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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 November, 2004, 17:37 GMT
Press at odds over China killings

The killing of eight students in central China last Friday is covered by newspapers in China and Hong Kong in starkly different ways.

The factual reports of the mainland press are in marked contrast to the coverage in Hong Kong, which dwells on the alleged failure of local media to cover the case, causing, it is reported, widespread alarm.

The authorities have ordered schools nationwide to tighten security
China Daily

"Eight Henan students hacked to death while dreaming," reads a headline in Beijing's Xin Jing Bao. It describes the killings as "an exceptionally major murder case".

The web site of the Communist Party paper Renmin Ribao, Renmin Wang, calls the attacker "a knife-wielding evildoer".

"The suspect had a paranoid understanding of things. He had a hostile mentality towards these students."

The report in Beijing's official English-language China Daily notes that the country "has suffered a series of knife attacks in schools and day-care centres in recent months".

Media in Henan have not breathed a word about this case, which has made the anxious citizens of Ruzhou even more panic-stricken
Ming Pao

"The authorities have ordered schools nationwide to tighten security by hiring guards and upgrading surveillance devices."

The Hong Kong press is far more revealing in its reporting. The daily Ming Pao does not beat about the bush.

Media silence

"Rumours of gagged media shock people", is its uncompromising headline. The paper says its attempts to investigate the crime were met by evasion by the local authorities.

"This school massacre case has triggered massive shockwaves in Ruzhou. The media in Henan have not breathed a word about this case, which has made the anxious citizens of Ruzhou even more panic-stricken."

Ming Pao says the upshot is that numerous rumours about the killings are flying around, adding to the feelings of fear and uncertainty.

Social contradictions lead to school tragedy
Apple Daily

Apple Daily, another Hong Kong paper, describes the killer as a "crazed demon".

"A teacher at the school stated during a telephone interview at home that the Public Security Bureau had ordered all teachers and staff members not to give media interviews."

Another headline in Apple Daily declares "Social contradictions lead to school tragedy".

"The bloody school murder has attracted the attention of the outside world over the security problems in schools once again.

"But the local government has made every effort to keep it secret," the paper adds.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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