Four decades of transformation


The last 40 years have been an epic adventure for China, composed of countless heartwarming stories of hundreds of millions of Chinese. It is the spirit of each of them seeking inspiration that made China what it is today. The Global Times editorial staff selected exemplary stories that offer a glimpse into China's changes over the past 40 years.



'It's a real miracle': how a bold policy changed cities, lives

When an ambitious, young Chen Jianli arrived in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province in the spring of 1983, determined to make a living outside of his poverty-stricken hometown of Shantou, he was immediately brought back to reality. He found himself in another desolate place that was little different from his hometown or most other cities in the country. He developed a sense of dread and fear.

Seeing is believing: Turkish man's China dream

More than 30 years ago, a young Turkish boy, among the first patch of Turkish students dispatched by their government, arrived in Beijing to learn Chinese and became the first Turk to receive a master's degree in China.

Poverty relief in Bijie: from trial zone to model zone

The region with the deepest poverty in China is now shaking off the label, the result of a trial zone built in 1988

Anti-corruption hero

Lu Qun is regarded by many on China's social media as an "anti-corruption hero."

Winning back graduates from abroad

Gu Tailai, who went to the US for advanced studies in 1987 following the reform and opening up policy, had lived and worked there for 20 years.

Interpreter recalls great statesman Deng Xiaoping's legacy

"For those who experienced the Cultural Revolution like me, the biggest change that the reform and opening-up have brought is that you can have a normal life," said Zhang Weiwei, an English interpreter for former Chinese leader and architect of China's reform and opening-up Deng Xiaoping.

CPEC defies skepticism to aid Pakistan's development

As China helps Pakistan with poverty alleviation and wiping out terrorism, it is also creating a condition favorable for the US anti-terror efforts there,” Long told the Global Times.

China-Europe freight trains steam ahead

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. Amid a sluggish world economy, the continuing implementation of BRI will undoubtedly promote regional development while providing a new driving force for global economic growth.

Chinese music: from freshman to graduate

"For me, the evolution of music in the Chinese mainland was like a student going through four years of college life," well-known Chinese music critic Guo Zhikai told the Global Times.

The success of 'Kung Fu Panda 3'

The highest-earning China-themed Hollywood animated film franchise ever, the Kung Fu Panda films are definitely a landmark series that has helped export Chinese culture to the world.

Opening China to fashion

As French model Maryse Gaspard danced along The Great Wall in a colorful gown for a photo shoot 40 years ago, she was surrounded by a group of Chinese onlookers eager to catch a glimpse of foreign fashion.

White Rabbit hops into overseas markets, challenging Bugs Bunny's reign

Warner Brothers' Bugs Bunny can easily outshine his fellow rabbits in most parts of the world, notably the US, where the iconic cartoon character was created in 1938.

A tale of two cities shows path of China growing into world manufacturing power since WTO entry

Jiang Jiangping might not celebrate Christmas, but his business depends on him being in a permanent holiday spirit.

Kitchen table politics

For Shanghai husband Hu Shennan, 75, and wife Lou Jingnian, 74, China's reform and opening-up is not an abstract, political phrase that implies the country's quick economic development and enhanced national strength. To them, the phrase is tied to changes of what they and their children have eaten for the past four decades.



China's poverty reduction 1978-2017

China's contribution to global poverty reduction exceeded 70%! China lifted 740 million people in rural areas out of poverty from 1978 to 2017, roughly 19 million each year. The incidence of poverty in rural areas dropped 94.4% with an average annual decrease of 2.4%.

Divorce rate in China (1978-2017)

The number of divorces in China increased from 285,000 in 1978 to 4.37m in 2017. Over the last 40 years, the divorce rate grew from 0.88‰ to 3.2‰ due to factors that include a more open environment for public opinions, changing views on marriage and rising population movements.

China's foreign trade 1978-2017

China's foreign trade volume reached $4.1 trillion, nearly 200 times the volume in 1978, while the structure for exporting and importing has been transformed and upgraded.

China's economy ranking 1978-2017

40 years after reform and opening-up: The gif shows China's ranking and the rise and fall of the world's top 15 economies from 1978 to 2017.

China foreign exchange reserve 1978-2017

40 years after reform and opening-up: China's foreign exchange reserve has leapt from $0.17 billion in 1978 to $3.14 trillion in 2017. Since 2006, China has led the world's foreign reserve for 11 consecutive years.

China's industrial structure upgrade 1978-2017

In 1978, the first year of reform and opening-up, the tertiary industry accounted for a small part of China's economy. 40 years later, the country is witnessing a surge of the service sector.