Chinese Television Making a Push into the Arab World

The Chinese government is quite keen on the spread of soft power through television, as it inks deals to get more Chinese programming on more TV’s in the Arab world.

In countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, the interest in the original programmes have been particularly high say Chinese officials. There was even a broadcast of China’s military-laden V-Day parade on September 3rd available for live viewing across the country, broadcasted by Beijing-based CCTV News Content Co Ltd.

How’s that for a subtle projection of hard power through soft means?

 
 

Officials say that ever since President Xi Jinping proposed the One Belt, One Road initiative two years ago, the interest in programmes centered around China has increased exponentially –though no official numbers have been made available.

The One Belt, One Road initiative is based on the historic silk route that now runs through Arab nations. It’s also part of China’s promise for strengthening relations with countries while focusing on constructing better infrastructure; an area where China excels with massive cash and labor.

The increase in TV programming amounts to an increase in Chinese diplomatic sophistication in the area of power projection. It’s worked well for their neighbors in Korea –whose programming is wildly popular throughout the Arab world.

 
 

“China and Arab nations will further strengthen their cooperation in news broadcasting, program exchanges, joint productions and dubbing TV programs. We may even consider producing original television content jointly.”

Tong Gang, deputy director of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television spoke at the China-Arab countries broadcasting and TV cooperation forum held in Yinchuan. He said that a number of TV stations in China have established cooperative relations with Arab partners.

“The administration has signed cooperation agreements with 10 Arab nations, including Egypt, Kuwait, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq,” he said.

“China and Arab nations will further strengthen their cooperation in news broadcasting, program exchanges, joint productions and dubbing TV programs. We may even consider producing original television content jointly.”

The TV cooperation forum comes under the 2015 China-Arab States Expo. The expo began in Yinchuan on Thursday. Many people, including 80 ministry officials from 86 countries, regions, and international organisations participated in the conference.

President Xi Jinping congratulated the expo in a letter saying, “China and Arab countries are friends that trust each other, and good partners”.

Ribhu Singh

Ribhu Singh

Ribhu is a staff writer based in Bangalore. He blogs at ribhu.live

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