Old photos reveal Beijing of 1980s

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Old photos reveal Beijing of 1980s

Postby Beijing News » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:51 am

young people dance as they celebrate the Youth Day in Beijing on May 4, 1980

If there is one place that symbolizes how fast and how much China has changed in the past 30-odd years, it is Beijing. Zhang Zhaozeng, a member of China Photographers' Association, reveals this breathtaking transformation in a series of old photos called "1980s, Beijing".
At the beginning of "reform and opening-up", the 1980s witnessed tremendous changes to people's life in the capital. With the emerging free market, farmers were allowed to sell vegetables in the city. Immigrant workers flocked to Beijing. Electric appliances such as TV, refrigerators and washing machines became popular in ordinary households. Young men and women could dance in public hand in hand.
Born in the late 1950s, Zhang was in his 20s when he witnessed one of the biggest social changes in China. Zhang said this photo collection is not only a snapshot of Beijingers' lifestyle in the 1980s but also a product of the era.

In the early 1980s, there were no removal companies. When people had to move somewhere else, they often asked friends for help. Then they would eat together at the new home for a housewarming. The photo was taken at Jimengli in Beijing in 1980
In the 1980s, companies could only organize simple sports events due to poor facilities and limited sport field. This photo taken at No.1 courtyard of Zhangzizhong Road in Beijing in 1980 shows employees of Renmin University Book and Newspaper Publishing House compete at a shot put event during a competition at the company's own courtyard.
At the beginning of "reform and opening-up", people did not have cooking gas at home. Fire coal was the fuel for most of the households. Some better-off families could afford kerosene. This photo taken shows people lining up to buy kerosene in front of a store at Ping'anli in 1983.
There were no dance clubs in early 1980s. Dancing in public was regarded as an offence against public decency. This photo taken in Ditan Park in 1984 shows a park keeper asking a couple to leave the area
This photo taken at Xisi in 1984 shows people attending a wedding banquet.
This photo taken at the Beihai Park in 1985 shows children celebrating the Children's Day by eating frozen suckers

Photo taken at the Ditan Park in 1986 shows people performing qigong, a system of deep breathing exercise, which was quite popular in the 1980s in the country.
Photo taken at the Ditan Park in 1988 shows dancing to disco music as a way of exercise, which was extremely popular in China in the 1980s

Photo taken at Qianmen Street in 1986 shows a vendor selling sticks of sugar-coated haws. At the time, vendors were called "Dao Ye", or wheeler-dealer, who took advantage of the dual-pricing system and profited themselves.

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