China

China media: Flight delays

  • 28 July 2014
  • From the section China
China has one of the widest air networks in the world Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sunday saw flights delayed across eastern China

Media highlight air travel disruption in China amid a large-scale military exercise.

The Beijing Times reports hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled on Sunday, disrupting schedules of air travellers in eastern China.

The disruption has sparked speculation that the delays were caused by the military drill.

Earlier, authorities had urged airlines to cut 25% of their flights to affected airports. However, no further details of the drill were given.

The Global Times says the Civil Aviation Administration of China announced last week that "stormy weather and regular military exercises will cause widespread delays at 12 busy airports in East China".

Several media outlets now reiterate the official explanation that the delays were not caused by the military drill.

A report in the Shanghai-based Eastday website notes that several flights were delayed "because of the stormy weather".

The Jingjiang Evening News, however, subtly points out that the problems may have been caused by "the insufficient airspace for civil aviation".

"Since the establishment of the new China (in 1949), the military has been controlling the airspace, only allocating 20% of it for civil aviation. In contrast, airlines in the US are allocated close to 90%," it notes.

It adds that the authorities have blamed the airlines for the delays, but they did not "look deeper to realise that insufficient civil aviation airspace might be the cause".

Historical terms

Elsewhere, media in China welcome the result of an unofficial vote against pro-democracy campaigns in Hong Kong.

In June, a total of 792,808 voters took part in an unofficial referendum on universal suffrage in Hong Kong. The 10-day poll was held by protest group Occupy Central.

Beijing has pledged that the Hong Kong public can directly choose its chief executive in the 2017 election, but only from a list of candidates selected by a nominating committee.

Activists fear China will use the committee to screen out candidates it disapproves of.

According to reports, the pro-establishment Alliance for Peace and Democracy conducted a petition to oppose the Occupy Central movement.

The petition had received 930,000 signatures by Sunday, exceeding the numbers collected by the pro-democracy group, reports say.

Shenzhen satellite TV notes that the pro-establishment vote "gained widespread support among the public in Hong Kong".

"Benefits of the 'one country, two systems' model are known to everyone. So the anti-Occupy Central movement is more representative of the general views in Hong Kong," Ma Zhen'gang, former ambassador to Britain, tells the TV network.

Echoing similar sentiments, the Global Times concludes that "the majority of Hongkongers are in favour of social stability".

"Many analysts also believe that the result of the so-called Occupy Central referendum in late June was exaggerated… The opposition groups have created a false image of Hong Kong to the outside world - a place where people have lost faith in the central government and Hong Kong's political reform," it says.

And finally, media criticise Nanjing authorities for modifying historical terms to "avoid offending Taiwanese tourists".

The Nanjing Tourism Committee earlier asked the tourism industry to change certain historical terms when hosting visitors from Taiwan in order to cater to their "context and feelings", reports say.

The committee withdrew the notice on Sunday after coming under attack by netizens and the media.

An article on the People's Liberation Army's microblog account criticised the Nanjing authorities for making the changes.

"History is objective. It is not like kneading a dough, it does not change as you wish… By the logic of some departments, when the Japanese tourists visit the anti-Japanese aggression museum, are we to change [some of the terms used]?" it asks.

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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