1. Seven members of the new Political Bureau Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee meet media after the 18th Party Congress wrapped up in Beijing in November. Headed by Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, the top decision-making body was streamlined from the previous nine members to seven to simplify the decision-making process and limit power given to certain departments.
2. Xi Jinping (C), general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, talks with residents and officials on top of Lianhua Hill Park in Shenzhen on Dec. 8. during his trip to Guangdong Province. Xi said he chose Guangdong as the destination of his inspection tour because he wanted to “conduct an on-site retrospective of the history of reform and opening up and declare the resolve to continue to push forward the policy.”
3. A China-made J-15 fighter takes off from the country’s new aircraft carrier, Liaoning, for the first time during an exercise in December. The Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, began service in September.
4. Astronauts wave to audiences on Earth from the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft while in outer space in June. Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang — China’s first female astronaut — completed a manual docking involving Shenzhou-9 and the orbiting Tiangong-1 lab module June 24, in the first such attempt in China’s history of space exploration.
5. Chinese writer Mo Yan poses for a photo with his wife in Stockholm after receiving this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature in December.
6. Bogu Kailai, wife of Chongqing’s disgraced Party chief Bo Xilai, stands trial in Hefei, Anhui Province, in July on charges of killing British businessman Neil Heywood, whom Bogu said was a threat to the safety of her son. Bogu was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve. Bo was removed from his post and stripped of his membership in the Political Bureau and Central Committee in April, over alleged serious disciplinary violations.
7. A Metro station is seen submerged in water July 21 in Beijing. In a 24-hour period of flooding, 79 people were killed and 56,933 people were evacuated. More than 1.6 million people were affected by the flood, which caused at least 10 billion yuan (US $1.6 billion) in damages and destroyed at least 8,200 homes. The floods were said to be the heaviest recorded in Beijing in 60 years.
8. The former head of Shaanxi Province’s Work Safety Bureau, Yang Dacai, appears to grin at the scene of a road accident in which 36 people died in September. Yang’s apparent insensitivity angered many Internet users, who launched an all-out online criticism of the previously unknown civil servant. Netizens discovered that Yang owned a dazzling selection of wristwatches worth up to 1.1 million yuan, including an Omega Constellation valued at up to 70,000 yuan and a Constantin worth more than 200,000 yuan. He was relieved of his duties after an official investigation following the exposure.