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Deng Xiaoping was the most powerful leader of the People's Republic of China after Mao Zedong. Although he never actually held any of the highest ranking official government posts, three of his protégés did—Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang, and Jiang Zemin. In many ways, Deng was the de facto leader of China from 1978 through the early 1990s and is credited with launching China's rapid social change and economic growth, most notably through developing “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and a model of economic reform that became known as the “socialist market economy.” Under Deng's influence, China became open to foreign investment, the global market, and limited private competition.

Religion before Deng

Prior to Deng's return to government in 1977 (after his ouster in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution ...

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