Because of what happened in Tiananmen Square, foreign investors pulled out of China. Western businessmen fled. Foreign leaders and Deng’s Western friends criticized him.
The Maoists were back in power. Jiang Zemin said private companies had benefited from the reforms but in the turmoil, they supported the students against the government. We need to destroy them.
Deng Xiaoping was forced into retirement and his policies were reversed. Peasants were encouraged to reform collectives and private business was banned from competing with state enterprises. The Maoists decided to clean house and close China’s doors to the West.
Desperate to save his reforms, at 87, Deng set out to save his reforms. He went to Shanghai to encouraged supporters there to speak out. When they did, the Maoists wanted to know who was criticizing them in the newspapers. Deng said he was responsible—don’t attack anyone but me. Then Deng met with his old comrades in the People’s Liberation Army and the army announced they would protect Deng’s reforms and anyone who resisted would be dealt with.
Deng said, “Without reform and the Open Door policy, economic growth and improved living standards —any path for our country will be a dead end.” Deng’s call to arms worked. In 1994, Jiang Zemin switched sides to support Deng. It was okay to get rich again.
Deng Xiaoping died in 1997. The country he inherited from Mao was the one of the world’s poorest. Today, it is one of the wealthiest.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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