Renowned Chinese scholar Hu Fuming said that Deng Xiaoping's pragmatic thinking and actions was a key factor in enabling Deng to launch the country's reform and opening-up drive in the late 1970s.
Hu Thursday paid a high tribute to Deng's thought and theory at Deng's birth place, Guang'an City in Sichuan Province, to mark the centenary anniversary of the birth of Deng that falls on Aug. 22.
Hu, 69, was once regarded as one of the pioneers advocating China's emancipation of people's mind in the late 1970s. His article entitled "Practice is the Sole Criterion for Verifying Truth" helped Chinese people escape the blind worship and rigid thinking modes characteristic of the "Cultural Revolution" (1966-1976).
On May 11, 1978, the Guangming Daily, a national newspaper based in Beijing, ran a front-page article that challenged leftist thinking that was "resolutely upholding whatever policy decisions made by Chairman Mao Zedong."
The article ignited a debate that raged throughout the country in 1978 and resulted in the full support from Deng.
In 1978, Deng put forward a guiding principle: "emancipate the mind, seek truth from facts, and unite as one in looking to the future" at the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Communist Party of China Central Committee.
"This principle is just like a key which over the past more than two decades has gradually opened the gate of free thinking for the Chinese people," said Hu, who was then a professor with Nanjing University in the capital of Jiangsu Province.
"Deng loved his people, respected the masses, and was ready to take any opinions which benefit social progress," Hu added.
Deng's practical thinking and manner led to the introduction of China's market-oriented reforms, in rural areas at first and the whole country later, the creation of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the pursuit of the "one country, two systems" policy, said Hu.
Even the low points in Deng's turbulent career were the result of his pragmatic thinking and practices, Hu added.
"Deng was an unswerving practitioner, whoever must be bold-minded, discerning, brave enough to break through rigid thinking and bondage," said Hu, who also served as vice chairman of the Jiangsu provincial committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2004)