China’s National Day Special: News Keywords of Past 60 years, Part 3, 90s- 00s

News keywords are snapshots of the history. These words not only reflect the 60 years of PRC history, but also represent 60 years of Chinese people’s emotions. These 61 news keywords taken from Netease, recorded China as a country from just stood up and limping to walking with confidence in the world, it also recorded the vicissitudes of fate with every Chinese person. (Contents are selected translation of Netease articles and from Wikipedia) Part 3:

1990 Pudong development | 开发浦东

250px-Lujiazui_Skyline_from_Bund “China is building Asia’s financial center, at the same time proves to the world, it still has not closed the door to the world” July 15th 1990 the United States “New York Times” reporter Nicholas Kristof reported in an article on the beginning of Pudong’s development.

Since the beginning of its development in 1990 when plans were first announced, Pudong has become a New Open Economic Development Zone, and has emerged as China’s financial and commercial hub.

1991 Stock Market | 股市


The early 90s of last century, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange have been established, since then shareholders grew into a large group in China, at different times writing their happy and tragic stories.

1992 Xia Hai | 下海

Xia Hai literary means going down into the ocean, it is a term meaning starting one’s own business. In 1992 January 18 – February 21st, Deng Xiaoping toured Wuchang, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, shanghai and other places, published the famous “Southern Talk” encouraged reform and to open up and to take bold actions when comes to starting businesses. Many Chinese people including many intellectuals started their own businesses under this policy, greatly stimulated China’s economy.

1993 Real-estate bubble | 地产泡沫


Before June of 1993, in Haihan province, real-estate market was going all the way up like a crazy machine. “Want to make money, go to Hainan; want to make a fortune, go into real-estate”. This was the speculation of the Hainan real-estate market. Speculators spitted out crazy figures, however what was behind the figures was only a barren land, or just a hold dug for the “high rise”. The market continued to raise, until it evolved into an inevitable term, Hainan real-estate bubble.



1994 Three Gorges Dam | 三峡工程


The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric river dam that spans the Yangtze River. It is the world’s largest electricity-generating plant of any kind.

The construction started on December 14, 1994. The dam was expected to be fully operational in 2009, but due to additional projects such as the underground power plant with six additional generators, and due to the complexity of the ship lift, the dam is not expected to become fully operational until about 2011. The dam raised the water level the third time to 172.5 meters by the end of 2008.

1995 Copyright infringement | 盗版


Every computer users in China almost all had been using pirated software. There were many reasons which cased the difficulties of enforcing anti-piracy laws in China. The reasons were product pricing, Chinese people’s concept of copyright (or lack of) also due to many business and government interests.

February 26, 1995 11 pm, Kantor and Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Wu Yi initialed the “Sino-US IPR protection agreement.” China has promised to adopt a series of enforcement measures, The U.S. Promised to remove China from the list of “focused countries”.

1996 Jingjiu railway | 京九铁路


It is a dual-track railway. Construction began in February 1993. It was opened in 1996, connecting Beijing and Kowloon through Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Anhui, Hubei, Jiangxi and Guangdong, with a length of 2397 kilometers.


1997 Transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong | 香港回归


The transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China, referred to as the Reunification by Chinese and the Handover by British press, took place on 1 July 1997. The event marked the end of British rule, and the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong back to Chinese rule.



5JBP2U730G5V00011998 Yangtze River floods | 抗洪

The 1998 Yangtze river floods was a major flood that lasted from middle of June to the beginning of September 1998 in the People’s Republic of China at the Yangtze river.



1999 NATO bombing of the People’s Republic of China embassy in Belgrade | 南联盟炸馆5JHF50NH0G5V0001

   1999, May 7th at night local time, at 6 am on May 8th Beijing time, the United States B-2 bomber dropped five precision-guided bombs and hit the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia. Xinhua reporter Shao Yunhuan, Guangming reporters Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying were killed on the spot, dozens of people were injured.

The bombing sparked outrage among the public in China and provoked demonstrations outside the United States embassy in Beijing and U.S. consulates in other Chinese cities. Some of these demonstrations included throwing stones through embassy resident windows and harassing Americans leaving the Embassy. Many Chinese believed that the bombing was a way of scaring China, and asserting Western dominance over China, which has reached a level of distrust towards America.

