Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Harvard University Press
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China
    Book Description:

    No one in the twentieth century had a greater impact on world history than Deng Xiaoping. And no scholar is better qualified than Ezra Vogel to disentangle the contradictions embodied in the life and legacy of China’s boldest strategist—the pragmatic, disciplined force behind China’s radical economic, technological, and social transformation.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-06283-2
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Map: China in the 1980s
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface: In Search of Deng
    (pp. xi-xxiv)
  5. Introduction: The Man and His Mission
    (pp. 1-14)

    In March 1979 Sir Murray MacLehose, the widely respected Chinese-speaking British governor of Hong Kong, flew to Beijing to explain Hong Kong’s problems. Told in advance only that he would meet a high official, MacLehose was delighted to learn after he arrived that he would be meeting Deng Xiaoping, who had just been named China’s preeminent leader.¹ During an intimate meeting in the Great Hall of the People, MacLehose told Deng about the growing difficulties confronting Hong Kong. As both men well knew, the British had ruled the colony of Hong Kong since the Opium War, but the lease from...

  6. Deng’s Background
    • 1 From Revolutionary to Builder to Reformer, 1904–1969
      (pp. 15-46)

      Deng Xiaoping was born in 1904 in Paifang, Guang’an county, Sichuan. Though born to a small landlord family in a rural village, his village glorified the example of a relative, Deng Shimin, a member of the Deng extended family who had become a high official in imperial China and risen so high that he had written secret memos for China’s top leaders.¹ The village was renamed “paifang” (“memorial arch”) since a memorial arch had been erected in Shimin’s honor after he returned there in 1774. The accomplishments of Shimin and his brothers were truly extraordinary. At a time when only...

  7. Deng’s Tortuous Road to the Top,: 1969–1977
    • 2 Banishment and Return, 1969–1974
      (pp. 49-90)

      On October 26, 1969, Deng Xiaoping, along with his wife, Zhuo Lin, and his stepmother, Xia Bogen, left Zhongnanhai, where they had lived for more than a decade. They were taken by special plane to Nanchang in Jiangxi province where Deng was to engage in physical labor and be reeducated in Mao Zedong Thought. They were allowed to take along personal belongings and several cases of books. Deng’s request to see Mao before leaving was not granted, but he was told he could write letters to Wang Dongxing, head of the party’s General Office, and it was reasonable to expect...

    • 3 Bringing Order under Mao, 1974–1975
      (pp. 91-119)

      In December 1974, Zhou Enlai left his hospital bed and flew to Changsha to meet Mao. The two men were convening to decide on appointments for the key leadership positions in Beijing, and because they knew that neither had long to live, their work had great urgency. Following a major cancer operation on June 1, Zhou Enlai was so frail he could not carry on his daily work, and his plane carrying him to Changsha was like a small hospital, with doctors on board.¹ Mao, suffering from heart trouble and from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s...

    • 4 Looking Forward under Mao, 1975
      (pp. 120-156)

      When in 1975 Mao tapped Deng to replace Wang Hongwen as chair of party meetings, the party was still in disarray from the struggles of the Cultural Revolution. Deng’s new position in the party structure allowed him to make major strides in rebuilding the party throughout the country. The first step in renovation beyond Beijing was at the provincial level, and three months later the process would extend further, down to county and commune levels.¹ Two days after Marshal Ye’s July 2 letter announcing Deng’s appointment to head party affairs, Deng addressed a party center “theoretical study group” attended by...

    • 5 Sidelined as the Mao Era Ends, 1976
      (pp. 157-183)

      Within a single year, between December 1975 and September 1976, four senior Chinese leaders passed away. First Kang Sheng, the master internal spy who had done the dirty work for Mao in arranging the killing of hundreds of officials accused of betraying the revolution, died in December 1975. Then Premier Zhou Enlai passed away during the morning of January 8, 1976. Zhu De, founder of the Red Army and an early military leader, died in July 1976. And Chairman Mao, who towered above all others, expired in September 1976. With their deaths and the arrest of the Gang of Four...

