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Xi orders media to preach about party at People’s Daily ‘central kitchen’ news hub

Xi specifically talked about rapidly developing digital media and social media platforms – and using artificial intelligence -- to transmit CPC’s thoughts and policies across the country where online population touched the 800 million-mark last year.

world Updated: Jan 27, 2019 16:37 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Xi Jinping,Communist Party of China,Chinese media
Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the country’s media to fall behind the Communist Party of China (CPC) to strengthen its public outreach. (File Photo)(REUTERS)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the country’s media to fall behind the Communist Party of China (CPC) to strengthen its public outreach and continue working towards guiding public opinion.

Xi specifically talked about rapidly developing digital media and social media platforms – and using artificial intelligence -- to transmit CPC’s thoughts and policies across the country where online population touched the 800 million-mark last year.

The Chinese president’s missive to mobilise the media and the masses comes at a time when the country grapples with a slowing economy, a high-profile trade war with the US and ongoing disputes like those in the South China Sea.

The media in China is heavily censored with local journalists having to work under strict guidelines: the no-go areas are topped by the CPC and top leaders.

Xi made the remarks at a group study session of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau at the new media building at the headquarters of the Party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily.

“Priority should be given to mobile platforms,” he said, calling for the exploration of using artificial intelligence in news gathering, generation, distribution, receiving and feedback.

The importance of the visit could be gauged from the fact that all seven members of the politburo standing committee – the top decision-making body in China – including Premier Li Keqiang visited the People’s Daily office on Friday.

Xi led the team to the newspaper’s media hub – traditionally called “central kitchen” in CPC circles – after speaking about media’s key role in strengthening the party.

The People’s Daily’s Chinese version is the CPC’s flagship news arm and serves as the most important platform for the party to send out political messages through commentaries.

“The work of news and public opinion is facing new challenges as profound changes have taken place in the ecology of public opinion, the media landscape and the means of communication,” Xi was quoted as saying by the official news agency, Xinhua.

“Party committees and governments at all levels should give greater support to integrated media development in terms of policies, funds, and talent,” he said.

While stressing the status of the People’s Daily as the CPC Central Committee’s official newspaper, Xi demanded the newspaper improve its work to give full play to its key role in guiding public opinion.

“…China’s rapid development also requires influential mainstream media to provide essential soft power to safeguard domestic public opinion and introduce China’s achievements to the world,” Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Committee, told state media.

First Published: Jan 27, 2019 16:37 IST

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