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Xi calls for greater international media reach to counter criticism of China

The president wants isolated China to ‘make friends and win over the majority’ worldwide.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: AP

President Xi Jinping has said China must improve the way it tells its “stories” to the global audience.

China’s leader has called for better international communication to repair the country’s coronavirus-hit image and win a battle of narratives with the US and its allies, the SCMP is reporting.

He told a Communist Party meeting, that Beijing must develop an international voice that reflects its national strength and global status on the world stage, official news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

He said it was crucial for China to improve its ability to spread its messages globally in order to present a “true, three-dimensional and comprehensive China”.

China also needs to strengthen propaganda efforts to help foreigners understand the Chinese Communist Party and the way it “strives for the happiness of the Chinese people”, he said. To do this, the country needs to create a team of professionals and adopt “precise communication methods” for different regions.

Chinese observers said his latest call was a rare admission of Beijing’s isolation that has been exacerbated by aggressive “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy and ineffective propaganda campaigns abroad.

It also suggests how Beijing will seek to shift the unfavourable narratives in its ideological and geopolitical wrangling with Western democracies.

Beijing’s relationship with foreign media has become increasingly tense in recent years, with local news outlets such as the Global Times often singling out foreign reporters for what it says is biased and unfair coverage.

The international outlet run under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper has been the source of various incidents, including accusations of fabrication and disinformation.

Several journalists working for US news organisations were expelled last year as relations between the two sides deteriorated.

China has also banned BBC World News from mainland Chinese television networks following criticism of the British broadcaster’s coverage of human rights in the northwestern region of Xinjiang as well as the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Australian broadcasters and journalists have also been targeted.