    • 6 Return under Hua, 1977–1978
      (pp. 184-214)

      Shortly after Hua was named premier and first vice chairman of the party in April 1976, Thomas Gates, head of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing, met with him for an hour and forty-five minutes. Gates’s staff wrote an assessment of Hua based on that meeting, which Gates signed, that proved remarkably prescient. It concluded that Hua was “an intelligent, colorless individual whose hallmark is caution. He handles his material well enough, but he gave off no sparks of unusual intellect or charisma. Hua came across as an ideal transition figure who is unlikely to take any dramatic steps in...

  8. Creating the Deng Era,: 1978–1980
    • 7 Three Turning Points, 1978
      (pp. 217-248)

      In Japan, the historical turning point that set the nation on the road to modernization was the Iwakura Mission. From December 1871 to September 1873, fifty-one Meiji government leaders traveled by ship and rail to fifteen different countries. The mission was composed of officials from all major sectors—industry, agriculture, mining, finance, culture, education, the military, and the police—and was led by Iwakura Tomomi, a court noble who had become one of the top leaders of the Meiji government. When the group left home, Japan was essentially a closed country; the Japanese knew little about the outside world. But...

    • 8 Setting the Limits of Freedom, 1978–1979
      (pp. 249-265)

      The Cultural Revolution was in fact an “anti-culture revolution” for it did more to attack the old culture than to create a new one. Red Guards used historical analogies and stories not only to attack present-day officials, but also to criticize virtually all novels, stories, plays, and essays. As the Cultural Revolution drew to a close with Mao’s death and the arrest of the Gang of Four, many Chinese who had for years been silenced by terror passionately sought a chance to speak out. Some wanted to attack their tormenters, others strove to defend themselves, and still others wanted simply...

    • 9 The Soviet-Vietnamese Threat, 1978–1979
      (pp. 266-293)

      In mid-1977, when Deng once again became responsible for China’s national security and foreign affairs, he faced two overriding concerns: defending China against threats from the Soviet Union and Vietnam, and laying the groundwork to enlist foreign help for China’s modernization.¹ To reduce the danger from the Soviet military, he sought to firm up relations with China’s neighbors and to block Soviet advances. For help with modernization, he turned to Japan and the United States. In pursuing these goals, for fourteen months beginning in January 1978 Deng undertook a whirlwind tour of more countries than he had visited in his...

    • 10 Opening to Japan, 1978
      (pp. 294-310)

      In his trip to Japan in October 1978, Deng sought Japanese cooperation in resisting Soviet-Vietnamese expansion. But he also knew that no country, with the possible exception of the United States, could be more helpful in its four modernizations. Japan had modern technology and effective management; it had lessons for China in how to accelerate growth, expand modern industry, and make the transition from a more regulated to a more open economy; it was located nearby; and many Japanese were prepared to be generous. Deng knew that for the relationship with Japan to work well, he would need to convince...

    • 11 Opening to the United States, 1978–1979
      (pp. 311-348)

      On the afternoon of August 22, 1977, just three days after Deng officially returned to work as a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, he met Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Deng wanted to accomplish some things in his few years in office, and the timing of this meeting reflected the high priority he gave to normalizing relations with the United States. Hua Guofeng, China’s chairman and premier, met Vance the day after Deng did, but American officials understood that the key visit was with Deng.

      Ever since Nixon’s visit in 1972, China had expected that normalization would follow quickly....

    • 12 Launching the Deng Administration, 1979–1980
      (pp. 349-374)

      When Deng emerged as the preeminent Chinese leader in December 1978, he did not yet have in place his own leadership team nor had he yet formulated a coherent vision of China’s future that the public could rally behind. The leadership was shared, for the moment, with Hua Guofeng, who still held the official positions of chairman of the party and premier, and with Hua’s four allies on the Politburo. In December 1978, Deng had been moved to the top of a structure that he had not created.

      Deng did not care as much about titles as he did about...

  9. The Deng Era,: 1978–1989
    • 13 Deng’s Art of Governing
      (pp. 377-393)

      Deng would not tolerate the cult of personality that Mao happily indulged in.¹ In sharp contrast to the Mao era, virtually no statues of Deng were placed in public buildings and virtually no pictures of him hung in homes. Few songs and plays were composed to celebrate his triumphs. Deng never even became chairman of the party or premier. Students did learn about his policies and they could cite his best-known aphorisms, but they did not spend time memorizing quotations from his writings.

      And yet, even without a cult or august titles—merely the positions of vice chairman of the...

