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  • Oct 15, 2014
  • Updated: 5:58pm
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POLITICS

Daughters of Deng Xiaoping lead tributes in Hong Kong

Wheelchair of late leader on show in city whose future he helped to shape

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 August, 2014, 11:29pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 August, 2014, 5:30pm
 

Deng Xiaoping did not live to visit Hong Kong after its 1997 handover. But ahead of the 110th anniversary of his birth today, two of his daughters brought a fitting symbol to the city.

"My father … read reports on Hong Kong every day in his later years," Deng Lin , his eldest daughter, said yesterday. "Although he couldn't make the trip, his wheelchair representing him has come to Hong Kong."

The wheelchair takes its place at a three-day exhibition at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, commemorating Deng's life, including his years as paramount leader from 1978 to 1992. Deng died in February 1997, just months before British rule in Hong Kong ended with the handover he worked to achieve.

Deng Lin and her sister Deng Rong were guests of honour at yesterday's opening ceremony. The event is open to the public until tomorrow.

It features more than 400 photographs, including a set of four taken on June 9, 1989, as Deng made a speech to People's Liberation Army officers five days after the crackdown on pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square.

The caption, however, sidesteps the crackdown. It states that Deng was delivering an important speech "to officers with the rank of general or above in command of the troops enforcing martial law in Beijing".

A guide simply told viewers in Putonghua that the pictures were taken when Deng "was facing very important political turmoil".

The exhibition also features a 2.5-metre replica of Deng sitting in an armchair, from his former residence in Guangan, Sichuan. A PLA honour guard paid tribute to it yesterday.

Deng Rong also attended a commemoration in Guangan, her father's hometown, on Monday - despite saying at the time of the 100th anniversary of his birth that he had not been keen on memorials.

"He said: 'Instead of building these things, I'd rather you planted several more trees'," Deng Rong told China Newsweek in 2004. "We knew he wanted to go back to nature."

Peng Jianxing, chairman of the labour union at Deng Xiaoping Former Residence Management Bureau, said organisers started preparing the Guangan commemoration two years ago. Another memorial hall has been built there - one Deng's family was happy with, Peng said.

Deng Rong was joined in Guangan by another sister, Deng Nan , and his only grandson Deng Zhuodi , now Communist Party chief of Pingguo county, Guangxi .

A party cadre at the Hong Kong exhibition viewed it as a sign the family wanted to continue Deng's legacy. "With this opportunity they could bring the latest generation onto the stage," the cadre said.

A commentary by Deng Nan about her father's legacy was published in yesterday's People's Daily. She said her father's famous southern tour in 1992 enhanced the country's belief in Marxism and saved the nation's market-oriented economic reform at a "crucial moment".

CCTV will broadcast a 20-part documentary on Deng in primetime after a drama about him proved popular, said Zhao Xiaobo, a researcher studying Deng at the Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences.

An official of the Sichuan propaganda department told the South China Morning Post that this year's celebration almost equalled the scale of the 100th anniversary.

"The persistence Deng showed in his reform and opening-up initiatives should help back up [President Xi Jinping's ] push for reform, which explains why the commemorations are getting so much attention," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"And the role of Deng as the chief designer of the reform and opening-up was set as the highlight of all the activities."

Additional reporting by Andrea Chen

 

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This article is now closed to comments

Yenji@consultant.com
it is quite depressing that the SCMP has readers like 'andreaswagner' who express themselves in such a self-demeaning and ignorant way.
Deng was a great man who served his country well, and though he took decisions that were wrong, that should not detract from the fact that he was the most important man of his generation, and probably the next, because he opened the door to modern China.
Million died needlessly in the Great Leap Forward when Deng was moving up in the hierarchy (he was purged twice), but the GLF was primarily Mao's doing, not Deng's.
In considering the way China developed after the end of the Ching, the civil war, the Pacific War, the Revolution and so on, Deng must be acknowledged as having had, overall a positive effect on the outcome. Quite different from the Nazis who totally destroyed their own country and carried war across each and every one of their borders.
Mr Wagner's views are not representative of thoughtful foreigners, and are frankly so unappealingly presented that the only person he insults is himself. It's a shame that he stirs up the likes of 'Mongkok_Wong' and reinforces the view that foreigners are ignorant, arrogant and stupid.
I'd point out to Mongkok_Wong that Mr Wagner appears not to be English, however, whereas I am.
caractacus
So his wheelchair becomes a golden calf to be worshipped as the latest, obscene manifestation of the cult of the personality, aka deification of Deng?
Is one of these daughters the one who in the 90's was seen driving around Beijing in a Suzuki jeep which had been stolen from Hong Kong?
Why are these nonentity CCP princesslings being treated like royalty by the Hong Kong Government? Are we taxpayers footing the bill for their visit?
China has turned full circle; the CCP has become a copy of the rotten, corrupt Imperial system of government.
m2leung
Can't wait to see you pan-democrats show up to the exhibit with your homemade Queen Elizabeth statutes. Then when the security escort you out, Apple Daily will be running "Suppression of speech" headlines...
norodnik
It was Deng Xiao Ping that went to Washington DC to get Jimmy Carter's approval to invade Vietnam in retribution of the Vietnamese smashing the bloody Khmer Rouge regime...and the PLA got their butts kicked and afterwards the great Deng came up with his 4 modernisations of which the 4th was to modernise the PLA...a bit difficult to see who is in charge on the battlefield just by seeing how many pens are in their breast pocket...
norodnik
"...her father's famous southern tour in 1992 enhanced the country's belief in Marxism and saved the nation's market-oriented economic reform at a "crucial moment". How does making a speech about getting rich quick have anything at all to do with Marxism? That quote is the most ridiculous double-speak I've seen since Joe Stalin accused Trotsky of being a fascist.
norodnik
Is that a photograph of Deng shaking Jiang Zemin's hands? How politically incorrect is that considering that Jiang Zemin is the next Tiger to be skinned alive...
bpoon1pc
As a Hongkonger, as a Chinese, I respect Deng Xiaoping very much from my heart. Today is the 110 year anniversary for his life, we need to show some respect to him. We need to be rational and spend sometime to understand, appreciate what Mr. Deng had done in his life. What a remarkable life in such a difficult time. He was a great leader and able to do the right thing at the right time with significant impact to China and the rest of the world. After he took power again in 1977, he wasted no time to re-start the University Public Exam, visited Japan, Singapore and US to create a new China strategy. He started a new relationship with the US and also worked with Taiwanese leader to create the 1-China consensuous in 1992. 1-country 2-system was a master piece to solve major issue in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The economic reform started in 1978 saved billion of people out of poverty. As a father, he did a good job too. As a husband, he is really a honorable husband. Yes, I know most HongKongers do not like him on what he did for June 4th but we must view the life of person in the context of his whole life rather than singlely focus on one incident. I do respect Deng very much from my heart.
norodnik
I didn't notice this chapter in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day...what a load of guff you tout bpoon1pc.
acny
Those folks in the picture. They are not bowing to the butcher of Tiananmen Square, right?
norodnik
It's a snapshot from a concealed iPhone of a deadly cult running amok throughout China that has grandiose plans to conquer the world...so to answer your question... YES, it is!

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