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Chronology of China's reform era

December 19, 2008

Associated Press
December 18, 2008
 
China celebrated the 30th anniversary of the start of economic reforms that have transformed the country into a global economic and trading power. The following chronology highlights important milestones since then.
 
1978: Economic, social and cultural reforms launched under Deng Xiaoping, two years after the death of Mao Zedong. GDP per capita is 381 yuan.
 
1979: U.S. and China establish diplomatic relations. One-child policy introduced.
 
1980: First special economic zone established in Shenzhen.
 
1982: Population surpasses 1 billion.
 
1986: Deng promotes "open-door" policy to encourage foreign investment.
 
1988: Spiraling inflation and corruption prompt limits on foreign investment and monetary flows.
 
1989: Students protest in Tiananmen Square to demand economic, political and social change. Hundreds believed killed in ensuing crackdown.
 
1990: Communist China's first stock exchange opens in Shanghai.
 
1992: Deng makes southern China tour to relaunch economic reforms in face of criticism from conservatives.
 
1994: China connects to the Internet.
 
1996: Chinese currency becomes convertible.
 
1997: Deng dies. Jiang Zemin takes over. China regains control of Hong Kong.
 
1998: China injects $500 billion into its faltering banking sector.
 
1999: Government outlaws Falun Gong.
 
2001: China joins the World Trade Organization.
 
2002: Entrepreneurs allowed to join the Communist Party.
 
2003: Hu Jintao replaces Jiang as president. SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) breaks out in China and eventually kills nearly 800 worldwide. China's first manned spacecraft orbits the earth.
 
2004: The United Nations estimates 1 million Chinese are infected with HIV.
 
2005: China becomes the world's fourth-largest economy. The government stops pegging the currency to the U.S. dollar.
 
2006: Three Gorges Dam and railway to Tibet are completed. China's foreign exchange reserves reach $1 trillion, becoming world's largest.
 
2007: China tops the world with 210 million Internet users. GDP per capita reaches 18,900 yuan ($2,760).
 
2008: Sichuan earthquake kills 70,000 people. Beijing hosts Olympic Games.
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