China media: Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama plays table tennis during her visit of Beijing Normal School on 21 March 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Papers wonder whether Michelle Obama's visit will help build trust

US First Lady Michelle Obama's week-long visit to China which began on Thursday has generated mixed reaction in the media.

Xinhua hails her trip as "a stroke of 'gentle diplomacy' on the part of Washington" , while the Chinese edition of the Global Times says that it could help dispel mistrust between China and the US.

It explains that "pure friendly interactions" could prove to be more effective that "any other measures" when it comes to building trust between the two countries.

Other media take a different view of Michelle Obama's visit. Ming Pao reports that first lady will be looked after by security agents that are paid for by the US taxpayer and that she was criticised for not allowing journalists to travel with her and for declaring that she will not be giving any interviews.

The Oriental Daily sees "political connotations" in Mrs Obama's request to dine at a Tibetan restaurant in the city of Chengdu. According to the paper, "this echoes US President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama at the White House" and could be the "main reason behind Michelle's China visit".

Staying with China-US relations, media are also commenting on the upcoming European visit by President Xi Jinping, during which he is expected to meet with President Obama on the sidelines of the nuclear security summit in The Hague in a few days time.

An article on China Internet Information Centre, a government web portal, urges Mr Xi not to accept "empty promises" but only "practical results" during his talks with the US president.


Media comment that the search for the missing Malaysian airliner which disappeared nearly a fortnight ago has exposed worrying gaps in China's defence capabilities.

The Beijing Youth Daily writes that while there is still no proof that the plane was hijacked, "terrorism still overshadows the incident".

The paper recalls the recent deadly knife attack at the railway station in the city of Kunming and the apparent suicide attack in Beijing's Tiananmen Square last October and calls for anti-terrorism laws to be strengthened.

Reporting on the search operation, the Beijing Times quotes experts as saying that even if the newly-found objects in the ocean turn out to be debris from the missing plane, the chances that passengers have survived are "slim".

"The water there could as deep as 3,000 metres, and its flow is fast and unpredictable. Rescue operations could also be hampered by stormy weather," Zhang Junshe, deputy head of the Naval Research Institute of the People's Liberation Army, tells the newspaper.

Finally, media report that the China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) has decided to pay the family of a migrant worker compensation of 180,000 yuan ($29,000; £17,500) after he was killed by "unidentified attackers" at a time when he was asking the company to pay him his overdue salaries.

The Beijing Times questions the true motives behind the compensation. "Is the CREC really giving this compensation out of 'humanitarian reasons' or just to 'shut mouths and end the saga'? If there are 'real culprits' that will go unpunished in this case, can the authorities simply end the matter without investigating?" asks the daily.

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