Ying Zhu | "Two Billion Eyes: The Story of China Central Television" - Authors at Google

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 25.01.2013


FEMALE SPEAKER: Authors at Google New York is pleased to
have Professor Ying Zhu come and speak to us today.
Please welcome Professor Zhu.
PROFESSOR YING ZHU: Thanks for having me here.
I think I will start by actually, instead of talking
about China Central Television, I wanted to show
you something else, which I think you're
familiar with, actually.
So this is an interesting video clip of Korean pop
singer, Psy, doing his "Gangnam Style"
song and dance sequence.

PROFESSOR YING ZHU: Now, according to Wikipedia, as of
January 1 of this year, this music video has been viewed
over 1.1 billion times.
I just clicked a couple more times into it
on YouTube, of course.
And this is the site's most watched video.
Now, the question is, what does this slice of K-pop have
anything to do with Chinese media or China Central

Well, nothing much.
And this missing link is precisely what I wanted to
call your attention to today.
What the South Koreans have accomplished via this funky
music video is what the Chinese state media have been
craving for to promote name recognition and make people
desire what you desire--
in other words, that is to project China's soft power.
But Chinese media have yet to come up with such a pop hit to
boost its soft power.
Now, the lack of recognition or desirability of Chinese
soft power is not due to lack of trying, as billions have
been spent in promoting China's soft power globally.
And the Chinese government invested $7.8 billion alone in
2009 to facilitate Chinese media's
global soft power campaign.
And all the money has gone to major state-run media firms,
including China Central Television.
Now, the global image campaign was launched by the Chinese
state over a decade ago, back in 2001.
The goal was to change China's international image which was,
for the most part, negative.
The Chinese Communist Party warned Chinese media
practitioners that it would be unrealistic to expect the West
to promote China's cause and perspective.

But a decade later and many billions after, the overall
international image of China continues to be, to put it
mildly, uncool.

Even the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, acknowledged a year
ago the dismal record of Chinese soft power, telling
the Party that, quote, "The overall strength of Chinese
culture and its international influence is not commensurate
with China's international status," end quote.
So what was his solution?
Well, not Psy's "Gangnam Style" K-pop, that's for sure.
The popular and the grassroots have no place in
China's image campaign.
In fact, the satirical and rebellious "Gangnam Style"
might even be considered unseemly to China's censors
and cultural guardians.
Instead, Hu Jintao encouraged the development of Chinese
national culture rooted in Confucian tradition capable of
countering Western cultural influence.
So a state-manufactured and managed Chinese national
culture is the prescription the Party has in mind for the
people and for the rest of the world.
Never mind that the world might not be all that
interested in what the CCP has to preach.
But this sort of heavy-handed approach is nothing new.
Now, in China, culture is to
enlighten rather than entertain.
And then the media is to guard the purity and quality of
Chinese culture.
And the media, of course, must also serve the Party.

Now, to be fair to the Chinese Communist Party, the
subservience of culture to politics is
not the party's invention.
It is rooted in a much longer tradition of Chinese
aesthetics that defines art and culture as the good and
the beautiful.
The Chinese cultural tradition puts a greater emphasis on the
responsibility of art in the normalization of society, as
opposed to a Western tradition of art as a critical vanguard
or individual expression.
Now, to this end, Western culture is often perceived as
a source of decadence and evil for polluting the purity of
Chinese culture.
And thus, China has time and again waged wars against the
cultural vulgarity and degradation seen, again, as a
result of Western cultural pollution or erosion.
The K-pop video can easily be condemned as vulgar, a cheap
knockoff of Western-style pop music.

Now, in January of last year, the Chinese president, Hu
Jintao, urged Chinese cultural policymakers to, quote,
"clearly see that international hostile forces
are intensifying the strategic plot of westernizing and
dividing China, and ideological and cultural
fields are the focal areas of their long-term
infiltration," end quote.
And he said further that, quote, "We should deeply
understand the seriousness and complexity of the ideological
struggle, always sound the alarm, and remain vigilant,
and take forceful measures to be on guard
and respond," unquote.
Now, though reminiscent of Cold War rhetoric, this sort
of militant talk is nothing new in China.
And to be fair, the West has, over the years, harbored
similar apprehension and distrust towards China,
particularly China's rise in the past decade.
So the feeling is somewhat mutual.
Let's just put it that way.
Except that in China, the state can quickly enact
policies that aim to deter Western cultural pollution.
And in October 2011, China banned scores of racy and
overtly materialistic entertainment shows on
prime-time television in an effort to curb excessive
entertainment, exemplified by a Chinese dating show on local
satellite television, "If You Are The One," in which a
provocatively dressed young woman are paraded on stage,
blatantly embracing materialism.
I think I have that queued up here.

