied at Moscow in the then-USSR. He returned to China in early 1927.
He was a veteran of the Long March, during which Deng served as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. While acting as political commissar for Liu Bocheng, he organized several important military campaigns during the war with Japan and during the Civil War against the Kuomintang. In late November 1949, Deng led the final assault on KMT forces under the direct command of Chiang Kai-shek in his native Sichuan. The city of Chongqing fell to the PLA on December 1 and Deng was immediately appointed mayor and political commissar. (Chiang Kai-shek, who had moved his headquarters to Chongqing in mid-November fled to the provincial capital of Chengdu. This last mainland Chinese city to be held by the KMT fell December 10 and Chiang fled to Taiwan on the same day.) When the PRC was founded in 1949 Deng was sent to oversee issues in the Southwestern Region, and acted as its First Secretary. He was instrument in holding talks with Tibetan leaders, ensuring some support for China's eventual annexation of Tibet (dubious; discuss) .
 Ascension and purges
As a supporter of Mao Zedong, Deng was named by Mao to several important posts in the new government, including General Secretary of the Communist Party, soon after the formation of the People's Republic of China.
After officially supporting Mao Zedong in his Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957, Deng became General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and ran the country's daily affairs with then President Liu Shaoqi. Amid growing disenchantment with Mao's Great Leap Forward, Deng and Liu gained influence within the CCP. They embarked on economic reforms that bolstered their prestige among the party apparatus and the national populace. Deng and Liu advocated more pragmatic policies, as opposed to Mao's radicalist ideas
Mao grew apprehensive that the prestige Deng and Liu gained from these efforts could lead to himself being reduced to a mere figurehead. For this amongst other reasons, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966, during which Deng fell out of favor and was forced to retire from all his offices. He was sent to the Xinjian County Tractor Factory in rural Jiangxi province to work as a regular worker. While there Deng spent his spare time writing. He was purged nationally, but to a lesser scale than Liu Shaoqi.
When Premier Zhou Enlai fell ill from cancer, Deng became Zhou's choice for a successor, and Zhou was able to convince Mao to bring Deng Xiaoping back into politics in 1974 as First Deputy Premier, in practice running daily affairs. However, the Cultural Revolution was not yet over, and a radicalist political group known as the Gang of Four competed for power within the Communist Party. The Gang saw Deng as their greatest challenge to success. After Zhou's death in January 1976, Deng lost firm support in the party, and after delivering Zhou's official eulogy at the state funeral, was purged once again at the instigation of the Gang of Four, though the decision of the Politburo to relieve him of all his posts was unanimous.
 Reemergence of Deng
Deng gradually emerged as the de-facto leader of China in the few years following Mao's death in 1976. By carefully mobilizing his supporters within the Chinese Communist Party, Deng was able to outmaneuver Mao's anointed successor Hua Guofeng, who had previously pardoned him, and then oust Hua from his top leadership positions by 1980-1981.
In contrast to previous leadership changes, Deng allowed Hua to retain membership in the Central Committee until November 2002, to quietly retire, and helped to set a precedent that losing a high-level leadership struggle would not result in physical harm.
Deng then repudiated the Cultural Revolution and launched the "Beijing Spring", which allowed open criticism of the excesses and suffering that had occurred during the period. Meanwhile, he was the impetus for the abolishment of the class background system. Under this system, the CCP put up employment barriers to Chinese deemed to be associated with the former landlord class, its removal therefore effectively allowed Chinese capitalists to join the Communist Party.
Deng gradually outmaneuvered his political opponents. By encouraging public criticism of the Cultural Revolution, he weakened the position of those who owed their political positions to that event, while strengthening the position of those like himself who had been purged during that time. Deng also received a great deal of popular support.
As Deng gradually consolidated control over the CCP, Hua was replaced by Zhao Ziyang as premier in 1980, and by Hu Yaobang as party chief in 1981. Deng remained the most influential CCP cadre, although after 1987 his only official posts were as chairman of the state and Communist Party Central Military Commissions.
Originally, the president was conceived of as a figurehead head of state, with actual state power resting in the hands of the premier and the party chief, both offices being conceived of as held by separate people in order to prevent a cult of personality from forming (as it did in the case of Mao); the party would develop policy, whereas the state would execute it.
