In 1977 he again became deputy premier, as well as vice chairman of the party, and later (1979) visited the United States to seek closer ties. For most of the 1980s he served as head of the party and government military commissions and the newly created party Central Advisory Commission. Although not holding any of the highest ranking official posts, Deng became the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. In 1981 Deng strengthened his position in China by replacing Hua Guofeng as Communist party chairman with his own protégé, Hu Yaobang. When Hu was forced from power, Zhao Ziyang, another Deng protégé, became party leader, and later when Zhao was ousted, a third Deng associate, Jiang Zemin, replaced Zhao. Deng oversaw the loosening of government control of the economy in order to promote development while insisting on tight party control of the government and politics. He resigned from his last party post in 1989, designating Jiang Zemin his successor, after supporting the use of military force to suppress the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.
Deng Xiaoping (22 August 1904 19 February 1997) was a prominent Chinese revolutionary, politician, pragmatist and reformer, as well as the late leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Deng never held office as the head of state or the head of government, but served as the de facto leader of the People's Republic of China from 1978 to the early 1990s.
Inheriting a China wrought with social and institutional woes left over from the devastating Cultural Revolution and other mass political movements of the Mao era, Deng was the core of the second generation Chinese leadership. He was instrumental in introducing a new brand of socialist thinking, having developed Socialism with Chinese characteristics and Chinese economic reform, also known as the socialist market economy and partially opened China to the global market. He is generally credited with advancing China into becoming one of the fastest growing economies in the world and vastly raising the standard of living. Many critics of the current policies of the People's Republic of China see Deng Xiaoping's ouster of Hua Guofeng as the moment when capitalist forces infiltrated the Chinese government and took the country off the path of Socialism.
In October, they arrived in Marseille. He briefly attended middle schools in Bayeux and Chatillon, but he spent most of his time in France working; first at the Le Creusot Iron and Steel plant in central France, then later as a fitter in the Renault factory in the Paris suburb of Billancourt, as a fireman on a locomotive and as a kitchen helper in restaurants. He barely earned enough to survive. Many of these jobs had brutal working conditions, with workers frequently being injured. Deng would later claim that it was here where he got an initial feel for the evils of the capitalist society. In France, under the influence of his seniors (Zhao Shiyan, Zhou Enlai among others), Deng began to study Marxism and did political propaganda work. In 1921 he joined the Chinese Communist Youth League in Europe. In the second half of 1923 he joined the Chinese Communist Party and became one of the leading members of the General Branch of the Youth League in Europe. During 1926 Deng studied at Moscow in the then-USSR. He returned to China in early 1926.
In 1928 Deng led the Baise Uprising in Guangxi province against the Kuomintang (KMT) government. The uprising soon failed and Deng went to the Central Soviet Area in Jiangxi province. He was a veteran of the Long March, during which Deng served as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. While acting as political commissar for Liu Bocheng, he organized several important military campaigns during the war with Japan and during the Civil War against the Kuomintang. In late November 1948, Deng led the final assault on the Kuomintang forces, who were under the direct command of Chiang Kai-shek in Sichuan. The city of Chongqing fell to the PLA on 1 December and Deng was immediately appointed mayor and political commissar. (Chiang Kai-shek, who had moved his headquarters to Chongqing in mid-November fled to the provincial capital of Chengdu. This last mainland Chinese city to be held by the KMT fell on 10 December and Chiang fled to Taiwan on the same day.) When the PRC was founded in 1949 Deng was sent to oversee issues in the Southwestern Region, and acted as its First Secretary.
In 1961, at the Guangzhou conference, Deng uttered what is perhaps his most famous quotation: "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat. It's a good cat so long as it catches mice.
During the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and his family were targeted by Red Guards. Red Guards imprisoned Deng's son, Deng Pufang. Deng Pufang was tortured and forced out of the window of a four-story building, becoming a paraplegic.
