Deng Pufang was born on 16 April 1944 in Guang'an County in southwest China's Sichuan province and the first son of former China's Paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and Zhuo Lin, his third wife.
After graduating from Beijing University with a major in nucleonics, Deng joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in September 1965, starting his professional career in September 1968. During the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and his family were targeted by Mao Zedong. His father, Xiaoping, was branded as a capitalist roader. In one session his father was forced to confess to capitalist ways of thinking.
Mao's Red Guards then imprisoned Deng Pufang. He was tortured and thrown out of the window of a three-story building at Beijing University in 1968, though some sources claimed he may have fallen or jumped out of the window himself. He was rushed to the hospital but was denied admission, because he was the son of a capitalist. By the time he reached another clinic, he was paralysed from a broken back and so becoming a paraplegic and having to use a wheelchair. He has since dedicated his life to improving the rights of handicapped people.
In 1984 Deng Pufang established the China Welfare Fund for the Disabled. Then he founded and became the chairman of the China Disabled Persons' Federation in 1988 and has continued in that role ever since. In 1987 he was the prime mover behind a national survey for people with disability. In 1990 he led the formation of the Chinese Rehabilitation and Research Association for the Mentally Disabled. In 1991 legislations were passed to recognize people with mental illnesses could also be included with the people suffering disability.
He was awarded the United Nations Human Rights Prize in December 2003 for his work in protecting the rights of disabled people in China.
The International Paralympic Committee awarded Deng the Paralympic Order during their November 2005 meeting in Beijing. The first year the award was offered to one recipient only; in the past, gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded.
Deng also helped organize the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the Executive President of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).