Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) was a Chinese Communist Party leader and China's most powerful figure from the late 1970s until his death. Deng Xiaoping was a vice premier of the People's Republic and general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. Deng’s political reform introduced free trade encompassing all of China’s economy. Despite his Communist leanings, he managed to rebuild China's economy by embracing this policy of free trade, and steering China away from its despotic path. Yet Communism still exists in China. Although Deng was presented to the public as China's "paramount leader," power in this period was in fact held by a group of senior leaders called the "Eight Elders." This group deliberated in private and operated by consensus.
Deng is also known for his brutal suppression of pro-democracy activists in the Tiananmen Square incident of 1989.`