The Southern Tour: Deng in Retreat

With the legitimacy of the party in free fall after 1989, Deng watched with trepidation as communist regimes collapsed in Eastern Europe. With Deng losing influence to conservatives like Li Peng and Chen Yun, he found a new ally in the mayor of Shanghai, Zhu Rongji.

With Zhu’s help, Deng made a play to regain standing in the party and return the country’s focus to the economy, embarking on a tour of the Special Economic Zones in Shenzhen and Zhuhai.

Ex-journalist James McGregor remembers the mood in south China when Deng Xiaoping announced his Southern Tour: