Deng Xiaoping - greatest man in 20th century, and funnily enough, my dad was talking about him over the weekend. And he said what made him so powerful was the way he dealt with things for the good of the country, with this one famous phrase
"I dont care if the cat is white or black as long as it catches mice"
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UPDATE - 22 August 2004
Chinese Advocates of Reform Seek Help From Deng's Spirit