It may be only my perception, but I think Chinese pen quality was higher in the 1980's/early 1990's than it was in the early 2000's.
I think for most manufacturer's it is now better than in the early 2000's - there are exceptions to this rule and I think Yiren/Bookworm and Huashilai may be included as exceptions to the general improvement. As to whether they are better now than in the 1980's is a question I don't think I have enough information to make an informed opinion on, but my uninformed opinion is that the better ones are now back to the quality of the 1980's.
One thing that is striking is the relative uniformity of shape prior to the late 1990's. There seem to be two common nib types, hooded or triumph, metal cap, plastic body and a general look a bit like the P51. There are open nibbed pens that break this rule, but they seem much less common.
The post 2000 pens are, I think, more attractive to look at and all sorts of novel ideas & materials have been tried, particularly by Jinhao. Not all have been successful, but at least someone is being inventive.