Editor's Note
In yet another eventful year, China in 2013 saw the downfall of Bo Xilai and rise of dama who caused a stir in overseas gold and property markets.
The Chinese Year of Snakeclaimed a record number of high-profile scalps in the anti-corruption campaign led by President Xi Jinping and shocked the world with a record number of smoggy days.
China managed to launch a rover to the moon but failed to rein in the roaring house prices and inflation. Multinationals were on tenterhooks in China over pricing and bribery allegations and government officials had a rough patch during the austerity drive.
Will you help an old man who feints on the street? What is your Chinese dream? What is today's PM2.5 count? These are among the most frequently asked questions this year.
On the international front, China cemented its world's second largest economy status through steady growth. The Sunnylands summit between Xi Jinping and Barack Obama redefined the China-US relations. Despite the maritime disputes with Japan and the Philippines, China kept its eye on gaining strength through sustainable development.
Not content with the status quo, China set in motion in another round of changes as dramatic as the 1978 Reform and Opening-up policy. The CPC Third Plenum in November has mapped out the reform plan for the next decade which will herald major transformations in the growth model, education, family-planning, legislation, housing, land rights and financial system. The following are top picks of 2013:

The former Politburo member was sentenced to life imprisonment for bribery, embezzlement and power abuse in September, ending the most sensational political scandal to rock China in decades.

It was the first time that a Chinese court published live feed on Weibo throughout the trial, during which the 64-year-old Bo mounted combative defense and caustic putdowns of witnesses, dragging the trial to five days.

Bo's appeal was dismissed by the court in October and he is serving his time at the Qincheng jail just north of Beijing, where fallen members of the elite are incarcerated. He will never be seen in public again, although he could be released on medical parole some day.

Bo's downfall was set in motion in February 2012 when his former top aide Wang Lijun attempted to defect to a US consulate with information about his wife's murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Bo Xilai stands trial

China's top political advisory (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) and legislative (National People's Congress) bodies held meetings in March when President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang assumed office to spearhead the new leadership and completed the once-a-decade handover of power.

To begin his reign, Xi declared a ban on official extravagance in a bid to wipe out speechifying, pomp and corruption which he said is threatening the Party's survival.

Be it a 'tiger' or a 'fly', the words used by Xi to describe high-ranking and low-level corrupt officials, a record number of them from different levels across the country were brought to trial.

2013 Two Sessions

After completing the leadership transition in March, the 18th CPC Central Committee discussed major economic and social issues concerning comprehensive reform at the Third Plenum in November.

The four-day summit in Beijing set the tone for China's development and reform in the next decade.

Newly approved measures include setting up a State Security Council for security issues and a relaxation to the one-child policy which allows couples to have two children if one of them is an only child.

The Communist Party pledged to let the market play a "decisive" role in the economy and outlined changes designed to unleash new sources of growth that it said would yield results by 2020.

The controversial "re-education through labor" system, known as laojiao, is to be abolished.

CPC Third Plenary Session

Leaders of the world's largest economies managed to build a rapport during an informal meeting at a private estate in California in June.

The two-day Sunnylands summit is the first meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama.

During their constructive talks, Obama raised cybersecurity issue while Xi said China and the US should explore a new way to build a new type of great power relationship, which is different from the old one characterized by inevitable clashes between great powers, adding that the new relationship should be based on mutual respect and win-win collaboration.

Obama hosts Xi Jinping at Sunnylands

China established its first Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in November over the East China Sea to better keep track of the dense flights over the area and safeguard national security. It ordered all flights planning to pass through to notify Beijing.

However, tensions were heightened as US, Japan and South Korea all challenged Beijing's announcement by sending military planes through the area.

The blistering row prompted US VicePresident Joe Biden to divert his focus from economic issues to the ADIZ during his Asian trip to Tokyo, Beijing and Soul in December. He meditated between Japan and China to prevent any miscalculation.

The Diaoyu islands will continue to remain a contentious issue between China, Japan and the US in 2014.

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A Jeep plowed into crowd before crashing into a guardrail and bursting into flames at the Tiananmen Square on October 28. Three people in the car and two tourists were killed with another 40 injured.

Beijing police said it was a terrorist attack organized by the militant East Turkestan Islamic Movement. Gasoline, two knives and steel sticks as well as a flag with extremist religious content were found in the vehicle.

It was the most shocking suicidal attack in the center of Beijing in decades.

Earlier, a court in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region sentenced two men to death and another three to prison for taking part in a violent attack that happened on April 23.

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China's lunar probe Chang'e-3, with the country's first moon rover Yutu or Jade Rabbit onboard, successfully landed on the moon on December 14, marking the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft-land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body.

In ancient Chinese mythology, Yutu was the white pet rabbit of the lunar goddess Chang'e.

After the separation, the rover and lander took photos of each other and started their own scientific explorations.

The lander will operate there for a year, while the rover is expected to work for some three months.

In an earlier aerospace feat, China's Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft successfully completed an automated docking with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module in June.

Yutu roves onto the moon

Two major earthquakes jolted China and took hundreds of lives. The April's 7.0-magnitude quake in Lushan, Sichuan Province killed 196 and injured over 11,000. Later, a 6.6-magnitude quake hit Dingxi city, Gansu Province in July, leaving at least 89 people dead and 593 injured.

The number of casualties was largely reduced thanks to authorities' swifter response to the disaster and the public became more rational in offering aids to the stricken area.

Compared to the Wenchuan earthquake five years ago, an increase in monitoring and civil relief efforts showed marked difference in the disaster management. Besides, NGOs eclipsed Red Cross Society of China in raising donations for the quake-hit regions as the official charity organization's reputation was dented by a spate of scandals.

Lessons from Lushan and Wenchuan quakes Gansu earthquake Ya'an earthquake

China launched a free trade zone in its commercial hub Shanghai in September which is seen as a testing ground for deepening market-oriented reforms in the world's second largest economy.

Restrictions on foreign investment were eased inside the area, which would also loosen controls on 18 service sectors ranging from finance and shipping to culture services. More than 1,400 companies have registered in the zone, which covers 29 square kilometers (11 square miles). Free yuan convertibility is allowed under the capital account on a trial basis.

Companies are waiting for more details about financial reforms in the free trade zone. The government has said it will be used to push forward China's capital account opening, but the central bank has yet to issue detailed rules governing the zone.

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While government officials are targeted in the sweeping anti-corruption drive, clock is also ticking for some foreign companies.

Over 20 people including four senior executives from the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) were detained in connection with serious economic crimes.

Police said GSK has bribed government officials, pharmaceutical industry associations, hospitals and doctors directly or indirectly in order to increase sales or raise drug prices.

Some Chinese doctors revealed that it has become a "hidden rule" for many pharmaceuticals salespeople to offer bribes to medics.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) examined 27 companies on production costs and 33 for pricing including Merck, Astellas, Novartis' generics unit Sandoz, Boehringer Ingelheim, Baxter International and Fresenius.

The NDRC also investigated potential price-fixing and anti-competitive conducts by five instant milk powder makers, including Swiss company Nestle and French rival Danone.

Starbucks and Apple were also under media criticism for charging Chinese customers higher prices than other markets. "Chastising Starbucks is not as meaningful as introspecting on why we don't have a Chinese tea house chain that is as popular as Starbucks," Xinhua's official Weibo commented.

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