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By Benjamin Yang

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2 Anything before the most recent dozen generations must be regarded as too distant and too vague to have been recorded with accuracy, although the Deng family tree can be traced back some six or seven hundred years. The intense warfare between the Mongolian rulers (1271-1368) and Chinese peasant rebellions in the middle of the fourteenth century killed or scared off millions of Sichuanese, leaving the province a demographic vacuum and in a state of administrative disorder. As the new Ming dynasty (1368-1644) came into existence, Deng Xiaoping's earliest known ancestor, presumably a minor army officer, joined an immigration trend by leaving his hometown of Luling in Jiangxi Province to trek to Guang'an in Sichuan Province.

Compared with Mao, Deng lacked original ideas, preferred unobtrusive methods, and eschewed extremes. Perhaps he understood himself better than Mao understood himself. With Deng, whose upbringing was more tranquil than Mao's, issues were short term, and decisions seldom caused him sleepless nights. *David Goodman, "The Definitive Deng: Biography, Memoirs, Speeches and Writings," The Pacific Review, vol. 7, no. 2. Page xii There came a time when he was willing to let a matter rest and go play with his grandchildren.

We must also realize that in connection with changes in the world economy come changes in world politics. 2 After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Deng told his comrades in 1991, China's confrontation with the United States becomes Page 5 more inevitable. It is a question not of if it exists, but how to handle it. More than a dozen biographies have thus far been published on Deng, mostly outside China, as have thousands of articles and essays, mostly inside China. We can easily find such Deng biographies as those by David Bonavia (1989), David Goodman (1994), Richard Evans (1993), and Deng Rong (1993).

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