Mao, Deng And Xi: Makers Of Chinese Communist Ideology


China has grown under the leadership of many Premiers but few have been so influential than these three. However, Xi Jinping, the most recent one, has influenced the Chinese Communist ideology to the extent that China now has students studying the ‘Xi Jinping school of thought’. In that light, let’s look at how the three leaders influenced and molded the ideology in China.

Crux of the Matter

Cliff Notes Of Ideologies

  • In Communism, there is common ownership of resources, which are managed by the Government. No private property is allowed, and it also bans practise of religion. For example: USSR.

  • In Socialism, onus of production rests with the Govenment. Private Property is allowed, and it also allows practise of religion. For example: India under Nehru.

Mao Zedong Thought
It is a sub-type of of Marxism-Leninism, where revolution is led by peasants instead of working class. It focuses on agrarian development while also purging bourgeois ideology.

It focused on redistribution of wealth and affirmed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) power, as the party was relatively young when it acquired power. It used collective ownership and incentives to increase agricultural output and eradicate feudal system.

Ding Xiaoping Theory
He claimed ideological agreement with Mao pragmatically but diminished practical application of Maoism. His tenure is marked with moving away from the hardline-Communist approach of Mao Zedong.

Reforms And Opening Up

  • Focus on productive forces and entrepreneurial innovation.

  • Modernization of Chinese economy and establishing international legitimacy.

  • Developmental Nationalist Ideology backed with economic progress.

  • Opened up to intensive investment.

Xi Jinping Thought
It is a New Era Socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is characterized by socialist modernization and national rejuvenation. It is the guiding political and military ideology of the CCP since 2012, and is now a part of national curriculum from Primary to University level in China.

Some of its Salient Points are:

  • CCP leadership presiding over all work including People’s’ Liberation Army.

  • Governing China with a stringent and authoritarian Rule of Law that places CCP as judge, jury and executioner.

  • Active role in constructing Global peace and maintaining security.


  • Mao v/s Deng: Mao focused on agriculture, global isolation and self-sufficiancy. Deng on the other hand focused on industrial innovation, globalization and economic reforms.

  • Deng v/s Jinping: Deng focused on passive global role and mass production whereas Jinping focuses on active role in international affairs and emphasis on innovation.


The Qin Dynasty, China’s first empire, was founded by Emperor Qin Shi Huang, which began in 221 BC and lasted until 206 BC. It was during this time, China was adorned with The Great Wall of China and the city-sized Mausoleum of First Qin Emperor guarded by the life-sized Terracotta Army.

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