China's Xinhua News Agency says it will launch international English TV network this week
BEIJING – BEIJING (AP) — China's biggest national news agency announced plans Friday to launch its global, English-language television news network this week, part of efforts to expand the communist government's media influence abroad.
Starting Saturday, China Xinhua News Network Corp. (CNC) will begin trial broadcasts of its English TV service around the clock, including news segments, feature stories, weather updates and special bulletins, the official Xinhua News agency said. The channel is officially set to launch on July 1. The agency did not immediately say what countries would receive the channel.
"CNC will offer an alternative source of information for a global audience and aims to promote peace and development by interpreting the world in a global perspective," Xinhua quoted its President Li Congjun as telling a launching ceremony in Beijing.
In recent years, China has announced multibillion-dollar plans to raise the profile of state media abroad by expanding Xinhua, state broadcaster China Central Television and the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily.
Chinese authorities have expressed disapproval of much of the international coverage of sensitive events in China such as human rights. They accuse international media organizations of being biased and focusing on negative news.
In January, Xinhua began broadcasting TV programs in Chinese in Asian and select European countries.
Last year, CCTV began a 24-hour channel airing in 22 Arabic-speaking countries, reaching a total population of nearly 300 million people.
Xinhua, a ministry-level body under the administration of the State Council, China's Cabinet, said it is transforming itself into a multimedia, worldwide news agency.
All three state media outlets enjoy top-level party support and funding, along with virtual monopolies in certain sectors of their domestic markets.
Despite China's rapid economic growth and rising global influence, it has not experienced a freeing of the media. China has retained its authoritarian one-party political system with strict limits on freedom of speech and civil and political life.