September 9, 1997 Former Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong is found guilty on charges of corruption in a scandal in which he lost 20 million yuan (US$2.6 million) of public funds. Chen is forced to resign from his position and give up his bureaucratic privileges, and is detained for further investigations of corruption two years earlier. He is sentenced to 16 years in prison but, after serving eight, the president grants him conditional release.
December 30, 1997 The government puts into effect new rules that restrict the use of the Internet. The rules impose fines of up to 13,000 yuan (US$1,800). The banned activities include promotion of regional separatism or independence for Taiwan and defaming government agencies.
July 1999 An Jun, who founded the China Corruption Monitor in 1998, is arrested for writing critical essays about the Communist Party. Prosecutors use unpublished essays of An Jun as evidence supporting his aim to undermine the government. He is jailed in 2000 for four years on charges of subversion.
January 26, 2000 China orders companies to register software used to transmit sensitive data and threatens punishment for letting government secrets slip onto the Web. Everyone from Internet server operators to chat-room users must gain approval from agencies protecting government secrets before publishing previously unreleased information online.
March 8, 2000 Hu Changqing, a former official of Jianxi province, is executed. He was accused of taking bribes worth more than US$600,000 in exchange for providing business permits that allowed people to move to Hong Kong.
March 14, 2000 Huang Faxiang, former chief of the Land Resources Bureau of Fengdu County under Chongqing Municipality, is found guilty of embezzling 15.6 million yuan (US$2.1 million) from land sales, money meant to aid farmers who were dislocated by the Three Gorges Dam Project, and is sentenced to death.
May 6, 2000 According to a report published by the International Rivers Network, Jin Wenchao, manager of the Three Gorges Dam Project, is detained for siphoning more than 1 billion yuan (US$132.3 million). The Network says that Jin had borrowed money from financial institutions and invested the funds into various businesses, trusts and corporations that went bankrupt and never produced profits.
September 2000 Cheng Kejie, a deputy chairman in the National People's Congress, is executed. He was found guilty of taking nearly 37 million yuan (US$5 million) in bribes. He is the most senior official to be given the death penalty for charges of bribery in 50 years.
When Cheng was the chief of the regional government of Guanxi from 1992 to 1998, he sold government-owned land under market price, granted development contracts and offered 14 officials promotions and transfers in return for bribes.
January 2001 Economist He Qinglian, a former reporter for Shenzhen Legal Daily, flees China after she is harassed by Chinese security agents who seize her documents, cell phone and letters.
Before her departure, the Chinese Communist Party banned publications of her book, China's Pitfalls, for its disclosure of the income gap in China. She was ousted from her position as a reporter at Shenzhen Legal Daily and her whereabouts were monitored by government officials. In 2000, Guandong's Publicity Bureau had ordered newspapers and journals not to publish articles and papers by He.
February 2001 Chinese government officials initiate a concentrated effort to resolve issues of tax fraud, which is considered to be the most serious case of corruption since the Communist Party came into power in 1949. The tax frauds center on efforts to issue fake export certificates, which enable manufacturers to obtain tax rebates from the government.
The Financial Times newspaper estimates the total value of the fraud to be more than £4.4 billion (US$8.9 billion).
March 2001 Beijing bans future sales of Time magazine after it features an article about Falun Gong, a spiritual group whose faith is based on Chinese religions and meditation exercises. The group was banned in July 1999 by the government and was denounced as an evil cult by Beijing.
January 2002 China International Television Corporation's mandate for foreign TV channels to transmit through a government "rebroadcast platform" takes effect. This form of broadcasting makes censorship of incoming foreign broadcasts easier.
March 2002 Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme Court in China, submits an annual work report to the Parliament in which he states that almost 1,000 court officials were disciplined the year before for corruption. He emphasizes that a lack of supervision has led to cases of judicial officials violating laws and performing incompetently.
August 2002 Zhu Xiaohua, former head of the government enterprise Everbright Group, which controls China's sixth-largest commercial bank, is found guilty on charges of corruption and bribery and sentenced to 15 years in jail. He is accused of taking bribes worth more than 4 million yuan (US$533,084).
Unlike other people who are found guilty of corruption, Zhu avoids the death sentence because he admits to taking additional bribes that prosecutors were not aware of. He is instead jailed for 15 years.
March 2003 Hu Jintao is elected president. He replaces Jiang Zemin, who has served as president for 10 years.
2005 Hu Angang and Guo Yong, academics from Beijing's Qinghua University, publish a paper that estimates that 10 to 20 percent of corruption cases are solved and, of those cases, only 6.6 percent of party officials who are found guilty of corruption receive criminal punishment.
Officials are only prosecuted for corruption if the cases involve more than 2,000 yuan (US$264). Ordinary citizens are usually jailed for cases that involve less money, the researchers find.
November 2005 Ching Cheong, a correspondent of Strait Times, is denied an appeal hearing that was filed in response to accusations that he spied for the Taiwanese intelligence agency.
Ching, a resident of Hong Kong, was arrested in August 2005 because of his attempts to procure transcripts of interviews from former leader Zhao Ziyang. He is charged with using his journalistic contacts to obtain information for an academic institution in Taiwan.
January 2006 The editor of the national newspaper China Youth, Li Datong, openly files a complaint with the Communist Party's internal affairs unit after a supplement to the newspaper called Bing Dian is shut down because of essays criticizing academic textbooks' biased views of Chinese history.
Bing Dian reopens, but editors Li Datong and Lo Yuegang are removed from their posts and demoted to positions at the News Research Institute.
February 2006 An editor of the local newspaper Taizhou Ribao, Wu Xianghu, dies from injuries after being assaulted a few months earlier by traffic police. The police violently entered the newspaper's office and severely beat Wu punishing him for his written reports accusing them of corruption. Local media are told not to report on his death, and no criminal charges are reported.
