BEIJING — China’s state news agency Xinhua has launched a trial run of an international English-language TV news service, part of an increasingly sophisticated propaganda drive to boost the country’s image abroad and lift its global media presence.
China joins the ever-growing list of countries eager to emulate news services such as the U.S.’ CNN, and Blighty’s BBC World News. Recent entrants include France 24, Al-Jazeera Intl. and Russia Today.
The Xinhua news agency says its reporters at home and in 110 countries will produce domestic and international news to be distributed around the world.
Xinhua’s TV service will provide an alternative to Western media coverage, especially on sensitive issues such as Tibetan independence and efforts to introduce more democracy.
There was much criticism of CNN’s coverage of the Tibetan demonstrations in Lhasa last year, while many TV news reports about the 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square were blocked in China.
Xinhua will “interpret global events objectively and impartially from a Chinese angle and bring novel perspectives to foreign audiences,” agency prexy Li Congjun told an inauguration ceremony, and will become “an important TV news supplier for the world’s users.”
The service will be launched formally on Dec. 31. and will be transmitted through satellite to Chinese users, and over the Internet to users in other countries.
Currently, China has 24-hour news channels on China Central Television in Mandarin, English, French and Spanish that can be picked up overseas. It is expected to add Arabic- and Russian-language services.
China is reportedly spending 45 billion yuan ($6.6 billion) expanding Xinhua, CCTV and the People’s Daily newspaper.
The Communist Party’s chief mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, will be revamped to increase its influence at home and abroad. It launched its first English language tabloid newspaper, the Global Times, in May.