Deng Xiaoping formerly Teng Hsiao-ping (1904-1997) was a Chinese political leader. A member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from the 1920s, he took part in the Long March 1934-1936.
He was in the Politburo from 1955 until ousted in the Cultural Revolution 1966-1969. Reinstated in the 1970s, he gradually took power and introduced a radical economic modernization programme. He retired from the Politburo in 1987 and from his last official position (as chair of Central Military Commission) in November 1989, but remained influential behind the scenes.
Deng, born in Sichuan province into a middle-class landlord family, joined the CCP as a student in Paris, where he adopted the name Xiaoping (Little Peace) in 1925, and studied in Moscow in 1926. After the Long Ma
rch, he served as a political commissar to the People's Liberation Army during the civil war of 1937-1949.
He entered the CCP Politburo 1955 and headed the secretariat during the early 1960s, working closely with President liu Shaoqi. During the Cultural Revolution Deng was dismissed as a 'capitalist roader' and sent to work in a tractor factory in Nanchang for 're-education'.
Deng was rehabilitated by his patron Zhou Enlai in 1973 and served as acting prime minister after Zhou's heart attack in 1974. On Zhou's death January 1976 he was forced into hiding but returned to office as vice premier in July 1977.
By December 1978, although nominally a CCP vice chair, state vice premier, and Chief of Staff to the PLA, Deng was the controlling force in China. He helped to oust Hua Guofeng in favour of his proteges Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang.
Despite repeated suggestions of retirement, Deng remained the dominant decision-maker in China. His policy of 'socialism with Chinese characteristics', misinterpreted in the West as a drift to capitalism, had success in rural areas.
Deng's reputation, both at home and in the West, was tarnished by his sanctioning of the army's massacre of more than 2,000 pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in June 1989.
Why is Deng Xiaoping famous?
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat.
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