Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping is the man who authorized the use of violence during the Tian An Men Square Massacre. A veteran of the Long March, he was purged twice by Mao before rising to supreme power as the Great Architect.

Deng was born in Paixing village, Sichuan province on August 22, 1904. At the age of 16, he went to France for five years, in hopes of studying abroad. Instead, he spent most of his time working for reduced wages, as the Chinese were forced to do under France's failing economy. Influenced by the October Revolution in Russia, Deng turned to Marxism.

He joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1924 and returned to China from Moscow just after the Shanghai massacre. During this time, he actively joined the CCP, leading troops from Guizhou to Jiangxi, where he joined Mao during the Long March. Deng joined the Party Central Committee in 1945 and quickly rose to the Politburo Central Committee in 1956. As a pragmatist, he worked with Li Shaoqi to restore the economy after the disastrous Great Leap Forward. For this he was attacked as the “Number Two Capitalist Roader” behind Liu during the Cultural Revolution. He was purged and sent to work in a tractor factory.

In 1973, Deng was reinstated as Deputy Premier by Zhoa Enlai, and took control of the administration when Zhou fell ill. He began implementing Zhou’s Four Modernizations, and was again purged after Zhou’s death in 1976.

Later in 1976, Mao Zedong died, followed by the arrest of his notorious Gang of Four. In 1977, Deng was again reinstated as Deputy Premier and became the Party Vice Chairman. Deng opened up China to Western influences, implemented decollectivization, and privatized much of the state run economy. In 1979, he visited the United States to seek closer ties, but his economic reforms did not lead to political reforms. The Democracy Wall was crushed within half a year of its emergence.
In 1989, Deng brutally put down the Tian An Men Square protests. It was not until 1992 that he rekindled economic reforms, which had remained stagnant since the massacre. Deng controlled China until his death in Beijing on February 19, 1997.

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Deng Xiaoping's Selected Works