• President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. business leaders and academics, emphasizes cooperation for mutual benefits: In a significant diplomatic move, President Xi Jinping held a collective meeting with representatives from the U.S. business community and academia at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 27. This meeting comes amid ongoing efforts to stabilize and improve Sino-U.S. relations, which President Xi highlighted as crucial for global well-being and prosperity. President Xi warmly welcomed the visiting delegates, stressing the importance of Sino-U.S. relations as among the most crucial in the world. He emphasized that cooperation between the two nations is pivotal for the prosperity of their peoples and the global community. Reflecting on the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, Xi encouraged increased contact and exchanges between the two countries to deepen mutual understanding and trust. Addressing concerns raised by the U.S. representatives, Xi reaffirmed China's commitment to sustainable economic development and ongoing reform and opening-up policies. He highlighted the importance of mutual respect and adherence to economic laws and market rules in fostering mutually beneficial cooperation. The meeting, attended by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, marks a significant step towards enhancing bilateral ties and fostering greater cooperation between China and the United States. Both sides expressed a shared commitment to overcoming challenges and building a stable, productive relationship for the benefit of both nations and the world at large.

  • China launches environmental monitoring satellite from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre: China achieved another milestone in its space exploration endeavours as it successfully launched a satellite dedicated to environmental monitoring from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China's Shanxi Province on Wednesday. The launch, conducted using a Long March-6 rocket, saw the satellite Yunhai-3 02 lifting off at 6:51AM(CST). After a smooth ascent, the satellite seamlessly entered its pre-set orbit. Designed for a variety of environmental monitoring tasks, including atmospheric and marine environment detection, space environment monitoring, disaster prevention, reduction, and scientific experiments, the Yunhai-3 02 satellite signifies China's burgeoning ascent in space technology. The successful launch adds to the impressive track record of China's Long March carrier rocket series, marking the 514th flight mission of the renowned rocket family. This latest endeavour coupled with the successful 5.2m-diameter fairing separation test and satellite-rocket joint operation test of the upgraded Long March-8 carrier rocket underscores China's dedication to advancing its capabilities in space exploration and environmental monitoring, further galvanising its position as a key player in the global space arena.

  • Industrial profits surge in China, driven by domestic and international demand: Data from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed a notable upsurge in industrial profits across China for the first two months of the year. Profits of industrial enterprises above designated size experienced a robust 10.2% year-on-year increase, marking a stark reversal from the 2.3% decline witnessed in the previous year. This positive trend has been consistent since August of the preceding year. The resilience displayed by China's industrial sector has been crucial in stabilizing the nation's economic trajectory amidst global uncertainties. Key highlights from the data show significant improvements in revenue generation, with the operating income of industrial enterprises witnessing a 4.5% year-on-year increase. The surge in profits was widespread, with over 70% of industries experiencing growth. Manufacturing and electrical sectors emerged as top performers, with profits in these industries skyrocketing. Among the 41 major industrial sectors, 29 reported year-on-year profit increases, showcasing a robust expansion of 4.8 percentage points over the previous year. Equipment manufacturing and high-tech industries notably contributed to the profit surge, with profits in equipment manufacturing soaring by 28.9% year-on-year. The high-tech manufacturing sector also witnessed rapid growth, with profits surging by 27.9%, a significant turnaround from the previous year's decline. Even the consumer goods manufacturing industry displayed signs of recovery, with profits bouncing back from a decline to a substantial year-on-year increase of 12.9%. Commenting on the data, Yu Weining, a statistician at the National Bureau of Statistics, highlighted the need to implement strategies outlined in key economic conferences, focusing on modernizing industrial systems, stimulating domestic demand, and fostering sustainable economic growth.

