- Cina sejak Deng Xiaoping. Deng Xiaoping, also Teng Hsiao-p’ing (1904-1997), Chinese Communist leader, who survived two purges to become virtual ruler of post-Mao China. He was born into a family of landlords in Jiading (Chia-ting), Sichuan (Szechwan) Province, studied in France and Moscow during the 1920s, and after his return to China served the Communist Party in various capacities, joining Mao Zedong in Jiangxi by 1930 and participating in the Long March in 1934-1935. During China’s struggle against Japanese aggression (1937-1945), Deng served as a political commissar with the army, being elevated to the Communist Party’s Central Committee in 1945.
After the collapse of the Nationalist regime and the establishment of the Communist government in 1949, Deng moved up rapidly in the Communist hierarchy under Mao’s patronage, serving as vice-premier (1952) and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (1956-1966). Deng distinguished himself as a pragmatist in opposition to Mao’s advocacy of revolutionary zeal, especially after the disastrous failure of Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and was therefore exposed to radical attacks during the Cultural Revolution. Stripped of office during the Cultural Revolution in late 1966, he disappeared from view until Zhou Enlai made him deputy premier in 1973. On Zhou’s death early in 1976, Mao’s radical allies, the Gang of Four, had Deng purged again, but after Mao’s death and their fall later that year, he was reinstated by Hua Guofeng in 1977. He edged Hua out of power, installed his protégés Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang in high office, and began his campaign for the redevelopment of China.
Deng’s reforms were generally economic and social, aimed at encouraging initiative and growth, and achieved through persuasion and consensus. He rationalized economic planning, freed enterprises from state control, and reinstated profit as the guiding principle of economic life. His overall aim was to strengthen and stabilize China, thus securing Communist rule. China joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1980; special enterprise zones and other initiatives were established to attract foreign investment. Deng’s official appointments as chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission (1981-1989) and of the party’s Central Advisory Commission (1982-1987) disguised his true position, though his control of the military was decisive for his leadership. In foreign policy, he developed close ties with Japan and the United States as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union.
Deng’s policies produced rapid economic development, but also unleashed unforeseen social turmoil and political aspirations, as it became clear that he had no intention of compromising the Communist Party’s absolute power. Deng personally approved the bloody massacre that ended the mass pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and purged his one-time protégé Zhao Zhiyang, who had proved too sympathetic towards the pro-democracy movement. Deng resigned from his last official post in November 1989, but retained paramount authority, continuing to promote growth under the slogan “to grow rich is glorious”, while suppressing democratic aspirations and preserving the Communist monopoly of power under political conservatives such as Li Peng. After 1989, China’s economic boom continued, as did an apparent haemorrhaging of central authority to the regions, and the political calm of this period was evidently the result of present or implied force, ultimately underwritten by Deng’s own links with the military. He continued to support rapid economic expansion, especially in China’s provinces, while he was able to conduct active policy; but in the mid-1990s, suffering from respiratory ailments and Parkinson’s disease, he increasingly slipped from public view, amid reports of jockeyings for power among younger Communist leaders such as Li Peng and Jiang Zemin. Having installed Jiang as his heir apparent, Deng died on February 19, 1997, after a long period of illness.