The mood at the 120th anniversary of Chairman Mao Zedong's birthday is relatively muted, by Chinese standards.
Every December, foreign correspondents in China go through the rigmarole of renewing press cards and visas, which typically run out at the end of the year.
"Stand to attention," barked the class monitor as we walked into the classroom at the Shahe Primary School, an hour's drive from the county seat of Tengchong, a remote region in China's Yunnan Province.
One year in the job as the Chinese Communist Party supremo, Xi Jinping so far has presided over a relatively smooth transition of leadership. But what is his vision for the next 10 years, when he is expected to serve as paramount leader?
China's new leaders, just one year in their posts, will meet in Beijing this weekend for the Third Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party's central committee.
After walking several blocks through New York's busy streets recently, I finally found Wang Juntao in the middle of Times Square, where the exiled Chinese dissident was holding a sit-down protest.
In China online popularity can sometimes spell trouble.
When it comes to fighting corruption, virtually all Chinese give the "thumbs up."
Covering the trial of Bo Xilai, a man once tipped to rise to the summit of Chinese politics, reminded me of the time I reported on a similarly explosive story in the early 1980s -- the trial of the so-called "Gang of Four" in China.
Chinese authorities have ended the waiting game over when political pariah Bo Xilai will face court over corruption charges.
It's the Chinese crime story of the century and a major embarrassment for the country's all-powerful Communist Party.
"I have a bomb!" a wheelchair bound man shouted, holding what looked like a homemade bomb. "Stay away from me."
Few people have had so much impact on the Chinese attitude towards sexuality and gender equality than Jin Xing.
If the latest U.S. intelligence reports are true then North Korea is planning to test-fire not one but multiple missiles, the latest provocative act by its unpredictable young leader.
China's new First Lady is poised to impress--and burnish China's image overseas.
Xi Jinping has taken the center stage as China's undisputed paramount leader.
The public outcry continued in China's cyberspace days after Haobo, a two-month-old boy, was killed by a man who stole his parents' car with the child inside.
Many of China's Catholics are awaiting the election of Pope Benedict XVI's successor with high expectations.
Hold the shark's fin soup. Cancel the elaborate pre-Chinese New Year parties.
"Let the sunshine, let the sunshine in...." my wife Ana blurted into a song this week, as she gazed eastwards through the window of our apartment in downtown Beijing.
The rundown of recommended stories on some popular Chinese social media sites showed nothing extraordinary this week until users looked a little more closely.
China's new paramount leader, Xi Jinping, is making the fight against corruption his No. 1 mission.
China's state-run People's Daily newspaper is known for political correctness rather than a sense of humor.
When China's new leader Xi Jinping spoke to the media last week, one sound bite struck me as especially noteworthy.
When Hu Jintao steps down as leader of China's Communist Party this month, not everyone will view his record over the last 10 years favorably.
China is a country where the rule of law is selective and often unjust.
Miami Heat superstar LeBron James on Thursday led the reigning NBA champions into the first of two pre-season matches staged in China against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Even a grainy three-month-old video clip can stir up a controversy.
The Bo Xilai saga -- the incredible story of elite politics, murder, intrigue and betrayal -- seems to be winding down with the trial and sentencing of Wang Lijun. And yet one question remains open: What will happen to the man once tipped for the top job in China?
Divining what is going in China's opaque political world is like reading tea leaves: it may be interesting but it's ultimately a futile exercise.
As China looks to usher in its next generation of leaders, one of the messiest political scandals to hit the ruling Communist Party in years continues to fester.
After much speculation, it is now official: The Communist Party of China (CPC) will convene its 18th Party Congress in Beijing during the "latter half of this year," a party official announced this week without giving specific dates.
In the high-stakes world of Communist Party politics, it sometimes takes a politician only one wrong move to slide from fame to shame.
Eight female badminton players were disqualified from the Olympics this week for apparently trying to throw their matches to secure a favorable draw.
When the Olympic torch lights up in London on Friday, hundreds of millions of TV screens, laptops and mobile phones will likewise be turned on in China.
Beijing and the Vatican are again shadow boxing over the ordination of a new Chinese bishop without the Pope's blessing.
Every so often, grassroots activism succeeds in China.
Four years after hosting the 2008 Summer Games, Beijing's Olympic legacy appears to be a lasting one.
The foreign invasion of China's professional football league reached fever pitch this week with the announcement that former Chelsea forward Didier Drogba will play with the Shanghai Shenhua team next season.
On Saturday at 6:37 p.m. (6:37 a.m. ET), China is scheduled to launch its first female astronaut into space as part of a three-person crew.
Some 6.8 million college students will graduate in China this summer, an exhilarating time for students and their families alike.
"Does this mean I must now carry my passport everyday?" my wife Ana wondered aloud with a mix of bemusement and exasperation.
Cui Jian burst onto the music scene in China 26 years ago with his signature number, "Nothing To My Name."
"Very busy lately, huh?" Lao Liu greets me one morning on my way to work. "What's going on with this Chen Guangcheng guy?"
Once the ultimate power couple in China, Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai have now vanished.
China is now gripped by one of the most sensational political scandals in decades.
For hours, China's micro-blogging community was abuzz with anxious tweets: an important announcement would be released at 6:30 or 7 p.m. on the official China Central Television (CCTV).
If body language is a good gauge of political standing, Li Keqiang is looking very much like China's premier-in-waiting.
China conjures various images.
