10 things to remember about  
Dèng Xiǎopíng  [22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997]
Okay, so you know all about him. He got China to what it is today – a world super-power with a "socialist market economy". He opened China ’s doors to foreign investment and to the global market. Thanks to him, over the last 30 years, China was not only one of the fastest growing economies in the world; it raised the living hundreds of hundreds of millions of Chinese. 
The following are selected juicy information about this man now revered as one of the most influential persons in modern history.[1]
1.        Deng’s given name was "Xiansheng." (that means "early/first" "sage/saint"; it also sounds like ‘teacher’). His teacher didn’t think the name fitted his appearance. He changed it to "Deng Xixian." That roughly means "to aspire to" and "goodness." It reflects some kind of wisdom. He used the nickname "Xiaoping" only in the mid 1920s. He was then in Wuhan. It was when he first established contact with a relatively unknown and low-ranking militant pro-Soviet leader of the party called Mao Zedong,
2.        He was from a Hakka family in a village (Paifang cun牌坊村) in the town of Xiexing (协兴镇). That’s in Guang'an County in Sichuan province.
3.        He didn’t come from a peasant background. His father [Deng Wenming] was reasonably affluent (h was a landowner) who had studied at Chengdu ’s University of Law and Political Science.
4.        He had three wives. His first wife (Zhang Xiyuan) was one of his schoolmates from Moscow . She died at 24. His second wife (Jin Weiying) was herself a political activist who took part in the Long March.[2] She left him in 1933 when he became the victim of political attack. His third wife (Zhuo Lin) was a young native of Kunming and the daughter of an industrialist in Yunnan Province .  
5.        Deng was one of those young Chinese who got a chance to join China ’s program to work-study overseas [That was after the corrupt Qing Dynasty had been replaced by the KMT]. The night before he left for schooling in France , his father asked what he hoped to learn there. He repeated words learned from his teachers: "To learn knowledge and truth from the West in order to save China." Like many young kids, he was deeply patriotic. He knew China was suffering greatly from its centuries of decadence and Chinese people need a modern education to save their country.
6.        He briefly attended middle schools in France in the 1920s. He spent most of his time working as a laborer at an Iron and Steel plant in central France, as a fitter in a Renault car factory in Paris, as a fireman on a train and as a kitchen-laborer. His earnings were barely enough for him to survive. The jobs had very harsh and dangerous working conditions. Deng claimed these experiences opened his eyes to the evils of capitalist society.
7.        He was one of the few who survived the Long March. That was an epic event where some 80,000 men and women managed to escape the attack by Chiang Kai Shek’s KMT forces. The communists fled from Jiangxi and began a long retreat through the interior of China . It ended one year later when approximately 8,000 - 9,000 survivors reached the northern province of Shaanxi. The rest died along the arduous trek.
8.        He himself was ‘purged’ twice during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). That was an event Mao Zedong created to block economic reforms believed to revive old capitalism. The two events were as follows:
8.1     At the start of the Cultural Revolution, Deng and his family fell out of favor. He retired from all his positions. He then suffered under the hands of Red Guards. In October 1969, he was sent to a rural area in Jiangxi province. There, for four years, he had to work as a lowly laborer at a tractor factory. His son, Deng Pufang, was detained, later tortured and then forced out of the window of a four-story building. Although he miraculously survived the event, he became a paraplegic.
8.2     The second purge was in late 1975 when the ‘gang of four’ led by Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, cast aside Deng as successor to Premier Zhou Enlai who died in January 1976. They accused him of being the mastermind behind a public protest in 1976 which was against removal of mourning symbols for the death of Zhou Enlai.[3] That was enough for Deng (then a Vice-Premier) to be relieved of all leadership positions and put under house arrest.[4]
9.        About nine years after he came into power again, he ordered the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown on young protestors.[5] That incident left a question for many today: would China have become a super-power if those protesters had turned China into a US-style type of democracy where selfish individual rights count more than concern for the welfare and interests of the poor and deprived masses?
10.    He never held office as head of state, head of government or General Secretary of the Communist Party (the highest position in China). Yet he was China ’s de facto top man from 1978 – 1992.[6]  He became accepted as the “Paramount leader”  党和国家最高领导人Dǎng hé guójiā zuìgāo lǐngdǎorén. In other words, he was, literally, "the highest leader of the party (Communist Party of China) and the state (People's Republic of China)". Plainly, great people with real power don’t need big titles.[7] When he died, there was the greatest public display of grief for any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong