, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy
. While Deng never held office as the head of state, head of government or General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
(historically the highest position in Communist China), he nonetheless served as the paramount leader
of the People's Republic of China
from 1978 to 1992.
Born into a peasant background in Guang'an
, Deng studied and worked in France in the 1920s, where he was influenced by Marxism
小朋友不聴話,該打打屁股了. Translation: It's time to smack the bottom of unruly little children. (
“Well, that’s the way it’s presented in our propaganda. We needed that to express the fighting spirit of our forces. In fact, it was a very easy military operation.(On The Crossing of Luding Bridge, The Red Army Long March.)
We mustn't fear to adopt the advanced management methods applied in capitalist countries (...) The very essence of socialism is the liberation and development of the productive systems (...) Socialism and market economy are not incompatible (...) We should be concerned about right-wing deviations, but most of all, we must be concerned about left-wing deviations.
, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy
. While Deng never held office as the head of state, head of government or General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
(historically the highest position in Communist China), he nonetheless served as the paramount leader
of the People's Republic of China
from 1978 to 1992.
Born into a peasant background in Guang'an
, Deng studied and worked in France in the 1920s, where he was influenced by Marxism
. He joined the Communist Party of China
in 1923. Upon his return to China he worked as a political commissar in rural regions and was considered a "revolutionary veteran" of the Long March
. Following the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Deng worked in Tibet
and other southwestern regions to consolidate Communist control. He was also instrumental in China's economic reconstruction following the Great Leap Forward
in the early 1960s. His economic policies were at odds with the political ideologies of Chairman Mao Zedong
. As a result, he was purged twice during the Cultural Revolution
but regained prominence in 1978 by outmaneuvering Mao's chosen successor, Hua Guofeng
Inheriting a country fraught with social and institutional woes resulting from the Cultural Revolution and other mass political movements of the Mao era, Deng became the core of the "second generation
" of Chinese leadership. He is considered "the architect" of a new brand of socialist thinking, having developed Socialism with Chinese characteristics
and led Chinese economic reform
through a synthesis of theories that became known as the "socialist market economy
". Deng opened China to foreign investment, the global market, and limited private competition. He is generally credited with developing China into one of the fastest growing economies
in the world for over 30 years and raising the standard of living
of hundreds of millions of Chinese.
Early life and familyDeng was born into an ethnically Hakka Han
family in Paifang village (牌坊村), Xiexin township (协兴镇), Guang'an County
province, approximately 160 km from Chongqing
(formerly spelled Chungking). Deng's ancestors can be traced back to Meixian
County in Guangdong Province, a prominent ancestral area for the Hakka people, and had been settled in Sichuan for several generations.
Deng's father, Deng Wenming, was a middle-level landowner and had studied at the University of Law and Political Science in Chengdu
. His mother, surnamed Dan, died early in Deng's life, leaving Deng, his three brothers and three sisters. At the age of five, Deng was sent to a traditional Chinese-style private primary school, followed by a more modern primary school at the age of seven.
Deng's first wife, 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 Deng 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 married Deng a year later in front of Mao's cave dwelling in Yan'an
. They had five children: three daughters (Deng Lin, Deng Nan
and Deng Rong) and two sons (Deng Pufang
and Deng Zhifang).
Education and early careerIn the summer of 1919, Deng Xiaoping graduated from the Chongqing
Preparatory School. He and 80 schoolmates travelled by ship to France (traveling steerage) to participate in the Mouvement Travail-Études, (a work-study program in which 4,001 Chinese would participate by 1927). Deng, the youngest of all the Chinese students in the group, had just turned 15. Wu Yuzhang, local leader of the Mouvement Travail-Études in Chongqing, enrolled Deng and his paternal uncle, Deng Shaosheng, in the program. Deng's father strongly supported his son's participation in the work-study abroad program. The night before his departure, Deng's father took his son aside and asked him what he hoped to learn in France. He repeated the words he had learned from his teachers: "To learn knowledge and truth from the West in order to save China." Deng Xiaoping knew that China was suffering greatly, and that the Chinese people must have a modern, Western education to save their country.
After studying French for a year, Deng departed with other Chinese students from Shanghai. On 19 October 1920 they arrived in Marseille
, then traveled to Paris by train. He briefly attended middle schools in Bayeux
, but he spent most of his time in France working; first at the Le Creusot Iron and Steel plant in central France, then as a fitter in the Renault
factory in the Paris suburb of Billancourt
, a fireman on a locomotive and a kitchenhand. He barely earned enough to survive. Many of these jobs had very harsh and dangerous working conditions, with workers frequently being injured. Deng would later claim that it was here where he got an initial feel for the evils of capitalist society.
