Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha during a press conference a in Bangkok, on Tuesday. “Don’t worry, if you’re not doing anything wrong, there’s no need to be afraid.” Photograph: EPA

Thai military has seized power 12 times since end of absolute monarchy in 1932

 Indian fishermen silhuetted by the rising sun as they prepare for an early morning catch at the banks of Narmada river in Nemawar district Dewas, 200km from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. Photograph: EPA/SAJNEEV GUPTA

ADB says it might co-operate with new China-led development bank

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique

Award-winning whiskey ‘like bourbon-infused milk chocolate’

A boy and a woman look at a Tesla Motors Model S electric vehicle on display at the company’s showroom in Beijing, China. Photograph: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Efforts to promote new-energy cars driven by pollution in the cities

A delegate from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region speaks during the Xinjiang delegation meeting on the sideline of the third session of the 12th National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on March 10th. A Chinese court has jailed a Uighur man this week for six years for growing a beard in defiance of local government rules aimed at combating extremism, while his wife was given two years for wearing a burka. Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA

Wife given two years for wearing a burqa in defiance of government rules

 The 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China recently. The NPC, the annual gathering of senior Communist Party cadres from all over China to listen to the leadership’s plans for the next 12 months, was a more muted affair than in previous years, but it gave valuable signals as to what kind of business environment Irish companies can expect in future. Photograph: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

End of annual parliament in China prompts reform calls

Mini Sky City: construction took just 19 days

Changsha is home to 200m tall Mini Sky City

Lower prices for oil and other commodities are delivering China serious savings in its purchases of oil.  Photograph: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

China’s crude oil imports rose 10% in February

A child wearing a protective mask in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Beijing’s mayor Wang Hansen has said smog had made the capital “unlivable”. Photograph:  EPA

Ireland needs to ramp up presence in China to take advantage of environmental crisis, says Alan Kelly

Heavy smog in Beijing: China has appointed a well-respected expert on climate change, Chen Jining, as minister of environmental protection. Photograph:  AFP/Getty Images

Temperature rises already higher than global averages, says Zheng Guoguang

China’s disgraced former security chief Zhou Yongkang, accused by the country’s top court in its annual report of ‘trampling on the law’ and causing ‘severe harm’.  Photograph: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Trial against former security czar Zhou Yongkang expected to take place soon

With Irish milk exports to China worth €400 million, familiarity with China’s food safety rules has become a key requirement for food companies seeking to export there.

National People’s Congress seeks to assuage widespread concern about food safety

Twitter’s Hong Kong office will seek out mainland companies which want to advertise overseas. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The social media service has been banned in China since 2009

The entrance to Shanghai Free Trade Zone. It was introduced nearly two years ago, but the trade zone concept has so far failed to take off in a meaningful way. Photograph: Reuters/Carlos Barria

Guangdong province is the next one on stream, officials say

Chinese president Xi Jinping  and premier Li Keqiang  press buttons to vote during the closing ceremony of China’s National People’s Congress  at the Great Hall of the People  in Beijing. Photograph:  Feng Li/Getty Images

Government considering changes to one child policy

Attendants prepare tea for delegates ahead of the closing session of the Chinese People’s political consultative conference at the Great Hall of the People  in Beijing yesterday. Photograph: Feng Li/Getty Images

Number of arrests on terror charges continues to rise

China’s  minister for foreign affairs Wang Yi arriving for a press conference at the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing. The NPC is to consider introducing the country’s first press law.   Photograph: How Hwee Young/EPA

National People’s Congress legislation would be the first to regulate all media outlets

Prime minister Li Keqiang said China will lower the annual GDP growth target to about 7 per cent from 7.5 per cent, the slowest in 22 years. Photograph: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

‘For Sale in China’ replacing ‘Made in China’

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister: some  analysts feel that he  has so far failed to bite the bullet on meaningful reforms. Photograph: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Fears that PM Narenda Modi has failed to step up reforms needed

