Deng Xiaoping was born on August 22, 1904 in Guang’an, rising through political ranks to become the communist leader who ruled China from the late 1970s until 1997. He abandoned many communist doctrines and incorporated elements of the free-enterprise system into the economy. Deng engineered reforms in virtually all aspects of China's political, economic and social life, restoring the country to domestic stability and economic growth after the excesses of the Cultural Revolution though cementing an inequality gap as well. His regime was also marked by the 1989 massacre of demonstrators in Tiananmen Square. Xiaoping died on February 19, 1997.
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Deng was reinstated and carried out a major reorganization of the government. He was soon elevated to the Politburo. Deng was widely considered to be Zhou’s successor. However, upon Zhou’s death, the Gang of Four managed to purge Deng from leadership.
After Mao’s death in 1977, the Gang of Four itself was purged and Deng Xiaoping made a political comeback. He downgraded Mao’s legacy, destroyed his opponents and banned “unofficial” organizations. As his power solidified, Deng quickly instituted new economic policies opening China to international trade and investment. This led to a peace treaty with Japan, improved relations with the USSR, official recognition by the United States, and return of control over the British Colony of Hong Kong.
By the mid-1980s, Deng had introduced economic reforms in agriculture and industry, providing for more local management, and instituted the radical “one child per couple” policy to control China’s burgeoning population. In all these reforms, Deng insisted China remain a socialist nation with central control. Reforms improved the quality of life for all but also created a huge...