Deng Xiaoping

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Dèng Xiǎopíng (Chinese: 邓小平; Wade-Giles: Teng Hsiao-p'ing) was born August 22, 1904 and died February 19, 1997. He came from Paifang village in Xiexing township, Guang'an County, Sichuan Province, in China. He became a significant figure within the Communist Party of China (CPC).

With the death of Premier Zhou Enlai, and just months later Chairman Mao Zedong in 1976, Deng Xiaoping won the power struggle between himself and the Gang of Four. He became Chairman of Communist Party of China. Though he never held the office of President or Premier of China, as Chairman of the party, he had effective authority over and above those posts.

Deng was a reformer, ending the cultural revolution and beginning the opening up of China. His philosophy of Socialism with Chinese characteristics was adopted by the CPC. In this, Deng argued that a market lead economy was not disagreeable with socialism. Deng, basically pragmatic and practical, strongly promoted modernization and home, and detente abroad with the United States. He put this pragmatism to the service of economic modernization.[1] National feeling and the need to avoid isolation and learn from countries using the market economy are elements of Deng's theory. Deng argued that after China enters the third period of modernization, about 2030, it will have achieved economic parity with other developed nations. Until then, he believed, incentives, rewards, and inequality would be necessary to encourage economic development. As for democracy, Western individualism remained unsuited for China, although the masses should have the opportunity to criticize their leaders. He believed that as China achieved greater education, greater popular participation in government would be established. He retired for political life in 1992 though he still have influence behind the scenes.

In 1997 he died aged 92, from a lung infection and Parkinson's disease.

Further reading

  • Chang, Maria Hsia. "The Thought of Deng Xiaoping." Communist & Post-communist Studies 1996 29(4): 377-394
  • Deng, Xiaoping. Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping: 1975-82 (1995)
  • Fewsmith, Joseph. China since Tiananmen: From Deng Xiaoping to Hu Jintao (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Goodman, David. Deng Xiaoping and the Chinese Revolution: A Political Biography (1995) excerpt and text search
  • Marti, Michael E. China and the Legacy of Deng Xiaoping: From Communist Revolution to Capitalist Evolution. (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Chang (1996)