China pushes to improve its image in west

China is pushing its state media to create credible, appealing news for an international audience, in an attempt to spread a more favourable image of the country in the west.

The plan, backed by at least Rmb30bn ($4.4bn, €3.3bn, £3bn) in government funds, comes as Beijing looks back on a year of public relations disasters.

The first step would be the launch of a second national English-language newspaper by Global Times, an affiliate of the Communist Party's mouthpiece People's Daily, in April, observers said.

Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, is preparing to enter the television business. A person close to Xinhua in Europe said that Xinhua, along with bureaus in other news centres abroad, was expected to be expanded to accommodate television. A similar global push is under way at China Central Television (CCTV), the main state broadcaster.

Beijing is said to be giving Xinhua and People's Daily cash injections of Rmb15bn each to pursue the projects.

Guo Ke, a journalism professor at Shanghai International Studies University, said the government had picked Global Times rather than People's Daily because the affiliate had created a market-oriented newspaper.

Global Times declined to comment. People's Daily, Xinhua and CCTV did not respond to requests for comment.

The General Administration for Press and Publication, the media regulator, referred questions about the funds to the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance referred to GAPP.


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