Past in Perspective

“Reform is China’s second revolution”

–Deng Xiaoping


Deng Xiaoping passed away on 19 February 1997. He was a Chinese communist leader, and the most important figure in the Chinese Communist Party from the late 1970s till his death in 1997.

Deng Xiaoping played a very important role in the establishment and control of communism in China under the leadership of Mao Zedong. Xiaoping was an active member of the communist movement, and he participated in the long and arduous Long March in 1931, which ultimately led to the defeat of Chiang Kai-Chek’s Nationalist party in China. From 1937 to 1945, Xiaoping was appointed the commissar of a division of the communist army, and was later appointed the secretary of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. Soon after, he became a favorite of Mao Zedong and was promoted to the position of the regional party leader in Southwestern China. In 1952, he was granted the vice premiership of China.

Deng was a reformer and closely aligned himself with pragmatist leaders who wanted to encourage petty entrepreneurship in China to increase economic development in the region, especially after the disaster of Mao’s Great Leap Forward movement. However, Xiaoping soon came into conflict with Mao, who held completely different ideologies when it came to running the party. As a result, Deng was attacked during the Cultural Revolution, and was considered as an anti-revolutionary who was going against China’s ideals. However, after Mao passed away and Deng Xiaoping became the communist leader, he abandoned many orthodox communist doctrines and attempted to introduce a free market system in China to bolster the country’s economy.

Deng Xiaoping is still regarded as a leader who took China forward on a completely different path by introducing reforms in the economy and otherwise.

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