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China's former 'first family'

Deng Xiaoping and his wife, Zhuo Lin, were the parents of three daughters and two sons. The child Deng is holding cannot be identified  

Deng children enjoy privilege, jealous attention

(CNN) -- The remarkable ups and downs of Deng Xioaping's long political career in China dramatically affected his children, leaving one son crippled from an attack during the Cultural Revolution but, in more recent years, enabling all five Deng heirs to succeed in business, government or the arts.

They are often described as "princelings" and "princesses" who enjoyed a privileged upbringing of special schools, servants and mansions during the times their father held political power. The Deng children's unusually good fortunes since 1978 have also led to accusations of nepotism and corruption. But there has been scarce mention of them in the press since their father's death in February 1997.

Deng Lin, the oldest child, 58, was malnourished and sick as a child, so her mother pushed her into art instead of academics. As an adult, Deng Lin produces ink paintings and silk tapestries; one tapestry sold for $60,000 in the mid-1990s. Short and pudgy, she bears a strong resemblance to her famous father.

Deng Pufang, the oldest son, 55, was attacked by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, wrote a suicide note, jumped out of a fourth-story window and broke his spine, becoming a paraplegic. He was denied proper medical treatment for some time, but after his father's return to power, Deng Pufang's fortunes improved. He headed China's Disabled Persons Federation, traveling abroad frequently. In the late 1980s, charges of corruption and nepotism dogged his business dealings.

Deng Nan, the second daughter, 54, seemed headed for a political career. She studied physics and rose to vice minister of the State Science and Technology Commission. Rumors suggested Deng Nan would join the Communist Party's Central Committee in 1992, but public outcry about nepotism nixed her promotion. Her uneducated husband, He Ping, gained the position of general manager at one of the largest military companies in China.

Deng w/grandchild
Deng Xiaoping with a grandchild in 1986  

Deng Rong, the youngest daughter, 49, attended her father in his last years and in 1992 published a reverential biography of him, traveling the world promoting it. Several years earlier she landed a top political position in the army straight out of college. More recently she was engaged in property development; her husband is an industry developer.

Deng Zhifang, the youngest child, 48, studied physics at the University of Rochester, and on his return to China plunged into business, including property development and investments in companies that trade on the Hong Kong stock market. His son was born in Rochester and is a U.S. citizen.

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