• Chinese company ByteDance to face potential ban in the United States - The United States Senate has passed a legislation in what it terms as a ‘decisive step’ towards forcing ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of popular social media app TikTok, to divest its U.S. operations and sell its shares within one year or face an enforced ban on its operations in the country. The app enjoys widespread popularity in the U.S. with over 170 million users, and has commented on the ‘unfortunate’ nature of the resolution through an official statement which critiques the trampling of free speech rights. The controversial legislation is the first of its kind which has warranted federal government interference and a series of fast-tracking and lobbying to shut down a social media application in the country and was passed by a 79-18 vote in the Senate after it cleared the House of Representatives with a margin of 360 to 58, signalling strong bipartisan support. The Chinese embassy in Washington, meanwhile, has strongly rebuked the decision while questioning the ‘self-servicing nature’ of the US’s rule based order. According to Liu Pengyu, spokesman of the Chinese embassy in Washington, the policy puts the U.S. “on the wrong side of the principles of fair competition and international trade rules.”

  • Preparations proceed in full swing for launching of Shenzhou-18 - As Chinese citizens celebrate the 9th anniversary of China’s Space Day on April 24, the anticipated launch of the Shenzhou-18 manned spacecraft proceeds with full gusto with a scheduled launch time of 8:59 PM on April 25 (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China as announced by the China Manned Space Agency. Shenzhou-18 marks the 32nd flight mission of China’s manned space program and will carry three astronauts led by Ye Guangfu. The crew is set to stay in orbit for 6 months during which period a variety of in-orbit space science applications and experiments will be conducted including extravehicular activities, space debris shelter installations, as well as public welfare activities to “improve the operational efficiency of the space station”, according to Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA. Utilising scientific experiment cabinets and extravehicular payloads, it aims to carry out over 90 experiments in the field of physics and space life science along with the revolutionary implementation of its first in-orbit aquatic ecological research project and the world's first in-orbit stem cell study on the plant's stem tips. If successful, it will mark a breakthrough in the fields of cultivation of vertebrates in space and lend theoretical support to the study of space cropping.  Former

  • Shanghai legislator and propaganda chief of the CCP charged with bribery - Dong Yunhu, who formerly served as the Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress in 2023 and Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference from 2018 to 2023, was indicted for bribery charges on April 24 in Hefei city of Anhui province as announced on the website of the Supreme People’s Protectorate. He was first placed under arrest in July 2023 for his alleged role of seeking “undue benefits for others and illegally accept large amounts of property” while retaining positions such as the head of the seventh bureau of the State Council Information Office, head of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China Xizang autonomous region Committee and most recently as the top legislator of Shanghai. Dong’s indictment is an unparalleled example of a high-level minister of the CCP being expelled from the party echelons to be investigated for corruption charges. In the international community, Dong is renowned for his role as a propaganda chief entitled with publicising Beijing’s human rights narrative in relation to Tibetan affairs.  

  • China records progress in health literacy rate - A survey conducted by the National Health Commission revealed that the health literacy rate in the country was witnessing a steady climb, rising by 1.93 percentage points to reach 29.7 percent in 2023, marking steady progress since the early 2000s. The survey further revealed that health literacy rates among Chinese urban residents was 33.25 percent, up by 1.31 percentage points, while that of rural residents was 26.23 percent, marking a gain of 2.45 percentage points respectively. The monitoring parameters assessed by the NHC include public awareness of health problems including chronic and infectious diseases, and first aid provision capacities. Historically, China has faced difficulty in promoting health literacy owing to socio-economic conditions, which have also caused geographical disparities in health literacy rates with the urban subalterns and Eastern provinces faring better.

  •  China and Spain engage in ‘Panda Diplomacy’ - Two giant pandas hailing from the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu in Sichuan province named Jin Xi and Zhu Yu will be embarking on a journey to Spain on April 29, where they will reside in the confines of a zoo in Madrid, Spain. The couple are the successors to the previous pair of Bing Xing and Hua Zui Ba who returned to China two months ago with their three cubs after residing in Spain for over a decade. The tradition of gifting giant pandas who are native to central China dates as far back as the Tang dynasty, and signifies the exertion of its influence in the field of soft power. Its reemergence was particularly remarkable in 2024, when China's Wildlife Conservation Association, the Madrid Zoo Aquarium of Spain, and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance agreed to strengthen cooperative efforts aimed at the conservation of giant pandas, hinting towards renewed initiatives of improving relations with the West.


  • Inappropriate behaviour of ‘rich’ girl at China’s historic site invites social media flak - A young woman stirred controversy at Beijing's Old Summer Palace by dipping her feet into a lake while on a boat, despite being asked not to by staff. The incident, which took place on April 7 and was captured in a viral video, showed the woman, identified as a wealthy 16-year-old, disregarding an employee's warning that her actions were "dangerous and disrespectful to history." She responded to the employee’s concern for potential accidents by stating that it’s not her concern. A fellow tourist reported that the woman even threatened to jump into the water if stopped. She eventually ceased her actions and returned to her seat. Yuanmingyuan Park officials expressed their inability to enforce rules as they are not a law enforcement authority.


Chinese Media labels Indian e-wallet giant as ‘annoying’ – The China economic network had dubbed Paytm, one of India’s most successful financial startups, as ‘annoying’ while referring to the Reserve Bank of India’s directives barring Paytm’s Payments Bank from accepting fresh deposits or top-ups from March 15, 2024. The media house has gone one step further by alleging potential bankruptcy in light of massive sell-off of shares and enhanced competition by digital payment platforms such as PhonePe and Google Pay. The news comes at a strategic time after Paytm’s parent company One97 Communication Ltd divested investment from Chinese firm Ant Group Co. as per recommendations from the RBI, and fails to highlight the successful history of Paytm, with a user base of over 300 million in 2023 and a leading gamechanger for the Indian digital unified payment interface infrastructure.

Prepared By

Harshita Khaund is a Masters student of International Affairs from O.P. Jindal Global University. Previously, she has undertaken her bachelors in Political Science from Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi. She has a keen interest in security studies, international economy, and conflict and peace studies.

CiCM 24th April 2024

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