In 2015, China saw a series of “firsts” and underwent big policy changes. Its cross-Straits relations warmed up, it held a landmark military parade, and it overhauled its population and economic policies. One of its citizens even brought home a Nobel Prize.
The Chinese economy made a lot of headlines both domestically and abroad in 2015. A “new normal” continued in 2015, which is characterized by slower but higher quality growth.
The year 2015 also witnessed turbulence in the domestic stock market. Stock prices kept jumping before they began to tumble in June. In response, the government rushed to stabilize the market. A tumbling stock market means it is difficult for companies to raise money to expand their businesses, which affects economic growth.
In August, China overhauled its exchange rate formation mechanism. The renminbi (RMB) has seen significant drops ever since, which is good news for exporters, as a devalued RMB causes exported goods to be cheaper and more competitive. But weaker RMB means an increase in travel costs for Chinese tourists going abroad.
Sept 3 military parade
On Sept 3, China held a massive military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.
The event, the first of its kind, commemorated the war and sent a message that the world should prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again. It was also an occasion to fully acknowledge China’s contribution to the war, which has long been underestimated both at home and abroad, according to Major General Qu Rui.
Tu Youyou receiving a Nobel Prize
The year 2015 saw the first Chinese citizen win a Nobel Prize in science.
Tu Youyou, an 84-year-old female scientist at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), shared the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Irish-born William Campbell and Satoshi Omura of Japan on Oct 5. She received the prize for her discovery of artemisinin, a drug that has substantially cut the number of malaria deaths and saved millions of lives.
Xi Jinping-Ma Ying-jeou meeting
On Nov 7, cross-Straits relations turned a historic page, when leaders from across the Taiwan Straits held their first meeting since 1949 in Singapore.
During the meeting, Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou agreed to promote peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, oppose Taiwan independence and stick to the 1992 Consensus, which states that both sides adhere to the “one-China” principle.
Chinese lawmakers made a historic decision on Dec 27, by allowing all couples to have two children. The decision, which comes into effect on Jan 1, 2016, and affects 100 million couples, is a big shift from previous family planning policies that limited most Chinese couples to one child.
The policy change is intended to bolster China’s shrinking workforce, as enterprises are finding it harder to replace older workers with younger ones, Xinhua reported.