-Wang Peijie is the executive producer of "If You Are The
-The show is a window through which we
can look at our society.
-Reality TV shows like "If You Are The One" have become
common on Chinese television.
The winning formula has attracted fans and ad revenue.
-I think the conversations between the male and female
contestants reflect the attitudes and concerns of
people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
I think they authentically represent the current state of
things in China.

-But the sometimes racy and materialistic content has also
attracted the attention of China's censors.
This type of content is relatively new for China.
In the past, television's main purpose was to spread
PROFESSOR YING ZHU: We don't need more propaganda here.
Now, these material girls and boys from other reality
programs have seriously offended Party comrades and
conservative cultural
commentators and viewers alike.
And new rules were promptly issued, forcing all satellite
TV stations across China to cut vulgar entertainment
programs, essentially reducing weekly entertainment programs
to two during prime time.
Furthermore, and as a counterprogramming strategy,
at least one show during prime time must be about promoting,
quote, "traditional Chinese virtues, core socialist
values, and advanced cultures," unquote.
Now, the battle against Western popular culture is
equated with ensuring China's cultural security.
So it's a serious matter.
The Chinese state's cultural anxiety was keenly felt in
2011, a year when "Avatar" pretty much dominated the
Chinese box office and Lady Gaga was a household name,
popular among the Chinese young and old.

Now, actually, to demonstrate Lady Gaga's popularity in
China, I wanted to take the liberty here to play a clip
from Hunan Satellite TV's rendition of Lady Gaga's 2009
hit, "Bad Romance." Only that the song is now sung in
Hunan's Changsha dialect and no less by a senior choir.
And bear in mind that in this region of China, the word,
gaga, means grandmother.
I'm not sure if the Lady would be pleased with this kind of
connection, the connotation, the image of
grandmother and Lady Gaga.
The second is part of Hunan Satellite Television's
Mid-Autumn Festival Gala.
Mid-Autumn Festival, some of you might know, is an occasion
for family gathering and reunion in China.
And the choir changed Gaga's lyrics to be about the elderly
empty-nesters' yearning for the grown-up children and
grandchildren to come home and visit.
Let's have a sample of this.
This is going to be very interesting.

PROFESSOR YING ZHU: So you get a taste.

So, is this Western culture pollution or Eastern cultural
appropriation or subversion?
And to use Lady Gaga to preach for Confucian family values
seems to me pretty cool, especially coming from a group
of very euphoric senior citizens.

Regardless, the Chinese authority was not amused by
the flood of Western-infused Chinese programs produced
mostly by China's provincial TV stations,
therefore the crackdown.
But the crackdowns do hurt Chinese
television, bottom line.
Now, state-owned and controlled Chinese television
is by now financially self-reliant and operationally
So when it comes to chasing ratings, it functions just the
same as the US commercial networks.
You have Three Blind Mice, I was told, since a decade ago
with networks competing for ratings.
Now, what is different is that in China, one network is
granted greater leverage in market share.
And that network is, of course, China Central
Television, the only national TV network in China.
To understand how China Central Television obtains its
leverage, one must understand China's overall TV structure.
Now, China has the so-called four-tier television
structure, where television stations are set up at the
national, provincial, county, and city levels.
And both national and local regulators operate their own
TV stations and serve audiences within their own
administrative boundaries.
Now, as a result, television stations, broadcasting
bureaus, and governments at the same administrative levels
are closely linked in economic and political exchange.
And CCTV is the only broadcaster that is allowed a
nationwide coverage, although the arrival of cable and
satellite television would challenge the neat structure.
So how does satellite television work in China?
Well, in China, each provincial TV station is
allowed to operate one satellite TV channel with
signal coverage capable, or theoretically capable, of
reaching the entire nation.
But because of the administrative boundaries and
local protectionism, provincial satellite TV
stations must negotiate with each other to expand their
satellite channels.
And local broadcasters have managed over the years to
extend their regional reach, their independent satellite
and cable distribution deals with other provincial
It's a bread and butter issue.
Now, the essential regulator that oversees China Central
Television is the State Administration of Radio, Film,
and Television, or SARFT in short.
Now, SARFT is motivated both politically and economically,
understandably, to boost CCTV's market share.
And how does it do it?
Well, there is the must-carry policy that guarantees
CCTV-1's national coverage.
CCTV has altogether 24 channels under the big
umbrella of CCTV China Central Television.
And CCTV-1 is by far the most significant channel that
carries network news and other
culturally significant programs.
Now, carrying CCTV-1 is
considered a political mission--
an undeniable obligation and responsibility of local
Then there is the exclusive information available to only
CCTV-1, and then the crackdown on programs utilizing local
dialects that appeals to local audiences.
As the financial stakes grew higher, local stations
rebelled, challenging CCTV's market dominance by producing
entertainment programs that would attract audiences
And they used entertainment-oriented Hunan
Satellite TV for what has emerged as CCTV's formidable
If you recall, Hunan TV is the one who made all these video
clips of grandmother and parents act up just to make
sure you go home and visit your parents, so that they
don't act up.
So in 2004, Hunan Satellite TV debuted a singing competition
show with mobile phone voting, modeled on "American Idol."
And the show "Super Girls" became an overnight rating
sensation, promoting CCTV to launch a campaign attacking
Hunan Satellite Television, calling it a rogue broadcaster
with culturally vulgar programs.

