In The Analects, Confucius says that a person of 40 years of age is without confusion. As such, China Daily, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, can be said to be free of confusion.
China Daily, which along with China Global Television Network and China Radio International, is a dependable voice telling China’s stories. Relatively younger News websites in English such as www.xinhuanet.com, www.en.people.cn and www.en.gmw.cn are also telling China’s stories. Counting some influential local English News platforms such as The Sixth Tone based in Shanghai, and Caixin Global based in Beijing, China today boasts of about 10 English News media outlets.
At different levels of global influence, each of these media outlets is running its own course without much integration or collaboration among themselves. They are clear about their professional goals: striving to be objective and guarding against disinformation, telling China’s stories in their varied dimensions to a global audience, and publishing opinions on global issues in moderation following the Confucian principle of peace, stability, and harmony, which are essential to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
The multipolar global order centered on the UN must continue. And since China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, its media outlets should continue to disseminate News and opinions globally and thus contribute to the maintenance of this multipolar world. These media’s voices cannot be muffled or silenced. The voices of 1.4 billion Chinese people cannot be brushed aside in shaping a more just and equitable world order.
Toward deeper global cultural communication
Chinese global media do not exercise the same influence as their Western counterparts. So they need to do more to have their voices heard around the world. To begin with, they should focus on digitalization. The Fourth Industrial Revolution offers an excellent opportunity to revolutionize China’s global media outlets.
New technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence and internet of things can help China build a modern information and communications technology infrastructure, which in turn will boost its global communication network.
However, technology alone does not form global communication; it also requires the harnessing of values and skills, developing of intercultural understanding, and strengthening of the humanistic bond across states, religions and civilizations.
China’s English-language media observe the golden rule which mainstream Western media love to violate: never attack unless being attacked. These Chinese media rebut reports or claims occasionally and only after baseless accusations are leveled against China. Usually they, in the true spirit of Confucianism, maintain silence against unreasonable attacks from unfriendly, mostly Western media outlets or politicians, to remind those troublemakers of their guilt.
Unfortunately, sometimes the silence has been misinterpreted as a sign of weakness of or an admission of wrongdoing by China. Worse, such silence, at times, invites more aggression.
Once China’s English-language media outlets strengthen communication with the international community, help make the West better understand China, and more strongly rebut the groundless accusations against China and the Chinese people, those politicians and media outlets will think twice before leveling groundless charges against China.
As a result, a positive and mutually respectful communication will develop between China and the rest of the world, especially the West.
The author is a distinguished adjunct professor at the Global Engagement Academy of Shandong University (Weihai), and a professor at the School of Communication of Chapman University.
The views don’t necessarily reflect those of China Daily.