2012 saw the growth of China's military might, a new leader in the Communist party, and the first female astronaut in space.
China's top leaders attend the opening ceremony of the18th Communist Party Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 8, 2012. Delegates of the Communist Party have arrived in China's capital for the meeting which begins the once-in-a-decade power transfer. President Hu Jintao will pass the leadership to Xi Jinping. UPI/Stephen Shaver
China's first female astronaut Liu Yang takes a photo of herself while in low earth orbit on the Shenzhou IX rocket on June 18, 2012. China made history Saturday when it launched a spacecraft sending the nation's first female, along with two male astronauts, into space for its fist manned-docking mission. UPI/Stephen Shaver
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) shows off its 4th Helicopter Regiment during an open house visit for journalists at a military base on the outskirts of Beijing on July 24, 2012. China's expanded economic strength, coupled with its military spending, has given rise to increasing regional security concerns with its neighbors -- with Japan, India and the Philippines being at the fore front.. UPI/Stephen Shaver