January - Strike Hard Campaign Against Economic Crimes aims to curb corruption in coastal areas.
April - Chen Yun proposes birdcage approach to economic reform. The economy would be allowed to develop within confines of central planning.
August - Third communiqué between the PRC and the U.S. United States commits to gradual reduction of arms sales to Republic of China, and termination of sales after an indefinite period.
September - Chinese Communist Party adopts a new constitution. Deng Xiaoping emphasizes modernization based on the situation in China and 'socialism with Chinese characteristics'. Planned economy would be developed supplemented by market forces.
September – Margaret Thatcher visits Beijing. Great Britain enters into negotiations with People’s Republic of China concerning future of Hong Kong.
November - Defection. Wang Bingzhang, a Ph.D. student sent by Beijing to study in Canada, declares his intention to promote democracy, freedom and human rights in China. Wang starts a magazine in New York called China Spring with other Chinese students. Years later, in 2003, Wang would be sentenced to life in prison after being kidnapped to China from Burma.
December - At the National People’s Congress of the People's Republic of China, provisions are made for special administrative regions in which other political systems can be instituted.
December - In Taiwan, election candidates propose self-determination for the people in Taiwan.
December - Publication of the first issue of China Spring in the United States. The magazine receives popular support from prominent Chinese outside of mainland China.