 Opening up
Under Deng's direction, relations with the West improved markedly. Deng traveled abroad and had a series of amicable meetings with western leaders, traveling to the United States in 1979 to meet President Carter at the White House shortly after the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with the Republic of China and established them with the PRC. Sino-Japanese relations also improved significantly. Deng used Japan as an example of a rapidly progressing economic power that sets a good example for China's future economic directions.
Another achievement was the agreement signed by Britain and China on December 19, 1984 (Sino-British Joint Declaration) under which Hong Kong was to be handed over to the PRC in 1997. With the end of the 99-year lease on the New Territories expiring, Deng agreed that the PRC would not interfere with Hong Kong's capitalist system for 50 years. A similar agreement was signed with Portugal for the return of colony Macau. Dubbed "one country-two systems", this approach has been touted by the PRC as potential framework within which Taiwan could be reunited with the Mainland in more recent years.
Deng, however, did little to improve relations with the Soviet Union, continuing to adhere to the Maoist line of the Sino-Soviet Split era that the Soviet Union was a superpower equally as "hegemonist" as the United States, but even more threatening to China because of its geographical proximity.
 "Socialism with Chinese characteristics"
- Main article: Socialism with Chinese characteristics
The goals of Deng's reforms were summed up by the Four Modernizations, those of agriculture, industry, science and technology and the military. The strategy for achieving these aims of becoming a modern, industrial nation was the socialist market economy.
Deng argued that China was in the primary stage of socialism and that the duty of the party was to perfect "socialism with Chinese characteristics." This interpretation of Chinese Marxism reduced the role of ideology in economic decision-making and deciding policies of proven effectiveness. Downgrading communitarian values but not necessarily Marxism-Leninism, Deng emphasized that socialism does not mean shared poverty. His theoretical justification for allowing market forces was given as such:
- "Planning and market forces are not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity."<ref>Cited by John Gittings in The Changing Face of China, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005. ISBN 0-19-280612-2</ref>
Unlike Hua Guofeng, Deng believed that no policy should be rejected out of hand simply for not having been associated with Mao, and unlike more conservative leaders such as Chen Yun, Deng did not object to policies on the grounds that they were similar to ones which were found in capitalist nations.
Although Deng provided the theoretical background and the political support to allow economic reform to occur, few of the economic reforms that Deng introduced were originated by Deng himself. Typically a reform would be introduced by local leaders, often in violation of central government directives. If successful and promising, these reforms would be adopted by larger and larger areas and ultimately introduced nationally. Many other reforms were influenced by the experiences of the East Asian Tigers.
This is in sharp contrast to the pattern in the perestroika undertaken by Mikhail Gorbachev in which most of the major reforms were originated by Gorbachev himself. The bottom-up approach of the Deng reforms, in contrast to the top-down approach of perestroika, was likely a key factor in the success of the former.
Deng's reforms actually included the introduction of planned, centralized management of the macro-economy by technically proficient bureaucrats, abandoning Mao's mass campaign style of economic construction. However, unlike the Soviet model, management was indirect through market mechanisms.
Deng sustained Mao's legacy to the extent that he stressed the primacy of agricultural output and encouraged a significant decentralization of decision making in the rural economy teams and individual peasant households. At the local level, material incentives, rather than political appeals, were to be used to motivate the labor force, including allowing peasants to earn extra income by selling the produce of their private plots at free market.
In the main move toward market allocation, local municipalities and provinces were allowed to invest in industries that they considered most profitable, which encouraged investment in light manufacturing. Thus, Deng's reforms shifted China's development strategy to an emphasis on light industry and export-led growth.
Light industrial output was vital for a developing country coming from a low capital base. With the short gestation period, low capital requirements, and high foreign-exchange export earnings, revenues generated by light manufacturing were able to be reinvested in more technologically-advanced production and further capital expenditures and investments.
However, in sharp contrast to the similar but much less successful reforms in Yugoslavia and Hungary, these investments were not government mandated. The capital invested in heavy industry largely came from the banking system, and most of that capital came from consumer deposits. One of the first items of the Deng reforms was to prevent reallocation of profits except through taxation or through the banking system; hence, the reallocation in state-owned industries was somewhat indirect, thus making them more or less independent from government interference. In short, Deng's reforms sparked an industrial revolution in China.
