China media: 'Airspace intrusion'

Tokyo claims Chinese warplanes are flying perilously close to Japanese fighter jets Image copyright AFP
Image caption Tokyo claims Chinese warplanes are flying perilously close to Japanese fighter jets

China and Japan have accused each other of "dangerous" fighter jet manoeuvres above the East China Sea.

Tokyo says a Chinese warplane came within "a few dozen metres" of a Japanese aircraft on Sunday. This happened as the Chinese and Russian navies held a week-long naval drill in the area.

State-run Xinhua news agency reports that China's foreign ministry has demanded Japan stop "disturbing" the naval exercise and "respect the legitimate rights of Chinese and Russian navies".

Military expert Zhang Junshe tells the Beijing Times that Japan often sends aircraft to interfere with military drills despite being warned not to do so.

"Japan is in the wrong in the first place by sending a warplane into the zone where we conduct the drill, and yet they are crying foul, putting the blame on China… The Japanese surveillance aircraft are well-equipped to steal information about our tactical strategies. We have to take preventive measures to stop them from endangering the safety of our military exercise," adds the expert.

Military observers tell China Daily that by claiming the Chinese jet fighters flew "dozens of metres from the Japanese aircraft", the Japanese defence authorities were "exaggerating" the technical details of the incident.

Jiang Xinfeng, a researcher at the PLA's Naval Military Studies Research Institute, says that Tokyo's defence policies towards Beijing are becoming "explicitly coercive and even confrontational" and it "has overreacted to and misinterpreted" the growth of China's national defence capabilities.

The Global Times Chinese edition criticises Japan for "playing victim" over the issue.

"The China-Japan relationship will worsen to a new level if this latest incident becomes the norm in the East Sea," it says, adding that Beijing should play a more active role in the release of information.

"Just like in the past, Japan released information to the media on the friction with China, and Beijing has once again assumed the passive position to respond. It is therefore necessary that Beijing changes the way it provides information to the public… No matter how well you organise your statement, being the one who first revealed the information is more effective than the one who responds," the daily argues.

'Anti-terror' campaign

Meanwhile, media are reporting that authorities have launched a new one-year-long campaign to combat militant violence in Xinjiang province, home to the Muslim Uighur minority.

Reports say the latest campaign targets criminal gangs related to Xinjiang and authorities will take "ultra-tough measures to root out religious extremism".

Xinjiang has seen a spate of attacks in recent years. Beijing blames these on Uighur separatists.

Xu Jianying, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, tells the Global Times that he hopes the latest operation will be different from the ones in the past which "fell short of delivering strong punishments".

China Daily calls for "people of all ethnicities to be mobilised and take part in the war against terrorism" by providing "tips" and persuading "would-be terrorists" to change their mind.

"The severest crackdown the government has launched on terrorism in accordance with the law sends the message that the organisers behind the scenes should never entertain the hope that the government and people will give in to their demands no matter how inhuman and brutal the attacks they launch," says the daily.

Echoing a similar sentiment, a People's Daily commentary urges the authorities to "eradicate religious extremism at its roots".

"The public should also see through the essence of religious extremism and ethnic separatism, turning them into a rat that everyone hates," it says.

And finally, media reflect on the "copycat" culture in China after Egyptian authorities lodged a complaint about a Chinese imitation of the Sphinx.

A replica of the Sphinx built in Hebei province, northern China, will be dismantled after Egypt's ministry of antiquities lodged a complaint with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) about the construction, reports say.

According to local media, Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim has called the construction "a bad imitation that disfigures the original".

An article in Beijing News says that the Egyptian complaint should "serve as a caution to us".

"This is an attitude of respecting and treasuring one's culture, which is what the current cultural environment in China is lacking. We should learn from Egypt in fighting 'copycats' and shoulder the responsibility as a big and open country" the paper says.

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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