Editor’s note: China International Publishing Group (CIPG) is an organization under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee. It is the news media that publishes books, journals, and Internet contents in foreign languages in order to promote the Party’s propaganda.
Recently, Qiushi interviewed the head of the CIPG, Zhou Mingwei, on how to spread China’s voice overseas. The following are excerpts from Zhou’s responses.
In the process of conducting external communication (disseminating information to audiences overseas), we found that the international community pays the highest attention to the voice of Chinese leaders. Particularly on major points and initiatives related to China’s domestic issues and its positions on international affairs, rarely do any voices surpass the voices of Chinese leaders. Therefore, how to spread the voices of our leaders to those overseas is a big task to carry out.
In the process of social development and progress, although there is room for us to improve when compared to other countries, our direction, the advantages of our (communist) system, and the accomplishments we make every day cannot be discredited or distorted simply because of differences in political ideology or conflicts. In our external communications, we should, to the extent possible, use contents that others can compare, can understand, and can identify, to tell our stories. We should not simply use concepts and definitions to talk about our achievements.
I think that, for the Chinese culture to go abroad, it not only depends on whether we have wonderful cultural products; it also depends on how much we understand the outside world. How far the Chinese culture can be spread depends not only on the content and the format of our stories but also on how much we know about others.
As a communication organization with a long history, it is indeed a challenge to us to understand how to transition successfully in the new social and media environment. On the one hand, the international community has a growing demand for information about China, which is a strong driving force for our external communications work; on the other hand, we face the need to transform our communication modes, methods, content, forms, ideas, and formats. This is a challenge to us.
The Party’s Central Committee set forth a direction to integrate multiple media formats together. It is the main direction of our transformation. We should focus on our existing products: books and journals. As an external communication website, our website (http://china.com.cn) offers 11 languages and 12 versions. We hope to build it into a complete editorial network and information base for people to learn about China’s yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Most of our journals for external communication are monthly. The journals do not have advantages in providing timely news, but their most important advantage is their comprehensive analyses and their points of view. Currently, our efforts should be spent on enhancing this advantage of the journals. On this basis, we will make them more componentized (for better re-use) and more suitable for social media, mobile devices, and videos.
At present, in the process of transformation, we have produced some new media products, such as our brand product, “China Three Minutes” on china.com.cn. It uses three minutes every day to introduce China’s points of view and share information about China. In the upcoming year, we will introduce a large number of programs that explain China’s perspectives and tell China’s stories and that are suitable for social media and mobile media platforms.