July 2006 A corruption scandal is uncovered in Shanghai that involves the theft of one-third of the city's social security fund worth 8.8 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion).
Officials claim that 15 billion yuan (US$2 billion) had been embezzled since 1998. A full-scale investigation is launched. In September, the investigation brings down the city's top official, Chen Liangyu. Eight other senior officials and business leaders are also dismissed.
The stolen money was used to make illegal loans and investments in real estate and infrastructure such as a toll-road project. The investments lost 3.5 billion yuan (US$475 million).
According to the BBC, Chen's dismissal gives Hu Jintao, the Communist Party secretary and Chen's longtime political rival, the opportunity to strengthen his leadership role within the party as well as the nation. Chen's allegiance to former party leader Jiang Zemin made him unpopular to Jintao, therefore his departure, along with National People's Congress's redistribution of jobs the following year, allows Jintao to appoint his political allies for his next term.
In April 2008, Chen Liangyu is sentenced to 18 years in prison.
February 12, 2007 After spending more than three years in jail, amounting to half the sentence he had received, the former editor of Nanfang Dushi Bao, Li Minying, is released. Li, along with former Deputy Editor in Chief Yu Huafeng, was prosecuted on charges of corruption in 2004 for writing about politically sensitive issues in the newspaper. The reports addressed pressing health and social issues and criticized the government for its neglect and incompetence in dealing with them.
May 29, 2007 Zheng Xiaoyu, former head of State Food and Drug Administration, is sentenced to death after being convicted of corruption. He was accused of accepting bribes worth more than 6.5 million yuan (US$860,243) to approve hundreds of drugs.
After numerous deaths and scandals were linked to substandard medicine quality and standards, China's State Food and Drug Administration investigated 170,000 medicines produced by manufacturers that had allegedly bribed Zheng for production licenses.
June 2007 After TV footage showing hundreds of child slaves working in a brick factory being beaten with shovels, whipped by thug overseers and guarded in concentration camp-like conditions by vicious dogs, new labor laws are introduced to safeguard people from such incidents.
July 2007 China's food and drug agency chief, Zheng Xiaoyu, is executed for taking bribes.
September 2007 China announces the establishment of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention. The head of the bureau, Ma Wen, says the organization will focus on supervising and regulating the use of power. Wen said it will adopt effective measures to prevent the abuse of power. She also says that the bureau will study ways to stem corruption at its roots, improve corruption prevention systems, push for the sound operation of these systems, and coordinate efforts to prevent corruption in various government departments.
October 2007 The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace releases a report stating corruption costs China as much as $86 billion a year and poses one of the most serious threats to its economic and political stability. The report says even though the country has more than 1,200 laws and directives against corruption, bribery, kickbacks and theft account for about 10 percent of government spending and transactions.
March 2008 The New York Times reports, "Violence erupted in a busy market area of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans brawled with Chinese security forces in bloody clashes. Witnesses said angry Tibetan crowds burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus. State media said at least 10 people died. The chaotic scene was the latest, and most violent, confrontation in a series of protests that began on Monday and now represent a major challenge to the ruling Communist Party as it prepares to play host to the Olympic Games in August."
April 2008 The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China passes a five-year plan for the party's prevention and punishment of corruption. The plan aims to establish a system to punish and prevent corruption. It also includes punitive measures, which would combine punishment with education, supervision of officials and improving China's judicial system.
June 2008 The Chinese government fires 13 forestry officials in Zhenping county, in Shaanxi province, for publishing fake photographs of a rare South China tiger that they hoped would prove its existence. The officials paid a farmer accused of fabricating the pictures, who has been detained on suspicion of fraud, a reward of 20,000 yuan ($US 2,900).
July 2008 The BBC reports. "China and Russia sign a treaty that ending a 40-year-old border dispute which led to armed clashes during the Cold War."
One of China's richest men, Liu Genshan, is arrested on suspicion of taking money from a highway project in the eastern Zhejiang province. Genshan made his fortune on highways. According to previous state-run press reports, the Yongjin highway is worth 7.5 billion yuan (US $1.1 billion).
August 2008 China hosts the Olympic Games. The government sends out guidelines to all domestic media outlets on what can and cannot be reported during the event. Journalists are banned from discussing the lifting of the some censorship veils and from reporting on foreign diplomats' personal lives.
September 2008 Over 50,000 Chinese infants took ill after consuming tainted milk that somehow passed health standards and made it to market.
October 2008 The Chinese government permanently adopts its Olympic policies toward foreign media outlets. While access is still limited for foreign correspondents, the new policy does allow greater levels of access to documents and government officials. However, Internet censorship for Chinese citizens remains strong with new requirements that all internet café users be photographed.
Skype, the international Internet communication software provider, acknowledges that its Chinese partner TOM-Skype had been monitoring communications for politically sensitive discussions. The international branch claims that TOM-Skype had conducted message recordings without the greater company's knowledge.
March 2009 In order to disprove international reports of illegal fishing in the South China Sea, China increases its patrolling of the area.
June 2009 This month marks the 20 year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Foreign Correspondent's Club of China reports that foreign journalists covering the remembrance are harassed by police officers as the Chinese government attempts to downplay the event.
Right before new Internet software regulations were set to go into effect, the Chinese government announced their postponement. This new policy would have required Internet filtering software be installed on all new PCs sold starting July 1st.
July 2009 Ethnic tensions in northwestern Xinjiang Province break out into violent protests. Foreign correspondents report surprising levels of access to the events.
On July 5th, four Australian employees of Rio Tinto mining company are arrested for espionage after they are suspected of stealing Chinese government documents.