Under the influence of older Chinese students in France (Zhao Shiyan
, Zhou Enlai
among others), Deng began to study Marxism
and engaged in political dissemination work. In 1921 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. In 1926 Deng traveled to the Soviet Union
and studied at Moscow Sun Yat-sen University
, where one of his classmates was Chiang Ching-kuo
. Deng returned to China in 1927.
Return to ChinaIn late 1927, Deng left Moscow to return to China, where he joined the army of Feng Yuxiang
, a military leader in northwest China, which had requested assistance from the Soviet Union in its struggle with other local leaders in northern China. At that time, the Soviet Union, through the Comintern
, an international organization supporting the communist movements in the world, supported the Communists' alliance with the Nationalists of the Kuomintang (KMT) party founded by Sun Yat-sen
He came to Xi'an
, the stronghold of Feng Yuxiang, in March 1927. He was part of the Fengtian clique
to prevent the break of the alliance between the KMT and the Communists. This split was caused by Chiang Kai-shek
, the successor of Sun Yat-sen, who started the persecution of the Communists, forcing them to flee areas controlled by the KMT. After the breakup of the alliance between communists and nationalists, Feng Yuxiang stood on the side of Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists who participated in their army, as Deng Xiaoping, were forced to flee. In 1929 Deng led the Baise Uprising in Guangxi
province against the Kuomintang
(KMT) government. The uprising failed and Deng went to the Central Soviet Area in Jiangxi
Political riseAlthough Deng got involved in the Marxist revolutionary movement in China, the historian Mobo Gao has argued that "Deng Xiaoping and many like him [in the Chinese Communist Party] were not really Marxists but basically revolutionary nationalists who wanted to see China standing on equal terms with the great global powers. They were primarily nationalists and they participated in the Communist revolution because that was the only viable route they could find to Chinese nationalism."
Activism in Shanghai and WuhanAfter leaving the army of Feng Yuxiang in the northwest, Deng ended up in the city of Wuhan
, where the Communists at that time had its headquarters. At that time, he began using the nickname "Xiaoping" and occupied prominent positions in the party apparatus. Participated in the historic emergency session on 7 August 1927 in which, by Soviet initiative the party dismissed its founder Chen Duxiu
and Qu Qiubai
became the secretary general. In Wuhan, Deng first established contact with Mao Zedong, then a little valued by militant pro-Soviet leaders of the party.
Between 1927 and 1929, Deng Xiaoping lived in Shanghai, where he helped organize protests that would be harshly persecuted by the Kuomintang authorities. The death of many Communist militants in those years led to a decrease in the number of members of the Communist Party, which enabled Deng Xiaoping to quickly move up the ranks. During this stage in Shanghai, Deng married for the first time with a woman he met in Moscow, Zhang Xiyuan.
Military campaign in GuangxiBeginning in 1929, he participated in the struggle against the Kuomintang in Guangxi
. The superiority of the forces of Chiang Kai-shek caused a huge number of casualties in the Communist ranks. The confrontational strategy of the party leadership was a failure that killed many militants. The response to this defeat catalyzed one of the most confusing episodes in the biography of Deng Xiaoping: in March 1931, he left the Communist Army seventh battalion to appear some time later in Shanghai. His official biography states that Deng Xiaoping had been charged by his superiors with deserting from the battle zone before fleeing to Shanghai, where there were leaders of the underground Communist Party. Although he was not punished in Shanghai, this episode in his biography remains unclear and would be used against him to question his devotion to the Communist Party during the Cultural Revolution
At the Jiangxi SovietAfter returning to Shanghai, Deng found out about the deaths of his wife and newborn daughter. In addition, he discovered that many of his former comrades had died as a result of Kuomintang crackdown against the Communists.
The campaigns against the Communists in the cities represented a setback for the party and in particular to the Comintern Soviet advisers, who saw the mobilization of the urban proletariat as the force for the advancement of communism. Contrary to the urban vision of the revolution, based on the Soviet experience, the Communist leader Mao Zedong saw the rural peasants as the revolutionary force in China. In a mountainous area of Jiangxi province, where Mao went to establish a communist system, the embryo of a future state of China under communism, which adopted the official name of Chinese Soviet Republic, but known as the "Jiangxi Soviet
One of the most important cities in the Soviet zone, Ruijin
, where Deng Xiaoping took over as secretary of Party Committee in the summer of 1931. A year later, in the winter of 1932, went on to play the same position in the nearby district of Huichang
. In 1933 he became director of the propaganda department of the Provincial Party Committee in Jiangxi. In this time he married a second time, a young woman named Jin Weiying, whom he had met in Shanghai.
