China

China media: Tennis star Li Na

Li Na, 2014 Australian Open champion Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Li Na beat Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 in Saturday's final.

Chinese tennis star Li Na has come under fire for her "indifferent attitude" at an official ceremony to honour her victory in the Australian Open.

Li allegedly wore an "unsmiling face" when she was given a cheque of 800,000 yuan ($132,000; £80,000) from Hubei Communist Party chief Li Hongzhong, prompting a section of the media and netizens to ask why officials are giving away taxpayer's money.

The China Youth Daily notes that Li's stern expression at the reward ceremony was in stark contrast to her lively speech after winning the Australian Open on Saturday.

"From her indifferent attitude to the reward, local government and officials should reflect on rewarding celebrities in the future... Please do not make decisions for the taxpayers, nor think that recipients will certainly be happy to receive these rewards," the paper adds.

Li had also received a 600,000 yuan ($99,000; £60,000) cash reward from the Hubei government after winning the French Open final in 2011, but she donated the amount to a charity after a few days, the Southern Metropolis Daily recalls.

"The controversy Li Na has caused over these years mostly arose because she wanted to distance herself from the state sports system, she only wants to represent herself, not the country," says the paper.

China's state-run sports system is characterised by central planning in which promising athletes are spotted at an early age and groomed as top athletes, but they have no control of their career or earnings.

Her success "has been used as a proof that the current sports mechanism needs thorough reform", an editorial in the Global Times says.

The paper acknowledges the importance of commercial sports, but also defends the country's state-run system.

"Objectively speaking, Li's championship has demonstrated that there are royal roads to success besides the state-run system. She has inspired more athletes to take up commercial sports. Nevertheless, her triumph couldn't serve as a reason to call for China to abandon the state mechanism immediately," says the paper.

The 31-year old was trained under the national team but was allowed to leave in 2008 to compete on her own, but her success is "related to the training the country has provided", reminds the Xinhua news agency.

'Fake ambulances'

Meanwhile, media also criticise Japan for revising its teaching manuals for schools to stress its ownership of disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The disputed territory includes islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but also claimed by China, and islands controlled by South Korea.

A commentary in the Beijing News notes that Japan had also published right-wing history textbooks in the past, but there were few takers as Japan's teachers associations were against "beautifying the invasion".

"This time, even though the new revised guidelines are not legally binding, but because they have avoided the history of invasion and only stress on territorial sovereignty… the rate of usage might be higher than those right-wing textbooks of the past," it adds.

The China Daily notes that the revision of textbooks usually comes every 10 years in Japan, but the latest one is ahead of schedule as it was due to take place in 2016.

"Japan never had such a high-profile revision. The [Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe administration's decision to push the revision earlier than scheduled is part of the trend of growing right-wing forces in Japan," the paper quotes Zhang Yong, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as saying.

Elsewhere, media are also discussing the future of the CCTV's Spring Festival Gala after Lyu Yitao, chief executive director of the show, was quoted as saying that the event will be upgraded to the status of a "national project".

The national status is likely to attract more state funding for the traditional event.

The annual programme, which started broadcasting on the eve of the Chinese New Year 30 years ago, has lost its appeal because the content has "become obsolete and less relevant to the present day," the China Daily reports.

Mr Lyu did not give details about the "upgrade" but said that "the new gala will stress creative, innovative themes", reports the Global Times.

And finally, a lack of hospital emergency services has given rise to "shanzhai" (fake) ambulances in Guiyang city, south-western Guizhou Province, says the People's Daily.

According to the paper, these mini-vans, which are converted into ambulances, look exactly like the real ones, but are poorly equipped and sometimes without medically trained staff onboard.

These vans ply the streets, bargaining fares for the trips, and sometimes even receive recommendations by hospital staff who get a commission, says the report.

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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