40 Quotes by Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping, a paramount leader of the People's Republic of China, played a pivotal role in shaping the nation's modern history through his pragmatic and transformative policies. Following the tumultuous era of the Cultural Revolution, Deng's leadership marked a turning point as he introduced economic reforms that opened China to the global market and propelled it toward rapid industrialization and modernization.

Deng's philosophy of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" blended communist ideology with market-oriented principles, leading to unprecedented economic growth and lifting millions out of poverty. While his policies brought prosperity, they also raised questions about political freedoms and human rights. Deng's legacy is a complex one, characterized by both monumental economic achievements and ongoing debates about the balance between economic progress and individual liberties. His influence continues to shape China's trajectory on the global stage.

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Deng Xiaoping Quotes


No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat.

Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.

China is not a superpower, nor will she ever seek to be one... If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialist, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.

Keep a cool head and maintain a low profile. Never take the lead - but aim to do something big.

Poverty is not socialism. To be rich is glorious.

A fundamental contradiction does not exist between socialism and a market economy.

Cross the river by feeling for stones under one's feet.

We mustn't fear to adopt the advanced management methods applied in capitalist countries. The very essence of socialism is the liberation and development of the productive systems. Socialism and market economy are not incompatible. We should be concerned about right-wing deviations, but most of all, we must be concerned about left-wing deviations.

It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.

The United States brags about its political system, but the President says one thing during the election, something else when he takes office, something else at midterm and something else when he leaves.

Be reasonable with the students and make sure they see the logic in what we're doing.

Let some people get rich first.

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When our thousands of Chinese students abroad return home, you will see how China will transform itself.

We should not lay all past mistakes on Chairman Mao. So we must be very objective in assessing him. His contributions were primary, his mistakes secondary. In China, we will inherit the many good things in Chairman Mao's thinking while at the same time explaining clearly the mistakes he made.

Absorbing foreign capital and technology and even allowing foreigners to construct plants in China can only play a complementary role to our effort to develop the productive forces in a socialist society. Of course, this will bring some decadent capitalist influences into China. We are aware of this possibility; it's nothing to be afraid of.

Seek truth from facts.

Not only did Mao Zedong Thought lead us to victory in the revolution in the past; it is - and will continue to be - a treasured possession of the Chinese Communist Party and of our country. That is why we will forever keep Chairman Mao's portrait on Tiananmen Gate as a symbol of our country, and we will always remember him as a founder of our Party and state. Moreover, we will adhere to Mao Zedong Thought. We will not do to Chairman Mao what Khrushchev did to Stalin.

Do not debate! is one of my inventions.

No matter to what degree China opens up to the outside world and admits foreign capital, its relative magnitude will be small and it can't affect our system of socialist public ownership of the means of production.

We must firmly grasp management. Just making things isn't enough. We need to raise the quality.

Reform is Chinas second revolution.

Chairman Mao's greatest contribution was that he applied the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution, pointing the way to victory. It should be said that before the sixties or the late fifties many of his ideas brought us victories, and the fundamental principles he advanced were quite correct.

Young leading cadres have risen up by helicopter. They should really rise step by step.

Even if they're functioning out of ignorance, they are still participating and must be suppressed. In China, even one million people can be considered a small sum.

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By following the concept of one country, two systems, you dont swallow me up nor I you.

To get rich is glorious.

In China, we intend to acquire advanced technology, science and management skills to serve our socialist production. And these things as such have no class character.

I don’t care if the cat is black or white, I just want it to kill the mice.

If the masses feel some anger, we must let them express it.

Black cat or white cat: If it can catch mice, it's a good cat

The influence of the Gang of Four should not be underrated, but it should be noted that 97 or 98 per cent of the population hate them intensely for their crimes. This was shown by the mass movement against the Gang of Four which erupted at Tiananmen Square on April 5, 1976, when the Gang were still riding high, Chairman Mao was critically ill and Premier Zhou had passed away.

The minority yields to the majority!

Any capitalism is superior to feudalism.

In the final analysis, the general principle for our economic development in China is still that formulated by Chairman Mao, that is, to rely mainly on our own efforts with external assistance subsidiary.

We cannot say that everything developed in capitalist countries is of a capitalist nature. For instance, technology, science - even advanced production management is also a sort of science - will be useful in any society or country.

In the last couple of years before Chairman Mao's death he said that the "Cultural Revolution" had been wrong on two counts: one was "overthrowing all", and the other was waging a "full-scale civil war". These two counts alone show that the "Cultural Revolution" cannot be called correct. Chairman Mao's mistake was a political mistake, and not a small one.

At the higher stage of communism, when the productive forces will be greatly developed and the principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" will be practised, personal interests will be acknowledged still more and more personal needs will be satisfied.

In China, we are considering ways of resolving our problems by improving our institutions.

It should be pointed out that some of the things done after the arrest of the Gang of Four were inconsistent with Chairman Mao's wishes, for instance, the construction of the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall. He had proposed in the fifties that we should all be cremated when we died and that only our ashes be kept, that no remains should be preserved and no tombs built.

For a leader to pick his own successor is a feudal practice.

In the past there were too many portraits of Chairman Mao in China. They were hung everywhere. That was not proper and it didn't really show respect for Chairman Mao.

― Deng Xiaoping Quotes

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Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

 
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