Case Study: Mao Zedong Vs. Deng Xiaoping

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Mao Zedong v.s. Deng Xiaoping Mao Zedong, one of the most notable communist revolutionaries and the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, has played a significant role in the county’s evolution into a communist-led system. His philosophies along with the power he gained as Chairman of the communist party allowed his to exert great influence over the people of China throughout most of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Mao took the ideas of Marx’s communism and applied them to China (Mao Zedong Thought), favoring the peasants and the idea of a peasant revolution, rather than the industrial workers (China was not completely industrialized at the time). He believed the peasant class would be the driving force behind a communist takeover…show more content…
After watching first hand, the chaos of Mao’s rule, Deng stepped away from some of Mao’s ideas, taking a more realistic approach to communism. Deng knew that it was impossible to implement ideological policies and have both a successful economy and a relatively peaceful society. Deng made many economic reforms to modernize China’s economy. In the late 70s and early 80s, Deng decollectivized agriculture (got rid of communes and collectives), opened up China to foreign investment, and began to allow entrepreneurs to start up businesses. He continued with his reforms through the 80s and 90s by privatizing industry, selling off state assets, and lifting price controls (the government still did have some control, ex. banking). In addition to these economic reforms, Deng began to allow local elections (village, township, and county levels) and promoted the importance of courts, a better way to hold corrupt officials accountable and create stability. He also legalized ‘rule by law’, a concept that meant no one was greater than the law (specifically the party and government leaders). As for practical changes, Deng promoted schools and education, not seeing them as a form of elitism like Mao. He also made participation optional. Apathy was no longer risky as long as you did not badmouth the party or the government. He also got rid of mass campaigns and mass mobilization efforts, choosing to pay the military or specialists to complete tasks, rather than forcing villagers to comply. He also created acceptable participation channels, specifically offices to recieve complaints, telephone hotlines to report abuses of power, and letters to editors (participation not just confined to voting). Ultimately, Deng moved away from Maoism to develop policies that incorporated the ideas of communism, while allowing China to stimulate economic growth (main priority) and

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