EASSC Publications


How Chinese Leaders View Peace?: Mao Zedong versus Deng Xiaoping

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper


How political leaders view peace is important because such views translate into foreign policies. Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping were two powerful leaders who dominated Chinese foreign policy during the periods of 1949 to 1976 and 1976 to 1989 respectively. This study investigates and compares how the two Chinese leaders view peace by mainly employing a typology of usage of the Chinese word “heping” [peace], combined with examination of words “zhanzheng” [war], “geming” [revolution], “anding” [stability], “gaige” [reform] in their relations to “heping”. Content analysis was operated on selected works of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. It is found that Mao identified China with peace, but the revolution logic affected his prioritization of peace. His peace views also featured a noticeable change from idealism to realism, shaped by China’s strategic environment. For Deng Xiaoping, there was a dominating reform logic in his strategic thinking, and his peace views were mapped accordingly.

Journal, Book or Conference Title

East Asia Security Symposium and Conference 东亚安全座谈谈论会

Publication Details

Author information: Cui Yue received a M.A. from the University of Hawaii and a Ph.D. from China Foreign Affairs University. She is currently a lecturer at China-Australia Center, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Faculty of Society and Design at Bond University. She specialises in the study of middle power diplomacy and Australian foreign policy.

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