PEKING -- The paralyzed son of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping said Tuesday he was a victim of the Cultural Revolution but refused to discuss how he was crippled, reportedly when he was pushed out a window by Red Guards.
'The Chinese people suffered a great deal during that period,' said Deng Pufang, 40, in a rare public appearance at a news conference on the handicapped.
'I was unfortunately one of the sufferers.'
Deng, who is paralyzed below the waist and is confined to a wheelchair, declined to go into details about his life.
The younger Deng was a science student at Peking University at the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution in 1966 and was reportedly attacked by student Red Guards after his father was branded China's No. 2 'capitalist roader.'
Red Guards, the shock troops of the Cultural Revolution, closed down schools and beat and tormented so-called counter-revolutionaries and capitalists during the turmoil inspired by Mao Tse-tung.
One of the major victims was Deng Xiaoping, China's current post-Mao leader, who was purged from his Communist Party and government posts.
Previous Chinese reports said the Red Guards forced Deng Pufang out a campus window, smashing his spine and leaving him permanently crippled.
'The sufferings in the Cultural Revolution were complicated and unhappy. I don't want to recall them,' Deng Pufang said.
He called the news conference to announce the establishment of the China Welfare Fund for more than 20 million Chinese handicapped people.
He will be the deputy director-in-chief of the new fund, aimed at improving social conditions for the handicapped.
Deng Xiaoping reportedly has four children, including a younger son who is studying physics in the United States.
Deng Pufang went to Canada three years ago for undisclosed medical treatment but there was no apparent major change in his condition.
The news conference was Deng's first public appearance before foreign journalists. Sons and daughters of high officials usually are shielded from the press.
After Mao's death in 1976, Deng Xiaoping was rehabilitated and quickly returned to power to replace Mao loyalists with other moderates.
The Communist Party under Deng carried out an historic review of Mao's policies in 1980, branding his 10-year Cultural Revolution a 'national catastrophe.'