And a top official from SARFT echoed CCTV, complaining about
what he saw as an excessive amount of low-quality and
lowbrow reality shows on Chinese television.
And he wanted to strengthen the Party's supervision of
entertainment programs and to restrict the number of reality
shows allowed on TV.
And SARFT eventually announced a ban on airing talent shows
during prime time, which is somewhere between 7:30 to
10:30 in China.
The ban started in 2007.
And under the new rules, the programs must be no longer
than 90 minutes and offer no prizes to attract contestants.
And "Super Girls" was suspended in 2008 when the
Beijing Olympics pretty much preempted everything.
And then in 2009, Hunan Television made an attempt to
relaunch "Super Girls," only in the different name "Happy
Girls." This time it's called "Happy Girls."
OK, so let's see if "Happy Girls" can fail better here.
Take a look at these restrictions.

So SARFT promptly handed down strict conditions for Hunan TV
to run "Happy Girls." The draconian directives made even
my then-preteen daughters wince, who complained quite
wisely, I should say, that, quote, "This is ridiculous.
Reality TV is all about expression, not the
suppression of raw emotions," end quote.
Now, here is a segment from the now much-subdued "Happy
Girls," which is actually the opening of the championship
competition in 2011.




PROFESSOR YING ZHU: So how is this for C-pop?
Pretty cool?
Well, the Chinese cultural guardians would have none of
that either.

Now, let's march on.
Now, as CCTV is busy bothering local stations, it is
confronted with yet another formidable challenger.
And this time, it's something called the internet.

Though television remains the Party's most manageable
vehicle for cultural engineering, even the Chinese
state can't control consumer behavior.
CCTV has largely become irrelevant to the young and
educated population who has pretty much opted for the more
open cyberspace.
At the end of last year projected that the number of
Chinese watching entertainment programs online would surpass
445 million.
CCTV has tried to woo audiences back by importing
popular movies and TV dramas from the UK and the US.
And the most recent lineup includes, surprisingly, "V For
Vendetta," featuring an anti-hero with
anti-authoritarian and totalitartian powers, and yes,
"Downton Abbey."
Now, let's dwell on the internet a bit.
The internet has been a very positive force in compelling
Chinese state and the media to open up.
The internet has made it that much harder for Chinese
authorities to shut out undesirable news or keep it
out of the traditional media in China.
And in keeping the news of, let's say, collapsing schools
in Sichuan or collapsing governments in the Middle East
out of the state media when millions of people can access
them online would further drive people away from the
traditional media.
So the Chinese state gets it.
But the compulsive censorship regime will
not give it a rest.
The internet and the social media are subject to very
sophisticated monitoring and filtering.

Now, official campaigns were launched in China a decade ago
to effectively push for internet self-censorship,
equating diligent self-censorship with upholding
corporate social responsibility, proper
professional codes of conduct, and also individual
You have to be self-disciplined to censor
yourself, in other words.
And these days, sensitive terms are routinely blocked.
A search in Chinese about a recent protest in Guangzhou
against political censorship yields not much results.
And in December last year, many of you know probably Sina
Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, enacted a seven-day
delay function for sensitive terms.
Imagine not getting a result for seven days.
Gosh, Google would go bankrupt.
And I suppose it's the modern day
version of the Pony Express.
And to think about it, it could be a useful tool to
deter my daughter from getting online.
So Facebook and Twitter are censored.
So is YouTube, which leads back to the piece of K-pop we
sampled at the beginning of my talk.
The Ministry of Culture in Korea actually gave an award
to Google for YouTube's effectiveness as a platform
for spreading Korean popular culture.

