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Milestones in His Life

DENG XIAOPING: 1904-1997

February 20, 1997

Aug. 22, 1904: Born Deng Xixian into family of small landowning farmers in eastern Sichuan province.

1920: Sets sail for France. Studies in Bayeux in Normandy, then goes on to odd jobs around Paris and Lyons.

1923: Becomes professional Marxist revolutionary, working with the European branch of the Chinese Socialist Youth League. Joins the Chinese Communist Party in 1924.

1926: Leaves for Moscow, where he studies at the Sun Yat-sen University for Chinese revolutionaries. Returns to China 11 months later.

1927: Works as secretary on Communist Party's central committee. Adopts nom de guerre Deng Xiaoping. Marries first wife, fellow party member Zhang Qianyuan, in Shanghai. Zhang dies after miscarriage.

1929: Sent to Jiangxi province to organize armed uprisings. Becomes secretary of county party committee.

1932: Marries Jin Weiying.

1933: First purge: demoted by leftist party leaders for his adherence to policies of Mao Tse-tung. Abandoned by wife.

1934: Joins Long March, contracting typhoid near the end.

1939: Marries third wife, Pu Zhuolin, by whom he has five children.

1947: Reaches apogee of military career: leads field armies in conquest of eastern and southwest China. Commands army in decisive victories over Nationalists, including in Yangtze River-crossing campaign.

1949: Following establishment of People's Republic, is appointed mayor of Chongqing, near his birthplace.

1952: Reaches first apogee of political career, ranking sixth in party hierarchy.

1966: Second purge: deprived of all posts and, along with President Liu Shao-chi, publicly denounced at mass rallies as a "capitalist roader." Exiled to rural Jiangxi three years later, he worked as a lathe operator and tended garden.

1973: Rehabilitated to Politburo and named deputy premier by Chou En-lai. Becomes army chief of staff in 1975.

1976: Third purge: sacked by party central committee for his criticism of Maoist excesses. Flees to south.

1977: Reinstated to civilian and military posts, again becoming deputy premier and secretary general of party.

1978: At party congress, shifts China's main task from class struggle to economic development. After attacks on his leadership, turns on Democracy Wall movement. Movements' leaders arrested.

1979: Presides over abortive, costly invasion of Vietnam, intended to punish Hanoi for invading Cambodia.

1981: Proposes reunification with Hong Kong and Taiwan under "one country, two systems" rubric.

1984: Guides negotiations with Britain for the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty.

1989: Resigns from major civilian and military posts. Condemns Tiananmen Square protests.

1992: On tour of south, calls for faster economic growth and development of "socialist market economy." Says main political threat comes from leftists.

1994: Last public appearance. Shown on national television, looking frail and leaning on the arm of his daughter, at a Shanghai celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Compiled by ANTHONY KUHN / Los Angeles Times

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