The successes of the Soviet in Jiangxi made the party leaders to travel to Jiangxi from Shanghai. The confrontation between the ideas of Mao and the party leaders and their Soviet advisers were increasingly tensed and the struggle for power between the two fractions is the consequence of removal of Deng, akin to the ideas of Mao, its position in the propaganda department. Despite the internal strife within the party, the Soviet Jiangxi became the first successful experiment of communist rule in the rural China. It even issued stamps and paper money under the letterhead of the Soviet Republic of China, and the army of Chiang Kai-shek finally decided to attack the communist area.
The Long MarchSurrounded by the more powerful army of the Republic of China, the Communists were forced to flee from Jiangxi in October 1934. Thus began the historic flight across the interior of China known as the Long March.
The Long March became the epic event that would mark a turning point in the development of Chinese communism. The evacuation from Jiangxi was difficult, because the Army of the Republic had taken positions in all areas occupied by the Communists. Advancing through remote and mountainous terrain, some 80,000 men (and some women) managed to escape Jiangxi starting a long journey through the interior of China which ended one year later when between 8,000 and 9,000 survivors reached the northern province of Shaanxi
During the Zunyi Conference
at the beginning of the Long March, the so-called 28 Bolsheviks, led by Bo Gu and Wang Ming
, were ousted from power and Mao Zedong, to the dismay of the Soviet Union, had become the new leader of the Communist Party of China. The pro-Soviet Communist Party of China had ended and a new rural-inspired party emerged under the leadership of Mao. Deng Xiaoping had once again become a leading figure in the party, when the north ended up winning the civil war against the Kuomintang.
The confrontation between the two parties was temporarily interrupted, however, by the Japanese invasion, forcing the Kuomintang to form an alliance for the second time with the Communists to defend the nation against external aggression.
Japanese invasionThe invasion of Japanese troops in 1937 marked the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War
. During the invasion, Deng Xiaoping remained in the area controlled by the Communists in the north, where he assumed the role of political commissar of the three divisions that had been restructured Communist army. From September 1937 until January 1938, he lived in Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Wutai Mountains. In January 1938, he was appointed as Political Commissar of the 129th division of the Eighth Route Army
commanded by Liu Bocheng
, starting a long-lasting partnership with Liu.
Deng stayed for most of the conflict with the Japanese in the war front in the area bordering the provinces of Shanxi
, then traveled several times to the city of Yan'an
, where Mao had established the basis for Communist Party leadership. In one of his trips to Yan'an in 1939, he married for the third and last time in his life, Zhuo Lin, a young native of Kunming
, who, like other young idealists of the time, had traveled to Yan'an to join the Communists.
Resumed war against the NationalistsAfter Japan's defeat in World War II, Deng Xiaoping traveled to Chongqing, the city in which Chiang Kai-shek established his government during the blue Japanese invasion, to participate in peace talks between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. The results of those negotiations were not positive and military confrontation between the two antagonistic parties resumed shortly after the meeting in Chongqing.
While Chiang Kai-shek reestablished the government in Nanjing, the capital of the Republic of China, the Communists were fighting for control in the field. Following a threatening guerrilla tactics from their positions in rural areas to cities under the control of the government of Chiang, and their supply lines, the Communists were increasing the territory under its control, and incorporating more and more soldiers who deserted Nationalist army.
In the final phase of the war against the Nationalists, Deng Xiaoping again exercised a key role as political leader and propaganda as a Political Commissar of the 2nd Field Army commanded by Liu Bocheng
, participated in the dissemination of ideas of Mao Zedong, turned into ideological foundation of the Communist Party. His work in political and ideological work, along with its status as a veteran of the Long March, placed him in a privileged position within the party to occupy positions of power after the Communist Party managed to defeat Chiang Kai-shek and founding a new communist state, the People's
Republic of China.
As Mayor of ChongqingOn 1 October 1949, Deng Xiaoping attended the proclamation of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. At that time, the Communist Party controlled the entire north, but there were still parts of the south held by the Kuomintang regime. Deng Xiaoping became responsible for leading the liberation of southwest China, in his capacity as first secretary of the Department of the Southwest. This organization had the task of managing the final takeover of that part of the country where still held by the Kuomintang, while, on the other hand, most of Tibet was a de-facto independent for many years.