Earlier this week, I got an email from a nephew who lives in Japan.
"Those who win become emperors, those who lose become bandits."
Watch out, America. China is steadily catching up in space.
Entrepreneurs of all stripes are cashing in on the Lin-sanity phenomenon as swiftly as the NBA sensation can pull off his furious fast breaks.
Jeremy Lin's improbable success in the NBA has prompted a spate of "gee-whiz" stories and added "Linsanity" into everyday lexicon.
China will sometimes say "no" and the world should get used to it.
Anyone interested in world affairs, Chinese diplomacy and China's future should know more about Xi Jinping.
Beijing ushered in the Year of the Dragon with a bold move.
Until about four years ago, farmer Zhou Jie and his family had been living in rural Anhui province, growing grain and other staples on a small plot of land.
Jobs and money, national identity and political stability.
On a typical day, China's border with Myanmar is quite porous and vibrant. Often from the same ethnic groups, traders from both sides share much in common and do brisk business.
China's recent economic downturn is spurring a new wave of worker strikes, which experts say are the only effective channel for them to air their grievances.
As I type this week's column, I look out of my office window and stare at a depressing sight. A heavy blanket of smog and dust hangs over the sky. Buildings nearby are barely visible. Air is barely breathable.
Despite the global financial crisis, China's rich are getting richer.
I first interviewed blind activist Chen Guangcheng for CNN in 2004. We drove five hours from Beijing to visit him in Dongshigu, a rural hamlet in Shandong province.
The world's population is expected to hit 7 billion around October 31 and one Chinese demographer says that number would have come a lot sooner had it not been for China's "one-child policy."
Wang Yue, the two-year-old girl who was left for dead on a narrow street in southern China after a hit-and-run accident, has died.
In China, it is sometimes the doctors who call for medical help.
Since China adopted a "managed float" of the renminbi (RMB) in 2005, the RMB has appreciated in real terms by over 20 per cent against the U.S. dollar.
China on Thursday launched its first space laboratory module, marking another step upward for its space program.
Elections are underway in China. Not for the country's presidency but for "Renmin Daibiao," or the National People's Representatives Congress.
When an ax-wielding man attacked people on the street in Henan Province on Wednesday, the terse media reports created headlines and public panic. Wang Hongbin, 30, killed six people, including two children, and is said to be mentally ill.
"He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a real man," the Chinese like to say.
Obsessed with keeping social order, China is now pushing to revise its laws in ways that will broaden police powers.
Liu Jinhua says she almost choked when she heard the news that Steve Jobs has resigned. "I couldn't believe what I heard," says the private entrepreneur. "Then I chose to not to believe it."
As we watch U.S. Vice President Joe Biden hold talks with his Chinese hosts this week, it is apt to look back at the precarious state of China-U.S. relations four decades ago and how far they have come along.
Sasha drags bulging shopping bags onto a trishaw as he heads back to his hotel, ending another hectic day in Beijing. It's hectic but lucrative.
It was the most neck-breaking assignment I've ever covered.
It was the most neck-breaking assignment I've ever covered.
How will Jiang Zemin be remembered?
Walking down the streets of Beijing, it's hard to avoid seeing red slogans lining the sidewalks. Switching on a TV at home, almost every channel hosts a gala show performed on a red-colored stage.
As the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates the 90th anniversary of its founding, party officials are pledging to continue the fight against corruption.
"Aircraft carriers are tools of imperialism, and they're like sitting ducks waiting to be shot," a senior Beijing official told a group of overseas visitors. "China will never build an aircraft carrier."
One of my first jobs in China was teaching English through songs on CCTV, China's national television station.
There is high tension in Inner Mongolia, China's strategic frontier region, where the death of a Mongolian has triggered rare street protests.
North Korean strongman Kim Jong Il rarely travels overseas.
Mongolia has always conjured a mix of exotic appeal and isolation. Sandwiched between Russia and China, the remote nation has for decades endured severe economic stagnation and political repression.
When hundreds of truckers went on a slowdown strike in Shanghai several days ago, the impact was immediately palpable: The movement of goods in one of China's largest container ports was virtually paralyzed. China watchers wondered how authorities would react. Will they send in the anti-riot troops? How soon will the heavy hand of the state come down?
In a round-table meeting with government advisers and researchers of a government-run think tank on April 14, Premier Wen Jiabao enjoined them to listen to people's voices and relay these truthfully to top leaders.
Week by week, China is tightening its grip on dissent.
Three Philippine nationals convicted of drug trafficking in China were executed by lethal injection on Wednesday.
Misery hates company.
Disasters usually bring out the best and the worst in people.
When the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, closes its annual session in Beijing on Monday, Premier Wen Jiabao will have had the rare chance to speak with the press -- and for the public to size up their leader.
As the Middle East erupts into turmoil, and protesters take to the streets, China's fear of "luan" (chaos) has resurfaced, analysts say.
It's the time of year when the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a national advisory body of mostly non-Communist delegates, convene.
Celebrating the traditional Lantern Festival this week, many Beijing residents spent a lot of money dining out and setting off fireworks to mark the end of the Chinese Lunar New Year. "For the rich the money they spend is mere peanuts," says Mei Yana, a migrant from rural Henan province working as a restaurant waitress.
For 93-year-old widow Liu Bingdi, the Chinese lunar New Year has always been the happiest time of the year. "It's a time when we all gather for family reunion," says Mrs. Liu.