Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping Theory (Chinese: 邓小平理论; pinyin: Dèng Xiǎopíng Lǐlùn), also known as Dengism,[1][2] is the series of political and economic ideologies first developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.[3]: 1500  The theory does not reject Marxism–Leninism or Maoism, but instead claims to be an adaptation of them to the existing socioeconomic conditions of China.[4][5]

The theory also played an important role in China's modern economy, as Deng stressed opening China to the outside world,[6] the implementation of one country, two systems, and through the phrase "seek truth from facts",[3]: 1500  an advocation of political and economic pragmatism.[7][8]

Synopsis

Further information: Ideology of the Chinese Communist Party

Drawing inspiration from Lenin's New Economic Policy,[9] Deng's theory encouraged the construction of socialism within China by having it develop "Chinese characteristics,"[10] which was guided by China's economic reform policy with the goal of self-improvement and the development of a socialist system. His theory did not suggest improvement or development of China's closed economic system, but rather, overthrowing the existing economic system for a more open one.[11]

Deng saw domestic stability as an important factor in economic development - "In China, the overriding need is for stability. Without a stable environment, we can accomplish nothing and may even lose what we have gained". He added that "stability is the basic premise for reform and development. Without stability nothing can be achieved".[12]

China largely owes its economic growth to Deng Xiaoping's emphasis on economic production, under the theory of the productive forces – a subset of 20th century Marxist theory. In the view of Deng, the task faced by the leadership of China was twofold: (i) promoting modernization of the Chinese economy, and (ii) preserving the ideological unity of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its control of the difficult reforms required by modernization.[13] Deng believed that "only by constantly developing the productive forces can a country gradually become strong and prosperous, with a rising standard of living."[14]

Deng argued that due to the isolation of China in the international order of the time and an extremely underdeveloped economy, in order for China to achieve socialism and to bridge the gap between China and Western capitalism, China would have to borrow certain market elements and aspects of capitalism into its economy.[15] However, he also suggested that its usage would have to be state-controlled. These borrowed principles, in Deng's mind, allowed a more liberal interpretation of China's modernization into a socialist state. This includes marketing characteristics such as planning, production, and distribution that could be interpreted as socialism.[16] Modernization efforts were generalized by the concept of the Four Modernizations. The Four Modernizations were goals, set forth by Zhou Enlai in 1963, and continued by Hua Guofeng after 1976, to improve agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology in China.[17] Dengists still believe that China needs public ownership of land, banks, raw materials, and strategic central industries so a democratically elected government can make decisions on how to use them for the benefit of the country as a whole instead of the land owners, but at the same time, private ownership is allowed and encouraged in industries of finished goods and services.[18][19][20] According to the Dengist theory, private owners in those industries are not a bourgeoisie. Because in accordance with Marxist theory, bourgeois owns land and raw materials. In Dengist theory, private company owners are called civil run enterprises.[21]

To preserve ideological unity, Deng Xiaoping Theory formulated "Four Cardinal Principles"[22] which the CCP must uphold:[23]

In 1992, fourteen years after Deng had become China's leader, he embarked on a tour of southern China (南巡).[24] During this trip he uttered his famous phrase: "Open up" (开放). "Open up" would be the foundation for China's economic development up until the present day.

Dengists also take a very strong position against any form of personality cult which appeared in the Soviet Union during Stalin's rule and the current North Korea.[25][26]

Relation to Maoism

Deng Xiaoping Theory downplays the Maoist focus on class struggle on the basis that that struggle would become an obstacle to China's economic development.[27] It maintains that it upholds communism, the dictatorship of the proletariat, leadership of the Communist Party, Marxism-Leninism, and Mao Zedong Thought.[27] Under this view, upholding Mao Zedong Thought does not mean blindly imitating Mao's actions without much deviation as seen in the government of Hua Guofeng, and that doing so would actually "contradict Mao Zedong Thought".[28]

According to academic Richard Baum, little evidence of Mao's approach survived in Deng.[29][page needed]

Legacy

The Deng Xiaoping theory played a crucial role in transforming China from its previously state-owned command economy to a socialist market economy, which resulted in a rapid increase in economic growth within the country, known as the "Chinese economic miracle".[30]

It has increased the Chinese GDP growth rate to over 8% per year for thirty years and China now has the second largest economy by nominal GDP in the world. Due to the influence of Dengism, Vietnam and Laos have also adopted similar beliefs and policies, allowing Laos to increase its real GDP growth rate to 8.3%.[31] Cuba is also starting to embrace such ideas.

Deng's theory would be inherited by Jiang Zemin, along with aspects of Mao Zedong Thought and Marxist-Leninism, into a socio-political theory known as the “Three Represents.”[32] This theory was added to the Constitution of the Chinese Communist Party in 2002.[33]

Having served as the CCP's major policy guide since the Third Plenum of the 11th CCP National Congress in 1978, the theory was entrenched into the Communist Party's Constitution as a guiding ideology in 1997, and was also subsequently written into the Constitution of the People's Republic of China:

Since the Third Plenum of the 11th CPC Central Committee, the Chinese Communists, represented mainly by Comrade Deng Xiaoping, have summed up both the positive and negative experiences gained since the founding of New China, implemented the principle of emancipating the mind and seeking truth from facts, shifted the focus of the Party's work to economic development, introduced reform and opening, ushered in a new period for the development of the socialist cause, gradually formed the line, principles, and policies on building socialism with Chinese characteristics, expounded the basic issues concerning building, consolidating, and developing socialism in China, and created Deng Xiaoping Theory. Deng Xiaoping Theory is a product of the integration of the basic theory of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of modern China and the characteristics of the present era, the inheritance and development of Mao Zedong Thought under new historical conditions, a new stage of the development of Marxism in China, Marxism of modern China, and the crystallization of the collective wisdom of the CPC, guiding the cause of China's socialist modernization steadily forward.[34]

See also

References

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Further reading