China media: Japan PM criticised

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
Image caption Chinese media and experts feel Mr Abe is not serious about improving bilateral ties

Media rebuke Japanese PM Shinzo Abe for sending a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.

State media question Mr Abe's sincerity on improving ties following his decision to donate personal funds as ruling party president for a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine on the 68th anniversary of Tokyo's surrender in World War II.

The shrine honours 2.5 million citizens who died in World War II and other conflicts, including 14 military leaders convicted of being WWII class-A war criminals.

"Mr Abe revealed that he will not visit the Yasukuni Shrine today, but he has presented a 'tamagushi' (ritual offering). As a prime minister, he is stubbornly playing this 'edgeball' to 'clip' the 'edge' of the ending of World War II and the Tokyo Tribunal for Japan," comments the Global Times.

"This was a compromise or shrine worship in a roundabout manner. US pressure was the main reason why his shrine visit was abandoned... Abe is still looking for the right opportunity to honour his political pledge of an official shrine visit," writes Lu Hao, a Japan studies expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in the People's Daily.

In other international news, some state media and pundits are highlighting flaws in Egypt's political system following further violence in the country.

"The turmoil in Egypt is also embarrassment of the Western world... The West has actually given most of the designs for Egypt's roadmap of the last two-odd years, but now things have clearly screwed up," comments the Global Times.

Car prices

Meanwhile, the China Automobile Dealers Association is investigating the "unreasonable pricing and excessive profits" of foreign car brands in China, but insists that the probe is not a government crackdown on foreign manufacturers.

"The high prices of foreign-brand vehicles, especially imported vehicles, have drawn a lot of attention in recent years, as prices of some are two-and-a-half times what they are in the US and Europe," Jia Xinguang, an analyst in Beijing, tells the China Daily.

The investigation follows similar probes against alleged price-fixing by foreign milk powder, gold and pharmaceutical firms,

Turning back to domestic news, the Ta Kung Pao says the reappearance in Beijing of Liu Yunshan, the party's propaganda chief, who ranks fifth in the leadership, may signal that the party's annual closed-door policy meetings in the coastal resort of Beidaihe are drawing to a close.

In the last two weeks, most of the seven members of the party's powerful Politburo Standing Committee have been out of the public view.

Meanwhile, state media have hit back at two planned protest movements by overseas activists to mark the 25th anniversary of the 4 June 1989 military crackdown next year.

Former 1989 Tiananmen student leader Wang Dan has launched "Surround the City", calling for protests outside mainland Chinese foreign institutions and embassies worldwide next 4 June.

Hong Kong's Apple Daily says overseas dissident websites are also promoting "Back to Tiananmen", a movement calling for people to gather in Tiananmen Square on 4 June next year in a "non-violent revolution to end one-party dictatorship".

"Several overseas democracy movements are in contact online and threatening to return home to make trouble or 'besiege' Chinese government organs around the world on a certain day next year," the state-run Global Times says.

It does not mention either protest movement by name or the Tiananmen crackdown.

"The marginalized overseas democracy movement is trying to prove its own existence and grab media attention. No one believes that they can stir up big waves," it adds dismissively.

"Their (party media) response in itself proves that this matter is not as insignificant as they say, otherwise they would simply take no notice, exiled Tiananmen leader Wang Juntao tells the Apple Daily.

Continuing with a Tiananmen theme, the South China Morning Post says Cirque du Soleil, a Canadian art troupe, pulled photos of the 1989 crackdown from its China tour despite previous checks by censors.

An audience in Beijing was left stunned after photos of the "tank man", an unarmed man who temporarily stopped tanks near Tiananmen Square on 5 June 1989, appeared onscreen during the troupe's Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour last Friday.

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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