China is trying to keep north and south Korea from going to war over North Korea sinking a South Korean warship with a secret (North Korea won't admit responsibility) torpedo attack. Overall, China wants the two Koreas to remain quiet, and not united. A war could bring unity, most likely with the south absorbing the north. China does not want that. Moreover, such a conflict would send millions of refugees across the border into northern China, where the economy and public order would be disrupted. China wants North Korea to stay independent, and become more self-sufficient via economic reforms China has been using for three decades. But the North Koreans refuse, and grow increasingly paranoid, violent and unpredictable. China has, for centuries, preferred a weak Korea. A divided Korea, even with a prosperous and dynamic south, suits China just fine. But South Korea has become a major trading partner with China, and is demanding that China pressure North Korea to at least admit its role in the torpedo attack.
China is adopting new land ownership rules, to stave off widespread rebellion. The current rules, enacted nine years ago, allow local officials to, well, steal land from home owners and farmers. Low (or no) compensation can be given, and local police called in to enforce the seizures. These practices have caused a growing number of mass (and often violent) demonstrations. Rather than risk threatened property owners getting organized nationwide, the government is rushing to create new laws that will eliminate most of the land abuses.
For decades, China has been pressuring trading partners to not sell weapons to Taiwan. The only major arms supplier still shipping stuff to Taiwan is the United States, and China is having increasing success in blocking U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan. This is done with diplomatic, economic and lobbyist pressure. For thousands of years, Chinese policy has been to keep its neighbors weak.
May 25, 2010: The U.S. and Japanese militaries have agreed to cooperate in monitoring the Chinese navy. China is not happy with this, and has been very public in its protests.
May 18, 2010: Taiwan has introduced a new class of 186 ton, stealthy, missile boats. At least twenty of these will be built in the next few years.
May 17, 2010: Photos have appeared of Chinese Air Force radar aircraft based on Boeing 737s. This is illegal, as China has to obtain permission. However, the 737 in question appears to be equipped to track missile tests, which can be explained away as a scientific, not military, purpose.
May 14, 2010: China has made a $23 billion deal with Nigeria to build three oil refineries. China is trying to use the increasing amount of investment in Africa to obtain more arms sales there as well.