World leaders praise Deng's economic legacy
The Dalai Lama expresses regrets
February 19, 1997
Web posted at: 10:15 p.m. EST
(CNN) -- World leaders acknowledged the death Wednesday of
Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping largely by focusing on his
legacy of economic reform, rather than his government's
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement, said Deng
would be remembered "in the international community at large
as a primary architect of China's modernization and dramatic
Deng's leadership and reforms "have improved the lives of so
many of his fellow citizens immeasurably," Annan said.
French President Jacques Chirac, in a message to Deng's wife,
Zhuo Lin, said the Chinese leader played a unique role in
"In the course of this century, few men have, as much as he,
led a vast human community through such profound and
determining changes," Chirac said.
Britain's Prime Minister John Major recognized Deng's
contribution in negotiating the terms under which the British
colony of Hong Kong would be returned to China in July 1997.
"He played a key role in the process which led to the Joint
Declaration on Hong Kong in 1984 embodying his visionary
concept of one country, two systems," a spokesman for Major's
Taiwan, Tibet react to death
Taiwan's Presidential Office sent its condolences to Deng's
family Thursday. Taiwan and China have been diplomatic rivals
since the Chinese civil war split them in 1949.
"We hope in the future ... for a peaceful, cooperative,
prosperous new era between the two sides of (Taiwan) Strait,"
Huang Kun-hui, secretary-general of the Presidential Office,
said in a statement.
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, voiced
regret that Deng died without resolving questions over Tibet.
"Deng Xiaoping had been involved in the Tibetan issue from
the very beginning, all the way through right up to the end,
so it seems he had the intention to resolve the Tibetan issue
himself during this own lifetime," the Dalai Lama said in an
interview with the Tibetan service of Voice of America radio.
Historically, Tibet had been culturally separate from China,
ruled by a theocratic Buddhist elite until 1950 when China's
People's Liberation Army took over the area. The Dalai Lama
and tens of thousands of followers fled into exile.
The Dalai Lama, who now lives in India, passed no judgment on
Deng's rule. A translation of the interview was provided by
the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet.
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