The Kuomintang government after being forced to leave Guangzhou
, and then had to establish a new provisional capital of Chongqing, the capital during the Japanese occupation. There, Chiang Kai-shek with his son Chiang Ching-kuo
, former classmate of Deng Xiaoping in Moscow, were anxious to stop the Communist advance.
Under the political control of Deng Xiaoping, the Communist army won in Chongqing in late November 1949 and entered a few days later in Chengdu, the last bailiwick of power of Chiang Kai-shek. Since that time, Deng took over as mayor of Chongqing; in addition to being the leader of the Communist Party in the southwest, where the Communist army, became known as the People's Liberation Army
, had to suppress resistance loyal to the old Kuomintang regime. In 1950, the new state also seized control over Tibet.
Deng Xiaoping would spend three years in Chongqing, the city where he had studied in his teenage years before going to France. In 1952, he moved to Beijing, where he occupied different positions in the central government.
Political rise in BeijingIn July 1952, Deng came to Beijing to assume the posts of Deputy Premier and Vice President of the Committee on Finance. Soon after, he occupied the posts of Minister of Finance and Director of the Office of Communications. In 1954, he left all these posts, except the Deputy Premier. In 1956, he become the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Director of the Organization Department and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
After officially supporting Mao Zedong in his Anti-Rightist Movement
of 1957, Deng became General Secretary of the Secretariat
and ran the country's daily affairs with then-President Liu Shaoqi
. Having failed to advance the “social productive forces” in the Great Leap Forward
through the “communist wind” and the “exaggeration wind”, Liu and Deng shift from an “ultra-leftist” approach to a “pragmatic” or right opportunist approach.
Both Liu and Deng had supported Mao in mass campaigns of the 1950s, in which they attacked the bourgeois and capitalists, and promoted the ideology of Maoism. However, the economic failure of the Great Leap Forward has brought criticism of the economic management capacity of Mao. Peng Dehuai
was openly criticizing Mao, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, though more cautious, began to take charge of economic policy, leaving Mao in a symbolic role as an ideological figurehead. Mao agreed to cede the presidency of the People's Republic to Liu Shaoqi, while retaining his positions as party leader and the army.
In 1961, at the Guangzhou conference, Deng uttered what is perhaps his most famous quotation: "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat as long as it catches mice." The earliest reference in Deng's Selected Works is his speech of July 7, 1962 on "How to Restore Agricultural Production". In this speech Deng argued for a pragmatic break with the People's Commune system -- boosting peasant incentives by leasing land to them. This was the contract responsibility system that triumphed only 16 years later after the Cultural Revolution. Deng said "Comrade Liu Bocheng often quotes the old Sichuan saying 'It doesn't matter whether it is a yellow cat or a black cat, a cat that catches mice is a good cat.' This Deng quote was later remembered in both China and foreign countries as being about black cats and white cats.
In 1963, Deng traveled to Moscow to lead a meeting of the Chinese delegation with Stalin's successor, Nikita Khrushchev
. Relations between the People's Republic and the Soviet Union had worsened since the death of Joseph Stalin
. After this meeting, no agreement was reached and the Sino–Soviet split was consummated; there was an almost total suspension of relations between the two major communist regimes of the time.
During these years, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping began to implement economic reforms by reversing the policies of the Great Leap Forward. This led Mao to take action to regain control over the state. Appealing to his revolutionary spirit, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, which encouraged the masses to root out the right-wing capitalists who infiltrated the party, among them are Liu and Deng.
Two purgesMao feared that the reformist economic policies of Deng and Liu could lead to restoration of capitalism and end the Chinese Revolution. For this and other reasons, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution
in 1966, during which Deng fell out of favor and was forced to retire from all his positions. In October 1969 he was sent to the Xinjian County Tractor Factory in rural Jiangxi province to work as a regular worker. In the four years there, Deng spent his spare time writing. He was purged nationally, but to a lesser scale than Liu Shaoqi
During the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and his family were targeted by Red Guards
. Red Guards imprisoned Deng's son, Deng Pufang
. Deng Pufang was tortured and forced out of the window in a four-story building, becoming a paraplegic.
Nonetheless, when Maoists were defeated, and after Lin Biao
launched an abortive coup before being killed in an air crash, Deng Xiaoping (who had led a large field army during the civil war) became the most influential of the remaining army leaders. When Premier Zhou Enlai fell ill with cancer, Deng Xiaoping became Zhou's choice as successor, and Zhou was able to convince Mao to bring Deng Xiaoping back into politics in 1974 as First Vice-Premier, in practice running daily affairs. Deng focused on reconstructing the country's economy and stressed unity as the first step by raising production. He remained careful, however, to avoid contradicting Maoist ideology, at least on paper.