Nonetheless, when Premier Zhou Enlai fell ill from cancer, Deng Xiaoping became Zhou's choice for a successor, and Zhou was able to convince Mao to bring Deng Xiaoping back into politics in 1974 as Executive Vice-Premier, in practice running daily affairs. Deng focused on reconstructing the country's economy and stressed unity as the first step to raising production. He remained careful, however, of not intruding the basic Maoist line of thinking, at least on paper. In reality, the Cultural Revolution was not yet over, and a radical leftist political group known as the Gang of Four, led by Mao's estranged wife Jiang Qing, competed for power within the Communist Party. The Gang saw Deng as their greatest challenge to power. Mao, too, was suspicious that Deng would annul the positive reputation of the Cultural Revolution, what Mao considered one of his greatest policy initiatives. Beginning in late 1975, Deng was asked to draw up a series of self-criticisms. Although Deng admitted to having taken an "inappropriate ideological perspective" while dealing with state and party affairs, he was reluctant to admit that his policies were wrong in essence. Deng's antagonism with the Gang of Four became increasingly clear, and Mao seemed to swing in the Gang's favour. Mao refused to accept Deng's self-criticisms and asked the party's Central Committee to "discuss Deng's mistakes thoroughly".
Zhou Enlai died in January 1976, to an outpouring of national grief. Zhou was a very important figure in Deng's political life, and his death eroded the little support within the Party's Central Committee that Deng had left. After delivering Zhou's official eulogy at the state funeral, the Gang of Four, with Mao's permission, began the so-called Criticize Deng and Oppose the Rehabilitation of Right-leaning Elements (批邓、反击右倾翻案风) campaign. Hua Guofeng, not Deng, was selected to become Zhou's successor. On 2 February, the Central Committee issued a Top-priority Directive, officially transferring Deng to work on "external affairs", in reality removing Deng from the party's power apparatus. Deng stayed at home for the subsequent months, awaiting his fate. The political turmoil had brought the economic progress Deng had laboured for in the past year to a halt. On 3 March, Mao issued a directive reaffirming the legitimacy of the Cultural Revolution and specifically pointed to Deng as an internal, rather than external, problem. This was followed by a Central Committee directive issued to all local party organs to study Mao's directive and criticize Deng.
Deng's political fortunes were dealt another blow following Qingming Festival, when the mass mourning of Premier Zhou on the traditional Chinese holiday sparked the Tiananmen Incident of 1976, an event the Gang of Four branded as counterrevolutionary and threatening to their power. Furthermore, the Gang deemed Deng the mastermind behind the incident, and Mao himself wrote that "the nature of things have changed". This prompted Mao's decision to remove Deng from all leadership positions but keep his party membership. Deng was taken away by security forces on 7 April, and on the next morning, People's Daily denounced the Tiananmen Incident and labeled Deng an "opposing force", announcing his dismissal. Deng was yet again purged.
In contrast to previous leadership changes, Deng allowed Hua to retain membership in the Central Committee, to quietly retire, and helped to set a precedent that losing a high-level leadership struggle would not result in physical harm.
Deng then repudiated the Cultural Revolution and, in 1977, launched the "Beijing Spring", which allowed open criticism of the excesses and suffering that had occurred during the period. Meanwhile, he was the impetus for the abolishment of the class background system. Under this system, the CCP put up employment barriers to Chinese deemed to be associated with the former landlord class, its removal therefore effectively allowed Chinese capitalists to join the Communist Party.
Deng gradually outmaneuvered his political opponents. By encouraging public criticism of the Cultural Revolution, he weakened the position of those who owed their political positions to that event, while strengthening the position of those like himself who had been purged during that time. Deng also received a great deal of popular support.
As Deng gradually consolidated control over the CCP, Hua was replaced by Zhao Ziyang as premier in 1980, and by Hu Yaobang as party chief in 1981. Deng remained the most influential CCP cadre, although after 1987 his only official posts were as chairman of the state and Communist Party Central Military Commissions.
Originally, the president was conceived of as a figurehead head of state, with actual state power resting in the hands of the premier and the party chief, both offices being conceived of as held by separate people in order to prevent a cult of personality from forming (as it did in the case of Mao); the party would develop policy, whereas the state would execute it.
Deng's elevation to China's new number-one figure meant that the historical and ideological questions around Mao Zedong had to be addressed properly. Because Deng wished to pursue deep reforms, to continue Mao's hard-line "class struggle" policies and mass public campaigns was unreasonable. In 1982 the Central Committee of the Communist Party released a document entitled On the Various Historical Issues since the Founding of the People's Republic of China. Mao retained his status as a "great Marxist, proletarian revolutionary, militarist, and general", and the undisputed founder and pioneer of the country and the People's Liberation Army. "His accomplishments must be considered before his mistakes", the document declared. Deng personally commented that Mao was "seven parts good, three parts bad." The document also steered the prime responsibility of the Cultural Revolution away from Mao (although it did state that "Mao mistakenly began the Cultural Revolution") to the "counter-revolutionary cliques" of the Gang of Four and Lin Biao.
Under Deng's direction, relations with the West improved remarkably. Deng traveled abroad and had a series of amicable meetings with western leaders, and became the first Chinese leader to visit the United States in 1979, meeting with President Carter at the White House. Shortly before this meeting, the U.S. had broken diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and established them with the People's Republic of China (PRC).
Sino-Japanese relations also improved significantly. Deng used Japan as an example of a rapidly progressing economic power that sets a good example for China's future economic directions.
Another achievement was the agreement signed by United Kingdom and China on 19 December 1984 (Sino-British Joint Declaration) under which Hong Kong was to be handed over to the PRC in 1997. With the 99-year British lease on the New Territories expiring, Deng agreed that the PRC would not interfere with Hong Kong's capitalist system for 50 years. A similar agreement was signed with Portugal for the return of colony Macau. Dubbed "one country-two systems", this fairly unprecedented approach has been touted by the PRC as a potential framework within which Taiwan could be reunited with the Mainland in more recent years.
Deng, however, did little to improve relations with the Soviet Union, continuing to adhere to the Maoist line of the Sino-Soviet Split era that the Soviet Union was a superpower equally as "hegemonist" as the United States, but even more threatening to China because of its geographical proximity.
Improving relations with the outside world was the second of two important philosophical shifts outlined in Deng's program of reform termed Gaige Kaifang (lit. Reforms and Openness). The domestic social, political, and most notably, economic systems would undergo significant changes during Deng's time as leader. The goals of Deng's reforms were summed up by the Four Modernizations, those of agriculture, industry, science and technology and the military. The strategy for achieving these aims of becoming a modern, industrial nation was the socialist market economy. Deng argued that China was in the primary stage of socialism and that the duty of the party was to perfect so-called "socialism with Chinese characteristics", and "seeking truth from facts." This interpretation of Chinese Marxism reduced the role of ideology in economic decision-making and deciding policies of proven effectiveness. Downgrading communitarian values but not necessarily the ideology of Marxism-Leninism himself, Deng emphasized that "socialism does not mean shared poverty". His theoretical justification for allowing market forces was given as such:
Planning and market forces are not the essential difference between socialism and capitalism. A planned economy is not the definition of socialism, because there is planning under capitalism; the market economy happens under socialism, too. Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity.
Unlike Hua Guofeng, Deng believed that no policy should be rejected outright simply because it was not associated with Mao. Unlike more conservative leaders such as Chen Yun, Deng did not object to policies on the grounds that they were similar to ones which were found in capitalist nations.
This political flexibility towards the foundations of socialism is strongly supported by quotes such as:
We mustn't fear to adopt the advanced management methods applied in capitalist countries (...) The very essence of socialism is the liberation and development of the productive systems (...) Socialism and market economy are not incompatible (...) We should be concerned about right-wing deviations, but most of all, we must be concerned about left-wing deviations.
Although Deng provided the theoretical background and the political support to allow economic reform to occur, it is in general consensus amongst historians that few of the economic reforms that Deng introduced were originated by Deng himself. Premier Zhou Enlai, for example, pioneered the Four Modernizations years before Deng. In addition, many reforms would be introduced by local leaders, often not sanctioned by central government directives. If successful and promising, these reforms would be adopted by larger and larger areas and ultimately introduced nationally. Many other reforms were influenced by the experiences of the East Asian Tigers.
This is in sharp contrast to the pattern in the perestroika undertaken by Mikhail Gorbachev in which most of the major reforms were originated by Gorbachev himself. The bottom-up approach of the Deng reforms, in contrast to the top-down approach of perestroika, was likely a key factor in the success of the former.
Deng's reforms actually included the introduction of planned, centralized management of the macro-economy by technically proficient bureaucrats, abandoning Mao's mass campaign style of economic construction. However, unlike the Soviet model, management was indirect through market mechanisms.