And Psy's "Gangnam Style" song exploded in large part because
his video went viral on YouTube.
But YouTube is off limits in China, of course.
Now, despite China's great firewall, sensitive
information does manage to find surreptitious and
guerrilla style online existence through various
transgressive tactics such as code-breaking, multiple
blogging, creative use of terms and phrases, and et
cetera, et cetera.
And also, censorship has had little impact on the
tech-savvy professionals and rights activists who actively
seek out and also spread information by
circumventing the wall.
Although, recently, China started to crack down on
foreign VPNs and other circumventing technology,
which makes it harder to climb the wall.
But censorship cannot prevail.
It cannot eliminate dissent.
It would only ferment further discontent as cohesion would
eventually lead to rebellion.
Now, by trying hard to fend off Western media and
information from coming in, the Chinese state somehow
imagined that it would be able to push
its own media overseas.
And in the case of CCTV, it launched its official English
channel on September 25, 2000.
CCTV International rapidly expanded its foreign language
services in the last few years, adding Spanish, French,
Russian, Arab, and African channels to its cocktail of
foreign language services.
And then came CCTV America.
On February 6 of last year, before an official visit to
the US of Xi Jinping, China's incoming president, CCTV
launched its American outpost, CCTV America.
And on February 11, CCTV America's panel showed "The
Heat," which, by the way, is hosted by Michael Walter, gave
a preview of Xi Jinping's upcoming stopover in Iowa, the
leading soybean producer in the US and
big supplier to China.
-When Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's itinerary to the
United States was announced, it included stopovers in
Washington, DC, California, and also Iowa.
It turns out Vice President Xi is keen to revive old
connections and meet with friends he made when he spent
some time in Iowa 27 years ago.
He visited the Hawkeye State as part of an agricultural
delegation from the Northeastern
Hubei province in 1985.
Vice President Xi spent two nights in the home of an
American family, toured farms, and even
watched a baseball game.
He also met Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who says Xi
Jinping was pleased by the warmth and friendly reception
he received back then and feels a sense of kinship with
the people of Iowa.
Branstad visited Xi Jinping during a visit
to China last September.
He says the Vice President saved his itinerary from his
1985 Iowa trip and inquired about a number
of people he met.
Iowa is also critical for another reason.
It's exporting a record amount of corn, soybeans, and pork to
meet a massive surge in demand by China's
growing middle class.
Look at the exponential growth in trade
over a 10-year period.
In 2000, Iowa's exports to China totaled $45 million.
By 2010, that rose nearly 13 times to $627 million.
What does that do for the job market?
Unemployment in Iowa was at 5.6% in December of 2011.
The US national average at the same time--
PROFESSOR YING ZHU: Now, CCTV America's vast financial
resources have brought or bought veteran news people
from the US, UK, and Australia.
But it remains to be seen if viewers, too, can be bought or
brought along.
And CCTV America is highly skewed towards reporting
economic and financial news.
And when it comes to political news, it actively engages in
major events elsewhere except in China.
When it comes to political news about China, CCTV's
America branch is highly disciplined, sticking to the
Party's script and reporting only what is permissible.
It is very much on the Party's short leash.
So when the journalist strike against the censorship at
China's Southern Weekend became headline news around
the world, CCTV America kept silent.
And Al Jazeera, on the other hand, has created their brand
name for producing intriguing news about the Middle East,
which is actually what CCTV America aspires to be when it
comes to news about China.
But political editorial makes it impossible for CCTV America
to function as a credible and valuable news about China.
Now, I'm going to wrap it up a little.
Now, China's top-down, state-orchestrated soft power
campaign has so far shown little impact in altering how
the world perceives China.
The soft power campaign has failed to account for the
power of the grassroots and the popular.
The paternalistic Chinese state does not get it that if
the Chinese back home do not want to be lectured to, the
audiences abroad would hardly want to have the same patience
or to listen in.
Now, I'm not suggesting here that the "Gangnam Style" pop
is the only way or even a viable way towards accruing
soft power.
China can certainly produce its own brand of soft power,
fusing cultures high and low.
But whatever it produces, it must resonate with the
grassroots and be capable of unleashing individual
creativity and aspiration.
And when the leaders do lecture, it wouldn't hurt for
them to lighten up a little--
perhaps show some emotions and be a little more animated.
And I want to show you a clip here, particularly delivering
New Year's greetings.
Let's see how the Chinese leaders deliver the New Year's
greetings here.

