Chinese politician

Date of Birth: 22 August 1904

Date death: 19 February 1997

Age at the time of death: 92 years old

Zodiac sign: Leo

Profession: Politician


Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese revolutionary and statesman who served as the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from December 1978 to November 1989. After Chinese Communist Party chairman Mao Zedong's death in 1976, Deng rose to power and led China through its process of Reform and Opening Up and the development of China's socialist market economy. Deng developed a reputation as the "Architect of Modern China" and his ideological contributions to socialism with Chinese characteristics are described as Deng Xiaoping Theory or market socialism.

Born in Sichuan during the end of the Qing dynasty, Deng moved to France in 1921 as a teenager, where he worked and studied; in the coming years he became attracted to the theories of Vladimir Lenin, and in 1924 he joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In early 1926, Deng travelled to Moscow to study political science, becoming a commissar for the Red Army upon his return to China. Near the end of 1929, Deng led local Red Army uprisings in Guangxi. In 1931, he was demoted within the party due to his support for Mao, but was again promoted during the Zunyi Conference. Deng was an important figure throughout the Chinese Civil War (1927–1949), including during the Long March (1934–1935) and in fighting against the Japanese (1937–1945). He, Liu Bocheng and Chen Yi led the newly formed People's Liberation Army (PLA) into the former Kuomintang capital of Nanjing during the final stretch of the civil war. Following the proclamation of the People's Republic of China on 1 October 1949, Deng served in Tibet and southwestern China as the regional party chief, working to consolidate party control in the region. In 1952, he returned to Beijing and held a central position in the State Council. As the party's Secretary-General under Chairman Mao Zedong, and Vice Premier under Premier Zhou Enlai during the 1950s, Deng presided over the Anti-Rightist Campaign spearheaded by Mao, and became instrumental in China's economic reconstruction following the Great Leap Forward (1958–1960). However, his right-leaning political and economic stances eventually caused him to fall out of favor with Mao, and he was the target of purges twice during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).

Following Mao's death in September 1976, Deng outmaneuvered Mao's chosen successor Hua Guofeng, and became China's paramount leader during the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee in December 1978. Because of the institutional disorder and political turmoil from the later Mao-era, Deng and his allies launched the Boluan Fanzheng program. The program sought to restore order, rehabilitating veteran CCP leadership, as well as millions of people who were persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. From 1977 to early 1979, he resumed the National College Entrance Examination that had not taken place for ten years, and initiated the Reform and Opening-up program that introduced elements of market capitalism to the Chinese economy. This included designating special economic zones, such as Shenzhen. Still embroiled in the Sino-Soviet split that began during the 1960s, Deng's China fought a one-month war with Vietnam. On 1 January 1979, the PRC officially established diplomatic relations with the United States after years of prelude, and Deng became the first paramount leader of China to visit the US. In August 1980, Deng embarked on a series of political reforms, setting constitutional term limits for state officials and other systematic revisions, which were incorporated in the country's third constitution (1982). In the 1980s, Deng advocated for the one-child policy to deal with China's perceived overpopulation crisis, helped establish China's nine-year compulsory education, launched the 863 Program for science and technology, and downsized the PLA by one million. Deng also proposed the One Country, Two Systems principle for the governance of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as the future unification with Taiwan. During Deng's tenure, his protégés Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang were head of the party and the government, but both of whom were later ousted from power. Deng stepped down from all his official positions in November 1989, in the wake of an eruption of protests in Tiananmen Square.

The reforms carried out by Deng and his allies gradually led China away from a planned economy and Maoist ideologies, opened it up to foreign investments and technology, and introduced its vast labor force to the global market, thus turning China into one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Deng and his chosen successors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao contributed to China becoming the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP in 2010. Despite never holding office as either the PRC's state representative or head of government nor as the head of CCP, Deng is generally viewed as the "core" of the CCP's second-generation leadership, a status enshrined within the party's constitution. Deng was named the Time Person of the Year for 1978 and 1985. He was criticized for ordering a military crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, yet was praised for his reaffirmation of the reform program in his Southern Tour of 1992 as well as the reversion of Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997 and the return of Macau in 1999.


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