    • 14 Experiments in Guangdong and Fujian, 1979–1984
      (pp. 394-422)

      On November 11, 1977, Deng Xiaoping, in Guangdong for discussions to plan for a Central Military Commission meeting in Beijing, was briefed on the problem of young men trying to escape across the border from China into Hong Kong. Tens of thousands of youth were risking their lives each year by attempting to run or swim across the border. Until that point, Beijing had regarded the problem as a security issue. A barbed-wire fence was maintained all along the twenty-mile land border, and thousands of police and troops were assigned to patrol the area. When Chinese youth were caught trying...

  10. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  11. Challenges to the Deng Era,: 1989–1992
    • 20 Beijing Spring, April 15–May 17, 1989
      (pp. 595-615)

      From April 15 to June 4, 1989, as the whole world watched in fascination, hundreds of thousands of young Chinese took to the streets of Beijing and other Chinese cities.¹ In the early days after Hu Yaobang’s untimely death on April 15, the demonstrators were mostly innocent youth seeking to pay their respects to their departed hero and to the democracy that he had supported. When they first started gathering, they expressed respect for the Communist Party and paraded in an orderly fashion so that they would not disturb traffic; initially, they had no political agenda. As the demonstrations grew...

    • 21 The Tiananmen Tragedy, May 17–June 4, 1989
      (pp. 616-639)

      As Deng moved ahead with plans to bring in the troops and declare martial law, Zhao and a group of liberal officials made a final desperate effort to avoid a violent crackdown. At 10 p.m. on May 16, after a meeting with Gorbachev, Zhao chaired an emergency Politburo Standing Committee meeting where he reiterated his view, supported only by Hu Qili, that there would be no peaceful resolution unless the party retracted the April 26 editorial. Outside the Politburo, a group of retired liberal officials on the Central Advisory Commission—including Li Chang, Li Rui, Yu Guangyuan, and Du Runsheng...

    • 22 Standing Firm, 1989–1992
      (pp. 640-663)

      After June 4, 1989, the mood in Beijing was grim. Deng faced a public more alienated from the party than at any time since Communist rule began. By May 20 it had become clear that the government had lost the support of both its urban residents and its youth, and leaders feared the government might not survive. The use of force on June 4 intimidated the public into compliance, but it had only deepened the chasm between the party and the people. The morale of the military was also low; soldiers felt anything but heroic for having killed innocent civilians...

    • 23 Deng’s Finale: The Southern Journey, 1992
      (pp. 664-690)

      A generation earlier, in 1965, Mao had been unhappy with the “bourgeois” policies of Beijing over which he did not have full control. Unable to get his views aired in the central party newspaper, the People’s Daily, he published them in Shanghai’s Wenhui bao; the next day the article also appeared in the Shanghai party newspaper, the Liberation Daily. Then Mao, seventy-one years old, journeyed on his special train to the southern cities of Hangzhou, Shaoshan, and Wuhan, where he lit the fire that launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966.

      This series of events would be echoed in 1991 when...

  12. Deng’s Place in History
    • 24 China Transformed
      (pp. 693-714)

      When Deng stepped aside in 1992 he had fulfilled the mission that had eluded China’s leaders for 150 years: he and his colleagues had found a way to enrich the Chinese people and strengthen the country. But in the process of achieving this goal, Deng presided over a fundamental transformation of China itself—the nature of its relation with the outside world, its governance system, and its society. After Deng stepped down, China continued to change rapidly, but the basic structural changes developed under Deng’s leadership have already continued for two decades, and with some adaptations, they may extend long...

  13. Key People in the Deng Era
    (pp. 717-746)

    The careers of Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yun were deeply intertwined since the early 1930s, when they both served in the Communist underground in Shanghai under Zhou Enlai.¹ Since then, and until 1980, they had generally been allied on the same side in inner-party struggles. The two had gone together in 1953 to ask Mao Zedong to blow the whistle on Gao Gang in an effort to prevent what would have been the biggest split in the party in the 1950s. Chen Yun and Deng had also both been pushed aside but not destroyed by Mao in the mid-1960s. But...

  14. Chinese Communist Party Congresses and Plenums, 1956–1992
    (pp. 747-748)
  15. Abbreviations
    (pp. 749-750)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 751-850)
  17. Index
    (pp. 851-876)