China media: Spending abuses

Tiananmen Square in Beijing Chinese papers urge Beijing authorities to curb rising corruption among officials

Media in China despair at corruption after a survey exposes widespread complacency about integrity and spending abuses among officials.

The Beijing Times and The Beijing News are alarmed at the results of a nationwide survey which shows over 80% of government departments wasted taxpayers' money to pay for office equipment well above the market price.

Ming Pao says the most blatant case was a department buying a desktop computer, which had a retail value of 2,649 yuan (£279) at a price marked up 37-fold at 98,700 yuan.

The survey commissioned by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences also shows that only half of senior officials believe that the families of cadres should abstain from profit-making activities, Southern Metropolis Daily notes with dismay.

The survey shows that many officials have no problem with accepting gifts or treats.

Meanwhile, primetime evening news on China Central Television last night featured the head of the Communist Party's corruption watchdog, Wang Qishan, saying the party faces "complex and severe tests" and "acute danger" from corruption and extravagance.

People's Daily today publishes Mr Wang's solutions for cracking down on wayward officials, including stricter supervision of cadres with relatives living abroad, who are nicknamed "naked officials".

Mr Wang says the party's watchdog will also keep a closer eye on officials' public spending and the professional activity of former senior officials. The party will also step up efforts to stop corrupt officials fleeing the country as well as recover stolen money or goods.

He also vowed harsher penalties for officials forking out for lavish banquets with taxpayers' money or using overseas study tours to go sightseeing.

However, Hong Kong's Oriental Daily News points out that Mr Wang's report calls on leading cadres to "report personal matters" but does not specify how officials should declare personal assets.

Mr Wang also warns that officials must have "political discipline" and not go against the decisions of the ruling Communist Party, the newspaper adds.

Oscar win

Turning to international news, Global Times hopes that new South Korean President Park Geun-hye will not follow her predecessor Lee Myung-bak's "radical" stance on North Korea and avoid being "kidnapped" by hawkish public opinion towards China and North Korea.

The Chinese foreign ministry yesterday rejected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's claim during his US visit last week that history and international law can prove disputed East China Sea islands belong to Japan as "ridiculous", Xinhua reports.

Russia has agreed to provide an annual 38bn cubic metres of natural gas to China, China Daily reports.

Meanwhile, Communist Party leader Xi Jinping vowed to continue building cross-strait ties and eventual reunification with the island in his first meeting with a Taiwan delegation yesterday since taking over as Communist Party secretary in November, the People's Daily Overseas Edition reports.

Mr Xi and Taiwan delegation leader Lien Chan repeated support for a "1992 consensus": both sides recognising "one China" but having respective interpretations.

Mainland media and internet users congratulate Taiwanese director Ang Lee on his Oscar win for Life of Pi, but Global Times notes that many cinemagoers and critics from the mainland are frustrated over their own domestic movies.

Southern Metropolis Daily and The Beijing News are dismayed at how the Ministry of Environmental Protection refused to release data from a national soil contamination investigation launched in 2006, saying it involved "state secrets".

Legal Daily broke the news yesterday of how the ministry declined Beijing lawyer Dong Zhengwei request for a 2006 soil pollution investigation report.

Experts are also petitioning China's parliament to scrap its planned amendments to environmental protection laws and to take tougher action on polluting industries ahead of its annual national meeting next month, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reports.

Chinese auto firm Geely Group plans to help a UK cab maker turn around profits by selling London's iconic black cabs to cities in China and across the world, China Daily reports.

The Beijing News says a voluntary human organ donation scheme was rolled out nationwide yesterday.

And finally, internet users are sceptical about the apparent hacking of a new microblog by Luo Yuan, an army general known for provocative statements.

According to Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, netizens question whether a self-laudatory post under Gen Luo's name hailing his earlier posts demanding "moderate sanctions" on North Korea was a mistake by the general himself or a PR team.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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