• Annual Industrial Added Value to Grow Over 4.3% Year-On-Year in China: The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology reports a projected annual growth of over 4.3% in industrial-added value for 2023. Manufacturing's share in GDP remains stable, sustaining its global lead for 14 consecutive years. The nation's focus on enhancing the manufacturing innovation system is evident with 29 national and 260 provincial innovation centres, 178 high-tech industrial zones, and 465,000 high-tech enterprises. High-tech manufacturing, especially equipment manufacturing, saw notable year-on-year increases, and exports of new energy vehicles, lithium batteries, and photovoltaic products surged. The shipbuilding industry maintains its global lead. Simultaneously, the information and communications industry in the country experiences robust development. By November's end, 3.282 million 5G base stations were established nationwide, and Gigabit broadband users doubled from the previous year. Anticipated year-on-year increases include a 16% rise in total telecommunications business volume and a 13% growth in the revenue of the software and information technology service industry.

  • China Experiences Decline in Respiratory Illness Cases, Anticipates Continued Trend: According to Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission, there has been an 8.2% reduction in outpatient and emergency treatment for respiratory diseases at higher-level hospitals since December 15th. This marks a 30% decrease from the peak earlier in the season from 13th November, 2023 to December 15th, 2023. Basic health institutions have also observed a stable number of diagnoses and treatments, with around 40% of respiratory illness patients treated since November 26. Peng Zhibin from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention attributes the recent surge in respiratory illnesses primarily to the influenza virus, expressing optimism that the downward trend is likely to persist, with influenza as the dominant virus in the coming weeks.

  • China to Intensify Measures for Marine Pollution Management: China is set to strengthen environmental monitoring and marine pollution control as it implements the revised Maritime Environment Protection Law which was enacted on December 25, 1999. The amendments require Coast Guard authorities and local governments in coastal regions to enhance comprehensive, coordinated, and regular oceanic environmental monitoring. Effective January 1, the law emphasizes the need to intensify control over marine environment quality and enhance the management of marine discharge permits. The legislation mandates the establishment and improvement of various monitoring systems, including information sharing, early warning, environmental assessment, and emergency response. It also optimizes sewage outlet placement and tightens supervision of sea sand mining to prevent marine pollution. The revisions aim to bolster marine conservation, reduce waste, and enhance ocean governance. China's ocean observation and monitoring capabilities have advanced in recent years, forming a comprehensive system that includes ocean stations, radars, buoys, ships, unmanned aerial vehicles, and satellites. 

  • Reform Drives Modernization in China's Rural Areas: China aims to achieve rural revitalization and modernization of agriculture by 2035 through reforms in institutions and mechanisms. The focus includes deepening the reform of the collective property rights system to boost farmers' income. Houbaligou Village in Shandong Province exemplifies the success of this reform, transforming into a thriving area with diversified industries. The shift to a shareholding cooperative in 2017 significantly increased the village's collective assets, benefiting shareholders, villagers, and employees alike. The nationwide impact is evident, with around 960,000 rural collective economies established since the initiation of the collective property rights system reform in 2015. Additionally, institutional innovations have allowed farmers to retain contract rights for farmland while transferring management rights, promoting farmland transfer, large-scale farming, and the development of a modern agricultural industry. Xiaogang Village in Anhui Province showcases the positive outcomes of this reform, with the development of high-standard farmland and increased agricultural mechanization. The overall goal is to strengthen China's position in agriculture as part of the country's broader vision of becoming a great modern socialist nation by the mid-21st century. Mechanization rates in crop ploughing, planting, and harvesting have increased, contributing to a consistent grain harvest exceeding 650 million tonnes for nine consecutive years. Ongoing reforms and innovations are expected to enhance industrial, production, and business operation systems in agriculture, leading to increased land yield, resource utilization efficiency, and labour productivity.

  • "Tianjin Model": A Comprehensive Approach to Football Youth Training from Elementary to Undergraduate Levels: Wang Shanshan, captain of the Chinese women's football team, and Barton from Tianjin Jinmen Tigers football team were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of teenage players during the Tianjin Youth Football "Star of Hope" Commendation Conference. Over a hundred young players sought autographs and photos, showcasing their high enthusiasm for football. Tianjin has been focusing on youth football training, implementing a "Star of Hope" selection system since 2016 to identify and nurture talented players. The city has also organized short-term study abroad programs for elite young players, sending them to countries like Serbia for training and exposure. Additionally, Tianjin has built a comprehensive competition system, hosting various youth football events throughout the year. To address challenges in youth training, Tianjin is exploring a "one-stop" training mechanism, emphasizing the integration of sports and education to create a seamless training chain for young athletes.

