Deng TV series lifts the lid on key years

Updated: 2014-08-12 08:16

By Zhao Lei(China Daily)

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A host of political twists following the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) are revealed in a TV series commemorating the life of late top leader Deng Xiaoping.

The 48-episode series, which translates roughly as Deng Xiaoping During a Historic Turning Point, began on China Central Television's channel 1 on Friday at 8 pm. Two 45-minute episodes are being shown each night from Monday to Friday.

Marking the 110th anniversary of Deng's birth, which falls on Aug 22, the drama tells the story of the former leader and those surrounding him from 1976 to 1984, an important period that defined today's China.

Production of the series was overseen by the Literature Research Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the provincial Party committee in Sichuan, where Deng was born in 1904.

Hua Guofeng, who was handpicked by former chairman Mao Zedong to lead the country after Mao but then resigned his posts in the top leadership in the early 1980s, is played by an actor in the TV series. Hua died in 2008.

Hu Yaobang, former general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in the 1980s, is also depicted by an actor. Hu died in 1989.

The series cost 120 million yuan ($19.4 million) and was a year in the making. Its producers sent more than 10,000 copies to government leaders, researchers and those closely connected to Deng to seek their opinions, said the director, Wu Ziniu.

Wu Hui, professor of Party-building at the CPC Central Committee's Party School, said, "This series is more realistic and attractive as it is successful in portraying the 'real' Deng Xiaoping to viewers."

He said the new series uses a great deal of its content to show what Deng was like in daily life, giving viewers a full picture of the statesman.

Wu said the drama comes at the right time, with the public placing great hopes in the leadership headed by President Xi Jinping.

"Deng pioneered the reform and opening-up that modernized China.

"Now, the government under President Xi has proved it has the determination and ability to resolve long-standing problems such as corruption and unfair distribution of income, so people have more hope that it will act like Deng to open a new chapter for the nation."

He said viewers could see that Xi has the same sense of mission as Deng had.

"Xi chose Shenzhen, the city that symbolizes Deng's reform and opening-up, as the destination for his first inspection tour to highlight his pledge to deepen overall reforms, and he has made tremendous achievements," Wu said.

"Now the TV series and other 'charm offensives' will help the government to clear remaining obstacles to ongoing reforms."

Yuan Wuzhen, a history professor at Xi'an University of Posts and Telecommunications, said, "Reforms have entered a complicated phase, so we can learn and gain a lot of useful experience from Deng's theories and efforts."

(China Daily USA 08/12/2014 page1)