China media: GSK case

  • Published
GSK building in Shanghai
Image caption,
GSK has denied charges of commercial bribery in China

A commercial bribery probe into the China branch of global pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline continues to make headlines, as does an unprecedented Hong Kong lunch.

The Global Times dismisses the concerns of foreign media commentators over China's growing "aggressiveness" against multinational firms following the arrest of four senior executives of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), as well as other suspects for allegedly bribing hospitals, doctors and officials to boost drug sales.

"GSK on Monday made an apology to the Chinese public, which showed that China's decisive crackdown and judicial investigation into GSK was the right move," the editorial stresses.

"The GlaxoSmithKline (China) bribery case in China shows the complex and arduous nature of the struggle against commercial corruption... Striking hard against the commercial bribery of multinational companies has important significance for safeguarding the market's economic order and maintaining a fair and competitive environment," the People's Daily comments.

"It is a shame that such a well-known transnational pharmaceutical firm has promoted its sales in such a dirty and devious way. GSK has apologised and expressed its support for China's action against corruption," the China Daily adds.

"China is not a hotbed of bribery for multinational firms and they should regulate their own behaviour as soon as possible," China Central Television's primetime evening news programme Focus commented on Wednesday.

Shanghai's National Business Daily, however, highlights how fines imposed on GSK may amount to less than 1% of the company's sales revenue in China and that the China market only accounts for a fraction of its global sales.

GSK said in a statement on Tuesday that it was "deeply concerned and disappointed by these serious allegations of fraudulent behaviour and ethical misconduct by certain individuals". GSK shared the desire of the Chinese authorities to root out corruption, it said.

Hong Kong lunch

Most Hong Kong newspapers generally welcome an unprecedented move by Zhang Xiaoming, director of Beijing's liaison office in the city, to have lunch with all members of the Legislative Council on Tuesday despite anger from pan-democrats.

The Sing Tao Daily and the South China Morning Post express hope that further contacts between Beijing and pan-democrat lawmakers - who are discontent over the city's pace of democratisation - can ease rising tensions over the city's moves towards genuine universal suffrage for the city's leader and legislature.

However, despite Mr Zhang's assurances that the "door is open" to political reform talks with pan-democrats, the Ming Pao, Hong Kong Economic Times and Hong Kong Economic Journal are uncertain whether Beijing can find middle ground on such a contentious issue.

The Ta Kung Pao, the Wen Wei Po and other local Beijing-backed newspapers urge the pan-democrats to accept Mr Zhang's view that "unpatriotic" or unsuitable candidates should be screened out of the elections for the city's chief executive in 2017.

Beijing's Global Times reminds Hong Kong's pan-democrats that elections for the chief executive are not a "national election" and highlights Mr Zhang's view that the election process must respect the "rights" of the central government in Beijing.

The newspaper also urges the governments of Beijing and Hong Kong to not "compromise" on political reform and warns of further "destruction of social stability" by pan-democrat street protests in the run-up to 2017.

Hong Kong's Apple Daily rejects Mr Zhang's insistence on screening chief executive candidates as well as his condemnation of Occupy Central, a civil disobedience movement to campaign for true universal suffrage, as being "illegal".

"If we obsequiously accept the Chinese Communist Party's fake universal suffrage, how we can hold our heads high before the world?" the newspaper's columnist Lee Yee asks.

Support for rape victim

In international news, the People's Daily Overseas Edition and China Central Television accuse the Philippines of evading bilateral talks with China on South China Sea territorial disputes after it stated that China's "hard-line position" had made it impossible to continue bilateral negotiations and had left international arbitration as the only recourse.

Commentaries in the Southern Metropolis Daily and The Beijing News voice support for the alleged victim of a high-profile gang rape case that involves the son of two famous military singers, hitting back at claims that she was a "bar hostess". The woman said that hostesses should enjoy basic human rights.

People's Net says police in Shenmu, Shaanxi province, have arrested four people for allegedly "spreading rumours" that the county's party boss would be transferred elsewhere to escape blame for a recent downturn caused by a credit crunch and a crackdown on private lending.

The "rumours" spread via social media on the weekend led to thousands of residents blockading the county government's gate on Monday.

And finally, internet users are blasting local governments in Huai'an in Jiangsu province, Wuhan in Hubei province and other places for cutting working hours to as little as six hours because of a heat wave, the Southern Metropolis Daily reports.

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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