A memorial is held in Deng Xiaoping's hometown of Guang'an, Sichuan province on February 17, 2017 ahead of the 20th anniversary of the death of the Chinese statesman. [Photo: Chinanews.com]
This Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Chinese statesman Deng Xiaoping.
Twenty years on, China continues to benefit from the late leader's wisdom and political legacy.
As the first Special Economic Zone in China, the city of Shenzhen has been transformed from a fishing village to China's gateway to the rest of the world, thanks to Deng Xiaoping's advocacy of reform and opening up.
Deng Xiaoping has been called "the architect of China's reform and opening-up" for his painstaking efforts in leading the country's modern-day transformation starting in the late 1970s.
Victor Gao, scholar, current affairs commentator, and a man who once worked as the interpreter of Deng Xiaoping, says his influence was far reaching.
"Deng Xiaoping saved the Chinese nation at the end of the 1970s, in my best judgement, Deng Xiaoping was the profit for the Chinese nation. And he charted the roadmap for the reform and opening up to the outside world, which even today, China is still in the shadow of his wisdom and foresight. Without Deng Xiaoping, at the end of the 1970s, China probably would not be able to break out from that huge ideological box, in which China was firmly locked up," he says.
Deng was recognized as the core of the second-generation leadership of the Communist Party of China.
While in office he pursued progressive measures that earned him respect from across the nation. By using pragmatic reforms, Deng came up with unique and innovative solutions.
"He has his particular way of looking at challenges, in a sense he is good at coming up with very unique and innovative solutions by avoiding being deadlocked in any particular situation. We know that his famous saying of it's not that important if the cat is black or white, and the most important thing is the cat catches mice," Gao says.
In June 1984, Deng Xiaoping formulated the concept of "one country, two systems", which later facilitated the peaceful settlement of the Hong Kong issue.
Under the concept, China was obliged to leave Hong Kong's economic status unchanged after the handover on July 1, 1997.
Even now, the policy has been important in framing the Taiwan issue.
"Despite many challenges and major changes in the political situation in Hong Kong, I think most of the people in Hong Kong as well as here in mainland still fully acknowledge the truthfulness and validity of the 'one country two systems' philosophy. Eventually, this great innovative concept may also be applied to Taiwan to resolve the return of Taiwan and the reunification of the motherland," Gao says.
Deng's far-sighted political wisdom has resulted in the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong today. His modernization plans have made China the world's second-largest economy.
These are seen as major milestones for the Chinese nation.