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The Career of Deng Xiaoping
1904: Deng Xiaoping is born in Sichuan Province, China. He is the
first-born son of a Hakka landowner.
1920: Deng graduates from Chongqing Preparatory School and he travels with about
80 of his fellow graduates to France to study. He is about 16 years old. Deng has to work in a factory
to support himself. He becomes a machinist. He joins a socialist youth organization.
1924: He returns to China and joins the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
He becomes an instructor at the Military and Political Academy in Xi'an.
1926: He spends a year in Moscow undergoing Marxist training. At the end of the
year he returns to southern China.
1929: He becomes an organizer of the Communist enclave in Guangxi
Province in southern China. That enclave failed and Deng joined an enclave led by
Mao Zedong in Jiangxi Province.
1933: Due to internal rivalries in the Communist Party Deng is denounced and
dismissed from all political offices. He is placed under arrest. His wife divorces
Deng participates in the Long March and serves as the General Secretary of the
1945-1949: Deng was a leader in the Second Field Army.
1950: Deng travels with Mao Zedong and other top leaders of the Communist Party to
Moscow to meet with Stalin. Deng engages some to the Soviet Marxist ideologists in debate and
holds his own.
1952: He is appointed Vice Premier in the government of the People's
Republic of China.
1956: He is made a member of the Politburo of the CCP. Deng is made
head of the Secretariat of the CCP.
1965-1972: Deng is denounced during the Great Cultural Revolution
and is sent to work in a factory as a machinist. During the Cultural Revolution Deng's son is thrown from a second floor
window and becomes paralized from the waist down.
Early 1973: Deng Xiaoping is rehabilitated and brought
back to organize the recovery.
Mid 1973 to mid 1974: Jiang Qing and her radicals are dominant in the
July 1974: Mao shifts support to Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.
Fall 1975: Mao shifts support back to Jiang Qing and her radicals.
Deng Xiaoping is formally removed from power.
There are public tributes to Zhou Enlai in Tiananmen Square on April 2
which Jiang Qing declares to be counter-revolutionary. Authorities
use the military to break up
the public demonstrations. On April 7 Deng Xiaoping is suspended from
all positions in the government.
October 1976: Armed forces arrest Jiang Qing and her radical associates.
They are called The Gang of Four to emphasize that they represent
only a small cabal of radicals.
July 1977: In July Deng Xiaoping restored to positions of power; Vice
Premier, Vice Chairman of the CCP and Vice Chairman of the Military
Commission and Army Chief of Staff.
Deng Xiaoping emerges as paramount leader of the People's Republic
Deng had been dropped from the leadership roles after the
April 1976 demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. As noted above, in July 1977 he returned
to all his official positions and in addition he was the chief of staff of
the People's Liberation Army.
Deng's leadership was not a result of the formal offices he
held but instead from a concensus among the top leaders to follow his
lead, although it did not hurt for him to have control of the army.
In the power struggle between Deng Xiaoping and Hua Guofeng, Hua had the
offices of Premiership and Party Chairmanship but Deng had the People's Liberation
Army, the PLA. One army trumps two high political offices.
August 1977: Deng Xiaoping calls for major reforms. These reforms are
called the Four Modernizations.
April 1978: Deng Xiaoping criticizes Party leadership by leftists.
1981: Deng becomes the chairman of the Central Military Commission.
November, 1987: Deng retires from all posts except the chairmanship
of the Central Military Commission
April 1989: Deng condemns student demonstrations in Tianamen Square as "anti-Party,
June 1989: PLA troops, with Deng's sanction, break up the demonstrations
in Tiananmen Square with extensive loss of life, perhaps in the thousands.
1990-1997: Deng remains the paramount leader for a number of years gradually
retiring from active political participation.
In 1997 he died of respiratory complications associated with