China media: Falling yuan

Yuan notes Image copyright AFP
Image caption China has been promoting the yuan as a rival international currency to the dollar

Media are working to allay fears that the yuan's falling value against the dollar will damage China's economy.

The yuan reached a six-month low of 6.1192 against the dollar on Wednesday, triggering fears about the growth of China's economy.

Describing the decline as a "storm in the currency teacup", the China Daily says the yuan "has so far weakened by only about 1% against the US dollar".

"Chinese policymakers are sending the message that more actions are in order to better regulate the country's balance of payments to support domestic reform and growth," the daily explains.

Echoing similar sentiments, the People's Daily says the Chinese economy is on a "mid to high level of growth" and such a "small currency movement should not be interpreted as a long-term decline".

Gong Qi, a trader at the Bank of Shanghai, says the recent depreciation of the yuan has surprised him because "such a dramatic change is very rare".

However, he tells the state-run China Central Television that he believes the yuan will continue to appreciate against the US dollar in the long run.

Pension reform

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has announced reforms to the pension scheme to promote more "balanced development" in both urban and rural areas.

According to the State Council's cabinet document, the scheme will "seek to unify" the current basic pension systems "regardless of people's urban or rural identities" before 2020, the Xinhua news agency reports.

The current scheme follows separate pension systems for urban and rural residents, where the former enjoy better benefits.

"The unification of basic urban and rural pensions will particularly benefit China's migrant workers and their families," Hu Xiaoyi, vice minister of human resources and social security, says.

"The new system may face financial challenges... Resources are limited but people always have higher expectations for their pension," Wang Guojun, a professor with the Capital University of Economics and Business, tells the Global Times.

The China Daily paints a gloomier scenario, saying that "a pension deficit could loom" as the country is facing a "rapidly aging population".

According to the report, Mr Hu revealed that the country saw a surplus of 400bn yuan ($65.3bn; £39.1bn) in the pension fund for urban employees in 2013. However, he admitted that the aging population is a problem and added that authorities will need to make a balance forecast of funds in the future.

Guo Ping, a researcher at the China Research Centre on Aging, tells the paper that the current surplus is due to the fact "that we have more contributors than retirees nationwide, but some provinces have already been troubled by pension deficits".

'Conspiracy theory',

Elsewhere, media are giving prominent coverage to President Xi Jinping's comments that Beijing is "facing a number of worrying problems".

Among all the problems, he said the prevention of air pollution is the "most prominent" and added that Beijing's priority is to limit PM2.5 by easing reliance on coal and limiting the use of vehicles, the Beijing Times reports.

Parts of China, including Beijing, have been shrouded in heavy smog in the past few days as air pollution reached hazardous levels, raising questions about the authorities' determination to fight the problem.

And finally, some media outlets are briefly covering the news of the attack on a "well-known media person" in Hong Kong.

Kevin Lau, former chief editor of prominent Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, was "critically injured" after he was attacked by two men on Wednesday morning.

Mr Lau was recently replaced by a Malaysian editor viewed as pro-Beijing, sparking fears among staff that the paper's independence was under threat.

The Xinhua news agency and China News Service briefly reported on the attack, while the Global Times' Chinese edition urged the Hong Kong authorities to apprehend the attackers and the motive behind the attacks.

"It is normal that media reports will relate the attack to the [replacement of the chief editor] ... but if it's been politicised, it's easy to think of it as a 'conspiracy theory', as such the police should solve the case as soon as possible," the paper adds.

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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