《漫话十九大》Episode7: Who made China stand up and prosper?

‍Two men have played a particularly influential role in the development of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since its foundation in 1949 – Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Stand up: Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong has been the dominant figure in China’s history over the past century – and his legacy lives on over 40 years after his death. Mao’s portrait is featured on Chinese bank notes, and adorns the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and his teachings are common knowledge throughout China.

The founding father of the PRC was born in 1893 into a peasant family in central China's Hunan Province. He became a follower of Marxism in his 20s, participating in the May Fourth Movement against imperialism and feudalism.

He rose through the ranks of the Communist Party of China in the 1920s, and gained a leading position in January 1935 at the Zunyi Meeting during the Long March.

Against the backdrop of World War Two and a civil war, he combined Marxism with China's practical conditions, blazing a new trail for the Chinese people to achieve independence.

The PRC was established in 1949, bringing together a country that had been divided for more than a century.

His time in power included some serious mistakes, but he also made indisputable contributions to the Chinese revolution and making China the country it is today.

Prosper: Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping is widely known as "the chief architect of China's reform and opening up” for driving the country's rapid development, starting in the late 1970s.

Born in 1904 in southwestern Sichuan Province, Deng spent several years in France on a work-study program before returning to China where he joined the CPC, playing an instrumental role in the Party and the PRC over the following decades.

The four key ideas he initiated – reform and opening up; a well-off society; socialism with Chinese characteristics; and One Country, Two Systems for Hong Kong and Macao – have transformed China and the lives of its more than one billion people over the past four decades.

It was Mao Zedong who made the Chinese people stand up; it was Deng Xiaoping who made the Chinese people prosper.

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