PROFESSOR YING ZHU: And you know what?
What the CCP needs, actually, is the "bouncy, irrepressible"
Joe Biden, to quote Maureen Dowd.
Here is Biden in action.
Let's take a look at what the Biden in action was like.
-Hey, mom.
-Hey, what's the story?
-How are you?
Good to see you.
I'm Joe Biden.
Come here.
Look at this smile--
God love you, get over here.
Come on, sis, get in here.
-You've got a million dollar smile.
-There's a lot to smile about today.
-You betcha.
-Good-looking bunch.
Spread your legs, you're going to be frisked.
I want you next to me.
-How are you, John?
It's good to see you.
Come on, let's do this.

Ah, leave him there, will you?
You got a smile that lights up the room.
Look at your smile-- lights up the room.
You got a smile that lights up the whole chamber.
-Thank you.
-Mom, you could come by me.
Mom, how are you?
-Oh, great.
-You look like his sister.
Get over here.
Look, in my house, it was real simple.
There's mother's, and then there's something else, and
something else, and then there's mother's, and then
there's mother's.
Come on, mom.
Take a chance.
Ruin your reputation here.
Mom, do you realize that in parts of Arizona, you just
risked your reputation?
-As they say in Southern Delaware, mom, you've done
good with this one.
As they say in Southern Delaware, you've done good,
boy-- good, girl.
As they say in Southern Delaware, you've done good.
PROFESSOR YING ZHU: I wish I could continue
just playing this.
And the Joe Biden can be very good soft power, actually, for
the Chinese state.
Now, let's get serious here as I wrap up.
Now, to think of the fundamental problem is that
the Chinese state has no moral authority in imparting
cultural values here.
And ultimately, what needs to be fixed is not just China's
draconian image alone.
For China's charm offense to work, it has to shake off its
repressive and authoritarian reputation.
And for that to happen, it will need to lift political
censorship to allow for a very vibrant
civil society to emerge.
It also needs to dismantle the state monopoly of the media so
that information channels are open to dissent, diversity,
and competition.
After leaving behind the totalitarian state of Mao's
era, China glided through a relatively open phase with
rapid economic growth and political exploration only to
arrive today at a toxic cocktail of authoritarian and
plutocratic rule where money and power converge to guard
interests of a few.
And for China's soft power to work, China has to first
respect and empower its own people.
And that's today's talk.
Thanks very much for having a good ride with me.
PROFESSOR YING ZHU: Want me to take questions?
AUDIENCE: I was impressed in your book with the response of
the senior CCTV individuals, and how they were trying to
balance commitment with the different
venues they had to satisfy.
How do they react to this whole coming
out and soft power?

PROFESSOR YING ZHU: Well, I think a lot of Chinese

some of them are very idealistic.
And they really do tie their success and their aspiration
with the success and aspiration
of China and globally.
So they somehow do tie their fate with the fate of China.
So they're also very patriotic.
And so they do want to see China prosper and to become a
respectable global player.
But how China is to reach that step--
I think that's another issue.
I think they, too, have their own ideas.
And some of them have to struggle with very strict
censorship where they can't even
express their ideas freely.
And a lot of them have to exercise routinely
I use self-censorship as just a descriptive term.
I'm not condemning self-censorship or being
judgmental about it, but that's the
reality that they face.
I think, again, there's a certain aspiration there, but
there's a huge gap between the reality and what
they aspire to be.
AUDIENCE: I wonder if you know about the Southern Weekly news
that just broke today about--
The New York Times.
The Chinese journalists are all coming out saying, we're
speaking for freedom of speech.
This is a very exciting moment.
This is actually a watershed moment.
The Chinese government called these
demonstrations a mass incident.
In this case, this is the first incident that people
actually come out and gather together to demonstrate
against the political censorship.
And this is a very exciting moment.
And in fact, I was accepting Boston
Globe's interview yesterday.
And the question was posed to me, and I
expressed my optimism.
I think this is unstoppable.
The world has opened, and China has opened
itself to the world.
And China cannot retreat and go back to a dark age.
I hope that the new leader will stand back and think
twice before they crack down on these demonstrations.
But again, I think it's a great moment, and I personally
felt very excited about that.
AUDIENCE: I think you did mention Al Jazeera as being
the antithesis, if you will, of CCTV.
What are the short and medium-term steps that CCTV
can become as reputable and as far-reaching as something as
Al Jazeera?
PROFESSOR YING ZHU: Well, when the image of China changes,
that's the only time you can do that.
Two things.
One is the image of China changes.
And also, China lifts its censorship.
They're all interrelated.
You cannot do without the other.
AUDIENCE: So sort of the forces that created modern
Western ethos and thinking came out of a bunch of funny
cultural events like the English Civil War and a bunch
of fairly horrible experiences that we had in the past.
And those things sort of drive a lot of things even though we
are often sort of forgetful of their background.
What do you think the similar cultural forces or drivers
within China need to be, or are, to bring China to the
place where you and certainly most of us
think it ought to go?
Because it's not the case that China had something like the
English Civil War to wake it up to certain things that it
was doing wrong.