These reforms were a reversal of the Maoist policy of economic self-reliance. China decided to accelerate the modernization process by stepping up the volume of foreign trade, especially the purchase of machinery from Japan and the West. By participating in such export-led growth, China was able to step up the Four Modernizations by attaining certain foreign funds, market, advanced technologies and management experiences, thus accelerating its economic development.
Deng attracted foreign companies to a series of Special Economic Zones, where foreign investment and market liberalization were encouraged.
The reforms centered on improving labor productivity as well. New material incentives and bonus systems were introduced. Rural markets selling peasants' homegrown products and the surplus products of communes were revived. Not only did rural markets increase agricultural output, they stimulated industrial development as well. With peasants able to sell surplus agricultural yields on the open market, domestic consumption stimulated industrialization as well and also created political support for more difficult economic reforms.
There are some parallels between Deng's market socialism especially in the early stages, and Lenin's New Economic Policy as well as those of Bukharin's economic policies, in that both foresaw a role for private entrepreneurs and markets based on trade and pricing rather than central planning.
An interesting anecdote on this note is the first meeting between Deng and Armand Hammer. Deng pressed the industrialist and former investor in Lenin's Soviet Union for as much information on the NEP as possible.
 Crackdown of the Tiananmen Square Protests
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 started from the middle of April 1989, triggered by the death of Hu Yaobang, the former party general secretary. Hu was widely seen as a liberal-minded person and was forced to resign from his position by Deng Xiaoping, an unfair treatment in many people's view, especially among intellectuals.
Although the government declared martial law on May 20, the demonstrations continued. After deliberating among Communist party leaders, the use of military force to resolve the crisis was ordered, and Zhao Ziyang was ousted from political leadership. Soldiers and tanks from the 27th and 38th Armies of the People's Liberation Army were sent to take control of the city. These forces were confronted by Chinese workers and students in the streets of Beijing and the ensuing violence resulted in both civilian and army deaths. The Chinese government refused to acknowledge that any deaths had occurred as a result of the violence.
Estimates of civilian deaths which resulted vary: 400-800 (New York Times ), 1,000 (NSA), and 2,600 (Chinese Red Cross). Student protesters maintained that over 7,000 were killed. Following the violence, the government conducted widespread arrests to suppress the remaining supporters of the movement, limited access for the foreign press and controlled coverage of the events in the mainland Chinese press. The violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protest caused widespread international condemnation of the PRC government. Deng Xiaoping, along with other hardliners, especially Li Peng, were generally blamed for the events. Critics accused Deng of suppressing any signs of political freedom that would undermine the direction of his economic reforms. Deng's involvement in the events proved that he still possessed certain dictatorial powers. Deng and subsequent governments continue to justify crackdown on protests as a measure to enforce social stability for effective economic progress.
 After resignation
Officially, Deng decided to retire from top positions when he stepped down as Chairman of the Central Military Commission in 1989, and retired from the political scene in 1992. China, however, was still in the era of Deng Xiaoping. He continued to be widely regarded as the "paramount leader" of the country, believed to have backroom control. Hu Jintao, Deng's hand-picked man, was then the leader of the fourth generation of the PRC leadership. Deng was recognized officially as "The architect of China's economic reforms and China's socialist modernization". To the Communist Party, he was believed to have set a good example for communist cadres who refused to retire at old age. He broke earlier conventions of holding offices for life. He was often referred to as simply Comrade Xiaoping, with no title attached.
In the spring of 1992, Deng went on a southern tour of China, visiting Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shanghai, making various speeches. He stressed the importance of economic construction in China, and criticized those who were against the reforms and opening up. He stated that "leftist" elements of Chinese society were much more dangerous than "rightist" ones. He maintained that the economic reforms were an unchangeable policy in China, and essential to China's further development. His southern tour was followed closely by Chinese media, and was taken very seriously by local officials. Many people recognized the southern tour as a new achievement, making up for the mistake of the Tiananmen crackdown.
