The formal launch this month of China Global Television Network (CGTN), bringing the international channels of China Central Television (CCTV) and its digital presence under a new branding effort, should be understood as the latest push to develop an international broadcast infrastructure allowing China to advance its messages and flex its “discourse power.”

China Central Television (CCTV), Beijing’s largest TV network, said it would launch a new global media platform on New Year’s Day to help re-brand China overseas. [...] President Xi Jinping, in a congratulatory letter, urged the new network to “tell China stories well, spread China’s voice well, let the world know a three-dimensional, colorful China, and showcase China’s role as a builder of world peace”.

Beijing sees sporting prowess as a key soft power weapon and sensitivities over China’s performance at Rio 2016 led Chinese television censors to briefly stymie the BBC World broadcast about the plight of China’s gymnasts. The screen went black, as routinely occurs during stories considered politically inconvenient to the Communist Party. 

China Daily's deputy editor-in-chief Kang Bing said Fairfax Media's presence in both Australia and New Zealand "means the influence of China Daily will be spread to cover the two most important countries in Oceania", adding that China's "soft power could drive the wheel of its friendship with Australia and New Zealand", according to quotes carried by the Chinese newspaper.


The broadcast of video footage prepared by extremist groups is on the increase. Every gruesome act is accompanied by a video tape or posting online describing those who carried it out and explaining why. What most social scientists and media analysts are asking is, to whom is the message directed?

When it comes to public diplomacy, China might be better off loosening up and developing a sense of humor about itself. Gone are the days of Hu Jintao’s “smile diplomacy,” which aimed to convince the world that it had nothing to fear from a rising China. 

Last week it came to light that Beijing’s state-run China Radio International secretly owns 60% of a U.S. company, G&E Studio, which leases stations and airtime in Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco, among other cities. Beijing uses similar subterfuges in Europe and Australia.