Deng Xiaoping Set Off Seismic Changes in China

...liberating it from the most self-defeating precepts of Marxist economics. His revolution left much undone. Now his successors must struggle to solidify the changes

Ryan Pyle / Corbis

Tourists gather in front of the Deng Xiaoping poster in Shenzhen, China

He was a surprisingly unassuming man for such a titan among statesmen. His round, cherubic face belied a will of steel that had launched his vast land on the most remarkable transformation of the modern age. When death came to Deng Xiaoping last week, at 92, he was nearly blind, deaf, virtually invisible and the honorary chairman of only the China Bridge Association. Yet even in his long political twilight, he still cast a shadow over the nation, at once reassuring and restricting the Chinese as they march uncertainly toward the 21st century.

The seismic changes Deng set in motion were...

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