China’s Revamp of Broadcasting Systems Pushes Soft Power, Hard

Institutional reform will combine state broadcasters into Voice of China, slated to be supervised by the Party’s publicity department.

State news agency Xinhua published details of a massive overhaul of China’s state and Party institutions on Wednesday, confirming the rumored birth of a new national broadcaster called “Voice of China.”

The reform will dissolve the country’s comprehensive media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Film, Radio, and Television, and divide its functions between two bodies.

The central government will create a new organization called the State Administration of Radio and Television to oversee radio and television. Film, press, and publishing, meanwhile, will come under the supervision of the Party’s publicity department. The latter will also supervise a media giant uniting three state broadcasters: China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International (CRI), and China National Radio (CNR). The larger entity is directly affiliated with the State Council, China’s cabinet. To foreign audiences, the new outlet will be presented as Voice of China — somewhat akin to the U.S. government-funded radio broadcaster Voice of America, and also a name that many in China associate with a popular televised singing competition.

Hong Bing, an associate professor of journalism at Fudan University in Shanghai, said the establishment of Voice of China confirms that the government considers overseas publicity to be an important national strategy. “It is both a stand and a gesture,” said Hong. “They hope integrating all of these resources under unified management will make external communication more effective.”


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This is original content by Sixth Tone and has been republished with permission.