• Two Chinese firms, Baidu and receive permit to offer robotaxis at Beijing Airport: Baidu Inc, a prominent Chinese technology company, and a self-driving startup have been granted permits to offer autonomous vehicle services at Beijing’s Daxing International Airport. This development makes Beijing the first capital city globally to operate passenger-carrying robotaxis from urban centers to the airports. The permission issued by the head office of the Beijing High-Level Automated Driving Demonstration Area, allows both companies to deploy autonomous vehicles along the 40-kilometer expressway linking Beijing Daxing International Airport to the city's urban areas, along with specified zones within the airport premises. Baidu has been operating fully autonomous driving robotaxis in multiple cities across China, including Beijing, Chongqing, Wuhan, and Shenzhen. The company intends to further expand its fleet size and service coverage in the future with the goal of establishing the world's largest fully driverless ride-hailing network.

  • New Yinxu Museum inaugurated, promising to be a cultural hub: The official opening of the new Yinxu Museum in Anyang, Henan Province was announced amidst great anticipation. The museum showcases the historical significance of the Yin Ruins, which served as the capital of the late Shang Dynasty. This site is documented through archaeological excavations and oracle bone inscriptions on display in the new museum. The museum's exhibition hall holds a collection of nearly 4,000 cultural relics, including bronzes, pottery, jades, and oracle bones, within an area of approximately 22,000 square meters. Three-quarters of these artifacts are on public display for the first time. These relics showcase the technological and artistic achievements of the Shang Dynasty.

  • New cosmic ray discovery by Chinese observatory finds a source of the cosmic rays in the Milky Way: China's Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO) has unveiled a new cosmic ray discovery, which is a massive ultra-high-energy gamma-ray bubble structure in the Cygnus star-forming area, located roughly 5,000 light-years away. This discovery, published in the Science Bulletin, shows the Cygnus region as a source of cosmic rays within the Milky Way. Principal investigator Cao Zhen, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), states that further revelations with continued LHAASO observation are possible, aiming to understand cosmic ray origins. The observatory, situated at an altitude of 4,410 meters on Mount Haizi in Daocheng County, in Sichuan Province, has been China’s leading observatory in cosmic ray study, and has been a vital method to foster international cooperation for scientific advancement.

  • Successful legal aid policies recover 6.8 billion yuan in labour remuneration: The Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, had recently undertaken initiatives to support migrant workers, including the "Warm Migrant Workers with Wage" and "Warm Migrant Workers with Spring" campaigns. These efforts successfully addressed the needs of workers with new employment arrangements, also ensuring access to legal aid through the "Legal Aid to Benefit the People" program. In 2023, legal aid agencies nationwide handled 480,000 cases for migrant workers, securing 6.8 billion yuan in unpaid wages for 540,000 individuals. Assistance is readily available to migrant workers through over 590,000 public legal service centres and 70,000 legal aid stations.

  • Chinese lawmakers seek to advance local governance under its 'whole-process people’s democracy': Given the set of various legislations enacted in the past year, lawmakers in China are seeking to expand its Whole-process people’s democracy, a concept introduced by President Xi Jinping during a visit to Shanghai in 2019. The concept aims to emphasize citizens' rights and increase participation in various democratic processes, including elections, consultation, decision-making, management, and oversight. The concept seeks to empower citizens through the National People's Congress and local congresses, ensuring their interests are represented in decision-making. According to a recent article by President Xi, the upholding and improvement of the people's congress system was underscored to be an important institutional mechanism for realizing the concept thus also signifying the overall importance of the concept.


  • WeChat and Weibo see rumours spread about mountain fires in Hunan, officials refute: WeChat and Weibo, China’s premier social media platforms, have become a hotbed for rumours of natural disasters, as a recent chain of posts from users across the country have spread a rumour about mountain fires breaking out in Henan Province with multiple pictures of the supposed fire. The post, originally made by user @Qinjiajiais, has been shared all across the country. This rumour has been refuted by the Henan Provincial Online Rumour Refuting Platform with the Provincial Forestry Bureau, stating that no mountain fires had broken out in the area. The statement also urges all netizens to ignore the news and avoid spreading it around.


Local governance has been an area where India has done very well in expanding and successfully maintaining democracy. Following the Panchayati Raj system since the 73rd Amendment Act of 1992, power was decentralised to the people of India for higher representation and self-governance. At the heart of this system are Gram Panchayats, which govern villages and rural areas. Above them are Panchayat Samitis, responsible for a group of villages, and at the apex is the Zilla Parishad, overseeing the entire district. Each tier has elected representatives, ensuring grassroots participation in decision-making. While China on its part seeks to advance its local governance systems, it however still remains plagued by dual power centres; where powers and responsibilities of  Party and state officials often overlaps. In such cases, more often than not Party officials seek to gain stronger influence in decision-making over elected representatives, thus diminishing the effectiveness of maintaining democracy even at the local govenment levels. India on the other has showcased definite benefit of decentralising power to local government bodies which has in return ensured a representative governance model.  

Prepared By

Combined works by various researchers at ORCA

CiCM 26th February 2024

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