Deng Xiaoping, also known by his courtesy name Xixian, was a Chinese revolutionary and statesman who served as the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China from December 1978 to November 1989. After Mao Zedong's death in 1976, Deng gradually rose to supreme power and led China through a series of far-reaching market-economy reforms, earning him the reputation as the "Architect of Modern China".
Born in the province of Sichuan in the Qing dynasty, Deng studied and worked in France in the 1920s, where he became a follower of Marxism–Leninism and joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1924. In early 1926, Deng travelled to Moscow to study Communist doctrines and became a political commissar for the Red Army upon returning to China. In late 1929, Deng led local Red Army uprisings in Guangxi province. In 1931, he was demoted within the party due to his support of Mao, but was promoted again during the Zunyi Conference. Deng played an important role in the Long March, the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War.