BEIJING, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- To see how a great man has shaped a country even after his death, there is no better time than today, the 110th anniversary of the birth of Deng Xiaoping.
Amid a chorus of gratitude and remembrance, some people, particularly those born after his death in 1997, may raise the question: why should the nation remember him at all?
Traditionally, the Chinese tend to remember any decennary or centenary, but the 110th anniversary of Deng's birth is much more than a folk tradition about numbers. It is about the present political and practical situation which pertains in China today.
The current wave of remembrance is a nation seeking inspiration from the past to better comprehend the present and move into a better future.
Deng was diminutive in stature but a giant of a leader by most standards. When he staged his famous comeback to rescue the country in 1978, China was on the brink of economic collapse and political ruin following the calamitous Cultural Revolution. With his openness to new ideas and insight into change, Deng introduced the reform and opening-up drive that has made China what it is today.
When he passed away in 1997, Deng left behind a changed nation and world, one he helped change with his faith in the people and the Party, with his political courage in innovation and with his strategic vision.
More than three decades later, today's China is different in many ways from when Deng passed on the baton, but the courage and vision to reform remain largely the same.
China might be the world's second-largest economy, but there is a lot to be done for China to become a better country. The new round of bold reform and opening-up is beyond necessary. In a time of both ambition and frustration, the new reforms are about shoring up a nation of 1.3 billion people on many fronts: economically, judicially, socially and environmentally.
With some 100 million people still living in poverty, the nation is now riding a tide of high expectations, just as the days when Deng started the reform and opening-up drive.
Ezra F. Vogel, author of "Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China", may have best captured how the great man would act today: "To Deng, reform was a continuing process... he would have moved boldly forward."
Such an attitude, among other far-reaching legacies of Deng, is exactly what China needs to rejuvenate the nation now.