PROFESSOR YING ZHU: Well, we have different events
throughout the last century--

not similar in nature, but the force for change, the
modernization force has been there all along, too.

It's not going back to history, thinking about, at
this particular moment, what one might do,
what one might seize.
Clearly, again, going back to the internet.
The internet has opened the technological revolution.
Let's put it this way-- technological revolution.
The internet has opened a whole terrain for competing
voices to emerge and for information to go out at a
very fast rate and to really make it impossible, really,
for censorship to control the information flow.
And so that's something that really helps to facilitate
this kind of change.
And don't forget that as recent as back in 1989,
there's a student movement.
So there is a mass grassroots demand for change.
And so I'm not sure if I'm answering your question
succinctly, but I guess I'm not in a position to really
prescribe certain solutions.
Just suffice it to say that there's so many incremental
changes out there already.
And it seems to me that China is at a crossroads, and China
is ready to make that leap.
AUDIENCE: In your book, you were able to interview many
members of the CCTV family who responded with
considerable candor.
And I wonder, were they jeopardizing either their
careers or any personal safety by being so candid with you?
And I'm wondering if the book has been banned in China.
PROFESSOR YING ZHU: I will be interested to know whether the
book is banned in China.
You're right.
A lot of those interviews were very candid.
And first of all, let me say, I do not consider these
journalists whom I interviewed back in
China my research subjects.
They're my fellow journalists.
I felt a very keen sense of camaraderie with these people.
And so these are not interviews per se.
These are conversations conducted at various
occassions over their own period of time.
I do not just go in there and put on the video and audio
tape and say, let's talk.
A lot of conversations conduct over dinner,
even over hot pot.
And so this makes it easier for people to be less guarded
and open up.
But there is a very fine line.
And I know and they know there are certain
questions I cannot ask.
Because it's easy for me to come back, leave China.
But people who are there have to stay there.
And they have to live, to make a living.
So it was a very delicate balance.
I'm very careful not to ask certain questions that will be
too provocative.
And then also, a lot of the high-profile interviewees or
my comrades back there, we grew up under similar cultural
conditions around the same age.
And so there is a mutual understanding there, too.
So there's a trust there, so that they get
to open up to me.
And I can tell you that I did not really put everything in
that book, because I, too, have to exercise
some kind of control.
There's an ethical consideration.
So yes, it's very candid.
But it also walks a very fine line.
It works within the boundary.
Let's put it that way.

AUDIENCE: As CCTV America tries to project China's soft
power, what is its metric for success?
Because even in the US, there's all these different
news outlets and organizations and publications, and there's
no real consensus on many important issues.
So how does CCTV see itself reaching its goal in terms of
changing America's image of China?
PROFESSOR YING ZHU: Well, it'll be interesting if they
actually have a goal.
Well, their goal is very clear-- it's to project its
soft power.
Whether they have a very coherent strategy, I highly
doubt there is.
And CCTV America and a lot of CCTV's foreign services really
are straight-jacketed by the heavy-handed policy
So they're not left alone to follow their professional
instinct, to do reporting, and so on and so forth.
So I don't think it is a real strategy in capital terms or
in non-capital terms in a strategy, per se.
There's only goal, only wishful thinking that if we
have the financial resources, we can come over and we can
set up an outpost there.
And we can hire your people to broadcast for us.
And it might soften up this kind of propaganda tone a
little bit.
But if you cannot really report the major news items
that everybody else is interested in, then you really
do not have the credibility.
And if there's a strategy, I'm not aware of it.
And it's certainly not succeeding.