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Deng Xiaoping Can Smile

19 February 1997
Call number: 
BG K 21/787

The cult around the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping didn’t start until after his gradual retirement in 1989. Deng disliked the personality cult around him and he managed to prevent it as long as he was at the head of state. After the student revolt on Tiananmen Square, he remained more in the background.
His death on 19 February 1997 was the signal to flood the market with Deng memorabilia. These were not only the usual posters, but also watches, plates, photo frames, and dolls. His successor Jiang Zemin seemed to use him gratefully as an object of propaganda. Deng's head, pictured above, is battery operated, and can smile.