Deng sustained Mao's legacy to the extent that he stressed the primacy of agricultural output and encouraged a significant decentralization of decision making in the rural economy teams and individual peasant households. At the local level, material incentives, rather than political appeals, were to be used to motivate the labor force, including allowing peasants to earn extra income by selling the produce of their private plots at free market.
In the main move toward market allocation, local municipalities and provinces were allowed to invest in industries that they considered most profitable, which encouraged investment in light manufacturing. Thus, Deng's reforms shifted China's development strategy to an emphasis on light industry and export-led growth.
Light industrial output was vital for a developing country coming from a low capital base. With the short gestation period, low capital requirements, and high foreign-exchange export earnings, revenues generated by light manufacturing were able to be reinvested in more technologically-advanced production and further capital expenditures and investments.
However, in sharp contrast to the similar but much less successful reforms in Yugoslavia and Hungary, these investments were not government mandated. The capital invested in heavy industry largely came from the banking system, and most of that capital came from consumer deposits. One of the first items of the Deng reforms was to prevent reallocation of profits except through taxation or through the banking system; hence, the reallocation in state-owned industries was somewhat indirect, thus making them more or less independent from government interference. In short, Deng's reforms sparked an industrial revolution in China.
These reforms were a reversal of the Maoist policy of economic self-reliance. China decided to accelerate the modernization process by stepping up the volume of foreign trade, especially the purchase of machinery from Japan and the West. By participating in such export-led growth, China was able to step up the Four Modernizations by attaining certain foreign funds, market, advanced technologies and management experiences, thus accelerating its economic development.
Deng attracted foreign companies to a series of Special Economic Zones, where foreign investment and market liberalization were encouraged.
The reforms centered on improving labor productivity as well. New material incentives and bonus systems were introduced. Rural markets selling peasants' homegrown products and the surplus products of communes were revived. Not only did rural markets increase agricultural output, they stimulated industrial development as well. With peasants able to sell surplus agricultural yields on the open market, domestic consumption stimulated industrialization as well and also created political support for more difficult economic reforms.
There are some parallels between Deng's market socialism especially in the early stages, and Lenin's New Economic Policy as well as those of Bukharin's economic policies, in that both foresaw a role for private entrepreneurs and markets based on trade and pricing rather than central planning.
An interesting anecdote on this note is the first meeting between Deng and Armand Hammer. Deng pressed the industrialist and former investor in Lenin's Soviet Union for as much information on the NEP as possible.
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 began mid-April 1989, following an official visit by Soviet Communist Party Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev, and triggered by the death of Hu Yaobang, the former party General Secretary. Hu was widely seen as a liberal-minded person and was forced to resign from his position by Deng Xiaoping and other influential leaders of the Politburo.
Although the government declared martial law on 20 May, the demonstrations continued. After deliberating among Communist party leaders, the use of military force to resolve the crisis was ordered, and Zhao Ziyang was ousted from political leadership. Soldiers and tanks from the 27th and 28th Armies of the People's Liberation Army were sent to take control of the city. These forces were confronted by Chinese students in the streets of Beijing and the ensuing violence resulted in both civilian and army deaths.
Estimates of civilian deaths which resulted vary: 400-800 (The New York Times), 1,000 (NSA), and 2,600 (Chinese Red Cross). Student protesters maintained that over 7,000 were tortured and killed. It is sometimes claimed that following the violence, the government conducted widespread arrests to suppress, torture and kill the remaining supporters of the movement. But the evidence for some of these actions, and especially for torture, is missing or very limited. It is true that there was limited access for the foreign press and controlled coverage of the events in the mainland Chinese press. The violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protest caused widespread international condemnation of the PRC government. Deng Xiaoping, along with other hardliners, especially Li Peng, were generally blamed for the events. Critics accused Deng of suppressing any signs of political freedom that would undermine the direction of his economic reforms.
Deng's involvement in the events proved that he still possessed certain dictatorial powers. Deng and subsequent governments continue to justify crackdown on protests as a measure to enforce social stability for effective economic progress. In Richard Evan's "Deng Xiaoping and the Making of Modern China" there are some hints as to how conflicted and confused elements in the government may have been. (1) After Tiananmen, Deng in a speech to officers praises the security forces "who had died 'as heroes' in the conflict and then offered his sympathy to the wounded... Yet he did not say a word about the conduct of the operations by their commanders or about orders ... received from above." (2) "A story from a party source that Deng called in Li Peng and Yang Shangkun at about the time of his address to the generals and told them that they had bungled the military operation appallingly." (3) "When the time came to replace Zhao Ziyang as general secretary, it was not Li Peng, who had decreed martial law and had been seen on television giving orders to the population on the evening of 3 June, but Jiang Zemin, the party secretary and mayor of Shanghai, who was chosen to succeed him."