  • China's import and export surpass record highs in first two months of 2024: On March 26, the State Council Information Office hosted a gathering of department heads to present recent data and policies regarding production, consumption, import, and export, addressing external concerns. Notably, the General Administration of Customs reported that China's import and export activities soared to an unprecedented 6.61 trillion yuan in the first two months of this year. Wang Lingjun, deputy director of the General Administration of Customs, hailed this achievement as a remarkable feat of "double growth." He emphasized that the export scale alone, reaching 6.61 trillion yuan, is equivalent to China's total foreign trade value two decades ago. Wang highlighted the surge in cross-border flows, noting a steady increase in the average daily number of transport vehicles and aircraft under customs supervision. Cross-border e-commerce imports and exports saw a significant uptick of nearly 10%, while market procurement exports surged by 15.9%, facilitating smoother access to high-quality products for both domestic and international consumers. Efficient logistics were underscored, with Wang noting the swift transport of goods like South African lobsters and Chilean cherries to Chinese tables. Import and export activities in free trade pilot zones also saw robust growth, with Guangdong, Jiangsu, Sichuan, and Hebei reporting growth rates exceeding 30%. Additionally, the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port further bolstered import and export growth. Consumer demand remained strong, evidenced by active purchases of "vegetable baskets," "fruit plates," and "wardrobes." Between New Year's Day and New Year's Eve, significant imports of edible oils, fruits, nuts, meats, clothing, jewellery, and cosmetics were recorded. Customs authorities have implemented measures such as "advance declaration" and "24/7" customs clearance to ensure the smooth and rapid processing of consumer goods.

  • National Health Commission strengthens the management of midwifery services, directing public medical institutions to assume full responsibility of obstetric services: The General Office of the National Health Commission has issued a notice on the 27th of March, aimed at bolstering the management of midwifery services. The directive emphasizes the responsibility of public medical institutions for obstetric services and outlines specific measures to strengthen midwifery services across six key areas. Firstly, there is a focus on enhancing the planning and layout of midwifery services to ensure sufficient supply and meet the needs of pregnant women effectively. Health administrative departments are tasked with integrating regional medical service plans to ensure adequate midwifery resources, particularly in areas with large populations or challenging geographical conditions. Secondly, the notice emphasizes the importance of transparency by requiring the proactive publication of lists of midwifery institutions to facilitate orderly medical treatment and public supervision. Thirdly, efforts to improve the quality and safety of midwifery services are prioritized, including the construction of fertility-friendly hospitals to provide safe and comfortable delivery experiences. The fourth aspect involves the standardization of the adjustment of midwifery service resources, with strict adherence to service continuity and standardized adjustment procedures. Regarding the construction of fertility-friendly hospitals, the notice calls for the optimization of obstetric clinic services, promotion of appointment-based diagnosis and treatment, and improvement of hospitalization conditions. Lastly, there are measures to enhance the policy guarantee mechanism, aiming to promote the high-quality development of obstetrics. This includes ensuring the public welfare attribute of hospitals, improving internal distribution systems, and prohibiting the linkage of obstetricians' salaries to business income.

  • BYD becomes world's first brand to produce 7 million New Energy Vehicles(NEVs): BYD achieved a historic milestone by becoming the world's first brand to manufacture 7 million new energy vehicles, once again breaking records in the automotive industry. The Denza N7 model, the latest addition to this achievement, was unveiled at the company's factory in Jinan. BYD's journey to this significant milestone began in May 2021 when it celebrated the production of its 1 millionth new energy vehicle. Remarkably, it took less than three years for BYD to escalate from 1 million to 7 million vehicles, showcasing rapid growth and innovation within Chinese brands and revolutionizing the automotive sector. In 2023, BYD maintained its position as the global leader in new energy vehicle sales with an annual sale of 3.02 million vehicles. The introduction of champion edition models "priced equivalently to Gas" and honour edition models "priced lower than Gas" in February contributed to this success, leveraging BYD's economies of scale and industry chain advantages. China's weekly penetration rate for new energy vehicles has exceeded 48.2%, reaching an all-time high, with projections indicating a potential surpassing of 50% within the next three months. Notably, BYD secures 7 out of the top 10 positions in the passenger car sales chart for the third week of March. BYD's global expansion efforts have seen the company penetrate 78 countries and regions, establishing factories in Brazil, Hungary, Thailand, and other overseas territories, highlighting China's manufacturing prowess on a global scale. This year, BYD will make its mark as the first new energy vehicle brand to sponsor the UEFA Euro 2024, further solidifying its global presence and industry leadership.


