"To glide with thee, Oh Soul, overall, in all, as a ship over the waters" -- These words from the translated edition of "Warble for Lilac-Time" by the nineteenth century American poet Walt Whitman are quoted by a Chinese netizen on a popular website: www.tianyaclub.com, recalling China's greatest revolutionist and reformist Deng Xiaoping.
"I clearly remember in February 1997, when lilacs were burgeoning under the sunshine, we heard of the news Deng's passing," said the 26-year-old netizen surnamed Zhang.
"A strong sadness immediately fell upon me," she recalled.
"Hong Kong was bound to return to China in several months, but the giant who fulfilled the saga would never witness it. He led China into a vibrant season yet left his beloved people in a warm spring," Zhang said, finding it difficult to control her emotions.
With his 100th birthday is around the corner on Aug. 22, people have been paying tributes to Deng in various ways.
"I am a technician, and I feel grateful to Deng though my earning is not high. He is a great person who brought benefits to all Chinese," said netizen Xu Xuejiang.
His uneven political life, great talents on battle fields and the well-known diplomatic wisdom make Deng the irreplaceable idol of a great many Chinese today.
Xu said the it was Deng's noble personality and tough characters chastened in the long-term war and political fights that enabled him to mount the political stage again in the late 1970s, steering China out of chaos to a bright path.
"Deng is an honorable man," writes a netizen by the name "Mr. Courageous." "His military strategies, his penetrating judgment to the democratic revolution, his theories on socialist construction and his unprecedented thoughts of 'one country, two systems' all showed his unparalleled greatness."
"He is also a kindly old man in many people's eyes. He loves kids, loves flowers, and loves playing cards, swimming and mountain climbing. He has a large warm family," the netizen said. "Deng is an ordinary man."
To boost the reform and opening policy, Deng said China should permit a small group of people to get rich before the rest majority, which inevitably incurred complaints. Some even ascribe the social problems such as corruption to his decision.
However, even the complaining netizens agreed that without Dengand his advanced policies, they could not have an access to the Internet, where they acquired information and exchanged opinions.
"All the great leaders are controversial," said a netizen called "nice back of little fox." "And we would prefer a good system rather than a great leader."
She writes, "Deng's feats not only lie in introducing China to the world, but also in awakening Chinese from the original isolation and blindness, which will exert influence on generations of people."
(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2004)