Officially, Deng decided to retire from top positions when he stepped down as Chairman of the Central Military Commission in 1989, and retired from the political scene in 1992. China, however, was still in the era of Deng Xiaoping. He continued to be widely regarded as the "paramount leader" of the country, believed to have backroom control. Deng was recognized officially as "The chief architect of China's economic reforms and China's socialist modernization". To the Communist Party, he was believed to have set a good example for communist cadres who refused to retire at old age. He broke earlier conventions of holding offices for life. He was often referred to as simply Comrade Xiaoping, with no title attached.
Because of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Deng's power had been significantly weakened and there was a growing formalist faction opposed to Deng's reforms within the Communist Party. To reassert his economic agenda, in the spring of 1992, Deng made his famous southern tour of China, visiting Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and spending the New Year in Shanghai, in reality using his travels as a method of reasserting his economic policy after his retirement from office. On his tour, Deng made various speeches and generated large local support for his reformist platform. He stressed the importance of economic construction in China, and criticized those who were against further economic and openness reforms. Although there is debate on whether or not Deng actually said it, his perceived catchphrase "To Get Rich Is Glorious", unleashed a wave of personal entrepreneurship that continues to drive China's economy today. He stated that the "leftist" elements of Chinese society were much more dangerous than "rightist" ones. Deng was instrumental in the opening of Shanghai's Pudong New Area, revitalizing the city as China's economic hub.
His southern tour was initially ignored by the Beijing and national media, which were then under the control of Deng's political rivals. President Jiang Zemin showed little support. Challenging their media control, Deng penned several articles supporting reforms under the pen name "Huang Fuping" in Shanghai's Liberation Daily newspaper, which quickly gained support amongst local officials and populace. Deng's new wave of policy rhetoric gave way to a new political storm between factions in the Politburo. President Jiang eventually sided with Deng, and the national media finally reported Deng's southern tour several months after it occurred. Observers suggest that Jiang's submission to Deng's policies had solidified his position as Deng's heir apparent. Behind the scenes, Deng's southern tour aided his reformist allies' climb to the apex of national power, and permanently changed China's direction toward economic development. In addition, the eventual outcome of the southern tour proved that Deng was still the most powerful man in China.
Deng's insistence on economic openness aided in the phenomenal growth levels of the coastal areas, especially the "Golden Triangle" region surrounding Shanghai. Deng reiterated that "some areas must get rich before others", and asserted that the wealth from coastal regions will eventually be transferred to aid economic construction inland. The theory, however, faced numerous challenges when put into practice, as provincial governments moved to protect their own interests. The policy contributed to a widening wealth disparity between the affluent coast and the underdeveloped hinterlands.
After being disconnected from life supporting machines, Deng Xiaoping died on 19 February 1997, at age 92 from a lung infection and Parkinson's disease, but his influence continued. Even though Jiang Zemin was in firm control, government policies maintained Deng's ideas, thoughts, methods, and direction. Officially, Deng was eulogized as a "great Marxist, great Proletarian Revolutionary, statesman, military strategist, and diplomat; one of the main leaders of the Communist Party of China, the People's Liberation Army of China, and the People's Republic of China; The great architect of China's socialist opening-up and modernized construction; the founder of Deng Xiaoping theory".
