China media: Warning against Syria strike
State media and experts warn against a US military strike on Syria and urge China to play a cautious role in the conflict.
Official media as well as experts from China's top think-tanks are warning against a possible US military strike on the Syrian government before a United Nations investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons is concluded.
"The US' logic is that chemical weapons are in the hands of the Syrian army, so once these weapons are used, they can only be used by the government army. Amid a situation of turmoil and the chaos of war, this cannot be regarded as correct logic," comments Qu Xing, director of the China Institute of International Studies, a foreign ministry-affiliated think-tank, in the People's Daily.
"The US may fall into another protracted bloody war once again and its outcome may be even worse than the fate of [the] US military in Iraq and it may further accelerate the decline of America. We urge Obama to think twice before acting," warns Liu Zhilin, a former Chinese diplomat, in the Global Times website.
Some experts also suspect ulterior motives behind the US' possible moves towards a military strike on Bashar Al-Assad's government.
"The US appears to be targeting the al-Assad regime, but in actual fact, it is targeting Lebanon-Shia Iran and their backer, Russia," writes Wang Yiwei, a professor of international affairs at Beijing's Renmin University, in the website of the People's Daily Overseas Edition.
However, most official media are unclear how China can avert foreign military intervention.
"Even though Russia, China and other countries are far weaker than the US, they must not let the US fight this war comfortably. Russia and China should mobilize their various capabilities to try to increase the US' costs of starting a war," says the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid affiliated to the People's Daily.
Yan Xuetong, a professor of international relations at Beijing's Tsinghua University, strikes a note of caution.
"China can strengthen cooperation economically with countries in the Middle East, but politically, it had better stick with declaring its stand. The US is unable to solve the Syrian problem despite being much more powerful than China... The complexity of Middle East politics is far beyond our comprehension," he tells the Oriental Morning Post.
Outcry over toddler's death
Meanwhile, a two-day gang rape trial involving Li Tianyi (also known as Li Guanfeng), the teenage son of Li Shuangjiang and Meng Ge, well-known Chinese military singers, finished on Thursday with him pleading not guilty to involvement in an alleged gang rape of a woman.
The Southern Metropolis Daily says four other suspects pleaded guilty and three of them apologised to the victim, who did not participate in the trial. A verdict will be delivered at a later date.
The case has stirred public discontent about the children of the country's elite who are perceived as over-privileged and enjoying immunity from legal prosecution.
The Southern Metropolis Daily also reports that Ji Zhongxing, a wheelchair-bound petitioner from Shandong, has been indicted for setting off a home-made explosive at the Beijing Capital International Airport on 20 July. If convicted, Mr Ji faces up to 10 years imprisonment.
Mr Ji, a former construction worker, says he set off the bomb in protest over local authorities ignoring his demands for compensation after a fight with security guards left him partially paralysed and unable to work.
Elsewhere, a public outcry has been triggered by the case of a toddler who was crushed to death by a bulldozer during a land dispute in Fujian province.
The girl's father says his daughter Hong Xiaorou was killed when the developers forcibly tried to flatten the family's plot of land.
The family took the girl's corpse to the local government office to protest.
Officials quickly dismissed this as an accident, prompting various media like the Beijing News to call for a thorough investigation of the incident.
In China, compensation disputes over the acquisition of village land often end in violence with villagers resisting forcible evictions and demolition.
"The local government should reflect on the root causes of this tragedy and how to resolve this," concludes the Beijing Times.