Chapter 22

Document 22.5 Deng Xiaoping: Self-Criticism

Deng Xiaoping starts his self-criticism off by clarifying that his mistakes were not accidents but were to serve a purpose that he thought they might have achieved. Deng continues in saying that he has done a poor job of following Mao Zedong’s ideology. Deng thought that since his position was so close to the position of Chairman that he should have used the opportunity to receive help from Mao himself. Even in these circumstances he says he has a poor understanding of Mao Zedong’s Thought. He says that his recent years have led to a sort of regression causing him to make numerous mistakes. He appears very understanding of what he has done wrong in some ways because he address’s his disconnect with the people he rules. As he said, “my distancing myself from the masses and lack of contact with reality is directly connect with my failure” (Spence 454). He goes on saying that he doesn’t even connect with the other leaders to obtain an understanding of their situations. Deng is reflective on his answers being poor solutions to people’s problems leaving them with few choices. When Chairman Mao had said that Deng was “a kingdom unto” (454) Deng consoled himself in saying he “was neither a greedy person nor a power seeker” (Spence 454). In Deng’s final part of his self-criticism he says that his views are incompatible with Mao Zedong Thought. He battles this notion by saying he will reform himself and try to fall back on the path of socialism. He finalizes his assessment of himself by cheering on Mao Zedong Thought.

In relation to the book The Search for Modern China by Jonathan D. Spence Deng Xiaoping seems very harsh on himself in comparison to Mao Zedong’s life style. He discusses that he has become disconnected from society with his higher standard of living, but Mao is going even further. Chapter 22 begins by explaining Mao’s extravagant lifestyle of visiting his private pool in his Zhongnanhai residence. By doing so Mao is going even further then disconnecting from his people, but even his political colleagues. He will summon “his staff to meeting at any time of day or night,” at will (Spence 535). Lastly, he is a man who picks up women along his journey’s, who admire him, for sexual partners. In comparison Deng realizes he requires improvement and says that he does a poor job of following Mao’s ideology. After reading this though, is Mao’s ideology a realistic goal that Deng is foolishly following?

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