Alibaba Group executive chairman Jack Ma:  In the Bloomberg Billionaires list, which updates daily, he is the richest person  in China (and 15th richest in the world), with a net worth of $34.7 billion (€31.36 billion). Photograph: Pichi Chuang/Reuters

Rapid pace of growth at both Alibaba and Wanda makes it a tough call

Jackie Chan as Mr Han with Jaden Smith as Dre Parker in Columbia Pictures’ The Karate Kid in 2010, a truly ‘duang’ move. Photograph: Sony Pictures Entertainment

An endlessly versatile new Chinese character is the country’s favourite slang word

Delegates attend the opening of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Measures come after report says economy will grow by a less-than-expected 7%

Marie Claire Murphy: “I play a running game, I run and run, and try and fill space.”

A GAA player in China: Marie Claire Murphy

A woman takes a ‘selfie’ near a portrait of Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, where the 12th National People’s Congress gets under way in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA

Slowdown in growth and pollution also on agenda at National People’s Congress

Xi Jinping at the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in  Beijing on Tuesday. Since coming to power in March 2012, Mr Xi has come down hard on press freedom. Photograph: Feng Li/Getty Images

Survey reveals reporters and media groups punished if Beijing takes dim view of coverage

Chinese veterinary inspectors soon to start approving processing plants in Ireland

Traditional Chinese Junkboat sailing across Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

Chinese looking elsewhere as weaker euro and yen make Europe and Japan cheap

Norovirus was found in a raw-oyster-processing plant in Co Donegal, Hong Kong’s centre for food safety said.

Food poisoning outbreak prompts ban

China’s president, Xi Jinping: his government is trying to convince the Chinese people that slower economic growth is not necessarily a bad thing, after the economy expanded last year at 7.5 per cent, its lowest rate in 25 years.  Photograph: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Annual parliament, the National People’s Congress, to meet next week

A man walks past a billboard featuring a photo of China’s president Xi Jinping beside lantern decorations for the Lunar New Year in Baoding, China’s northern Hebei province, on Tuesday. Mr Xi has unveiled his latest political slogan, the “Four Comprehensives”, a call for a more prosperous country and deeper reform. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Policy ‘to make China great’ includes calls for richer country with more significant reform

Young performers wearing goat hats take part in a Chinese New Year celebration at a shopping mall in Hong Kong on Monday. The Year of the Goat sees a Hong Kong more divided than ever on how to deal with mainland China. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters

Coverage by Western media of Occupy protest seen as too one-sided by many residents

Lion and dragon dances are performed during a Chinese New Year celebration outside a shopping mall in Hong Kong. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters

Lots of questions as the Lunar New Year holiday shuts China down for a week

A woman pushes a child with a suitcase at a railway station, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. According to UniGroup’s latest survey, twice as many people moved out of China last year than moved in. Photograph: Reuters/Stringer

Rising living costs and pollution also factors in making expats go elsewhere

A smartphone shows the two apps, Kuaidi Dache -- part-owned by Alibaba -- and Didi Dache -- backed by Tencent -- which together control 99 percent of China’s domestic market for booking taxis by smartphone. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Cabbies protesting over unlicensed cabs and services such as Uber

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin with China’s president Xi Jinping: China and Russia will mark their growing closeness with a series of high-level exchanges in coming months, including military parades and joint commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the second World War. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty

Focus on close relationship will be signal to Japan that China is gaining authority

Two people stand next to an installation of goats in Beijing in celebration of the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year. There is some confusion in China over whether the coming holiday, which starts on Thursday, marks the Year of the Goat or the Year of the Sheep. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Confusion about interpretation of zodiac ahead of the country’s biggest annual holiday

China operates one of the world’s most sophisticated online censorship mechanisms. Photograph: EPA/How Hwee Young

Internet controls are driving technology and R&D spending overseas

Heather Cho, daughter of chairman of Korean Air Lines Cho Yang-ho, is surrounded by the media as she leaves for a detention facility after a court ordered her to be detained, at the Seoul Western District Prosecutor’s office.  Photograph: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Case became a focus for anger over behaviour of privileged elites

