China media: Kenji Goto

People have been paying tributes to Kenji Goto Image copyright AFP
Image caption People have been paying tribute to Kenji Goto, a well-known freelance journalist

Papers assess the impact of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto's apparent killing at the hands of Islamic State militants.

Several papers highlight a rise in public anger in Japan over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Middle East policy.

Some Chinese dailies say Mr Abe is likely to use the incident as an "excuse" to expand Japan's military presence overseas.

"The hostage crisis will no doubt provide a very good excuse for the Abe government to review its constitution to send its troops abroad," the Qianjiang Evening News quotes Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert, as saying.

Under its post-war constitution, Japan is barred from using force to resolve conflicts except in cases of self-defence.

However, last year, Japan allowed a reinterpretation of the constitution which seeks to pave the way for its military to use force to defend its allies from attacks.

Condemning IS, the Global Times says "the tragedy deserves the sympathy of Chinese society".

However, the paper describes Mr Abe as "naive" and says the outcome "once again proves that his government lacks the ability to cope with the perplexities of the Middle East".

"As an informal military partner in the US-led alliance, Japan is in the disadvantageous and dangerous position of self-defence," states the daily, adding that the US "didn't offer substantial help to rescue the hostages".

The editorial says that the Abe government is "confronting" IS "out of the consideration to sending Japanese forces abroad".

But it reminds Tokyo that the hostage crisis is "a warning" that it should not "follow Washington too closely in the Middle East issue".

Hong Kong protests 'unpopular'

Turning to other news, some papers say the opposition camp in Hong Kong are becoming "unpopular", after a Sunday protest attracted a much smaller crowd.

Thousands of pro-democracy activists returned to the streets of Hong Kong for their first big rally since mass protests last year.

But the number of protesters - put by organisers at 13,000 but by police at half that figure - was far lower than the earlier demonstrations.

Media outlets in the mainland China have given limited coverage to the protest. But the overseas edition of the People's Daily claims that people in Hong Kong are "tired of these political shows".

"The numbers once again proved the unpopularity of the opposition camp," says the Hong Kong-based pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao daily, stating that it is "very clear" that there is "no future for such extreme protests".

The Apple Daily, a popular pro-democracy paper, however, disagrees.

"The Sunday march may not have attracted a large crowd… but the determination displayed during the protest was still clear and firm," says the paper.

Obama-Dalai Lama meeting

And finally, some media outlets warn US President Barack Obama against meeting the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

According to international media reports, Mr Obama and the Dalai Lama will attend a public event in Washington on Thursday.

Angry with the arrangement of having both men at the same event, the China Daily calls the event a "political gimmick".

The daily reiterates that Tibet is an inseparable part of China and sternly warns that the possible meeting "will unquestionably step on China's toes and therefore cast a shadow over US-China relations".

The Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism, fled his homeland in 1959 for India after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

He is regularly vilified by the Chinese government, which accuses him of trying to split Tibet, with its separate culture and language, from the rest of China.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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