« The Xinhua News Agency, China’s dominant news service and the propaganda arm of the Communist Party, introduced a 24-hour English-language news channel and is preparing to open a prominent newsroom in Times Square, part of an expensive push to increase the reach and influence of the Chinese news media overseas.
The president of Xinhua, Li Congjun, said Thursday at a press conference in Beijing that CNC World, the agency’s new 24-hour news channel, was part of a government effort to “present an international vision with a Chinese perspective.”
The announcement is the strongest sign yet that China intends to spend billions of dollars over the next few years to create a global media empire that can match the country’s rising economic and diplomatic power and more effectively project its views to an international audience.
The new channel, which media experts say appears to be modeled on Al Jazeera, the Arabic news network, aims to provide comprehensive coverage of world affairs, while explaining matters of direct concern to the Chinese leadership in a perspective its producers consider appropriate.
On Thursday, an official with Xinhua, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, said Xinhua was planning to build a newsroom at the top of a 44-story skyscraper in Times Square.
Many media experts say Chinese news agencies, though improving, lack credible and objective reporting and are widely perceived to be propaganda vehicles for the Chinese government.
There have also been reports over the years that some of China’s state-run news agencies are closely tied to state intelligence agencies. Xinhua got its start in 1931 as the Red China News Agency, even before the Communist Party gained power in 1949.
Xinhua still functions as China’s official news bureau, releasing government reports and official statements for Politburo members, and setting the tone for China’s other heavily censored news publications, which are often instructed to republish Xinhua dispatches on major news events without alteration. »
From a similar article in the Financial Times:
« CNC executives insisted the new network was not part of the party’s external publicity drive. They were also careful to compare themselves with CNN rather than CCTV, the main state broadcaster and centerpiece of the propaganda apparatus.
Yet in its own trailer produced by Xinhua, the network said its launch would “boost China’s comprehensive power,” a key phrase used by Communist party propaganda officials. »