 Death and reaction
Deng Xiaoping died on February 19, 1997, at age 92 from a lung infection and Parkinson's disease, but his influence continued. Even though Jiang Zemin was in firm control, government policies still followed Deng's ideas, thoughts, methods, and direction. The Central Government called Deng the "Great Marxist, Great Proletarian Revolutionary, statesman, militarist, diplomat; one of the main leaders of the Communist Party of China, the People's Liberation Army of China, and the People's Republic of China; The great architect of China's socialist opening-up and modernized construction; the founder of Deng Xiaoping theory".
The death of Deng was followed by the largest state funeral for any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong himself. At 10 AM on the morning of February 24, from all walks of life in the entire nation, people were asked to pause in silence in unison for three minutes. The nation's flags flew at half-staff for over a week. During the nationally televised funeral of Deng that was broadcast on all cable channels, Jiang Zemin's emotional eulogy to the late reformist leader declared, "The Chinese people love Comrade Deng Xiaoping, thank Comrade Deng Xiaoping, mourn for Comrade Deng Xiaoping, and cherish the memory of Comrade Deng Xiaoping because he devoted his life-long energies to the Chinese people, performed immortal feats for the independence and liberation of the Chinese nation." Jiang vowed to continue Deng's policies. After the funeral, Deng was cremated and his ashes were subsequently scattered at sea, according to his wishes. For around two weeks, China's media ran news stories and documentaries related to Deng's life and death, with the regular Continual News program in the evening lasting almost two hours over the regular broadcast time.
Domestically, however, the reaction to Deng's death was not as emotional as the Chinese media had portrayed, because many segments of the Chinese population, notably the modern Maoists and radical reformers, had negative views on Deng. Although mandatory mourning sessions were issued to all SOE's, government offices, and schools, much of the general public resented the government's decision to put such great and unnecessary emphasis the days after. In the year that followed, songs like "Story of the Spring" by Dong Wenhua, which were created in Deng's honour shortly after Deng's Southern Tour in 1992, once again were widely played.
There was a significant amount of international reaction to Deng's death. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Deng was to be remembered "in the international community at large as a primary architect of China's modernization and dramatic economic development". French President Jacques Chirac said "In the course of this century, few men have, as much as Deng Xiaoping, led a vast human community through such profound and determining changes"; British Prime Minister John Major commented about Deng's key role in the return of Hong Kong to Chinese control. The Taiwan presidential office also sent its condolences, saying it longed for peace, cooperation, and prosperity. The Dalai Lama voiced regret.
When compared to the memorials of other former CCP leaders, those dedicated to Deng have been relatively low profile, in keeping with Deng's pragmatism.
A bronze statue of Deng was erected on November 14, 2000, at the grand plaza of Lianhua Mountain Park (莲花山公园) of Shenzhen. This statue is dedicated to Deng's role as a great planner and contributor to the development of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, starting in 1984. The statue is 6 meters high, with an additional 3.68 meter base. The statue shows Deng striding forward confidently.
Another bronze statue of Deng was dedicated August 13, 2004 in the city of Guang'an, Deng's home town, in southwest China's Sichuan Province. The statue was erected to commemorate Deng's 100th birthday. The statue shows Deng, dressed casually, sitting on a chair and smiling. The Chinese characters for "Statue of Deng Xiaoping” are inscribed on the pedestal. The original calligraphy was written by Jiang Zemin, then Chairman of the Central Military Commission<ref>China Daily article "Deng Xiaoping statue unveiled"</ref>.
In Bishkek, capital of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, there is a 6-lane boulevard, 25 meters wide and 3.5 km long, Deng Xiaoping Prospekt, which was dedicated on June 18, 1997. A 2 meter high red granite monument stands at the east end of this route. The epigraph in memory of Deng is written in Chinese, Russian and Kirghiz <ref>Turkistan-Newsletter Volume: 97-1:13, 20 June 1997</ref><ref>John Pomfret, In Its Own Neighborhood, China Emerges as a Leader Washington Post, 10/18/2001 as quoted in Taiwan Security Research</ref><ref>John Pomfret, In Its Own Neighborhood, China Emerges as a Leader Washington Post, 10/18/2001 Preview, with option to buy, direct from Washington Post</ref>.
