28 December 2013
Last updated at 19:15 ET
The year began with smog choking the capital. Air pollution in Beijing soared to hazardous levels in January, and visibility was reduced to just a few hundred metres in the city centre. The smog generated public debate over the environment, as one state-run newspaper said that Beijing would not become a liveable city unless it "improves its living environment".
Allegations of hacking and cyber crime remained a hotly-debated subject between China and the US. In February, Internet security firm Mandiant said that this Shanghai building was home to a Chinese military unit dedicated to hacking. China called the report flawed, and said it was opposed to hacking activities and was a victim of cyber attacks itself.
Xi Jinping formally began his role as president of China in March. He kicked off his maiden overseas tour with a visit to Moscow, where he was welcomed by Russia's honour guard.
Meanwhile, more than 16,000 dead pigs were pulled from Huangpu river, which provides drinking water to Shanghai. Officials said the carcasses were likely to have been dumped by pig farmers. The incident sparked debate over environmental standards, with some microblog users criticising what they saw as a slow government response.
In June, Xi Jinping met US President Barack Obama for the first time since becoming president. The two-day summit in the Sunnylands estate in California was billed as a chance for the two leaders to get to know each other and develop a rapport. They described the talks, where issues including North Korea and cyber crime were discussed, as "unique, positive and constructive".
Astronaut Wang Yaping delivered China's first-ever video lecture from space from the Tiangong-1 space laboratory in June. Ms Wang made a water ball as part of her physics demonstration, and used spinning tops to create gyroscopic motion. It was China's fifth manned space mission, and a step in China's plan to one day put a permanently manned station above the Earth.
Ji Zhongxing caught the world's attention when he detonated a home-made explosive in Beijing Airport in July. Ji, who said he was left paralysed after being beaten by local security officials, said he did not deliberately detonate the device and had only wanted to air his grievances. His case drew widespread sympathy from members of the public - petitioners gathered at Ji's trial asking for their grievances to also be considered. Ji was sentenced to six years in jail in October.
Disgraced politician Bo Xilai was tried for corruption in a dramatic court case where he denied all charges. Bo was accused of using his position to cover up his wife Gu Kailai's murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. The ex-Chongqing party chief was previously a rising star in the Communist Party and his supporters alleged he was victim of a political purge. Bo was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He appealed, but his sentence was upheld in October.
Popular microblogger Charles Xue, who is known for his liberal views, was arrested in August. The businessman, who is a dual American and Chinese citizen, had around 12m followers on Sina Weibo, China's largest microblog. In what appeared to be a televised confession, Mr Xue admitted to hiring prostitutes and spreading irresponsible information online. Critics described the move as part of a government crackdown on social media, where popular posts are read by millions of users.
In September, China prohibited officials from using public funds to buy mooncakes, round cakes filled with lotus paste and salted egg yolk that are offered as gifts during Mid-Autumn festival. The ban was part of a wider government crackdown against corruption - some mooncakes, especially those encrusted with gems or made with gold and silver, were believed to be used as bribes.
In October, a car crashed into Beijing's Tiananmen Square, bursting into flames and killing five people. The government described it as a "violent terrorist incident" and said the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a small Islamic separatist group said to be active in Xinjiang province, was responsible. China often blames the ETIM for incidents in Xinjiang, but correspondents say few believe that the group has any capacity to carry out serious attacks in China.
In November, China announced a new "air defence identification zone" over an area of the East China Sea, covering disputed islands controlled by Japan. It said that planes flying through the air zone must obey its rules, including filing flight planes in advance. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticised the move as "dangerous", and the US, Japan and South Korea all flew military planes through the zone without declaring themselves.