NATO later apologized for the bombing, saying that it occurred because of an "outdated map provided by the CIA". Few Chinese accepted this explanation, believing the strike had been deliberate.

2000 Anti-corruption |反腐


Corruption has been the biggest problem of Chinese communist party. Anti-corruption efforts and the effectiveness of them have become the most important issues to determine whether the communist party is good or bad in the eyes of the Chinese people.

“If the news media in Jiangxi could be like the United Sates reporters exposing Bill Clinton’s sex scandal, dare to report my scandals, I probably would not have gotten the point of facing death penalty.” Hu Changqing said with remorse. March 8th, 2000 the former governor of Jiangxi province was executed in Nanchang for the crime of accepting cash and properties as bribes in huge amount.

Soon after many other government officials were prosecuted for corruption charges including former vice chairman of the NPC standing committee, deputy secretary of CPC Guangxi Region committee, the Chiarman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region people’s Government Cheng Kejie was executed. He was the highest ranking official being sentenced to capital punishment for corruption charges.

2001 Joining World Trade Organization (WTO) | 中国入世


November 10th 2001, the Fourth WTO ministerial Conference held in Doha, considered and adopted the decision of China’s accession to the WTO. Chinese Foreign Trade Minister Shi Signed the Protocol on China’s accession to the World Trade Organization. China became the 143th member of the WTO.


2002 Three Represents | 三个代表

The Three Represents is a socio-political ideology credited to General Secretary Jiang Zemin which became a guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China at its 16th Party Congress in 2002.

One possible interpretation of the "Three Represents":

  • "Represents advanced social productive forces" = Economic production
  • "Represents the progressive course of China’s advanced culture" = Cultural development
  • "Represents the fundamental interests of the majority" = Political consensus

2003 SARS | “非典”防控


The epidemic of SARS appears to have started in Guangdong Province, China in November 2002. The first case of SARS was reportedly originated in Shunde, Foshan, Guangdong in Nov 2002, and the patient, a farmer, was treated in the First People’s Hospital of Foshan (Mckay Dennis). The patient died soon after, and no definite diagnosis was made on his cause of death. Despite taking some action to control it, Chinese government officials did not inform the World Health Organization of the outbreak until February 2003. This lack of openness caused delays in efforts to control the epidemic, resulting in criticism of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from the international community. The PRC has since officially apologized for early slowness in dealing with the SARS epidemic.

2004 Laws to protect private property| 保护私产入宪

The Second Session of the Tenth National People’s Congress examined and adopted amendments to the Constitution, "the citizen’s legitimate private property is inviolable" into the Constitution. It caters to the objective needs of the protection of private property, expanding the scope of protection of private property, and further improved the private property protection system.

2005 Super Girl | 超级女声


Super Girl or Super Voice Girls was an annual national singing contest in People’s Republic of China for female contestants, organized by Hunan Satellite Television between 2004 and 2006. The show’s official name was the Mengniu Yoghurt Super Girl Contest, after the company that sponsored the series. It was generally described as the mainland Chinese version of Pop Idol and became one the most popular entertainment shows in the country. Despite Super Girl’s major popularity and success, the show was heavily criticized by Liu Zhongde, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. He essentially claimed Super Girl was poison for the youth.

The program was re-launched in 2009. The Chinese title was changed to 快乐女声 ("Happy Girls") though the English title remains unchanged (as Super Girl).

2006 Abolish agricultural tax | 废除农业税

Abolish agricultural tax means that 900 million Chinese farmers to say farewell to the "imperial grain tax" which was continued for 2600 years. This was a historic step to narrow the gaps between urban and rural areas, and to reduce the burden of the farmers.

2007 South China Tiger | 华南虎


On October 11, 2007, Zhenglong Zhou (周正龙), a villager from Zhenping County in Ankang City, Shaanxi Province of China, claimed to have risked his life by taking more than thirty digital photographs of a tiger. The Shaanxi Provincial Forestry Bureau then held a press conference, backing up Zhou’s claim. If true, this would be the first record since 1964 of South China tigers in the wild in Shaanxi Province’s Qinba Mountains.

