VERBATIM Daddy dearest

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The Independent Culture
The following extracts begin and end `Deng Xiaoping: My Father' by Deng Maomao, which is published by HarperCollins at £20 on 16 March

I was born and grew up in a special environment. I had firsthand experience of history in the making. Many historical persons surrounded my life, and many historic events unfolded around my family and me. The more I have come to know, the more deeply I have felt driven to record these events and experiences and my environment. What I know may be limited and shallow, but what I have to share should not be lost or forgotten.

Most especially I mean what I know of my father.

He has said that he cannot write an autobiography, nor does he want a biography written about him. As his daughter, however, I would be ashamed to face history if I did not recount what I know. If I achieve nothing else in my lifetime but this long-cherished aspiration, I will have a very special sense of satisfaction.

H H H

Like an architect, Deng Xiaoping drew a completely new blueprint of development for his motherland. By the end of the 1980s the gross national product of 1980 was to be doubled so as to solve first the problem of food and clothing for the 1.1 billion Chinese people. By the end of the century, the 1980 GNP was to be quadrupled so that the Chinese people would have moved from simply having adequate food and clothing to being fairly well off. By the middle of the next century, when we celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, China, with a population of one and a half billion, is to rank with the moderately developed countries in per capita GNP. The Chinese people will become prosperous, and modernization will be basically realized by then.

This is the three-step strategy for China's development devised by Deng Xiaoping.

Deng Xiaoping has held that the Chinese should build socialism with Chinese characteristics. Under his guidance, China has been trying to discover its own path of development and marching forward steadily. More than 15 years have elapsed since 1978. China has made progress and achievements that are universally acknowledged. There is a popular view that the next century will be the century of the Asia-Pacific countries, and that among them China will attract the greatest attention. China is proud of this expectation.

Some people say that Deng Xiaoping is one of the great men of this century who has attracted the greatest attention in the world. Others say that Deng Xiaoping is the most notable man in the world today. In China, some ordinary people put up portraits of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping together in their homes.

In 1989 Deng Xiaoping resigned and retired.

How time flies! The autumn and winter were over in a flash, and another spring had come. The Spring Festival of 1993 arrived.

As usual, Father took the whole family to Shanghai to spend the festival. It was indeed a jubilant festival. Everyone felt happy, and everything looked fresh. Outside the house, coloured lanterns were hung up high, their bright lights like spluttering fireworks. Inside the house, we felt warm, cozy, and comfortable, as if spring had already come. A dozen members of our family of three generations were joyously immersed in the jubiliation of the festival.

Father, nearly 89 years old, sat in the center among us. He looked calm and composed with his white hair glittering under the lamplight. On his face was a serene smile that came from the bottom of his heart.

His smile transcends the range of time and space and is eternal.

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