Deng Yingchao

Comrades Zhou Enlai and Deng Yingchao, 1983

Comrades Zhou Enlai and Deng Yingchao, 1983

Deng Yingchao (邓颖超, 1903-1992) frequently appeared in posters published in the 1980s. Deng, who was not related to Deng Xiaoping, was a veteran CCP-member, who had been actively involved since the early days of Party-organization and even had joined and survived the Long March. She had occupied various official positions in the Central Committee of the CCP and the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Many of her activities had to do with the protection of the wellbeing and rights of women and children. One of them was chairperson of the Women’s Federation, in which capacity she served from 1949-1978. In the early 1950s, Deng played an important role in formulating and publicizing the Marriage Law.

But most importantly, Deng had been married to Zhou Enlai since 1925. The couple remained childless, but had adopted many orphaned children of ‘revolutionary martyrs’ over the years. One of the more famous of these was former Premier Li Peng. While alive, Zhou had never become the object of a personality cult. He was, after all, an example of the perfect Prime Minister, and as a result always had remained in the shadow of Mao. Only after his own death in 1976, and after the end of the Cultural Revolution, Zhou became a regular subject on posters. In many of these posters published in the 1980s, his wife, who had remained active at the highest political levels, increasingly in an advisory capacity, accompanied him. These images of the happily married couple further testified to Zhou’s ever growing reputation.

Comrades-in-arms, 1982

Comrades-in-arms, 1982

The poster above shows Deng with her husband, together with Chen Yi and his wife Zhang Qian.

Wolfgang Bartke, Who was Who in the People’s Republic of China (München: K.G. Sauer, 1997)

Wolfgang Bartke, Biographical Dictionary and Analysis of China’s Party Leadership 1922-1988 (München: K.G. Sauer, 1990)

Dachang Cong, When Heroes Pass Away - The Invention of a Chinese Communist Pantheon (Lanham MD, etc.: University Press of America, 1997)

Fei Honghuan, Zhao Chunsheng, Liu Chunxiu, Tongzhou fengyulu - Zhou Enlai Deng Yingchao aiqing shujian jiedu [Braving wind and rain in the same boat - an interpretative reading of Zhou Enlai’s and Deng Yingchao’s love letters] (Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2001) [in Chinese]

E. Stuart Kirby (ed.), Contemporary China 1955 (London: Oxford University Press 1956)

Donald W. Klein & Anne B. Clark, Biographic Dictionary of Chinese Communism (Cambridge, MASS: Harvard University Press, 1971)