China This Week

Chris Gelken, in Beijing,   provides a digest of eye-catching editorials in the Chinese news media.

Chinese newspaper editors have recently been directing much of their invective at corrupt local government officials, a problem some have described as endemic in China.

But a number of Chinese newspapers have also had plenty of harsh words for captains of industry who they accuse of being seduced by high profits and greed and of satisfying that greed at the expense of the common people and the country's reputation.

Perhaps the most notorious of these tycoons is Tian Wenhua, boss of the now bankrupt Sanlu dairy company, which is at the heart of the melamine tainted milk scandal.

The Workers' Daily says that Sanlu was the architect of its own disaster and its executives bear responsibility not only for producing tainted milk that killed six children and made 290,000 others unwell, but also for bringing Chinese products into disrepute.

The paper says that in late 2007 the company already knew about the dangers of a melamine additive they were using to increase the protein levels in milk, but did nothing about it.

The Workers' Daily says because of fierce competition in the dairy industry, Sanlu and other dairy companies in China were more concerned with the quantity of a product rather than the quality.

So they diluted their raw milk and added a melamine tainted 'protein powder' to give misleading readings during poorly supervised quality control checks.

The paper says government supervision agencies should bear some responsibility for the scandal, and called for tighter controls on China's food production industry.

The daily says the milk scandal highlighted the lengths to which some companies will go in order to get ahead of the competition.

Therefore it is imperative that food industry watchdogs reflect on their errors and make the necessary adjustments to quality control supervision.

Family Values

As the government launches a crackdown on internet pornography and what it describes as 'vulgar' content, an article on the news portal quoted a top Chinese official as saying that government officers should-at least in part be evaluated on their observance of wholesome family values.

The article says family values should be scrutinised alongside professional ability and track record when an official is being considered for promotion.

The portal noted that statistics reveal a significant number of corrupt officials also have a dysfunctional home life.

Therefore, the article argued, it is easy to come to the conclusion that an official who lacks the moral integrity to take care of his family, is also unlikely to show much integrity in dealing with the general public.

Retraining Migrant Workers

More than seven million migrant workers in China have returned to their homes in the countryside after being laid off from city jobs due to the impact of the global economic slowdown.

Labour authorities at the regional level have been coming up with initiatives to find new jobs for these workers, and the southwestern city of Chengdu has plans to invest about US$1 million into a job-retraining project.

But the China Youth Daily is sceptical about the value of these projects, not least because of the opportunity they present for corruption.

The paper cited the case of an official in Guizhou who accepted bribes of about $100,000 when he was in charge of a similar training programme.

The daily says given the opportunities for abuse, the training provided will most likely be below par, or not particularly relevant or practical.

On the job training in the workplace, the paper argued, is far more effective than other training schemes.

Financial assistance to factories to take on workers and teach them new skills has a number of additional benefits, the paper said, and would be a far wiser use of funds during the economic downturn.