China media: Hong Kong protest

Thousands attended Sunday's pro-Beijing rally in Hong Kong Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thousands attended Sunday's pro-Beijing rally in Hong Kong

Media in China give prominent coverage to Sunday's pro-government rally in Hong Kong.

The rally, organised in response to civil disobedience campaigns by activists, pledged support for the central government.

Pro-democracy activists staged major protests on 1 July to mark the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from Britain.

In contrast to the low-profile coverage of the pro-democracy rally, Sunday's protests are on the front-pages of most papers.

Papers say the pro-government rally on Sunday attracted "more than 190,000 people".

"The mainstream voice has finally erupted," exclaims the Beijing Times.

The daily notes that the protest of the "silent majority" is a response to "the minority extremist Occupy Central protestors" who were "illegally" pushing their political agenda.

The pro-democracy Occupy Central movement wants real universal suffrage with no interference from Beijing.

State-run People's Daily overseas edition describes the Sunday protest as "reflecting the wishes of Hong Kongers".

Participants who took part in the march said the Occupy Central movement "sacrificed the interests of Hong Kong residents", the paper adds.

Echoing similar views, an article in the Global Times cautions that Hong Kong will suffer "undesired political consequences" if the city continues to resort to "street movements".

"Some radicals have resorted to street movements such as Occupy Central to express their opinions and impose their will on the whole society, while others also have had to adopt the same methods to show their anti-Occupy Central stance, which will only make the confrontation forces within society become more split and may lead society to run into chaos," it says.

Conflicting reports

Meanwhile, several Hong Kong media outlets note conflicting reports on the number of people who attended Sunday's march.

An initial estimate by the pro-establishment Alliance for Peace and Democracy put the figure at 193,000.

However, police officials said about 111,000 people took part, while a polling group estimated the crowd to be between 79,000 and 88,000, says the South China Morning Post.

The Post also notes that there were "rumours" that some participants were "being offered a free lunch or money" and "tour buses were also seen streaming into Victoria Park, reportedly bringing people from across the border".

Ma Ngok, a political scientist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, makes a similar observation and questions the legitimacy of the march.

"Most participants joined the 1 July rally on their own will," he tells the Ming Pao daily, adding that Sunday's demonstration will not stop the opposition camp from taking further actions.

The Sing Tao Daily, however, suggests that the Occupy Central organisers should "take the opinion of the protestors into consideration".

"Some supporters of the Sunday march might not agree with the extreme or even illegal actions of the opposition camp... If these supporters rush into a showdown, it will be difficult to achieve the goal of universal suffrage," it warns.

Deng's teachings

Moving on to other news, media outlets discuss the teachings of former leader Deng Xiaoping as the country prepares to commemorate his 110th birth anniversary on 22 August.

The Communist Party leader opened the country to the outside world in 1978 and pursued economic reforms.

President Xi Jinping, who is often compared with Mr Deng, has "spoken highly of him on several occasions", according to the Beijing News.

The People's Daily salutes Mr Deng as the "noble man of China in the 20th Century" and the "chief architect" of China's modernisation.

The article notes that China has prospered by following the teachings of Mr Deng.

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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