In a downtown D.C. office building hard by a Starbucks and a busy construction site, China’s most ambitious effort to become a global power in English-language TV news is literally taking shape.
For months, Chinese and American workers have been constructing a multi-floor TV studio complex on New York Avenue NW. Within a few weeks, China Central Television (CCTV) — the nation’s state-run international broadcaster — intends to originate news broadcasts produced by a staff of more than 60 journalists hired in recent weeks from NBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox News and other Western news organizations.
The new Washington operation, its managers say, will be a hub of CCTV’s global news-gathering operations as the network launches a major expansion outside China to compete with international broadcasters such as CNN, the BBC and al-Jazeera.
China watchers see an even larger aim in China’s multimillion-dollar investment in Washington: capturing the attention and perhaps the hearts and minds of viewers throughout the United States and the Western Hemisphere. China’s ambition, they say, is to use news reporting and cultural programming to advance its “soft power,” or cultural influence, making it commensurate with the nation’s growing economic might.