China

China media: Taiwan talks

Taiwan's Wang Yu-chi (left) and China's Zhang Zhijun are holding first officials talks since 1949 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Taiwan's Wang Yu-chi (left) and China's Zhang Zhijun are holding the first official talks since 1949

Chinese media give prominent coverage to the historic China-Taiwan cross-strait talks, but caution against high expectations from the meeting.

Top officials from China and Taiwan are holding talks in Nanjing for the first time since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

China Daily calls the meeting "a promising new starting point" but warns that "it is naive to place too much expectation on one single meeting".

"It will take strenuous efforts from both sides to build up mutual political trust commensurate with their economic interdependence and the wishes of peace-and-stability-minded public in both Taiwan and the mainland," the daily adds.

Sharing similar views, Jin Yi, an expert on cross-strait relations with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, cautions about setting the "targets too high for the current relationship", as it takes time for both sides to "gradually work out differences", reports the Global Times.

The People's Daily overseas edition says "walking on the right path, the journey will not be far" in its front-page banner headline, while noting that Taiwanese media are also giving prominent coverage to the talks.

The national edition of the People's Daily says the meeting is "deepening mutual trust".

In international news, the Global Times lashes out at a Spanish judge who is seeking to issue a "ridiculous" international arrest warrant for former Chinese leaders over alleged human rights abuses in Tibet.

Spanish High Court Judge Ismael Moreno has asked Interpol to issue orders to detain former president Jiang Zemin, ex-premier Li Peng and several other officials on charges brought by Tibetan rights groups in Spain.

Describing the judge as "ignorant" of the "enormous social progress" in Tibet, the daily says "he still views China with an old, biased and arrogant attitude by attempting to interfere into Beijing's internal affairs".

Salary debate

Elsewhere, salary information of civil servants in a city in central China's Hunan Province has been leaked online, sparking heated debate about government officials' salaries.

According to media reports, internet users could gain easy access to the wage information of 227 government agencies in Lengshuijiang as the password of the local government website was too simple.

The password has already been changed, says the Southern Metropolis Daily which first reported on the leak on Tuesday.

The disclosed information, which surprised netizens, shows that the vast majority of local civil servants earn 2,001 to 4,000 yuan ($330; £200 to $660; £400) a month.

"The salary is so low that the civil servants can't afford to buy a home until the next life," a netizen quoted in China Daily says.

However, some are sceptical, suggesting that the salary is only part of the officials' total income and does not include welfare, health benefits and other subsidies, adds the daily.

The Southern Metropolis Daily urges the civil service to be more transparent and provide more "convincing evidence" of the benefits to "dispel myths" surrounding the salaries of civil servants.

Echoing similar sentiments, a commentary in the People's Daily calls for more "information leaks" that would lead to greater transparency and "gain understanding and trust from the public".

Meanwhile, the Global Times reports the "mass exodus" of judges who complained about their low pay and heavy workload.

"As a judge, the efforts you put into the job exceed what you are paid. I work until I am utterly exhausted, but I make even less than a construction worker," a 27-year-old judge, who reportedly earns 2,000 yuan ($330; £200) a month, was quoted as saying.

And finally, Xinhua news agency has reprinted an open letter, which first appeared on the People's Daily overseas edition, to Philippine President Benigno Aquino on the unresolved 2010 bus hostage crisis.

The bus siege took place when Rolando Mendoza, a disgruntled local police officer, hijacked a tourist bus in Manila leaving eight Hong Kong citizens dead and seven seriously injured.

The families of the victims are demanding a formal apology and compensation. The Philippine government has been reluctant to offer an apology, saying the siege was the act of an isolated police officer.

Backed by Beijing, Hong Kong has started the first phase of sanctions against Manila, scrapping visa-free access for all Philippine diplomatic and official passport holders.

The letter criticises Mr Aquino as "stubborn" and "irrational" for pushing the blame on Mr Mendoza because the police had admitted committing errors during the rescue operation.

It warns of even tougher sanctions if the Philippines refuses to formally apologise and pay compensation.

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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