    NetEase vs. Tencent: Mobile game copyright battle ignites social media storm: In a dramatic clash on social media, Chinese tech giants NetEase and Tencent have sparked a firestorm of debate over copyright infringement allegations related to their mobile games, "Onmyoji" and "Honor of Kings," respectively. Last week, NetEase's "Onmyoji" official account on Weibo posted a letter from its legal representatives accusing Tencent's "Honor of Kings" of copyright infringement and unfair competition. The letter specifically targeted two character designs, including a new skin for "Honor of Kings" character Li Bai and a character named Dasiming. Shortly after, the "Onmyoji" account posted a mocking screenshot aimed at "Honor of Kings," igniting a social media frenzy. Over 70,000 users shared the post, with the promise of rewards for 20 lucky players who participated. The hashtag associated with the dispute garnered over 100 million views, with millions joining the conversation on social media platforms. In response, Tencent's "Honor of Kings" accused "Onmyoji" of defamation and declared their intent to pursue legal action. They vehemently denied the plagiarism allegations, citing previous instances where their own game had been suspected of being copied. "Honor of Kings" boasted approximately 146 million monthly active users in China in the last quarter of 2023, solidifying its position as one of the top-grossing mobile games globally. Meanwhile, "Onmyoji," though experiencing a decline in popularity, had previously achieved impressive milestones, with 200 million worldwide downloads and 10 million daily active users in 2017. This clash isn't unprecedented, as both companies have a history of accusing each other of plagiarism, indicating the intensity of competition in China's lucrative mobile gaming market. 


India has celebrated a noteworthy achievement in its ongoing efforts to improve maternal health, with the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) witnessing a significant decline. According to the latest Special Bulletin on MMR from the Registrar General of India, the MMR has dropped from 113 in 2016-18 to 103 in 2017-19, marking an 8.8% decrease. This progress is attributed to government initiatives, such as incentivizing institutional births, which have been instrumental in reducing maternal mortality over the past few decades. With this decline, India has been on course to meet the targets set by the National Health Policy (NHP) to achieve an MMR of 100 per lakh live births by 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of 70 per lakh live births by 2030. Recognizing the pivotal role of midwifery in sustaining and enhancing these gains, the Indian government has intensified its focus on scaling up and expanding the role of midwives. Through the Midwifery Initiative, midwifery has been integrated into the healthcare system as a critical component to complement the services provided by other healthcare providers. Under this initiative, the government launched Guidelines on Midwifery Services in December 2018, with the aim of establishing a dedicated cadre of Nurse Practitioners in Midwifery (NPMs) and setting up Midwifery-led Care Units (MLCUs) in high-case-load facilities. Efforts are underway to ensure that midwives are trained to international standards and empowered to practice to their full scope. Midwifery-led care is poised to enhance the quality of maternity care in India, aligning with existing initiatives such as LaQshya and SUMAN, and contributing to the country's progress towards achieving SDGs related to gender equality and equitable healthcare. In regions like Telangana, midwives have already demonstrated their transformative impact in improving maternal and newborn health outcomes, underscoring the importance of mainstreaming midwifery into the healthcare system.

Prepared By

Shourjyadipta Roy is currently pursuing his Masters' in Political Science and International Relations from the Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University. He takes a keen interest in Chinese foreign policy, China's impact on the world and Chinese politics as a whole. He plans to pursue research in the near future.

CiCM 27th March 2024

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