People's Daily launches English app in soft-power push

BEIJING • The People's Daily newspaper launched an English-language mobile application yesterday, in what it called a "strategic step" to strengthen Beijing's influence internationally.

The newspaper is the mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party, and sold an average of 3.18 million copies a day last year.

It launched a Chinese-language app three years ago that it said has been downloaded 200 million times.

"To develop an English app is a strategic move to... further enhance our global influence and presence," People's Daily Newspaper Group president Yang Zhenwu said at a ceremony at its new headquarters in Beijing.

Senior government officials attended the event.

"We are striving to achieve what President Xi (Jinping) has asked, namely to speak well of China and to spread his word well."

People's Daily also has a website that broadcasts its articles in eight languages.

In addition to the People's Daily, China has several international news channels, including Xinhua news agency and, since the end of last year, the China Global Television Network, which brings together foreign language channels of its state broadcaster.

Conversely, the Chinese regime closely controls information allowed to enter the country, and bans the websites of certain foreign media such as Le Monde and the New York Times.

Beijing has maintained that its various forms of web censorship - collectively known as "The Great Firewall" - are necessary for protecting its national security.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2017, with the headline 'People's Daily launches English app in soft-power push'. Print Edition | Subscribe