Chinese vice premier Deng Xiaoping applauds as President Jimmy Carter stands behind a podium at the White House, Washington, D.C. 29 January 1979. U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT MAGAZINE PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION WASHINGTON, D.C.
Deng Xiaoping survived upheavals in the Chinese Communist Party and in his own career to become the paramount leader of China during the 1980s. He helped China become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and kickstarted the process of Opening Up and Reform, from 1978 which continues to the present day. After years of autocratic rule under Mao Zedong, Deng moved China in a new economic direction while avoiding a complete rupture with the past.