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Deng Xiaoping
Updated: 2007-07-10 09:59


In the summer of 1931, with the approval of the Central Committee, Deng Xiaoping went to the Central revolutionary Base Area in southern Jiangxi and western Fujian, Fierce fighting was still going on there, as the Red Army was trying on smash Chiang Kai-shek's third "encirclement and suppression" campaign.

Before long Deng assumed the post of Party Committee Secretary of Ruijin County, which was adjacent to the Central Revolutionary Base Area. The first thing he did was to rehabilitate the cadres and ordinary people who had previously been wronged and called a Soviet congress to discuss the work of the county, thus arousing the people's enthusiasm and vastly improving the situation. In the winter of 1932 he was appointed Secretary of the Party Committee of Huichang, a key county, and began directing the work in the three countries of Huichang, Xunwu and Anyuan. Six months later he was transferred to the Jiangxi Provincial Party Committee as Director of its Propaganda Department.

Just at this point, the provisional central leadership, which had been following the line of "Left" adventuresome, moved its headquarters from Shanghai to the Central Revolutionary Base Area. Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zetan, Xie Weijun and Gu Bo, following the correct line represented by Ma Zedong, had all along been acting in accordance with the actual circumstances. They opposed the theory of "making cities the centre of the Chinese revolution" and advocated building strength in the vast rural areas, where the enemy's forces were relatively weak. They rejected military adventuresome in favor of luring the enemy in deep. They were against expanding the Red Army's main forces at the expense of local armed forces and urged that both be expanded simultaneously. They opposed the "Left" land-distribution policy which would have left former middle and rich peasants destitute. In view of these disagreements, the provisional central leadership waged a struggle against them. Deng was removed from the post of Director of the Propaganda Department of the Jiangxi Provincial Party Committee and given the most serious warning. Soon he was sent to the nancun District Party Committee in outlying Le'an County to work as an ordinary inspector.

However, Wang Jiaxiang, Director of the General Political Department of the Red Army, and Luo Ronghuan, Director of the Organization Division, knew Deng Xiaoping well. They sent him to the General Political Department to serve as its secretary-general. Soon afterwards he was assigned to work in the Propaganda Division of the Department, where he was made editor-in-chief of the official organ Red Star. This journal, which offered both news and articles on a variety of subjects, never ceased publication throughout the war years. It was hailed as the "Red Army's instructor on Party work".

In October 1934, because of the failure of the fifth campaign against "encirclement and suppression", the Central Red Army was forced to begin the Long March. Deng Xiaoping took the post of chief secretary of the Central Committee for the second tine and attended the Zunyi Meeting, and event that marked a turning point in the history of the Party. After the First and the Fourth Front Armies of the Red Army joined forces, he became Chief of the Propaganda Division of the First Army Group's Political department. After arriving in northern Shaanxi, he took part in the Red Army's Eastern Expedition to neighbouring Shanxi Province. After the conclusion of the expedition he became Deputy and then Director of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.


In 1937 the Japanese imperialists launched a full-scale war of aggression against China. In the interest of the whole nation, the Chinese Communist Party worked hard to bring about a second period of co-operation with the Kuomingtang, thus achieving nationwide unity in resistance. In accordance with the agreement between the two sides, the Chinese Workers' and Peasant' Red Army was reorganized as the Eighth Route Army of the national Revolutionary Army and marched to the front. Deng Xiaoping was appointed Deputy Director of the Political Department of the eighth Route Army and, shortly afterwards, Political Commissar of its 129th Division, of which Liu Bocheng was commander.

The 129th Division drove deep into the rear of the Japanese-occupied areas, established itself in the Tailing Mountains and spread out towards the plains. Bordering on the three provinces of Shanxi, Hefei and Henan, this mountain range, known in ancient times as " the ridge of the earth", had long been a strategic region contested by rival armies in north China. high and perilous, it was easy to defend but difficult to attack.After consolidating their positions in the Tailing Mountains, Deng Xiaoping and Liu Bocheng divided their troops into small detachments to mobilize the masses, organize anti-Japanese armed forces and set up local democratic governments. Having established an anti-Japanese base in the Shanxi-Hebei-Henan border area, they led their troops east across the Beiping-hankou Railway into the southern Hebei plains, where they established the Southern Hebei Anti-Japanese Base Area. At the same time they set up the Taiyue and Hebei-Shangdong-Henan base areas.

When the war entered a stalemate, changes took place within the anti-Japanese camp. Some diehard reactionaries in the Kuomintang began to create friction behind enemy lines, attacking Eighth Route Army encampments and killing officers and men. The Eighth Route Army was this placed in the dangerous position of being caught between two fires. In December 1939 the Kuomintang diehards launched the first anti-Communist onslaught: the troops under Zhu Huaibing, commander of the Kuomintang's 97th Army, mounted large-scale offensive against the Taihang Mountain region where the General headquarters of the Eighth Route Army and the 129th division were located. In March 1940, driven beyond the limits of forbearance, liu Bocheng and Deng Xiaoping ordered their troops to rise in counter-attack, and in four days of fighting and with co-ordinated efforts of the troops from the Shanxi-Qahar-Hebei Military Command, they wiped out Zhu huaibing's whole army and a number of miscellaneous troops. or a total of 10,000 men. the defeat of this Kuomintang onslaught enabled the Eighth Route Army to concentrate on fighting the Japanese aggressors and building up its base areas in the enemy's rear. Beginning in August 1940, liu and Deng, with 38 regiments under their command ( not including local forces), participated in the" Hundred- Regiment Campaign". fighting 529 operations, big and small, they dealt heavy blows to the Japanese and puppet troops and greatly strengthened the whole nation's confidence in victory.

In 1941 the war of resistance behind enemy lines in north China entered the most difficult stage, when the Japanese troops concentrated their attacks on the rear. They launched a campaign to "tighten public security" there, adopted a "burn all, kill all, loot all" policy and built a network of blockhouses to encircle the army and people of the base areas. For several years on end the enemy's incessant "mopping-up" operations, together with natural calamities, placed the base areas in an extremely difficult position. In September 1942, in addition to his post of Political Commissar of the 129th Division, Deng was appointed Secretary of the Taihang sub-Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. In October 1943, when Peng dehuai, Acting Secretary of the Northern Bureau of the Central Committee, and liu Bocheng returned to Yan'an to tale part in the Party's rectification movements, Deng replaced Peng as Acting Secretary. In that capacity he was in charge of the work of the General Headquarters of the Eighth Route Army and bore responsibility for leading the struggle of the army and people in the base areas behind enemy lines. employing the tactic of advancing when the enemy advanced, he launched guerrilla operations against the enemy-occupied areas and especially against communication lines. Under his command the army smashed a series of ruthless "mopping-up" operations by the Japanese and puppet troops. He led the army and the people of the whole region in successful efforts to build up Party organizations, armed units and local governments, to conduct a Party rectification movement, to secure fewer and better troops and simpler administration, to reduce rents and interest rates and to launch a large-scale production campaign.