Although the public was largely prepared for Deng's death, as rumors had been circulating for a long time, the death of Deng was followed by the greatest publicly sanctioned display of grief for any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong himself. However, in contrast to Mao's death, Deng's death in the media was announced without any titles attached (Mao was called the Great Leader and Teacher, Deng was simply "Comrade"), or any emotional overtones from the news anchors that delivered the message. At 10 A.M. on the morning of 24 February, from all walks of life in the entire nation, people were asked by Premier Li Peng to pause in silence in unison for three minutes. At that time, the same music that was played during Mao's moment of silence, played. The nation's flags flew at half-staff for over a week. The nationally televised funeral, which was a simple and relatively private affair attended by the country's leaders and Deng's family, was broadcast on all cable channels. Jiang Zemin's tearful eulogy to the late reformist leader declared, "The Chinese people love Comrade Deng Xiaoping, thank Comrade Deng Xiaoping, mourn for Comrade Deng Xiaoping, and cherish the memory of Comrade Deng Xiaoping because he devoted his life-long energies to the Chinese people, performed immortal feats for the independence and liberation of the Chinese nation." Jiang vowed to continue Deng's policies. After the funeral, Deng donated his organs to medical research, was cremated, and his ashes were subsequently scattered at sea, according to his wishes. For the next two weeks, Chinese state media ran news stories and documentaries related to Deng's life and death, with the regular 7 pm National News program in the evening lasting almost two hours over the regular broadcast time.
Domestically, in contrast to Zhou's death, during which people wept on the streets, the reaction to Deng's death was largely calm, with no stock market crashes, no business closures, no wearing special armbands of grief, and no interruption to life in general. Certain segments of the Chinese population, notably the modern Maoists and radical reformers (the far left and the far right) both had negative views on Deng. In the year that followed, songs like "Story of Spring" by Dong Wenhua, which were created in Deng's honour shortly after Deng's Southern Tour in 1992, once again were widely played.
There was a significant amount of international reaction to Deng's death. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Deng was to be remembered "in the international community at large as a primary architect of China's modernization and dramatic economic development". French President Jacques Chirac said "In the course of this century, few men have, as much as Deng Xiaoping, led a vast human community through such profound and determining changes"; British Prime Minister John Major commented about Deng's key role in the return of Hong Kong to Chinese control; Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien called Deng a "pivotal figure" in Chinese history. The Taiwan presidential office also sent its condolences, saying it longed for peace, cooperation, and prosperity. The Dalai Lama voiced regret.
The same policies, however, left a large number of issues unresolved. These issues, including unprofitable state-owned enterprises, regional imbalance, urban-rural wealth disparity, official corruption, and the resurfacing of evils within a more liberal society, were exacerbated during Jiang Zemin's term (1993-2003). Although some areas and segments of society were notably better off than before, the re-emergence of significant inequality did little to legitimize the Communist Party's founding ideals, as the party faced increasing social unrest. Deng's emphasis in light industry, compounded with China's large population, created a large cheap labour market which became significant on the global stage. Favouring joint-ventures over domestic industry, Deng allowed foreign capital to pour into the country. While some see these policies as a fast method to put China on par with the west, Chinese hardline communists criticize Deng for abandoning the Party's founding ideals and selling out China.
Deng was an able diplomat, and he was largely credited with the successes of China in foreign affairs. Deng's time as China's leader saw agreements signed to revert both Hong Kong and Macau to Chinese sovereignty. Deng's era, set under the backdrop of the Cold war, saw the best Sino-American relations in history. Some Chinese nationalists assert, however, that Deng's foreign policy was one of appeasement, and past wrongs such as war crimes committed by Japan during the World War II were forgotten to make way for economic partnership.
There are a few public displays of Deng in the country. A bronze statue of Deng was erected on 14 November 2000, at the grand plaza of Lianhua Mountain Park of Shenzhen. This statue is dedicated to Deng's role as a great planner and contributor to the development of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, starting in 1984. The statue is high, with an additional 3.68-meter base. The statue shows Deng striding forward confidently. In addition, in many coastal areas and on the island province of Hainan, Deng is seen on large roadside billboards with messages emphasizing economic reform or his policy of One Country, Two Systems.
Another bronze statue of Deng was dedicated 13 August 2004 in the city of Guang'an, Deng's hometown, in southwest China's Sichuan Province. The statue was erected to commemorate Deng's 100th birthday. The statue shows Deng, dressed casually, sitting on a chair and smiling. The Chinese characters for "Statue of Deng Xiaoping" are inscribed on the pedestal. The original calligraphy was written by Jiang Zemin, then Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
In Bishkek, capital of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, there is a six-lane boulevard, wide and long, the Deng Xiaoping Prospekt, which was dedicated on 18 June 1997. A two-meter high red granite monument stands at the east end of this route. The epigraph in memory of Deng is written in Chinese, Russian and Kirghiz.