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At the turn of the century the Chinese nation was groaning in misery. Under the leadership of Dr. Sun Yat-sen a resolution was brewing, and the country was on the eve of radical changes, It was in this turbulent time that Deng Xiaoping was born.

Deng's birthplace was Paifang Village in Xiexing Township, Guang'an County, in the province of Sichuan. His childhood home was a traditional compound with one-storied housed surrounding a courtyard on three sides. It was in these tree-shaded, tile-roofed buildings that his forefathers had lived for three generations and that Deng Xixian -- the future Deng Xiaoping -- was born on August 22,1904.

his father, Deng Wenming, had studied at the Chengdu School of Law and Political Science during the last Xiaoping's mother, Dan by her family name, died early, leaving behind the eldest son Deng Xiaoping, his three younger brothers, an elder sister and two younger sisters.

At five the boy entered and old-fashioned private pre-school, at seven a modern primary school and in due course a middle school in his native county. It happened that in 1919, on the proposal of Wu Yuzhang, a member of the Chongqing to prepare young people to go to France on a work-study program. After passing the entrance examinations, the boy was enrolled in the school.

In his teens Deng Xiaoping already had some simple patriotic ideas. After the may 4th Movement of 1919, he joined his schoolmate in a boycott of Japanese goods. But his understanding did not go beyond the slogan "save the country by industrialization", an idea popular among students at the time. His ardent hope was to go to France to learn industrial skills through work and study for the benefit of the country.

(Deng Xiaoping Pictorial)

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