China media: Praise for investigation against Ling Jihua

Ling Jihua, newly elected vice chairman of the Chinese People"s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), pauses during a plenary meeting of the 12th CPPCC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in this March 11, 2013 file photo. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ling Jihua was demoted in 2012 after reports that his son had died crashing his Ferrari sports car in Beijing

Papers praise China's anti-corruption drive after authorities launched an investigation into former President Hu Jintao's most senior aide.

Ling Jihua was demoted in 2012 after reports that his son had died crashing his Ferrari sports car in Beijing.

Xi Jinping took over from Hu Jintao as the Communist Party leader and China's president in late 2012.

Since the transition, Mr Xi has introduced a wide-ranging crackdown on corruption, warning it could threaten the party's very survival.

State-run China News Service reiterates Mr Xi's tough stance on graft and praises the leadership for being courageous to adopt a "zero-tolerance" attitude towards corrupt officials.

"The insistence on being strict with the party and governing it with the rule of law reflects the confidence and courage of the party, and also its ability to reinvent itself," says the article.

Echoing similar views, the Global Times hails the leaders for "making unprecedented efforts to crack down on corruption" and describes the case as "another milestone in China's rule of law".

"Mr Ling's fall sends a strong signal to the public that the anti-graft endeavour will be a long-running undertaking. No matter how powerful or high-ranking a government official is, there is no chance they will find immunity from the punishment they deserve," says the daily.

The article also hints that Mr Ling might be involved in "family corruption", where one uses connections to help family members and relatives to gain wealth.

"We can tell from these rumours that Mr Ling's family was consumed by the power he possessed and abused it for ill-gotten gains…It is very likely that Mr Ling also used his power to help his family cover up their dirty deeds," it says.

Li Chengyan, an expert on public governance at Peking University, tells the Chinese edition of the paper that the the fall of Mr Ling is a "signal" that the anti-graft effort will not be stopped.

Also commending the anti-graft effort, an article in the Eastday Net calls for a more comprehensive anti-graft system to "eliminate corruption at its roots".

"Under such a system, the law will be above everybody, and everything will be transparent and fair," says the article.

Without making direct reference to Mr Ling, the Legal Daily agrees that the lack of regulations and transparency are some of the reasons that have allowed "family corruption" to take place.

'Fuss' over Pyongyang

Meanwhile, papers criticise the US for "kicking a fuss" after it accused North Korea of hacking.

Sony last week cancelled the release of the film The Interview, which depicts the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following threats made by a group that hacked into Sony's servers and leaked sensitive material and emails.

The US has accused North Korea of being behind the attack on Sony Pictures, a claim it rejects. President Barack Obama has said the US is considering putting North Korea back on its list of terrorism sponsors.

Zuo Xiaodong, the vice-president of the China Information Security Research Institute, points out that Washington's accusations do not have any "tangible evidence" and this "may run against the spirit of science".

"As for servers of a private business, which are usually more vulnerable than the governmental ones, hacking may have been done by hackers acting on their own rather than a cyber army," the pundit tells the China Daily.

A commentary in the Global Times' Chinese edition lashes out at the US for "kicking a fuss" over the hacking incident and says Washington has an ulterior motive for planning to name North Korea as a sponsor for terrorism.

Chinese Christmas

And finally, some papers shine a spotlight on Christmas celebrations in the country as the festival seems to have gained a "Chinese flavour".

Christmas is not a traditional holiday in China and was once banned in the country. But in recent years, the Christian festival has become an increasingly popular occasion for commercial activities.

An article in the China Youth Daily, however, disagrees with the views in "Western media" that Christmas has lost its meaning in the land of dragons.

"Christmas has gained more Chinese flavour in China. Yet, instead of saying that the people here are crazy about everything Western, we should say that this is a process of our young people transforming the foreign festivals," argues the article.

It explains that as an "imported" festival, the young people in China do not carry any "cultural baggage", so they could "freely transform" the festive season into an opportunity to "indulge in fun".

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