1980 – 1989
1980: Special Economic Zones Created
At the turn of the 1980’s huge economic reforms began in China beginning with the creation of “Special Economic Zones” in Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou (Guangdong), Xiamen (Fujian), and the entire province of Hainan. These zones are given special economic policies and flexible governmental measures, separate from those in the rest of the country.
Improvement of Food Security
China greatly improves food security and sees a significant reduction in rural poverty due to economic reforms, enhanced agricultural production, and opening-up to the global economy. Also, with the increased production of meat, vegetables, fruits and pond-fish, the diet of Chinese people is massively improved.
1982: A New Constitution for China
In December, the Fifth National People’s Congress adopts a new constitution for China, providing an extensive legal framework for the economic reforms of the early 1980’s. This is the fourth amendment from the original Constitution.
China’s Population Surpasses 1 Billion People
In July 1982 China conducts its third national population census after previous unsuccessful attempts in 1953 and 1964. Employing modern computing techniques, strong leadership, widespread support and cooperation, and assistance from the UN, the job is a success and confirms China’s population has exceeded 1 Billion people.
1984: China Joins the International Atomic Energy Agency
In a conference held in Vienna in January 1984, China joins the International Atomic Energy Agency and declares it will apply strict safeguards to its nuclear exports.
1985: China Conquers Antarctica
In February 1985, China opens its first Antarctic Station on King George Island known as Changcheng Station. This destination becomes an important center for research programs, awarding China formal membership status of SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) in 1986.
1986: Major Education Reforms
Major education reform sees the reintroduction of private schooling, and aims to introduce compulsory education of children for a minimum of 6 years. The People’s Government also massively increases investment in education, providing 72 percent more funds than the previous year totaling 16.8 percent of the total state budget.
Foreign Investment Encouraged
Chairman Deng Xiaoping promotes an “Open-door” policy to encourage further foreign investments. Since the early 1980’s China’s huge reforms caused the liberalization of the economic system and attracted large amounts of foreign investment. Large scale transfer of Western expertise and international capital begins in China.
1987: Kentucky Fried Chicken Arrives in China
KFC leads the way as the first Western-style fast food restaurant to enter China. On 6th October, KFC opens its first outlet in Beijing to a large crowd of Chinese people waiting to taste the world famous American cuisine. Since its arrival there are now over 1,800 stores throughout China.
1989：Stock Markets Open
The huge economic developments experienced throughout the 1980’s are topped in December 1989 when the stock exchanges of Shanghai and Shenzhen are opened.