The Cultural Revolution was not yet over, and a radical leftist political group known as the Gang of Four
, led by Mao's wife Jiang Qing
, competed for power within the Communist Party. The Gang saw Deng as their greatest challenge to power. Mao, too, was suspicious that Deng would destroy the positive reputation of the Cultural Revolution, which Mao considered one of his greatest policy initiatives. Beginning in late 1975, Deng was asked to draw up a series of self-criticism
s. Although Deng admitted to having taken an "inappropriate ideological perspective" while dealing with state and party affairs, he was reluctant to admit that his policies were wrong in essence. Deng's antagonism with the Gang of Four became increasingly clear, and Mao seemed to swing in the Gang's favour. Mao refused to accept Deng's self-criticisms and asked the party's Central Committee to "discuss Deng's mistakes thoroughly".
Zhou Enlai died in January 1976, to an outpouring of national grief. Zhou was a very important figure in Deng's political life, and his death eroded the little support within the Party's Central Committee that Deng had left. After he delivered Zhou's official eulogy at the state funeral, the Gang of Four, with Mao's permission, began the so-called Criticize Deng and Oppose the Rehabilitation of Right-leaning Elements campaign. Hua Guofeng, not Deng, was selected to become Zhou's successor. On 2 February, the Central Committee issued a Top-priority Directive, officially transferring Deng to work on "external affairs", removing Deng from the party's power apparatus. Deng stayed at home for several months, awaiting his fate. The political turmoil brought the economic progress Deng had laboured for in the past year to a halt. On 3 March, Mao issued a directive reaffirming the legitimacy of the Cultural Revolution
and specifically pointed to Deng as an internal, rather than external, problem. This was followed by a Central Committee directive issued to all local party organs to study Mao's directive and criticize Deng.
Deng's political fortunes were dealt another blow following Qingming Festival
, when the mass mourning of Premier Zhou on the traditional Chinese holiday sparked the Tiananmen Incident
of 1976, an event the Gang of Four branded as counter-revolutionary and threatening to their power. Furthermore, the Gang deemed Deng the mastermind behind the incident, and Mao himself wrote that "the nature of things has changed". This prompted Mao to remove Deng from all leadership positions whilst retaining his party membership.
Re-emergenceDeng gradually emerged as the de-facto leader of China following Mao's death in 1976. Prior to Mao's death, the only governmental position he held was that of First Vice Premier
of the State Council
. By carefully mobilizing his supporters within the party, Deng was able to outmaneuver Mao's appointed successor Hua Guofeng, who had pardoned him, then oust Hua from his top leadership positions by 1980. In contrast to previous leadership changes, Deng allowed Hua to retain membership in the Central Committee and quietly retire, helping to set the precedent that losing a high-level leadership struggle would not result in physical harm.
Deng repudiated the Cultural Revolution and, in 1977, 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 abolition of the class background system. Under this system, the CPC removed employment barriers to Chinese deemed to be associated with the former landlord class; its removal 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 CPC, Hua was replaced by Zhao Ziyang
as premier in 1980, and by Hu Yaobang
as party chief in 1981. Deng remained the most influential of the CPC 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 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.
Deng's elevation to China's new number-one figure meant that the historical and ideological questions around Mao Zedong had to be addressed properly. Because Deng wished to pursue deep reforms, it was not possible for him to continue Mao's hard-line "class struggle" policies and mass public campaigns. In 1982 the Central Committee of the Communist Party released a document entitled On the Various Historical Issues since the Founding of the People's Republic of China. Mao retained his status as a "great Marxist, proletarian revolutionary, militarist, and general", and the undisputed founder and pioneer of the country and the People's Liberation Army
. "His accomplishments must be considered before his mistakes", the document declared. Deng personally commented that Mao was "seven parts good, three parts bad." The document also steered the prime responsibility of the Cultural Revolution away from Mao (although it did state that "Mao mistakenly began the Cultural Revolution") to the "counter-revolutionary cliques" of the Gang of Four and Lin Biao
Opening upIn November 1978, after the country had stabilized following political turmoil, Deng visited Bangkok
, Kuala Lumpur
and met with Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
, who advised Deng to open up and institute reforms, as well as to stop exporting Communist ideologies in Southeast Asia. Later, Deng sent tens of thousands of Chinese to Singapore to learn about Singapore's success to help China develop.
Thanks to the support of other party leaders who had already recovered their official positions, in 1978 the rise to power of Deng was inevitable. Even though Hua Guofeng formally monopolized the top positions in the People's Republic, his position, with little support, was becoming increasingly difficult. In December 1978, during the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee Congress of the Communist Party of China, Deng Xiaoping took over the reins of power.
