China media: Prince William's visit

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, poses after painting the eye of a "Shaun the Sheep" sculpture at the British Ambassador's official residence in Beijing, 2 March 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The prince helped to paint a sculpture of Shaun the Sheep at the British ambassador's residence in Beijing

Papers warmly welcome Prince William to China and urge him to promote Beijing-London relations.

The Duke of Cambridge arrived in China on Sunday on a four-day trip, and will visit Beijing, Shanghai and Yunnan province. He will promote the UK and is expected to talk about the illegal wildlife trade in East Asia.

The official Xinhua news agency says the visit "will be a rare and important field trip" for him to "experience in person the great Asian civilisation and promote bilateral exchanges".

"Against the backdrop of some Western reports that Prince William will… take issue with Beijing on an ivory ban and African elephant protection, the royal will learn about China's commitment and efforts to protect wildlife by visiting an elephant sanctuary in southwest China's Yunnan province," says the agency.

Ties between China and the UK have seen tensions including Prime Minister David Cameron's meeting with Tibetan exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in 2012 and the support of some British politicians for Hong Kong's Occupy Central protests last year.

Wang Yiwei, an international affairs expert at the Renmin University, tells the Global Times that the royal visit "shows the UK is taking more initiatives to promote bilateral ties".

Echoing similar views, Feng Zhongping, vice-president of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, feels the visit reflects "London's sincerity" in forging a stable bilateral relationship.

"'The royal diplomacy is a signature dish of British public diplomacy... And the prince, who has a good public image and a great appeal to the younger generation in China, will see his trip boost goodwill between the two peoples and help eliminate misunderstandings," the pundit tells China Daily.

Pragmatic visit

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The prince also visited the Forbidden City

Noting growing Chinese investment in the UK, another commentary in China Daily highlights a more pragmatic reason behind the visit.

"As the 2015 British general election approaches, it would be wise that London resort to bettering the China-UK relationship for not only economic recovery, but also for domestic voters' confidence," it says.

Chen Bing, a political analyst, adds that the prince's China trip shows the UK's dwindling international influence as the world seems to be shifting its focus to Asia.

"Prince William is only a shadow of the British past. Almost all the media reports are recalling previous royal visits and not really talking about the current British influence," the pundit tells the Shenzhen Satellite TV.

"This backward-looking trend shows that Britain is no longer a great and noble country in the eyes of the Asians," he says in the programme.

Conspiracy against Russia

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mourners have left flowers and placards at the site where Mr Nemtsov was killed in Moscow

And finally, some media outlets hint that the West is "conspiring against Russia" after opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in Moscow on Friday.

Tens of thousands of people marched through central Moscow to honour Mr Nemtsov, who died hours after appealing for support for his campaign against the war in Ukraine.

Mr Nemtsov's allies have accused the Kremlin of involvement, but President Vladimir Putin condemned the murder as "vile" and vowed to find the killers.

A report in the Global Times' Chinese edition highlights that the West is "putting the blame" on Mr Putin and "using the chance to attack him".

Noting the Western media's implication that Mr Putin was behind Mr Nemtsov's death, the paper urges "the outside world" to refrain from speculation".

"Rather they should respect Russia's investigations," it says, adding that the "US-led West wants to add burdens to it, making the Putin government and Russian society face severe tests".

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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