China media: Bribery trial

Yuan - file image Image copyright AFP
Image caption Liu Tienan is accused of taking bribes of tens of millions of yuan

Papers highlight the corruption crackdown as a high-ranking planning official went on trial for accepting millions of dollars in bribes.

Liu Tienan was the National Development and Reform Commission deputy head until he was sacked in August 2013.

He is accused of receiving about 35.6 million yuan in kickbacks (£3.5m, $5.8m) for granting favours to businesses.

The China Daily comments that the process of appointing top officials should be better scrutinised.

"It is embarrassing to even acknowledge that Mr Liu and many others who have been caught in the anti-corruption net were repeatedly promoted to higher offices while each time abusing the power they had in hand," writes the paper.

The daily urges the authorities to find out "who was behind Liu's promotions".

The Beijing Times criticises the notion that Mr Liu was "a clean official" because he "pocketed only a small amount despite his high position".

"Such views reflect the lack of concept of right or wrong… He should be punished in accordance with the law as his wrongdoing has serious consequences for to the country and society. We hope that the case… will serve as a lesson to other officials and make them respect the law and not to abuse their power," the paper points out.

Some experts are predicting that despite the serious accusations, Mr Liu might not be punished severely.

"Judging from Mr Liu's behaviour in court and his attitude toward admitting his guilt, he is likely to get a lighter sentence," Li Fabao, Liu Tienan's attorney, tells the English-language edition of the Global Times.

The paper adds that prosecutors have also pointed to Mr Liu's co-operation during the investigation and suggested that the court should be lenient.

China-Japan ties

Meanwhile, commentators have welcomed reports that China and Japan have resumed talks on maritime issues.

According to Xinhua news agency, Beijing and Tokyo have restarted high-level consultations to resolve territorial disputes in the East China Sea, which in recent months have strained bilateral relations.

Yi Xianliang, deputy director general of the foreign ministry's Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, met his Japanese counterpart, Makita Shimokawa, in the eastern port city of Qingdao on Tuesday and yesterday, the agency reports.

Da Zhigang, an expert in Japanese affairs at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, sees the willingness to talk as a "signal of good intentions" by China and Japan.

"Though there are some issues of principle between the two nations, neither of them would like to let political tension spread to economic areas, especially in the context of a fragile recovery of the global economy and slower growth in China," he tells the English-language South China Morning Post.

Gao Hong, an expert on Japanese affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says in the Beijing Times that China-Japan ties are not only about territorial disputes, and that "both countries are able to see the bigger picture".

He points out that the resumption of talks is "a positive step towards breaking the deadlock in the relationship", but cautions against high expectations. "The maritime issue is too complex and cannot be solved by one or two dialogues or consultation sessions," says the pundit.

India's Mars mission

And finally, some media outlets assure readers that China "does not feel jealous" after India successfully launched its first Mars mission.

The South Asian country is the fourth nation or geo-bloc to put a satellite into orbit around the Red Planet.

"The Indian public fully expressed their elation at having surpassed China in Mars exploration… There is rhetoric on India's Internet that the success of Mangalyaan is pouring salt into China's wounds," says the Global Times, referring to China's failed 2011 mission Yinghuo-1.

The paper, however, is quick to point out that China's fortunes will turn around.

"If a country that is relatively backward in scientific research is able to send a probe to Mars, it is highly possible that Yinghuo-2 may succeed in the future," it argues.

"India reminds us of the importance of taking the first step… Though Yinghuo-1 was outperformed by Mangalyaan, China's aerospace sector has made precious achievements," concludes the Global Times.

The Chinese version of the same editorial adds that India "sees itself as a big country", but will have to pay a price to become one.

"Half the 1.2 billion population of this big South Asian country do not have access to toilets, 287 million are illiterate. Instead of using the money to build toilets and schools, it has tightened its belt and spent the money to take pictures in space," says the daily.

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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