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China media: Scottish referendum

  • 19 September 2014
  • From the section China
"Better Together" supporters celebrate the result of the Scottish referendum on independence at the campaign headquarters on 19 September 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Scotland's referendum saw very high voter turn-out

Chinese papers see the Scottish referendum as a sign of the UK's weakness, while warning against similar calls in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Media commentaries have been largely wary of the referendum.

Su Hao, a professor with China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, tells the South China Morning Post that China should not "recognise the legitimacy of such referendums".

The Global Times, in an editorial, comments that "the tide of secessionism is rising in the West".

"The referendum is different from massive riots or disturbances in which immigrants acted as the main forces. It displays in a direct way a division in United Kingdom society. It is a showdown with the purpose of getting a 'divorce'," it says.

Noting that Western countries are making concerted efforts to save a united UK, the article points out that "there is also secessionism in the Oriental world, notably in China, India and Russia".

"However, legal, political and moral systems play an effective role. Liberal practices in the UK might have worked in the past, but now are facing immense uncertainty," it says.

The Chinese edition of the editorial adds that the West has "lacked the ability to self-reform".

"In the past, the British could solve their internal conflicts by snatching colonies to achieve their self-interest. Now it can only rely on internal reform, and here comes the Scottish referendum when such effort to reform has failed," it says, predicting that the Western society will face "more and more such conundrums".

An article in the pro-Beijing Hong Kong-based China Review News Agency describes the "Scottish model" as an "isolated case" which cannot be "replicated".

"The international society widely accepts this concept: the unification or independence of an administrative zone is a sovereignty issue, so the right of decision should belong to the whole country, and not just by the administrative zone that is seeking independence," it says.

Noting that some media outlets in Taiwan are discussing if the island could draw lessons from Scotland, the agency, in another article, says that the Scottish-style referendum "cannot be applied on Taiwan".

"In the foreseeable future, there is no possibility of breaking away from China… Those who have been encouraged by the referendum in Scotland and are calling for independence should return to reality… and give up the fantasy for seeking a referendum for Taiwan's independence," it warns.

China-India ties

Moving on to other news, media continue to give prominent coverage to President Xi Jinping's three-day official visit to India, while playing down news of fresh border clashes.

Both countries have signed 12 agreements in Delhi, one of which will see China investing $20bn (£12.2bn) in India's infrastructure over five years.

Mr Xi's visit, however, comes amid reports in the Indian media that Chinese troops are trying to construct a temporary road into Indian territory across the Line of Actual Control (the de facto boundary) in the disputed Ladakh region over the past week.

However, most media outlets in China make no mention of the reported border clashes but highlight Mr Xi's statement that both countries should "seek a solution that is fair and acceptable to both sides through friendly consultations".

The two countries disagree over the demarcation of several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962. Tensions over the issue still flare up from time to time.

The Global Times' Chinese edition observes that the India media outlets have been "stirring up news about Chinese soldiers crossing over the border".

"However, this news did not affect the meeting... we can see this as a sign that both sides are confident about the future," 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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