|Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping delivers a speech during a visit to the US with wife Zhuo Lin (first from left) on January 29, 1979. (Photo/People.cn)|
A 48-episode documentary, Deng Xiaoping at History's Crossroad, began broadcasting last week on China Central Television. The drama tells the story of Deng and China's historic transformation under his leadership between October 1976 when the "Gang of Four" was arrested and 1984 when the country fully implemented the reform and opening-up.
But Chinese people's admiration of Deng continued long after 1984. The documentary has enabled the country's young people to see how difficult it was for China to take this reform path and persist with it.
Chinese society has reached a consensus about the reforms before 1984, but remains divided over what happened afterward. The significance of Deng perhaps lies not only in the fact that he led the Chinese people to overcome tribulations and walk toward a path of reforms, but also that the country has become accustomed to this path. The people's admiration for Deng is closely associated with the complexities China experienced after 1984.
Some issues still remain sensitive, which the TV series didn't touch upon. Deng initiated a package of reforms, and the twists and the turns during this grand process were only interludes which Deng managed well.
Another engine of China's reform and opening-up was Deng's southern tour in 1992. The reforms were not carried out smoothly, and Deng was surrounded by all kinds of differing opinions and complexities. But he was able to prove that he was right. Heroes like Deng are products of their times, and they also shape history.
Today's China differs immensely from that of 1978. It is incredible that reforms have created such changes in a big country like China and Deng has been the forerunner. His flexibility and strategic firmness, and his courageous and resolute spirit at historical junctures have proven themselves.
The Chinese people are appreciative of Deng because under and after his leadership, the country has become more and more prosperous. The positive evaluation of Deng by Chinese society and the international community has been fixed.
There are a few intellectuals in China who believe they stand higher than Deng and that they can surpass the historical restraints that Deng encountered.
This is a shallow understanding. They believe as long as they have the determination, they can make history, but they underestimate the difficulties standing in the way.
Deng's peaks and troughs during his career and his revolutionary experiences and life in France and the Soviet Union all contributed to his extraordinarily firm will. By commemorating this great figure, people will better understand the context of China's reform and opening-up and hold a steadfast will to deepen the reforms.