China media: 'Contradictory' information on plane search

Aircraft from several countries are trying to locate the missing jet Image copyright AFP
Image caption Aircraft from several countries are trying to locate the missing jet

Chinese media are concerned over "contradictory" and sometimes inaccurate information coming out of Kuala Lumpur about the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

Beijing-bound flight MH370 vanished on Saturday shortly after it left Kuala Lumpur. There were 239 people, mostly Chinese nationals, on board.

A massive international search operation is under way in the South China Sea. A senior Malaysian military official on Wednesday denied comments reported on Tuesday that the plane had been tracked by an army radar in the Strait of Malacca off Malaysia's west coast.

Confused by the conflicting reports, the Global Times Chinese edition criticises Malaysian authorities for treating the incident like a "domestic affair" and urges the country to fully co-operate with China, as "the whole world is watching".

"Is the Malaysian military hiding something or is there a lack of co-ordination between the military and civil affairs departments leading to the huge information mix-up?... We are worried that Kuala Lumpur might not have the ability to handle information effectively. If so, would they consider involving China to study the raw information?" it asks.

In a less direct manner, the China Internet Information Centre website, a state-run news portal, reports that Vietnam has scaled back some of its search activities.

The website says Vietnam may have scaled back its operation to express "displeasure" over the contradictory statements coming out from Malaysia.

Zhang Qizhun, an expert on aviation law from the Beijing Law Society, tells the Beijing News that the Chinese government can fine Malaysia Airlines if it feels that the carrier caused a delay in the rescue process.

Gun laws

Moving on to other news, media are analysing the effect of interest rate liberalisation as the central bank has indicated that it may take such a measure in the near future.

According to local media reports, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China's central bank, revealed on Tuesday that as "the last step in interest rate marketisation, the yuan deposit rates will be liberalised in one to two years".

Interest rates on bank deposits are currently controlled by the state.

Welcoming the intended move, the Nanfang Daily says such action would be beneficial for the vibrancy of the banking sector, though there might be "short-term pain" at the initial stage.

"Once the deposit rate is liberalised, macroeconomic and currency policies might be affected… there will be competition among financial institutions for loans and deposits and this may affect banks' revenue in the long-term. But customers will enjoy better service," it adds.

Echoing a similar view, the Southern Metropolis Daily hopes that the authorities will stay with the "one to two-year timeline", as the market is ready for the change.

The China Daily says the banking sector will face tough challenges, as there might be more job cuts in traditional banks with the rapid integration of internet-based technologies and financial services.

"The Chinese authorities are suggesting fast moves because technology will not wait and, more importantly, it is time to deepen reform," it says.

Analysing the possible effect that comes with deposit rate liberalisation, the Beijing News says a controlled interest rate has led to the popularity of unregulated internet financial platforms, but this is expected to change when the banks have the power to set the rates.

"The purchasing power of the yuan in domestic markets will increase, which is the main purpose of reforming the deposit rate liberalisation," it says.

And finally, Ma Zhenchuan, deputy at the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, has proposed amendments to the "Police Law" in the aftermath of the Kunming knife attack on 1 March.

Citing the knife incident, Mr Ma said "a police officer shot four attackers within 15 seconds, but in most cases, the police are likely to wait for orders to shoot", he reportedly said.

Supporting the proposal, the Beijing Times says though the current law allows police to open fire in several situations, the description is not clear enough.

"Although the law states a few 'emergency situations', they are not specific and comprehensive enough… When the law is clear, police will be more confident knowing when they could use the gun," it says.

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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