  • Chinese Premier Tours Quake-Hit Areas for Reconstruction Inspection: Premier Li Qiang, a member of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, recently visited earthquake-hit areas in northwest China, emphasizing the urgency of improving living conditions for affected residents during the winter. He inspected villages in Jishishan County, Gansu Province, and Minhe County in Qinghai Province, following a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that claimed 148 lives and injured 781. Li prioritized ensuring warmth and safety for those affected, urging swift delivery of relief supplies and the construction of temporary housing. He stressed the need for thorough building inspections and reinforcement, planning coordinated reconstruction efforts, and providing optimal medical care for the injured. Li also emphasized transparent communication and active responsiveness to the concerns of affected individuals by local governments. 
  • China-Nicaragua Cooperation Aims for Strategic Partnership Growth: Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the elevation of China-Nicaragua ties to a strategic partnership by the resumption of bilateral relations during a phone conversation with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Over the past two years, China and Nicaragua have experienced a qualitative leap in their relations, with both countries providing firm support on issues of core interests and expanding positive cooperation. This comes two years after the resumption of bilateral relations and marks a leap forward in their development. The countries are expected to deepen cooperation and strengthen friendship, contributing to the creation of a China-Latin America community with a shared future and global common development. The two sides have firmly supported each other on core issues, expanded practical cooperation, and developed strong economic ties, with Nicaragua joining the Belt and Road Initiative. The free trade agreement taking effect on January 1, 2024, is a significant achievement in bilateral cooperation. The FTA, covering various fields including trade in goods, cross-border services, and investment, reflects the commitment of both countries to promote free trade and investment. More than 95% of traded goods will eventually receive zero-tariff status, with around 60% receiving immediate treatment. The FTA signals Nicaragua and the broader region's increasing cooperation with the Chinese market, providing stability amid global economic challenges and geopolitical tensions. Nicaragua is the fifth Latin American country to sign an FTA with China, following Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.


Chinese Influencer Charged in Thailand for Alleged Visa Violation After Controversial Video on Women's Safety: Chinese influencer Wang Ziyu, known as "Thailand 77Seven" on Douyin, faces deportation from Thailand for allegedly damaging the country's tourist reputation. After labelling Bangkok's Nana red light district unsafe, authorities investigated her for discrediting Thailand. In a video, Wang claimed 99% of visitors were "sleazy" and advised women not to go alone. She highlighted instances of being approached by foreign men and local street vendors. Wang emphasised the perceived danger, advising against women visiting Nana alone. The video aligns with a growing awareness of security among Chinese travellers. Following the online backlash, Wang deleted the video and issued a public apology, but Thai police continued investigating. They found she violated visa rules by working without a permit, potentially leading to a fine, deportation, and blacklist. Opinions on Chinese social media varied, with some supporting her honesty and others criticising her for seeking attention. Chinese influencers, having access to unique social media platforms, wield significant influence.


In recent phone talks, President Xi Jinping and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega hailed the upcoming free trade agreement between their countries, effective from January 1 next year, as a significant milestone in their cooperative efforts contributing to the creation of a China-Latin America community. India and Nicaragua share warm and friendly bilateral relations, with diplomatic ties officially established in March 1983. In terms of security planning, India should anticipate various scenarios involving Nicaragua’s cordial relations with China, thus also preparing appropriate response options. Beijing's engagement is likely to contribute to Nicaragua's authoritarianism and provide China with more avenues to work against India’s democratic values and interests. The deepening engagement between China and Nicaragua poses strategic challenges for India, requiring a decisive and pragmatic response by increasing its engagement in Latin America. Looking into the past, India has been gradually establishing itself in the region. The Aditya Birla Group, UPL Limited, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, and Hero MotoCorp are among the Indian companies expanding their presence in Latin America, focusing on sectors like agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing. India's diverse investments in the region, which extend beyond raw material extraction, showcase its long-term approach compared to China's dominance in certain sectors. External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar's tours to the region in 2022 and 2023 have provided new momentum to Indian engagement in the region, with the opening of a new Indian mission in Paraguay and visits to countries like Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Guyana, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Panama. India and Latin America, the two regions possess economies that complement each other and have a range of strategic resources that could enhance trade and investment connections for mutual advantage. China's presence in Latin America historically hasn't posed a threat to India, given India's focus on sectors less engaged by China. However, as China expands into sectors where Indian companies are competitive, new challenges are definetely on the rise. 


Prepared By

Sejal Dalvi is a Political Science graduate from the University of Mumbai and now pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy from St.Xavier’s College. Her research interests include International relations, Environment and sustainability and Urban governance. Her research papers have previously been published on NITI TANTRA. Her experiences, coupled with a genuine passion for research and addressing societal challenges, have solidified her commitment to policymaking.

CiCM 23rd-24th December 2023

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