Mon, Aug 23, 2004 - Page 5 News List

China lauds Deng's leadership

THE CRUSHER The architect of `one country, two systems' became an occasion for the party leadership to celebrate its economic transformation and other policies

AP , BEIJING

Speaking to hundreds of officials and citizens yesterday, President Hu Jintao hailed Deng Xiaoping as the architect of China's economic reforms on the 100-year anniversary of the late supreme leader's birth.

Deng, who died in 1997, is also known as the crusher of the 1989 pro-democracy movement at Tiananmen Square. Hu referred to the event in his speech.

"Facing the political upheavals at home and abroad in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Deng ... firmly supported the party and government," Hu said. This helped the party and nation "to stand the severe tests and uphold the correct course of socialism with Chinese characteristics."

Deng developed the "one country, two systems" model that China purports to apply to Taiwan and Hong Kong. In his speech, Hu vowed that Beijing will stick to that principle.

"Great progress has been made in the reunification of the motherland, over which Deng had showed great concern, as Hong Kong and Macao have returned to the motherland ... and we are working for the final settlement of the Taiwan issue," Hu said.

China claims Taiwan is part of its territory and has threatened war if the nation takes formal steps toward independence.

Hu urged the Chinese people to "firmly safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity" by opposing Taiwan independence.

"We are ready to strive for the prospects of peaceful reunification with our utmost sincerity and utmost efforts, but we are also fully determined and capable of smashing any scheme to separate Taiwan from China," he said.Hu praised Deng as a man who always made the people's interests a priority.

"In his whole life comrade Deng Xiaoping kept his words: to spare no efforts to do things that are good to the people," said Hu, whose hourlong tribute at the Great Hall of the People was punctuated by applause.

A giant portrait of a smiling Deng hung from the center of the stage, flanked on each side by four Chinese flags.

"The creative ideas of late leader Deng Xiaoping and the policies he put forward have provided a strong theoretical guidance to the continuous development of the cause of the Party and people," said Hu, who was picked by Deng to succeed former President Jiang Zemin.

Born in Guangan, a poverty-striken area in Sichuan, Deng launched China's economic reforms in 1978, establishing special economic zones and courting the foreign investment that led to a two-decade-long economic boom.

The leap toward capitalism would transform China into a global economic power as the world began to realize the potential of a market packed with 1.3 billion people.

Hu's speech was broadcast live on state television, and stories and photos about Deng filled state-run newspapers.

In a front page editorial, the Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper named him "the son of the Chinese people."

"The most important historical contribution by comrade Deng Xiaoping is his great decision for reform and opening up and his creation of a road to socialist modernization," the editorial said. "He will live in the Chinese people's hearts forever."

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