China morning round-up: Aircraft carrier

Chinese President Hu Jintao inspects the guard of honour on the aircraft carrier Liaoning at the port of Dalian, 25 Sept 2012
Image caption President Hu Jintao inspected the new vessel at the commissioning ceremony

Newspapers report extensively on the launch of China's first aircraft carrier - the Liaoning.

China Daily and People's Daily publish their reports on the front page, so do many regional and local newspapers.

Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily News says the significance of the commissioning ceremony at the port of Dalian was shown by the presence of both President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

A front-page commentary in the People's Daily Overseas Edition says the vessel is the "latest standard equipment of a great nation". It also accused "some foreign media" of "deliberately exaggerating" the move, saying the warship symbolised China's maritime ambitions.

Beijing News' editorial says the commissioning of the Liaoning is only the first step in building a completely functional aircraft carrier combat group.

The editorial in Guangzhou's Southern Metropolis Daily says China's backward industrial development is to blame for the late arrival on the national stage of an aircraft carrier. The mission for the Liaoning should be to promote China's modernisation.

The Global Times' bilingual editorial says: "An aircraft carrier will enhance China's status in the South China Sea disputes. A stronger and confident China will promote balance and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Parties in this region will be calmer by then."

On the East China Sea islands dispute, People's Daily re-prints a white paper published on Tuesday by the cabinet's information office setting out China's claim over the islands known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

People's Daily Overseas Edition and Shanghai Daily report the protest by dozens of Taiwanese boats near the disputed islands, known as Diaoyutai in Taiwan.

Ming Pao Daily News says netizens in China commented on the fact that that Taiwanese and Japanese coast guards had reportedly sprayed each other with water cannons, saying "the national armed forces [Taiwanese military] are more reliable in resisting the Japanese", in contrast to the restrained approach of Chinese fishery patrol vessels.

The Global Times and others report the Railway Ministry is facing heavy criticism after its recently-launched online ticketing system crashed due to heavy traffic ahead of the eight-day Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday.

Criticism intensified after a 199m yuan ($31.56m; £19.47m) upgrade contract was reportedly awarded to the same company which built the faulty system, said the Global Times.

China Daily reports Chinese Muslims' preparation for the annual Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca. China has more than 23m Muslims living in the country.

The China Islamic Association has planned 82 charter flights this year to send more than 13,800 people to Saudi Arabia, said the report.

Meanwhile, Southern Metropolis Daily and Metro Daily Hong Kong report the Hong Kong government is concerned by the emergence of a Sars-like respiratory virus in the Middle East.

Hong Kong was badly hit in the 2003 Sars outbreak. Health Secretary Ko Wing-man admitted knowledge on the new virus was limited at this stage.

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