Since 1979, the economic reforms accelerated the capitalist type, while maintaining the Communist-style rhetoric. The commune system was gradually dismantled and the peasants began to have more freedom to manage the land they cultivate and sell their products on the market. At the same time, China's economy opened to foreign trade. On 1 January of that year, the United States went to diplomatically recognize the People's Republic of China, leaving the Taiwan authorities, and business contacts between China and the West began to grow. In late 1978, the aerospace company Boeing
announced the sale of 747 aircraft
to various airlines in the PRC, and the beverage company Coca-Cola
had made public their intention to open a production plant in Shanghai.
In early 1979, Deng Xiaoping undertook an official visit to the United States during which he met President Jimmy Carter in Washington and several congressmen, and visited the Johnson Space Center
in Houston, as well as the headquarters of Coca-Cola and Boeing in Atlanta and Seattle, respectively. With these visits so significant, Deng made it clear that the new Chinese regime's priorities were economic and technological development.
Sino-Japanese relations also improved significantly. Deng used Japan as an example of a rapidly progressing power that set a good example for China economically.
True to his famous phrase "do not care if the cat is black or white, what matters is it catches mice", spoken in 1961, and that had caused so much criticism, Deng Xiaoping, along with his closest collaborators, such as Zhao Ziyang
, who in 1980 relieved Hua Guofeng as premier, and Hu Yaobang
, who in 1981 did the same with the post of party chairman, took the reins of power and the purpose of advancing the "four modernizations" (economy, agriculture, scientific and technological development and national defense) put up an ambitious plan of opening and liberalization of the economy. The last position of power retained by Hua Guofeng, the chairman of the Central Military Commission, was taken by Deng in 1981.
From 1980, Deng led the expansion of the economy and in political terms, took over negotiations with the United Kingdom to return the territory of Hong Kong, meeting personally with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher
. The result of these negotiations was the Sino-British Joint Declaration
signed on 19 December 1984, states that the United Kingdom should return Hong Kong to China by 1997. The Chinese government pledged to respect the economic system and civil liberties of the then British colony for 50 years after the return. In 1987, Portugal
, under pressure from the Chinese authorities agreed to arrange the return of its colony of Macau
by 1999, with an agreement roughly equal to that of Hong Kong. The return of these two territories was based on political principle formulated by Deng himself called "one country, two systems
", which refers to the coexistence under one political authority areas with different economic systems, communism and capitalism. Although this theory was applied to the cases of Hong Kong and Macau, it seems that Deng Xiaoping intended to also present it as an attractive option to the people of Taiwan
for eventual incorporation of that island, claimed as Chinese territory.
In the economic sphere, the rapid growth faced several problems. On the other hand, the 1982 population census had revealed the extraordinary growth of the Chinese population, which already exceeded one billion people. Deng Xiaoping continued the plans initiated by Hua Guofeng to restrict birth to only one child
, a reason why most couples could only have one child under the pain of administrative penalties. On the other hand, the increasing economic freedom was being translated into a greater freedom of opinion and critics began to arise with the system, including the famous dissident Wei Jingsheng
, who coined the term "fifth modernization" to refer to democracy, missing element renewal plans of Deng Xiaoping. In late 1980s, dissatisfaction with the authoritarian regime and the growing inequalities caused the biggest crisis to Deng Xiaoping's leadership.
In October 1987, at the Plenary Session of the National People's Congress, Deng Xiaoping was re-elected as Chairman of Central Military Commission, but he resigned as Chairman of the Central Advisory Commission
and he was succeeded by Chen Yun
. He continued to chair and developed the reform and opening up as the main policy, put forward the three steps suitable for China's economic development strategy within 70 years: the first step, to double the 1980 GNP and ensure that the people have enough food and clothing, was attained by the end of the 1980s; second step, to quadruple the 1980 GNP by the end of the 20th century, was achieved in 1995 ahead of schedule; the third step, to increase per capita GNP to the level of the medium-developed countries by 2050, at which point, the Chinese people will be fairly well-off and modernization will be basically realized.
Deng, however, did little to improve relations with the Soviet Union, continues to adhere the Maoist
line of the Sino–Soviet split era that the Soviet Union was a superpower equally as "hegemonic" as the United States, but even more threatening to China because of its geographic proximity.
