China in your hand
CCTV launched an Arabic-language channel for audiences in the Middle East and Africa. The Chinese want give the Arab world a "clear image of [their] country."
July 26, 2009 10:30 by Mohammed Rasooldeen
China Central Television (CCTV) launched an Arabic-language channel for the Middle East and Africa on Saturday as part of the government’s efforts to expand its relations with the Arab and Muslim world, announced the Chinese Embassy in Saudi Arabia.
The 24-hour channel will air in 22 Arabic-speaking countries, reaching a total population of nearly 300 million people, CCTV said in a statement at the launch of the new service. The new channel is available through Nilesat and Arabsat services for viewers in the Middle East.
“This is the fourth foreign-language channel we are introducing, after English, French and Spanish,” the official spokesman from the embassy told Arab News.
The spokesman said that the new channel would serve as an important bridge to strengthen communication and understanding between China and Arab countries. Furthermore, he added that his country wants to show the real China to the Arab world through this channel. “We would like to project a clear image of our country in this part of the world.”
The channel, which has a budget of $6.6 billion, will carry news, feature stories, entertainment and educational programs.
Musad Al Zayani, a Saudi journalist who watched the new channel, described it as a comprehensive stream that enables Arab viewers to learn about Chinese culture and heritage. “This is going to bring China and the Arab region closer than ever,” he said.
Beijing is carrying out a multibillion-dollar effort to raise the profile of its state media abroad by expanding CCTV, the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily and the official Xinhua news agency reported in Beijing soon after the launch.
The launch of the Arabic channel comes in the wake of China’s rapid economic growth and rising global influence. China gets more than half of its imported oil and natural gas from the Middle East, while countries in the region look to China for investments. Many analysts say the growing commercial ties between these two regions are redefining geopolitics.
First seen in Arab News.