There are more than 300 million smokers in China. Photograph: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg

China faces health crisis as world’s biggest tobacco user

A truck with war victims who fled from the conflict zone arrives at a monastery which is being set as temporary refugee camp in Lashio, northern Shan State, Burma.  Photograph: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA

Some 50 government troops and police officers reported killed in the attacks

Between 15 per cent and 40 per cent of dumped plastic enters the ocean each year, according to a survey in the journal ‘Science’. Photograph: Erik De Castro/Reuters

About a third of plastic dumped in sea comes from China, survey shows

Liu Han, a mining tycoon, who along with four others was executed for leading an organised crime gang. Photograph: EPA

Mafia-like organisation allegedly owned assets of €5.7bn and controlled 70 companies

One of the rising stars of Chinese banking, Mao Xiaofeng, the youngest-ever president of a listed bank in the country, resigned as head of China Minsheng Bank ‘for personal reasons’.  File photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Top banker under investigation as anti-graft probe widens its remit

New York Waldorf Astoria: its sale is a sign of how many Chinese investors are keen to set themselves up with investments outside of China

Anbang insurance group has just bought hotel for $1.95bn

The number of Chinese accessing the internet from mobiles totalled 557 million by the end of last year.  Photograph: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Webizen population has reached 649 million

Christian activists Julia and Kevin Garratt: the couple from Vancouver have lived in China since 1984 and opened their coffee shop in Dandong in 2008. Photograph: Simeon Garratt/AFP/Getty

Kevin Garratt and wife Julia run coffee shop near border crossing with North Korea

Bangladeshi labourers:  while Bangladesh is one of the world’s poorest countries its  gross domestic product grew 6.1 per cent in 2014. Photograph:  Munir uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images

Irish firm secures World Bank contract as country aspires to middle-income status

Chinese President Xi Jinping: authorities worried about a possible pejorative reference.  Photograph: Fred Dufour/Reuters

Mengniu Dairy has problems with advertising one of its latest products

Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je: has a bit of a reputation for off-the-cuff remarks to reporters

Ko Wen-je given timepiece by British minister of state

Beijing, China: data shows seven out of 10 cities with the dirtiest air are in Hebei province around the capital. Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA

Data shows 66 out of 74 cities in China fall short of standards for allowable concentrations of pollutants

 Chinese soldiers attending a winter training session in freezing temperatures in Heihe, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province.  “The parade is aimed to “enhance Chinese people’s sense of pride and confidence by showing off the Chinese army’s morale and armaments,” the People’s Daily says. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Tensions between Japan and China over islands and war atrocities mount in recent years

China’s aircraft carrier the Liaoning – bought from the Ukraine for €17m

Xu Zengping says he has not received any money from the Chinese government

Li Keqiang, China’s premier. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Li Keqiang tries to soothe fears of a hard landing in world’s second-biggest economy

Xi Jinping, China’s president: pay rise.

The pay increase for civil servants is the first public hike since 2006

China is upgrading its internet system to block virtual private networks, which allow full internet access and override China’s online censorship. Photograph: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Crackdown on virtual private networks prevents users accessing full internet

Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing: “the really big tiger of the Chinese real estate sector”. Photograph: EPA/Alex Hofford.

Asia’s richest man and former ‘Superman’ portrayed negatively as ‘tiger’ speculator

Yingluck Shinawatra: during nearly three years in power, there was always a question of how much of a pawn she was of her brother, former prime minister Thaksin. Photograph: Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images.

