Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai leaves after the third plenary meeting of the National People's Congress at The Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 9. Bo had been seen as a leading contender to access the top rungs of power in China, but in a dramatic reversal of fortune, he was sacked Thursday amid a rare public scandal.
In a moment of high political drama, China has removed flamboyant politician Bo Xilai from his post as party secretary of the major southern city of Chongqing. The sacking comes as Beijing approaches a once-in-a-decade power transition this fall, offering a glimpse of the Machiavellian political struggle behind the scenes.
A Malaysian customs official examines elephant tusks at a port in Kalang. Malaysia has become an ivory transit hub, with African elephant tusks bound for China. Worldwide, authorities seized more than 5,000 smuggled tusks.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
The price for raw elephant tusks in China has tripled in the past year because of growing demand, according to Grace Gabriel, the Asia regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
An investigation of this Beijing antique mall in November found more than 20 shops selling illegal ivory.
Armed with tips from animal welfare activists, I recently went on an ivory hunt with my Chinese assistant, Yang, in an antiques market in Beijing.
Activists say China's growing purchasing power is driving global demand for products from vulnerable animals, everything from elephant ivory to rhino horn.
Two huge stone lions stood sentinel outside the four-story market nestled among a forest of buildings off one of Beijing's beltways. In China, vendors usually accost shoppers and try to lure them into stores.
Ethnic Tibetan pilgrims walk on a road during Tibetan New Year in Langmusixiang, Sichuan province, in western China, Feb. 22. Celebrations are subdued in the Tibetan areas of China this year, after a string of self-immolations and protest against Chinese control.
Credit Carlos Barria / Reuters /Landov
A monk walks under a temple entrance during Tibetan New Year celebrations in Langmusixiang, in China's western Sichuan Province Feb. 22, 2012.
Wednesday marks the traditional Tibetan New Year, but many Tibetans won't be celebrating. They'll be mourning the almost two-dozen people who set themselves on fire in the past year as a protest against Chinese rule. Eyewitnesses say the town of Aba, site of many of the self-immolations, resembles a Chinese military camp, with soldiers and riot police every few feet. NPR's Louisa Lim traveled elsewhere on the Tibetan plateau to cover the story and sent this dispatch.
This photo, provided to <a href="http://freetibet.org/">freetibet.org</a>, shows a man being forcibly detained by security forces in the town of Serther in Tibet following a clash with protesters and police.
In a monastery on the Tibetan plateau, monks swathed in crimson robes chant under silk hangings, in a murky hall heavy with the smell of yak butter. Photos of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama — seen by China as a splittist — are openly displayed, as if in defiance. But Chinese security forces have tightened their grasp on this region, and monasteries appear to be emptying out, gripped by an atmosphere of fear and loss.
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, shown here delivering a speech at a Canada-China business forum in Beijing, on Feb. 9, 2012, is expected to become the country's next premier. In contrast to most other Chinese leaders, Li speaks English and has had considerable exposure to Western ideas.
The man who's expected to become China's president next year, Xi Jinping, is considered a princeling, the son of a prominent Chinese political figure. But the man who's likely to become premier, Li Keqiang, comes from very different stock.
The son of a minor party official, Li worked as a farmer for four years, before studying law at university.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, shown here in December 2011 waving to students during a visit to Bangkok, Thailand, is in line to become China's leader next year.
Credit Pairoj / AFP/Getty Images
A family photograph from 1958 showing Xi Jinping (left), 5, with his brother Yuanping and father, Xi Zhongxun, is on display at a museum in Xi Zhongxun's hometown in China's Shaanxi province.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Family members still live in the ancestral home of Xi Jinping's father in Zhonghe village, Shaanxi province.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Xi Zhongfa, 81, is the uncle of Xi Jinping, the man who is almost certainly China's next president, but the elder Xi's living conditions are very basic, with no hot water inside his house and little heating.
In northwestern China's Shaanxi province, a neatly manicured and landscaped memorial park the size of six soccer fields is one sign of the revolutionary lineage of Xi Jinping, the man set to become China's next leader.
Known as a Communist Party princeling, Xi is the 58-year-old son of Xi Zhongxun, a deputy prime minister and revolutionary hero who died in 2002.
The elder Xi was born in Fuping county in Shaanxi, more than 600 miles southwest of Beijing, and is considered a hometown hero.
Chuck Taylor All Stars are common on the streets of Shanghai. Xuan Zhihui, 62, a retiree from a state-owned factory, wears her daughter's hand-me-down sneakers, which are 15 years old. She says they're really comfortable.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
My Tee in Shanghai carries loads of limited edition Chuck Taylors from cities in Japan and New York. Owner Kenny Lee considers some of them museum pieces and has refused to sell them despite offers of up to $3,000.
Stroll along a street in downtown Shanghai for very long, and you're likely to run into someone wearing Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. One recent afternoon, Xu Jing was heading back from lunch to her job at an ad company in a pair of raspberry-colored Chuck Taylors.
"They have a young image, upbeat and outdoorsy, sporty," said Xu, 27, explaining the appeal. "Young people with an artistic sense prefer Converse."
Xu was accompanied by Chen Xiaolei, a co-worker who owns three pairs of Chuck Taylor high-tops.
To the average American, Chinese music might evoke a stereotype, the atonal, plucky sounds of soundtracks to martial arts films, or the ambience in Chinese restaurants. But like Chinese culture, the traditions of Chinese music reach back thousands of years and pull from myriad styles that reflect the diverse landscape of the worlds most populous nation. And weaving through much of it is the distinctive strain on the pipa, the ancient, four stringed instrument sometimes referred to as the Chinese Lute.
The latest twist in the Obama administration’s so-called Asian pivot. The president’s chief science advisor, John Holdren, has said the US would benefit from cooperating with China on future space missions. But federal legislation now prohibits NASA from pursuing such efforts with a little known clause that’s popped up in two pieces of legislation within the past year.