Deng Xiaoping, China, and Japan

On Wednesday evening, November 16, the Center for the Study of Asia, in cooperation with the Japan Society of Boston, had the honor of welcoming renowned East Asia scholar and Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University Ezra Vogel to Boston University. Over 100 people attended the lecture and book-signing.

Vogel, who in addition to his long career at Harvard, served as the Clinton administration’s national intelligence officer for East Asia from 1993 to 1995, is author of a new biography of Deng Xiaoping, the indomitable force behind China’s rise to power in the late 20th century. The book, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, weighing in at 714 pages, charts how Deng, a revolutionary and military commander under Mao Zedong, emerged from political exile to become propel China onto the international stage.

Vogel’s hour long lecture, accompanied by photographs, followed Deng’s life from his early education in Paris, where he met Zhou Enlai, to his return to China, his political career under Mao, his role in the Cultural Revolution, and his exile from 1967 to 1973, and finally, to the years following Mao’s death, when Deng began the process of dismantling the economic system he had helped to build, paving the way for China’s remarkable transformation. Vogel focussed his remarks on Deng’s economic reforms and on his relationships with western powers, notably, the United States and Japan.

[View lecture on Vimeo] [View question and answer session on Vimeo]