China media: Vendor execution defence

Tiananmen Square in Beijing
Image caption The Global Times says internet users have "no sense of bounderies"

Chinese state media are defending the execution of a street vendor, while papers in Hong Kong criticise the death penalty.

Xia Junfeng stabbed the two security officials after being detained for selling in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in 2009, Chinese media say.

He argued that he had acted in self-defence after the men attacked him. He was convicted of intentional homicide and sentenced to death in November 2009. His review appeal was rejected in April 2011.

The confirmation that Xia Junfeng's death penalty had been carried out sparked a storm of outrage online on Wednesday.

The Global Times, however, accuses internet users of having "no sense of boundaries" by "contending with courts for influence".

"The Xia Junfeng case has fuelled strong public opinion pressure against the civilised law enforcement of the chengguan [security officials]... There is no evidence in this case that can support Xia Junfeng's 'legitimate self-defence'. His death sentence approved by the Supreme People's Court should be seen as valuable adherence to the spirit of the law," it stresses.

Nevertheless, the Hong Kong press are largely dismayed at the death penalty given to Xia.

Hong Kong's Oriental Daily News echoes comparisons made by mainland internet users between Xia's execution and Gu Kailai, the estranged wife of disgraced politician Bo Xilai. She was convicted of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood, but was given a suspended death sentence.

"The seventh day after Xia Junfeng's death will fall on Communist China's 64th founding anniversary [1 October]. Netizens are calling the whole nation to burn incense for him on that day and to turn this day every year into one that is dreaded by the authorities," says Hong Kong's Apple Daily.

In contrast, thousands of internet users are welcoming a 10-year jail sentence handed out to Li Tianyi (also known as Li Guanfeng), the teenage son of two famous military singers, for raping a woman in February.

US-Iran detente

In international news, the Global Times plays down suspicions that China is against a US-Iran detente.

"Some people think that once US-Iran relations improve, a number of countries will be jealous and will block this. These people even include China among them... No matter whether it is China's relations with Iran or Myanmar [Burma], the common interests among both sides are very solid," it says.

Over in Shanghai, "official sources" tell People's Net that the city's upcoming free trade zone will not lift a ban on foreign websites such as Facebook, Twitter and the New York Times, as previously reported by Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

In other legal news, the Beijing Times says Han Lei, who was sentenced to death on Wednesday for killing a two-year-old girl by hurling her to the ground, plans to appeal despite stating earlier that he would welcome a death penalty.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong press are in a war of words again over recent calls by US and UK politicians for Hong Kong residents to enjoy "genuine" universal suffrage rights when electing their chief executive in 2017.

On Wednesday, Beijing's Foreign Ministry spokesman said the US should not "interfere" or "make irresponsible remarks" on Hong Kong after the new US consul-general in Hong Kong, Clifford Hart, said that the US will not take sides in the city's political reform debate.

"Hart's goal is to enable an opposition figure who represents US interests to be elected as chief executive. This is an an attempt to use Hong Kong as a bridgehead to promote a 'colour revolution' in China. This must be exposed and condemned," says the Beijing-backed Wen Wei Po.

"Beijing's top levels must not be deceived by conspiracy theorists, let alone use these absurd theories as an excuse to stifle opportunities for introducing universal suffrage once again," says the Apple Daily in response.

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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