Deng Xiaoping Theory (simplified Chinese: 邓小平理论; traditional Chinese: 鄧小平理論; pinyin: Dèng Xiǎopíng Lǐlùn), also known as Dengism, is the series of political and economic ideologies first developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The theory does not claim to reject Marxism–Leninism or Mao Zedong Thought but instead seeks to adapt them to the existing socio-economic conditions of China.
Deng also stressed opening China to the outside world, the implementation of one country, two systems, and through the phrase "seek truth from facts", an advocation of political and economic pragmatism.
黑 猫 白 猫，能 捉 到 老 鼠 就 是 好 猫.
One of the most famous maxims of Deng, dating back to the years before the Cultural Revolution, states that "It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice." In other words, he did not worry too much about whether a person is a revolutionary or not, as long as he or she is efficient and capable to do the job under the socialist economy. (This statement came to stand in opposition to the ideas of class struggle projected into economic relations, the latter being epitomized in a phrase "a socialist train coming with a delay is better than the capitalist one that comes on time"). Though Deng had said this much earlier, in July 1962 at the Communist Youth League conference, it has often been paraphrased later to justify the means of China's subsequent development even if the means might have appeared to be not the most optimum.
China largely owes its economic growth to Deng Xiaoping's emphasis on the development of the productive forces as theorized by Marxism's Theory of the Productive Forces. The task faced by Deng was twofold: to promote modernization while preserving the ideological unity of the CPC and its control of the difficult process of reforms.
Modernization efforts were generalized by the concept of the Four Modernizations. The Four Modernizations were goals, set forth by Zhou Enlai in 1963, to improve agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology in China.
To preserve ideological unity, Deng Xiaoping Theory formulated "Four Cardinal Principles" which the Communist Party must uphold, namely,
In 1992, fourteen years after Deng had risen up as China's de facto leader, he embarked on the "nan xun" or "Inspection visit to the South". There he, being already very old, uttered the famous words: "kai fang!" (Chinese: 开放). These words, which literally mean "open up", would indeed prove to be very significant for China's economic development up until the current day. After this surge of motivation, China started economically expanding.
Deng Xiaoping Theory argues that upholding Mao Zedong Thought does not mean blindly imitating Mao's actions without deviation as seen in the government of Hua Guofeng, and doing so would actually "contradict Mao Zedong Thought".
However, modern anti-revisionists tend to universally oppose Deng Xiaoping Theory and view it as a deviation from Marxism–Leninism.
Since the 1980s, the theory has become a mandatory university class. Having served as the Communist Party of China's (CPC) major policy guide since the Third Plenum of the 11th CPC 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.