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Deng Xiaoping's centenary celebrated
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-23 07:08

China's month-long celebration of the birth centenary of its late leader Deng Xiaoping, chief architect of the country's reform and opening, climaxed Sunday with a 6,000-strong meeting in Beijing.

A grand ceremony is held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to commemorate the 100th birthday of late leader Deng Xiaoping. [xinhua]

"Comrade Deng Xiaoping is a great man of the world," President Hu Jintao told the meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

Deng's "remarkable achievements and scientific theories will, as they already did, continue to change and influence China and the world at large."

Such commemorations "will further inspire the whole Party and nation to push forward the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics," said Hu, who is also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The meeting was also attended by Central Military Commission Chairman Jiang Zemin, National People's Congress Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Central Committee Chairman Jia Qinglin.

President Hu Jintao makes a speech at the meeting to commemorate the 100th birthday of Deng Xiaoping in the Great Hall of the People August 22, 2004. [Xinhua]
Deng, who was born into a rural family in Guang'an County in Southwest China's Sichuan Province on August 22 of 1904 and passed away on February 19, 1997, led a distinguished life as "a great Marxist, a great proletarian revolutionary, statesman, military strategist and diplomat, and a long-tested communist fighter, the chief architect of China's socialist reform, opening-up and modernization drive, and founder of Deng Xiaoping Theory," Hu said.

After reviewing Deng's legendary career with "three ups and three downs" during which he never lost hope when wrongly criticized and had no hesitation to stand by what was right for the Party and the nation, Hu said Deng was a man the whole Party should be proud of.

"Whenever the Party and people needed him the most and at critical moments in the development of the country, Deng always dared to shoulder heavy burdens, no matter whether it was during the revolution to build New China, the chaotic period of the 'cultural revolution' or in the country's reform, opening and modernization drive," Hu said.

Advanced age did not prevent Deng from continuing to make great contributions to the nation, such as his famous inspection tour of southern China in 1992, during which he made important remarks and gave further impetus to the nation's reform, opening and modernization drive.

Hu also pointed to many of Deng's other ideas that have shaped China over the past quarter of a century:

With his deep understanding of Marxism and great political foresight, Deng gave a systematic answer for the first time on how to build, consolidate and further develop socialism in a developing country like China and gave a complete definition of the primary stage of socialism.

Deng called on the nation to concentrate on development, allowing some regions and people to prosper first so they can help others, saying that planning and the market are only means of economic development rather than symbols of socialism and capitalism.

Deng advocated the household responsibility system in agricultural production, which initiated China's reform and lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty.

Based on the international situation in the 1980s, Deng reached the major conclusion that peace and development were the two important issues of the contemporary world, laying the foundation for the Party and government to shift the focus of work to socialist modernization.

Deng had long favoured the abolition of the life-long tenure system for cadres, taking the lead in practice, playing a decisive role in the smooth transition from the second generation of the central collective leadership to the third.

President Hu visits an exhibition to mark late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's 100th birthday, which falls on August 22. [Xinhua]
"Deng Xiaoping's blueprint for China's modernization is gradually being turned into wonderful reality," said Hu.

The goals for the first and second stages of development have been fulfilled, with people's living standards generally reaching the level of xiaokang (the concept of a relatively affluent life popularized by Deng), said Hu, adding: "We are marching towards the strategic goal of the third stage with full confidence," which is to raise China's per capita gross national product to that of medium-level developed countries, enable the people to live a fairly affluent life and complete the process of modernization.

"Great progress has been made in the reunification of the motherland, over which Deng had showed great concern, as Hong Kong and Macao have returned to the motherland and maintained prosperity and stability, and we are working for the final settlement of the Taiwan question," Hu said.

He said the central government will stick to the "one country, two systems" policy and seek the reunification of the motherland.

The president called for extensive solidarity of the Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots, to oppose and hold back "Taiwan independence" elements and firmly safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"We are ready to strive for the prospects of peaceful reunification with our utmost sincerity and utmost efforts, but we are also fully determined and capable of smashing any scheme to separate Taiwan from China," he said.

The president called on the Party and nation to persist in "arming the whole Party and educating the whole nation with Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of 'Three Represents' at all time and under all circumstances."

President Hu underscored the scientific approach to development that focuses on an all-round, balanced and sustainable development on the basis of "putting people first" as way of carrying out Deng's political legacy.

China "must increase the sustained, rapid, balanced and healthy economic growth and ensure the fruits of development benefit all people," he said.

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