‘Democracy is dead in Thailand, along with the rule of law’, says former leader

Commuters in Beijing can now  use their smartphones to read  classic texts provided by the National Library of China Beijing commuters can use their smartphones to read classic books

Initiative will offer subway passengers the chance to read classic books for free

The IMF expects mainland GDP growth in China to slow to 6.8 per cent in 2015 and to 6.3 per cent in 201. Photograph: Claro Cortes/Reuters

Economists speak of ‘new normal’ about getting world’s second largest economy on a more sustainable track

An employee adjusts a price tag at a supermarket in Anhui province, China. China is on a relentless drive towards a consumption-led economy, sparked largely by the trends of middle-income consumers

British lobby group CBBC has lessons for Irish companies

This year’s Shanghai Auto Show, due to run in April, will be less revealing than ever, at least as far as the employment of models is concerned. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Scantily clad models banished in crackdown on prurience

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong’s financial central district last October. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Asia Briefing: narrow economy built on finance and property has added to city’s difficulties

Zhou Yongkang: a former oil boss and security tsar who amassed power, he has been at the centre of investigations since July last year. Experts say the inquiry is driven by internal politics not justice. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Communist elite’s purges seen by some as pretext for removing rivals

Yang Tianrong (left), a retired soldier who has been fighting local officials, attempts to evict residents from their homes in Beidaihe, China, last month. Two years into a sweeping government anti-corruption campaign, many people remain pessimistic. Photograph: Drew Jacobs/The New York Times

A clampdown on graft has been declared ‘a matter of life or death’

Slowing population growth has fuelled fears of a demographic time bomb in China, the world’s most populous nation with 1.34 billion people, and the working population is slowly beginning to shrink, threatening economic growth. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Couples may now have second child if either parent is an only child

Jimmy Lai, the outspoken founder of the Next Media group. Photograph: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

NextMedia founder has supported Hong Kong pro-democracy movement

Cranes operate at a construction site in China. Photograph: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Analysts believe reform needs to accompany spending to boost world’s second biggest economy

 A group of visitors to Beijing’s Military Museum pass a missile: World Trade Organisation says China’s export controls on rare earths, used in missiles, are illegal.  Photograph: Natalie Behring/Reuters

System of quotas have been in place since 1999

A BMW dealership in  Shanghai: BMW dealers in China overstocked their showrooms on expectations of rapid expansion. Photograph: Kevin Lee/Bloomberg

Retailers too confident of outlook for market

Pro-democracy lawmakers open yellow umbrellas during a legislative council meeting as a gesture to boycott the government in Hong Kong. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters

Legislators raise yellow umbrellas, a symbol of last year’s Occupy Central protests, and leave

Yang Weize, latest senior party cadre to be arrested, was taken away from the coastal city by train by investigators from outside the area. Photograph: Reuters

Communist Party secretary Yang Weize held during crackdown

A worker rides past a poster showing Beijing’s central business district outside a construction site in Beijing. Growth in China’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to slow to 7 per cent in 2015. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

McKinsey’s Gordon Orr sees stagnating wages, less consumder demand, but innovation finally triumphing

Employees work at Alibaba.com Ltd’s headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. Photograph: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

The larger the bust, the bigger the online spend – statisticians claim is rubbished in some quarters

Yashow Clothing Market

Demand for fakes is foreigner driven, but cash-rich young Chinese want the real thing

Still from The Empress of China: authorities have been on a crusade to introduce greater modesty and morality into public life in China

Drama was pulled for ‘technical reasons’ believed to be related to its racy costumes

South Korean soldiers walk past barbed wire entanglements at the demilitarised zone seperating South and North Korea. A Pyongyang foreign ministry spokesman said the fresh round of sanctions would not weaken North Korea’s 1.2 million-strong army. Photograph: Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

North Korea says it had nothing to do with Sony hacking and accuses US of stirring up hostility

A mother of a victim cries at the location where people were killed in a stampede incident during a new year’s celebration on the Bund in Shanghai. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

Most of those who died were young women in Chinese city’s worst tragedy since 2010

Security guards hold a line to keep relatives away from the emergency area in a hospital where some of the injured from the stampede were admitted. A stampede in Chen Yi Square on the Bund killed at least 35 people during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Shanghai. Photograph: Xing Zhe China out/EPA

Incident happened after fake money thrown down from nightclub above the crowd

AirAsia Group  chief executive Tony Fernandes (left) and Indonesian vice president Jusuf Kalla  acknowledge the media during a press conference at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.   Photograph: Trisnadi Marjan/AP

