The Fifth National Games, held in Shanghai on September 18-October 1, 1983, were in some measure part of the preparations for the '84 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Since the Fourth National Games in 1979, steps were taken by the authorities concerned to enable China to become a sports power by the end of this century. In an effort to achieve this goal gradually, the Chinese athletes set their sights on gaining a few medals at the L.A. Olympics.
President at the opening ceremony of the Fifth National Games in Shanghai's Jiangwan Stadium were state leaders Ulanfu, Wan Li and Peng Chong. IOC President J.A. Samaranch was also invited to attend the opening ceremony. A total of 8,943 athletes took part in 25 competitive events and one demonstration event (wushu).
Encouraging results were achieved in many events, including track and field and swimming which used to be China's weak points, and two WRs were shattered by two athletes on three occasions. Special mention should be made of Zhu Jianhua of Shanghai who twice smashed the men's high jump world record with a jump of 2.37m and 2.38m in quick succession. Powerhouse Wu Shude of Guangxi, with a lift of 128kg, improved the world snatch record of 127.5kg in the 56kg class. In addition, three WRs were equaled on five occasions in shooting, and one world youth record, nine Asian records and 60 national records were improved. The top three teams at the Games were Guangdong (36 golds), Shanghai (33) and Liaoning (22).
Prior to the Games, IOC President Samaranch conferred an Olympic Order in silver on Rong Gaotang, a senior sports leader in China, in recognition of his contributions to China's sports development. This was the first time that a Chinese sports leader ever won such a great honour.