, 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 so-called "socialism with Chinese characteristics", and "seek truth from facts
". (This somewhat resembles the Leninist theoretical justification of the New Economic Policy
(NEP) in the 1920s, which argued that the Soviet Union
had not gone deeply enough in to the capitalist phase and therefore needed limited capitalism in order to fully evolve its means of production.) This interpretation of Maoism reduced the role of ideology in economic decision-making and deciding policies of proven effectiveness. Downgrading communitarian values but not necessarily the ideology of Marxism-Leninism
himself, 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."
Unlike Hua Guofeng
, Deng believed that no policy should be rejected outright simply because it was not associated with Mao. 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.
This political flexibility towards the foundations of socialism is strongly supported by quotes such as:
Dr. Fengbo Zhang introduced Western Economics to China, provided methods and theory for Deng Xiaoping leadership promoting economic reform and decision-making.
Although Deng provided the theoretical background and the political support to allow economic reform to occur, it is in general consensus amongst historians that few of the economic reforms that Deng introduced were originated by Deng himself. Premier Zhou Enlai
, for example, pioneered the Four Modernizations years before Deng. In addition, many reforms would be introduced by local leaders, often not sanctioned by central government directives. If successful and promising, these reforms would be adopted by larger and larger areas and ultimately introduced nationally. An often cited example is the household-responsibility system, which was first secretly implemented by a poor rural village at the risk of being convicted as "counter-revolutionary." This experiment proved very successful. Deng openly supported it and it was later adopted 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 the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
and the People's Republic of 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 Vladimir Lenin
's NEP as well as those of Nikolai 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.
Role in the Tiananmen Square protestsThe Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 culminating in the June Fourth Incident were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in the People's Republic of China (PRC) between 15 April and 4 June 1989. Many socialist governments collapsed during the same year
The protests were sparked by the death of Hu Yaobang
, a reformist official backed by Deng Xiaoping and ousted by his enemies. Many people were dissatisfied with the party's slow response and relatively subdued funerary arrangements. Public mourning began on the streets of Beijing and universities in the surrounding areas. In Beijing this was centered on the Monument to the People's Heroes
in Tiananmen Square. The mourning became a public conduit for anger against perceived nepotism in the government, the unfair dismissal and early death of Hu, and the behind-the-scenes role of the "old men". By the eve of Yaobang's funeral, the demonstration had reached 100,000 people on Tiananmen Square. While the protests lacked a unified cause or leadership, participants raised the issue of corruption within the government and some voiced calls for economic liberalization and democratic reform within the structure of the government while others called for a less authoritarian and less centralized form of socialism.
During demonstrations, Deng Xiaoping's pro-market ally, General Secretary Zhao Ziyang
, supported demonstrators and distanced himself from the Politburo. Martial law was declared on 20 May by the socialist hardliner Li Peng, but no action was taken until 4 June. The movement lasted seven weeks. Soldiers and tanks from the 27th and 28th Armies of the People's Liberation Army
were sent to take control of the city on 4 June. Many ordinary people in Beijing believed that Deng Xiaoping had ordered the intervention, but political analysts do not know who was actually behind the order. However, Deng's daughter defends the actions that occurred as a collective decision by the party leadership.
To purge sympathizers of Tiananmen demonstrators, the Communist Party initiated a one and half year long program similar to Anti-Rightist Movement
. Old-timers like Dang Fei aimed to deal "strictly with those inside the party with serious tendencies toward bourgeois liberalization" and more than 30,000 communist officers were deployed to the task.
Zhao was placed under house arrest by socialist hardliners and Deng Xiaoping himself was forced to make concessions to anti-reform communists. He soon declared that "the entire imperialist Western world plans to make all socialist countries discard the socialist road and then bring them under the monopoly of international capital and onto the capitalist road". A few months later he said that the "United States was too deeply involved" in the student movement, referring to foreign reporters who had given financial aid to the student leaders and later helped them escape to various Western countries, primarily the United States through Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Although at first he made concessions to the socialist hardliners, he soon resumed his reforms after his 1992 southern tour. After his tour, he was able to stop the attacks of the socialist hardliners on the reforms through their "named capitalist or socialist?" campaign.
Deng Xiaoping privately told Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
that factions of the Communist Party could have grabbed army units and the country had risked a civil war. Two years later, Deng Xiaoping endorsed Zhu Rongji
, a Shanghai Mayor, as a vice-premier candidate. Zhu Rongji had refused to declare martial law in Shanghai during the demonstrations even though socialist hardliners had pressured him.
After resignation and the 1992 southern tour
" of the country, believed to have backroom control. Deng was recognized officially as "the chief 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.
