RISKY CHANGE IN A DYNASTY

AMID PROFOUND ECONOMIC DISLOCATION, DENG FADES AWAY, AND HIS HEIR APPARENT FACES A POWER STRUGGLE

AT HIS VILLA IN BEIJING, DENG Xiaoping, 91, sits in a wheelchair unable to speak. Sometimes he is shown a document, specially printed in oversized characters. He nods, shakes his head or simply stares. One of his daughters then attempts to decipher his meaning. Years ago, Deng resigned from his official positions and tried to retire, but Chinese tradition and the ethos of the Communist Party conspire to force him to rule, or pretend to rule, until the moment he is pronounced dead. While he lingers, dozens of party elders, senior military leaders, provincial kingpins and Politburo members are maneuvering for...

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