Based on the Chinese government's own admission, Deng Xiaoping is the senior Chinese leader who had experienced most numerous assassination attempts. According to the recent declassified information after Hu Jintao came to power, there were seven attempts on Deng's life from 1960's to 1980's and most of the cases remain unsolved, and all of them rooted by the Maoists' opposition to Deng's reform:
- 1. On December 21, 1969, Deng Xiaoping was exiled to an abandoned infantry school at a place named Wangcheng Hill in Xinjian County of Jiangxi province for his house arrest under the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee's executive order #1. In the morning of December 23, 1969, a band of militia stormed and machine gunned the compound. However, the militia mistook the guards' residence for that of Deng and many of them were killed when the guards returned fire. The incident was later blamed on Lin Biao, but in the early 1980s, it was decided that Lin Biao was not involved. The case remains unsolved today.
- 2. On February 21, 1973, an Ilyushin Il-14 was sent from Beijing to Jiangxi to take Deng Xiaoping back to Beijing to resume his work, but on the same day, an urgent order from Beijing instructed Deng to take train instead, with additional protection of a squad personally led by the chief-of-staff of the local military district. It was reported that this change of plan was conducted by Zhou Enlai to protect Deng, and the Ilyushin Il-14 Deng originally planned to take exploded above Anhui on its way back. This case was never solved.
- 3. In September 1975, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Qing, and Hua Guofeng went to Shanxi, and one evening, when Deng was taking his daily walk, a shadow opened fire on Deng and missed. The guards returned fire but missed their targets, and the assassin was never caught and the case became a cold case file.
- 4. In April 1976, Deng Xiaoping was once again removed from his post and was exiled to a military reception center at Yuquan Mountain in the suburb of Beijing for yet another house arrest. The same evening Deng had arrived, the Number 5 building where Deng resided was caught on fire and later investigation revealed that the fire started on the first floor, the exact floor where Deng resided, and stopped exactly after every room in the first floor was burned. The official statement was due to short-ciruit, but it was obvious that this was an assassination attempt. Deng Xiaoping was ordered by his guards assigned by Ye Jianying to go somewhere else to study Mao's work and thus was not in the building when the fire struck, and after the incident, he was immediately moved back in to the city. The case remains unsolved.
- 5. Following the assassination attempt three months earlier in April, there was another one. In July 1976, Deng was instructed to go to Chengde, Hebei to escape the summer heat. Deng refused to go by claiming that he needed to go to the hospital for his annual physical. When the Japanese car assigned to take him was returned to ministry of defense, it was discovered that the front axle was about to break and nobody would survive the consequent crash. The case is still open today.
- 6. In March 1980, Deng Xiaoping went to inspect troops in Jinan military region. As Deng was returning to the conference room from outside, one of the local guards shouted:'Down the capitalist Deng Xiaoping! Guard the Chairman Mao's revolutionary thought! Revenge for the vice-chairman Jiang Qing!' and opened fire on Deng at the same time. Thanks to Deng's body guards' quick reaction, Deng was not harmed and the assassin was quickly subdued. It was discovered the assassin was an ardent Maoist and it appeared he acted alone. However, most people believed that somebody was behind this.
- 7. In February 1988, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun, and Yang Shangkun went to Shanghai for the Chinese New Year, and resided in the Western Suburb Hotel. Four men claimed to be a Maoist Combat Team managed to penetrate the security and had a gunfight with the guards, resulting the killing of the three of the four, and the last one arrested. From these Maoists, maps of Deng's residence, pistols with silencers, explosives, and incendiaries were found. Again, barely anyone believes the official statement that these Maoists acted alone.
- Evans, Richard. Deng Xiaoping and the Making of Modern China.
- Spence, Jonathan D. "A Road is Made." In The Search for Modern China. 310. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999
- Spence, Jonathan D. "Century's End." In The Search for Modern China. 725. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999
 External links
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
- Obituary, NY Times, February 20, 1997
- Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping
- Life of Deng Xiaoping
- China's former 'first family' (from CNN)
- China officially mourns Deng Xiaoping (from CNN)
- Deng's Free Market Nightmare (Maoist criticism)
- China 2002: Building socialism with Chinese characteristics (Communist Party USA)
- China Daily Biography
- Caricature of Deng Xiaoping (Chinese-Tools.com)
|General Secretary of the Communist Party of China|
|Chairman of the Central Military Commission of CCP|
|Chairman of the Central Military Commission of PRC|
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