THIS IS PART TWO of Young Post's year-end review. Today, we sum up the big events on the mainland. January 23: The controversy over the Falun Gong continues. Five alleged Falun Gong followers set themselves ablaze in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. One woman and her 12-year-old daughter died as a result and three were critically injured. Sect spokesmen said the five were not Falun Gong members. The sect was outlawed and branded an evil cult by Beijing in 1999. Some members have since been called 'terrorists'. February 27: The United States launches its first significant criticism of China's human rights record since President George W. Bush's inauguration on January 20, warning of a worsening situation on the mainland. As China strove to become a key player in global diplomacy, relations between the two countries deteriorated. Later in the year, there appeared to be a thaw in the frosty relations, especially over the US stance on terrorism. March 6: An explosion at a school in Fanglin kills 42 children who, it was alleged, had been forced to make fireworks. March 16: A series of explosions in four residential blocks in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, kills 108. A lone, jobless man was held responsible for the lethal attack. Mainland news reports said the attacker had sought to avenge perceived grievances by his former employer. Later in the year, China suffered other bomb blasts set by lone assailants. Analysts said the incidents reflected the dark side of reform as crumbling social networks left people to face problems alone. April 1: A spy plane collides with a Chinese fighter jet off Hainan Island. The Chinese plane crashes into the South China Sea and the pilot disappears without a trace. The American surveillance aircraft makes an emergency landing on Hainan. Chinese authorities detained 24 American crewmen for 11 days then authorised the plane to be crated and sent back to Guam at US expense. Commentators said the incident froze relations between the two powers for several months. June 23: The Three Tenors - Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo - perform in Beijing's Forbidden City before an audience of 100,000, including politicians, diplomats and celebrities. The concert was aimed at showcasing Beijing's bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games. July 13: Following major presentations to the International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission headed by Hein Verbruggen, Beijing wins bid to host the 2008 Games. October 7: China's sporting ambitions are given another boost when the national soccer team qualifies for the World Cup for the first time. October 19: Taiwan walks out of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit in Shanghai. President Chen Shui-bian accused China of suppressing its right to attend international meetings. A row developed between Beijing and Taipei over the island's chosen representative at the summit. Mr Chen warned of a 'negative impact on cross-strait relations' if China refused to allow his nomination of former vice-president Li Yuan-zu to attend the forum. Beijing insisted Mr Li did not satisfy Apec protocols, but an invitation had been issued to Taiwan. October 19: Forget the dispute over the spy plane crash on April 1. It is time to show friendship and unity after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US. President Jiang Zemin's first face-to-face meeting with Mr Bush in Shanghai signals friendship and goodwill. Mr Bush praises his host for standing by the US in the war on terrorism and flattered him on the changes he had brought to Shanghai. In the context of the volatile relations between the two countries, the meeting lent bilateral relations a stable footing. October 20 to 21: China hosts a series of Apec events for the first time culminating in the Shanghai summit. November 12: The mainland's 16-year effort to enter the World Trade Organisation (WTO) comes to pass. China signed an accord to join the trade body one hour after Taiwan's entry was approved. Mainland media hailed the approval for WTO accession as one of China's three major international highlights of 2001, the others being the country's successful bid for the 2008 Olympics, and its qualification for the World Cup. WTO membership entitles China to the full trading rights enjoyed by member countries and regions of which there are currently 142. December 7: Mainland police announce the discovery of what is probably the biggest tax fraud case in the country's history, costing the Ministry of Finance more than 20 billion yuan (HK$18.8 billion). Police arrested a 28-year-old for allegedly using false documents to avoid paying tax.