In 1977 he again became deputy premier, as well as vice chairman of the party, and later (1979) visited the United States to seek closer ties. For most of the 1980s he served as head of the party and government military commissions and the newly created party Central Advisory Commission. Although not holding any of the highest ranking official posts, Deng became the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. In 1981 Deng strengthened his position in China by replacing Hua Guofeng as Communist party chairman with his own protégé, Hu Yaobang. When Hu was forced from power, Zhao Ziyang, another Deng protégé, became party leader, and later when Zhao was ousted, a third Deng associate, Jiang Zemin, replaced Zhao. Deng oversaw the loosening of government control of the economy in order to promote development while insisting on tight party control of the government and politics. He resigned from his last party post in 1989, designating Jiang Zemin his successor, after supporting the use of military force in the brutal suppression of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.
See E. F. Vogel,
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