Chinese internet users remember China’s last 40 years of reform and opening up

Digital Originals

A photo in 1983 in an unknown location in Chian shows passengers pushing a stalled bus. (Source: Wang Fuchun’s: “Chinese people in life” via VCG)

People on Chinese social media are sharing posts and photographs marking the 40th anniversary of China’s opening up.

Beijing’s Chaoyangmen neighborhood asked residents to share old photos of themselves to WeChat:

Hao Shufen and her husband shared a photo of their young family in 1978 in front of the Beijing Zoo.

And then another photo from 40 years later.

Beijing resident Lang Jin also shared photos of herself as a 15-year-old dancer, and again in the present day. She still dances 40 years later.

On Weibo, user Weimo_ wrote about her fondness for making “qibing”, a traditional Chinese cookie.

“When I was young, all people in my village had to use government-issued coupons to get flour and we could only have ‘qibing’ once or twice every year. But now we can make this food whenever we want. This food has reminded me of the old times, as the new times look so shiny and bright in front of us,” she wrote.

She even shared a recipe for the qibing.

A Weibo user named Shengruxiahua also shared her thoughts about wanting to know more about China’s history after visiting an exhibition in Shenzhen called “The Great Waves in Zhu River” about changes in Guangdong Provice over the last 40 years.

“This exhibition showed so much stuff from my childhood and my parents’ generation. What beautiful memories. I will take my dad to this exhibition when he visits next weekend. I wish he would tell me more stories about his childhood,” she wrote.

Further north, Weibo user Songsong_vivian shared her thoughts after visiting another exhibition called “The Great Changes” at the National Museum of China in Beijing.

“We have witnessed the 40 years of changes together. I wish China a prosperous future. It is worth to spend one hour in line for this exhibition,” she said.

Celebrities are also joining in on the discussion. Many Chinese celebrities shared their childhood photos to show the changes that have occurred in their hometown using the Weibo hash tags #ChinaandI# and #changesin40years#

Television drama actress Yang Zi wrote: “I liked to go the parks in Beijing with my parents when I was a little girl, watching people walking around. Nowadays the parks are becoming more and more beautiful. The pavilions and lakes in the park are so exquisite and peaceful. I love Beijing.”

Rising actress Zhang Huiwen also wrote: “I lived in Jiangxi province when I was young. I always miss the red soil of my hometown whenever I leave.”

Popular singer Huo Zun also shared some childhood memories.

“I grew up in a small old street in Shanghai. Now the street is torn down and skyscrapers are there instead. But I will always remember the old days when people came out from their houses and chatted with their neighbors after night fell,” he wrote.

“When one family is in trouble, the neighbors were always willing to help. What I liked most, is when my grandma took out her biscuit box and offered all the kids some snacks. I love my hometown Shanghai.”