, Deng's power had been significantly weakened and there was a growing formalist faction opposed to Deng's reforms within the Communist Party. To reassert his economic agenda, in the spring of 1992, Deng made his famous southern tour of China, visiting Guangzhou
and spending the New Year in Shanghai, using his travels as a method of reasserting his economic policy after his retirement from office. On his tour, Deng made various speeches and generated large local support for his reformist platform. He stressed the importance of economic reform in China, and criticized those who were against further economic and openness reforms. Although there was a debate on whether or not Deng actually said it, his perceived catchphrase, "To get rich is glorious" (致富光荣), unleashed a wave of personal entrepreneurship that continues to drive China's economy today. He stated that the "leftist" elements of Chinese society were much more dangerous than "rightist" ones. Deng was instrumental in the opening of Shanghai's Pudong
New Area, revitalizing the city as China's economic hub.
His southern tour was initially ignored by the Beijing and national media, which were then under the control of Deng's political rivals. Jiang Zemin
showed little support. Challenging their media control, Shanghai's Liberation Daily
newspaper published several articles supporting reforms authored by "Huangfu Ping", which quickly gained support amongst local officials and populace. Deng's new wave of policy rhetoric gave way to a new political storm between factions in the Politburo. President Jiang eventually sided with Deng, and the national media finally reported Deng's southern tour several months after it occurred. Observers suggest that Jiang's submission to Deng's policies had solidified his position as Deng's heir apparent. Behind the scenes, Deng's southern tour aided his reformist allies' climb to the apex of national power, and permanently changed China's direction toward economic development. In addition, the eventual outcome of the southern tour proved that Deng was still the most powerful man in China.
Deng's insistence on economic openness aided in the phenomenal growth levels of the coastal areas, especially the "Golden Triangle
" region surrounding Shanghai. Deng reiterated that "some areas must get rich before others", and asserted that the wealth from coastal regions will eventually be transferred to aid economic construction inland. The theory, however, faced numerous challenges when put into practice, as provincial governments moved to protect their own interests. The policy contributed to a widening wealth disparity between the affluent coast and the underdeveloped hinterlands.
Death and reaction
. Officially, Deng was eulogized as a "great Marxist, great Proletarian Revolutionary, statesman, military strategist, and 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
Although the public was largely prepared for Deng's death, as rumors had been circulating for a long time, the death of Deng was followed by the greatest publicly sanctioned display of grief for any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. However, in contrast, Deng's death in the media was announced without any titles attached (Mao was called the Great Leader and Teacher, Deng was simply "Comrade
"), or any emotional overtones from the news anchors that delivered the message.
At 10am on the morning of 24 February, people were asked by Premier Li Peng to pause in silence for three minutes. The nation's flags flew at half-mast for over a week. The nationally televised funeral, which was a simple and relatively private affair attended by the country's leaders and Deng's family, was broadcast on all cable channels. Jiang's tearful eulogy to the late reformist leader declared, "The Chinese people love, thank, mourn 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, his organs donated to medical research, the remains were cremated, and his ashes were subsequently scattered at sea, according to his wishes. For the next two weeks, Chinese state media ran news stories and documentaries related to Deng's life and death, with the regular 7 pm National News
program in the evening lasting almost two hours over the regular broadcast time.
Certain segments of the Chinese population, notably the modern Maoists and radical reformers (the far left and the far right), had negative views on Deng. In the year that followed, songs like "Story of 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; Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
called Deng a "pivotal figure" in Chinese history. The Taiwan
presidential office also sent its condolences, saying it longed for peace, cooperation, and prosperity. The Dalai Lama voiced regret.
There are a few public displays of Deng in the country. A bronze statue of Deng was erected on 14 November 2000, at the grand plaza of Lianhua Mountain Park 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 metres (20 ft) high, with an additional 3.68-meter base. The statue shows Deng striding forward confidently. In addition, in many coastal areas and on the island province of Hainan
, Deng is seen on large roadside billboards with messages emphasizing economic reform or his policy of One country, two systems
Another bronze statue of Deng was dedicated 13 August 2004 in the city of Guang'an
, Deng's hometown, 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, then Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
, capital of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan
, there is a six-lane boulevard, 25 metres (82 ft) wide and 3.5 kilometres (2 mi) long, the Deng Xiaoping Prospekt, which was dedicated on 18 June 1997. A two-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.
- Deng Xiaoping TheoryDeng Xiaoping TheoryDeng Xiaoping Theory , also known as Dengism, is the series of political and economic ideologies first developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. In theory, it does not reject Marxism or Mao Zedong Thought but instead seeks to adapt them to the existing socio-economic conditions of China.Since the...
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