- "Vietnam is a hooligan, we must teach them a lesson."
- (On December 1978, in a visit to several Southeast Asia countries, only a few months before The third Indochina War, he said this quote live on the China television network)
- 小朋友不聴話,該打打屁股了. Translation: It's time to smack the bottom of unruly little children. (
- While talking to president Jimmy Carter during his brief visit to the United States, thereby informing the USA that China was ready to go to war with Vietnam.
- “Well, that’s the way it’s presented in our propaganda. We needed that to express the fighting spirit of our forces. In fact, it was a very easy military operation.(On The Crossing of Luding Bridge, The Red Army Long March.)
- former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski mentioned a conversation that he once had with Deng Xiaoping.
- Development is the overriding principle.
- (On January 29, 1992 while visiting the Zhujiang Refrigerator Company)
- Crossing the river by groping for stones.
- Some must get rich first!
- No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat.
- Socialism is not the same as shared poverty.
- To China's problems, the overwhelming priority is stability. Without a stable environment, nothing can be achieved, and what has been achieved will be lost... Democracy is our goal, but the country must remain stable.
- Meeting with George H. W. Bush
- 24-Characters: keep cool-headed to observe, be composed to make reactions, stand firmly, hide our capabilities and bide our time, never try to take the lead, and be able to accomplish something.”
- We had had earlier setbacks, but overall the Chinese people had a high level of socialist morality and were making significant progress by the mid-1960s. The Gang of Four and Lin Biao destroyed that morality by sending the message that it was ok to beat people up, smash their homes, and loot their possessions.
- Interview with Encyclopedia Britannica, 1979
- Is this what the Koreans have done with all the aid we've been giving them for years? Perhaps they would be better served using it to improve their people's living standards.
- Remarks during a visit to North Korea in September 1978 after being expected to lay a wreath on the giant statue of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang
- You know, the Soviets have found really very bad defects in their economy and the measures they have applied are not working. It is a consequence of their political system. There is a stiffness and inflexibility that we do not have.
- Interview, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1985
- The Chinese people are not ready for democracy yet. Were we to hold elections tomorrow, the nation would be plunged into a civil war.
- Interview with an American newspaper, 1986
- Ossified leftist thinking is a greater danger to China's stability than bourgeois liberalism
- Remarks during the 13th CCP Party Congress in 1987