Missing Airbus with 162 people may have crashed into the Java Sea, rescuers say

 Relatives of missing Air Asia QZ8501 passengers at Juanda International Airport, Surabaya, yesterday. Photograph: Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

Pilots had asked to change course to avoid bad weather

Shoppers walk near a Christmas tree in China.  Photograph: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Yuletide emerging as a part of the retail calendar

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  The social network has been blocked in China since 2009. Photograph: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg

Mark Zuckerberg meets Lu Wei as part of firm’s drive to break into China

According to Washington-based Global Financial Integrity, capital leaving China illegally hit $249.57 billion (€202.2 billion) in 2012.

More than €1 trillion has left China illegally over 10 years

Wilson Architecture’s design for  Qilu Pharmaceutical Company’s  new greenfield biopharma campus in Jinan

‘The rapidly expanding pharmaceutical sector in China offers huge potential’

 Jack Ma:  founder and executive chairman of Alibaba and  recently named Asia’s richest man. Photograph: Daniel J. Groshong/Bloomberg

Xi Jinping, Huawei and Alibaba among big names to the fore during state visit

President Michael Higgins with Chinese premier Li Keqiang in  Beijing in  December  during a  state visit to China. Photograph:  Greg Baker-Pool/Getty

Companies warned not to come in for quick buck but to commit to market

A file image of a screen  grab taken from  video footage shows people  trying to escape flood water by clinging on to a building on the east coast of Sri Lanka on December 26th, 2004.

Irish Times reporter in region recalls destruction caused by December 26th tsunami

President Higgins with Jack Ma, chief executive of Alibaba. Photograph: Shane O’Neill / Fennell Photography

IDA explores ways to attract Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to set up operations in Ireland

President Michael D. Higgins and China’s president Xi Jinping  inspect honour guards inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Reuters/Jason Lee

China is Ireland’s sixth most important market for food and drink exports, Higgins says

President Michael D Higgins and Chinese president Xi Jinping wait for the start of a signing ceremony in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Tuesday. Photograph: Greg Baker/EPA

Ireland and China set stage for next chapter of especially promising relationship

Affinity set to form sound basis for next stage of developing Sino-Irish relations

President Michael D Higgins and China’s president Xi Jinping inspect honour guards during a welcoming ceremony inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Xi Jinping visited Ireland in 2012, including Cliffs of Moher and Croke Park

President Michael D Higgins: will be attending events in China aimed at promoting Ireland run by the Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Tourism Ireland, as well as the Science Foundation of Ireland, the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland and representatives from the universities.   Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

State visit includes Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou

A police officer sprays pepper spray at demonstrators during a protest outside the central government offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong. Photograph: Billy HC Kwok/Bloomberg

Total visitor numbers up 12.6 per cent compared with last year

Chinese president Xi Jinping: crackdown on corruption. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

China falls 20 places to 100th in Transparency International annual survey

President Michael D. Higgins is on a week-long visit to China. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Michael D Higgins travels to Great Wall during high-profile state visit

President Michael D Higgins and his wife  Sabina Higgins are shown around the Forbidden City in  Beijing. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/Fennell Photography

Mission will include meetings with top political and business leaders

A life-size cut-out of China’s president Xi Jinping among tents and shelters of pro-democracy students at the Occupy Hong Kong camp in the Admiralty district this week. Photograph: How Hwee Young/EPA

Protests in Hong Kong and Taiwan elections reveal resentment of mainland

Protesters hold a picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 2009, after a Chinese court had handed down an 11-year sentence on subversion charges after he had called for sweeping political reforms. The Nobel Peace Prize winner remains in prison. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

China is giving contradictory signals, with legal reforms accompanied by crackdowns

Women wearing traditional Uighur clothes in the city of Kashgar in the Chinese Xinjiang province. The mostly Muslim Uighurs share very close linguistic and cultural links to Central Asia and resent the Han Chinese. Photograph: Reinhard Krause/Reuters

Project will offer investment opportunities as well as energy and resources exchanges

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