Whereas Deng Xiaoping was nicknamed "Little Cannon" due to his petite figure, he undoubtedly became a historical giant in China.
Born into a middle-class family in Sichuan, China, in 1904, Mr Deng spent part of his youth in France studying and working in the 1920s--over there, he developed his antipathy against Capitalism and a strong affinity for Marxism-Leninism, the ideology that became the foundation of the Communist Party of China under Mao Zedong during the 1950s and 1970s.
After experiencing the catastrophic failure of the Great Leap Forward, industrialization led by Mr Mao that cost the lives of 40 million Chinese farmers between 1958 and 1961, Mr Deng said, "it doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice," accepting the efficiency of private properties and flaws of a strict following of a political ideology.
Since his de facto grip on power in the mid 1970s, Mr Deng undertook the modernization of China: initiating distribution of properties to people; building a diplomatic tie with the US for its investment and infrastructure; beginning China's path to a market economy. Mr Deng's principles became a cornerstone of modern China: a communist country that runs a capitalist market economy.