China media: Visa controversy

Wealthy Chinese citizens invest in foreign countries like Canada Image copyright AFP
Image caption Wealthy Chinese citizens are known to invest in foreign countries like Canada

Controversy over Canadian visas for wealthy Chinese, the recovery of the moon rover and China-Taiwan talks are the main themes in the papers on Thursday.

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced on Tuesday in parliament that his government planned to scrap its 30-year old "investment immigration programme", crushing the "migration dreams" of thousands of wealthy Chinese.

The scheme was designed to attract wealthy investors to Canada.

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post had reported that the Canadian authorities were overwhelmed by the influx of applications from China and decided to "dump 46,000 Chinese applications".

However, the Global Times refutes the figure, saying that there were around 16,000 people from China who applied for investor visas to Canada between December 2012 and October 2013.

The daily also quotes an email reply from the Canadian Embassy in Beijing that said "research shows that immigrant investors pay less in taxes than other economic immigrants".

In its editorial, the paper cautions against "politicising" the migration issue and urges "high-calibre overseas Chinese and capable foreign investors to return to China".

The Beijing News says that the new move will prompt some wealthy Chinese to consider migrating to the US or other European countries that are facing economic crises and attracting immigrants.

Meanwhile, media outlets are reporting that China's first moon rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, "fully awakened" on Wednesday.

The moon rover was "declared dead", after reports said that it "could not be restored to full function on Monday as expected".

The Jade Rabbit is a mythical character that lives on the moon in Chinese folklore. The deployment of the moon rover on 15 December was the first successful landing on the Moon since 1976.

The Global Times notes that the public has shown unusual emotional attachment to this "landmark achievement".

An unverified weibo account called Jade Rabbit Lunar Rover, which writes first-person microblog posts in the voice of the probe, has "attracted more than 270,000 followers".

"Thank you rabbit for telling the world that we're strong, the masters will work hard to send a buddy for you soon," a weibo user is quoted as saying.

Fighting pollution

Elsewhere, media continue to give prominent coverage to the landmark China-Taiwan talks being held in Nanjing.

According to reports, Wang Yu-chi, chief of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, said that "the Republic of China is already 103 years old" as he paid tribute at the mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen, a revolutionary credited with ending the feudal monarchy system from China in 1911.

The Global Times notes that this is the first time Mr Wang mentioned "Republic of China".

The "Republic of China" is the official name of Taiwan but China has refused to recognise it, saying the name ceased to exist after 1949, the year when the People's Republic of China was established.

Not responding directly to the remarks, China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang says Sun Yat-sen "is revered by all Chinese".

"Under the new historical conditions, people from both China and Taiwan should inherit his spirit to revive the greatness of the Chinese nation", Xinhua news agency quotes him as saying.

In other news, measures to tackle smog are back in the media spotlight as the central government announced a 10bn yuan ($1.65bn; £1bn) fund to reduce pollution in major cities.

According to a central government statement, the fund will be used to curb coal consumption and promote the use of cleaner fuel.

Chai Fahe, vice-president of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, tells China Daily that the government is using economic instruments to promote environmental protection, a method that can save resources.

And finally, a powerful earthquake struck Xinjiang, northwest China, on Wednesday. According to the Ministry of Land and Resources, the earthquake's magnitude was 7.3.

It adds that no casualties have been reported, while the Beijing Times reports the collapse of 23 houses and warns of strong quakes "in the coming years".

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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