Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Lessons from China

Garth Shelton,

image from article

#Focac: On June 23, 2015, I organised and hosted a dialogue between the director and locally hired staff and journalists from CCTV’s Africa Production Center and ten journalists from different media in ten African Countries.

The African staff and journalists of CCTV stayed in China for a few days to learn about China. The ten journalists from African media stayed in China for a few months to learn about China.

However, this dialogue was created for them to learn about each other and explore possible opportunities for collaboration.

Director Pang Xin Hua from CCTV introduced the development of Africa Production Center and various ways of collaboration with African Media.

Journalists from African media shared their experiences in media cooperation. During the three hour dialogue, almost everybody asked questions, shared information, and discussed about possible cooperation.

Together, we created a very memorable occasion.

As a media and public diplomacy researcher and practitioner, I believe that such dialogues and discussion about media cooperation will benefit the media, the public, the countries and the world.

In the past few years, CCTV-News aired its programs through its own channel and many channels of its African partners.

China Radio International (CRI) aired its programs from many local FM radio. China Daily Africa have been printing its newspapers in the factories of its local partners.

Chinese media shared some journalists and staff with African media. Chinese media in Africa are developing with the support of African media. At the same time, Chinese media become content providers and business partners of African media.

Collaboration makes both Chinese and African media stronger while stronger non-western media will contribute to new world media order with features of diversity, inclusiveness and localisation.

International media cooperation benefit the public by providing them informative and interesting information and entertainment.

Dou Dou and her mother-in-law, the widely known Chinese TV series, was warmly welcome by African audiences in 2012. Since then, CRI has translated more than 1 300 episodes of TV series in different languages for African audiences.

TV series help African people get closer to the life of Chinese people and will no doubt help them understand more about China.

On the other hand, Chinese media has delivered much more information about African countries to Chinese audiences and internet users and developed their interest and investment in Africa.

More and more organisational and personal interaction happens between Chinese and African people.

As a result, volume of trade between China and Africa saw a growth of ten times in the past ten years and hopefully reach $ 280 billion in 2015 according to the Standard Chartered Bank.

Lower production cost has attracted many Chinese entrepreneurs to move their factories to African countries. It was predicted in 2014 that 85 million factory workers’ positions would be transfered from China to Africa in the future according to

“Made in Africa” will be more popular globally. African countries have became more attractive travel destination to Chinese tourists while South Africa, Eygpt, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia are most attractive in 2014.

Among 59 African countries, 28 countries saw a 60% growth of tourists from September 2013 to September 2014.

Chinese tourists greatly contributed to the growth in 2014 when the total number of outbound mainland Chinese tourists broke a record of 100 million.

It is also recognised that the number of African people living, travelling and studying in China has been growing quickly.

The sweetest part of the interaction between Chinese and African people might be the growing number of love stories and marriages. In 1950s, Chairman Mao Zedong marked the baseline for China-Africa friendship.

Tanzania- Zambia Railway is an unforgettable symbol of the friendship. In March 2013, Chairman Xi Jin Ping paid his first state visits to Tanzania, South Africa, Congo, and Russia.

In his speech at an international conference center of Tanzania, Chairman Xi declared that China and Africa will be “reliable friends” and “sincere partners” forever.

Chairman Xi stressed that Chinese and African people should cooperate and support each other to make our shared dream for development come true since China has Chinese Dream aiming at rejuvenation of China while African people have your own African Dream of development, which would make great contribution to world peace and development.

In a word, the accelerated flow of information, trade, and people created unprecedented and historical interaction between China and Africa.

With the classical Chinese proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” kept in mind and practiced in action, more positive interaction should be expected.

It is lucky for Chinese and African media to get the chance to witness the exciting age and record the historical interaction.

It is the mission of Chinese and African media to document our stories as another part of unforgettable memories in the history of humankind and tell our stories to our children.

More and effective media cooperation including co-production, co-publishing, co-broadcasting, co-hosting should be explored and practiced.

Zhong Xin is Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, at the Renmin University of China [JB note: He appears to be the author of this article.]

This article initially appeared in an Independent Media supplement.

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