China put a key element of its global soft-power push into play this week with the official launch of state broadcaster CCTV’s American service. The service will eventually offer four hours of programming a day, produced by roughly 100 journalists in 15 bureaus spread throughout the Americas...

In charting its growth, CCTV is closely studying other models, especially al-Jazeera. But while al-Jazeera's access and deep knowledge of the Middle East — and a hands-off approach by its masters — have been its greatest assets, state-run CCTV's emphatic allegiance to the authoritarian communist state and the party seem to be its biggest liability.

The new Washington operation will be a hub of CCTV's global news-gathering operations to compete with international broadcasters such as CNN, the BBC and al-Jazeera. To use news reporting and cultural programming, China aims to advance its “soft power,” or cultural influence, making it commensurate with the nation’s growing economic might.

More information is emerging about the expansion plans of China Central Television (CCTV), which I wrote about four weeks ago. Apart from setting up new offices in New York and Nairobi, CCTV is said to plan new hubs in South America, the Middle-East and Europe. Within five years it will increase its overseas staff tenfold

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pressed on with a charm offensive in India on Thursday, offering support for New Delhi's bid for a greater role in the United Nations and agreeing on an ambitious target of $100 billion in trade between the rising Asian powers by 2015.

Recent ambitious global expansion maneuvers by China's State media have brought both acclaim and suspicion, especially in Western nations, whose observation of the Chinese media landscape has been mostly shaped by their understanding of State-owned media.

When will China ever learn? It’s not how loud you speak, or how many times you say something, but what you say that counts. Reports that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has launched a new English-language newspaper, the Global Times, should be greeted with the usual mixture of delight (yet more evidence of the Chinese jumping on the public diplomacy bandwagon) and cynicism (yet more evidence of the Chinese jumping on the public diplomacy bandwagon).