However, the photographs aroused suspicion, with many expressing doubts about the authenticity of the digital picture. A resident of Panzhihua discovered that the tiger poster on the wall of his home shared the same features as the tiger in Zhou’s photos, including the details of the animal’s stripes. The manufacturer of the poster was identified as the Yi Wei Si Poster and Packaging Company of Zhejiang province, who had published the image five years previously. In a statement issued on November 23, 2007, the Shaanxi Province Forestry Bureau said that they still "firmly believed" Wild South China tigers to exist in the province. Yet on February 4, 2008, the Shaanxi Province Forestry Bureau released an apology, qualifying their earlier statements but without repudiating the pictures’ authenticity, saying "We curtly released the discovery of the South China tiger without substantial proof, which reflects our blundering manner and lax discipline." Nevertheless, the statement was not conclusive on whether the Bureau still stands by its view that the picture is genuine.

On June 29, 2008, the authorities had announced to the press that all pictures published were proven to be forged, and the related officers had been punished, or even removed from their posts. The photographer himself, Zhenglong Zhou (周正龙) , has been arrested for suspicion of fraud. Later this man was sentenced to 2 years and 6 month in prison. This officially ended the South China tiger scandal, however, public concern about the corruption in Shaanxi Province Forestry Bureau and Shaanxi Government may still last. Many believe that Zhou is merely a puppet, and the local officers pursuing funds from the central government in the name of tiger research and preservation, as well as tourists’ interest to the area are the real thread pullers.

2008 Wenchuan earthquake | 汶川地震


The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 M and 7.9 M occurred on May 12, 2008 in Sichuan province of China and killed at least 68,000. It is also known as the Wenchuan earthquake, after the location of the earthquake’s epicenter, Wenchuan County in Sichuan province. The epicenter was 80 kilometres (50 mi) west-northwest of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, with a depth of 19 kilometres (12 mi). The earthquake was also felt in nearby countries and as far away as both Beijing and Shanghai—1,500 kilometres (932 mi) and 1,700 kilometres (1,056 mi) away—where office buildings swayed with the tremor.

2008 Summer Olympic | 奥林匹克运动会


I wanted to add Beijing Summer Olympics into 2008 news keywords also.

The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, were a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008.

The opening ceremony was lauded by spectators and various international presses as spectacular and spellbinding. Hein Verbruggen, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for the XXIX Olympiad, called the ceremony "a grand, unprecedented success."

2009 Financial crisis | 金融海啸


The U.S. sub-prime crisis caused the global economic crisis and began to spread to mainland China. China’s deep-seated internal economy conflicts were also emerged. The Government proposed a series of economic stimulus plans, including 4 trillion of investment. Whether these plans are going to be successful or not, only time can tell.

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  2. I was watching the 10-1 celebration on TV live on a Taiwanese channel. I personally thought the event went well and if I had the chance, I would personally give a pat to each and every soldier on the back for a job well done. The marches were immaculate and the display of weaponry (while a little boring) was orderly. While I didn’t expect any stunt planes, it would have been nice to see the planes do something other than flying straight across the Tienanmen Square and letting out colored smoke.

    The funny thing is, after the live broadcast, the Taiwanese news broadcast appeared and they had nothing nice to say about the event. I mean, if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all! Not only did they have nothing nice to say, they were quite crude in their comments. They showed interviews of professors saying China did nothing productive in their 60 years of existence. They interviewed residents of Beijing that were locked in their homes during the event (military block-offs for the event).

    One crude comment caught my attention. I don’t remember the exact phrase but it mentioned that China would never amount to anything as their political system is not democratic. The immediate thought I had was, what if the president or “chairman” of China was voted by the people. I know the people of China are on the rise for having more education, but aren’t most people still factory workers and laborers?

    Then I read this article on Super Girls above. Have any of you seen the first winners of Super Girls? If you are not familiar with the show, Super Girls is the American Idol of China and the girls are voted on by SMS. Now, there are probably some false voting going on and the entire thing is probably rigged but just imagine for a second that the winners legitimately won. This is probably the most democratic thing you’ll see in China. If you ever saw a picture of the winner or have heard her sing, you’ll know she does not deserve to win a talent contest. In my opinion, she looks like a guy and sounds like a monotonous cow. They made a bad democratic choice.

    Anyway, my point of the story is that the people of China are not ready for democracy. There is a time and place for everything to occur and we just have to wait for democracy to happen. If it never does, no big deal. I just don’t think the people of China are ready to make an informed decision to vote for whats best politically. Seriously, if Jacky Chan ran for the president of China, I think there is a good chance he will win.

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