Some Chinese in Tokyo expressed concern Feb. 20 that Deng Xiaoping’s death might throw China into turmoil.

Tae Johwi, 34, who works for Ryugakusei Shimbun, a Chinese-language newspaper targeted at Chinese students in Japan, said he is worried that the leader’s sudden death might cause confusion within the Chinese leadership. “I saw the news on TV in the morning and called my home in Beijing, but my family was asleep and had not been informed of it,” Tae said. “It does make me a bit sad, but there also is a chance that China will be in turmoil.”

Tae pointed to the timing of Deng’s death, which followed the Chinese New Year. “I assume they (authorities) tried to extend his life at least until the Chinese New Year’s was over,” Tae said.

The newsroom staff in Shibuya, Tokyo, was busy from the early hours of Feb. 20 gathering information on Deng’s death, Tae said, adding that readers will be interested in how the Chinese leadership reacts to the situation. Ra Myong, 39, a Chinese businessman from Kwangtung Province, was also surprised to hear the news. “In China, there is a phrase that means one’s appraisal starts after his death. So Deng’s accomplishments will start to be assessed from now on,” he said.

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