Deng was born 1889, Yingshan, Sichuan. In 1906 he was admitted to the Sichuan Military School, and in 1909 graduated, and entered the Nanjing Army School. After the Xinhai Revolution, he discontinued his studies and returned to Sichuan. After the Republic of China was established Deng joined the Sichuan Fourth Division of Liu Cunhou. He successively held the post of adjutant, company commander, and battalion commander.
In 1917 he became Fifth Brigade commander. In February, 1918, Xiong Kewu appointed him independent brigade commander. From 1920 to 1923 he participated in battles in Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan and was appointed Third Division Commander. On December 10, 1923 the Beijing government established by the Zhili clique gave Deng his promotion to general. In May 1924 he was appointed by the Beijing government as Sichuan Civil Governor.
In 1926, Deng joined his forces to the National Revolutionary Army in 1926, when he was designated commander of the 28th Army and made military governor of the province from 1926 to 1927. He was sent to command the 45th Army in 1927, while acting as director of the Sichuan Provincial Financial Bureau. In 1928 he became the commanding general of the 14th Route Army.
When the Second Sino-Japanese War began in 1937, Deng became the general commanding IV Corps and then the 45th Corps which was sent into the Battle of Xuzhou in 1938. There he was made Commander in Chief of the 22nd Army Group, composed of Sichuan divisions that fought the Japanese in the Battle of Taierzhuang. His force defended Lincheng, and Dengxian, north of Taierzhuang. From 1939 to 1945 he was the Military Affairs Commissioner for Sichuan & Xinjiang Provinces.
During the Chinese Civil War, Deng was given the governorship and chairmanship of the government of Sichuan from 1947 to 1948. Deng, together with Gen. Liu Wenhui and Pan Wenhua, crossed over to the Communists in Peng County, Sichuan. He took up the Water Conservancy Ministry after the Communist victory, and then became vice-governor of Sichuan. He died March 30, 1964, in Chengdu.