China Radio International

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China Radio International
City of license Shijingshan Road 16th Beijing
Broadcast area Worldwide
First air date December 3, 1941
Affiliations State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television
Owner  People's Republic of China
Website CRI, CRI in English
China Radio International
Simplified Chinese 中国国际
Traditional Chinese 中國國際

China Radio International (CRI) (Chinese: 中国国际广播电台; pinyin: Zhōngguó Guójì Guǎngbō Diàntái) is the People's Republic of China (PRC) state-owned international radio broadcaster, currently headquartered in Babaoshan, a subdistrict of Beijing. Formerly Radio Beijing, and originally Radio Peking, it was founded on December 3 of 1941.

CRI adopts the PRC Government's stance on political issues such as the Political status of Taiwan and the status of the Dalai Lama. CRI claims that it "endeavours to promote favourable relations between the PRC and the world". As with other nations' external broadcasters such as Voice of America, BBC World Service and Radio Australia, CRI claims to "play a significant role in the PRC's soft power strategy". Unlike those broadcasters, CRI's control via indirect majority ownership or financial support of radio stations in various nations is not published.[1][2]

It has 30 overseas bureaus, and broadcasts 1,520 hours of programming each day (24 hours in English), including news, current affairs, and features on politics, the economy, culture, science and technology.

CRI has the most comprehensive foreign service in Asia.[citation needed] More than 50 shortwave transmitters are used to cover most of the world; it is broadcast via the internet and numerous satellites; and its programs are rebroadcast by many local FM and AM radio stations worldwide.


Radio was first introduced in China in the 1920s and 1930s. However, few households had radio receivers. A few cities had commercial stations. Most usage of radio was for political purpose, frequently on a local area level.

The Chinese Communist Party first used radio in Yanan in March 1940 with a transmitter imported from Moscow. Xinhua New Chinese Radio (XNCR) went on the air from Yanan on December 30, 1940. XNCR transmitted to a larger geographical area after 1945, and its programs became more regular and formalised with broadcasts of news, official announcements, war bulletins, and art and literary programs.

The English service started on September 11, 1947, transmitting as XNCR from a cave in Shahe in the Taihang Mountains,[3] when China was in the midst of a civil war, to announce newly conquered areas and broadcast a Chinese political and cultural perspective to the world at large.[4][5] The station moved from the Taihang Mountains to the capital, Peking, when The People's Republic of China was formed in 1949. Its name was changed to Radio Peking on April 10, 1950 and to Radio Beijing in 1983. On January 1, 1993 the name of the station was again changed, this time to China Radio International, in order to avoid any confusion with local Beijing radio broadcasting.

Short wave/international broadcasting[edit]

CRI broadcasts via shortwave radio, satellite and the Internet in English and numerous other languages (see below). There are also numerous AM and FM relays.

Shortwave broadcasts in English are targeted at North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific. CRI maintains direct shortwave broadcasts to developed, media-rich countries in North America and Europe, even as major Western broadcasters (such as BBC World Service, Voice of America and Radio Netherlands) reduce or discontinue such broadcasts.


Mandarin Channel[edit]

At the beginning of 1984, it started to broadcast home service to the Beijing area on AM and FM frequencies. The service later expanded to dozens of major cities across the PRC, providing listeners inside the PRC with timely news and reports, music, weather, English and Chinese learning skills, as well as other services.

CRI News Radio (90.5 FM)[edit]

CRI News Radio (CRI环球资讯广播) was established on 28 September 2005, which takes advantage of CRI's journalists from all around the world and report international (and partially domestic) news, sport, entertainment and lifestyle programmes for domestic listeners in Mandarin Chinese. Its aim is to make CRI News Radio a first-class national news radio brand and its slogans are 'First News, News First', 'On-the-Spot China, Live World' etc.[6] CRI News Radio can be heard online and in Beijing on the radio on 90.5 FM; in Tianjin 90.6 FM; in Chongqing 91.7 FM; in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau 107.1 FM; in Shandong 89.8 FM; in Anhui 90.1 FM.

Chinese podcasts[edit]

The following programmes can be heard on the Mandarin version of the podcast from the World Radio Network:

  • News (Chinese: 新闻节目 Pinyin: xīn wén jié mù), which comes from the Xinhua News Agency.
  • Tángrénjiē (Chinese: 唐人街 English translation: "Chinatown"), a programme about overseas Chinese (outside China)
  • Weather forecasts around China
  • Sports

This broadcast was originally targeted at London in the United Kingdom. In 2006, they removed the "London" reference, which was part of the introduction as "Ni hao London. Hello London"[7]

English Channel[edit]

CRI in English (88.0 FM, 88.7 FM, 91.5 FM, 846 AM, 1008 AM)[edit]

The CRI English channels that can be heard online are:

  • Round the Clock (Internet only)
  • News Centre (846 AM in Beijing)
  • Hit FM (88.7 FM in Beijing (24H All Day), 88.5 FM in Guangzhou (06:00—21:00 Beijing Time))
  • Easy FM (91.5 FM in Beijing (24H All Day), 87.9 FM in Shanghai (Shanghai Edition) (24H All Day), 98.5 FM in Lanzhou)
  • Language Studio (1008 AM in Beijing) - a one-hour programme that teaches English for someone who only knows Mandarin (not to be confused with Chinese Studio). The programme sounds like a kindergarten English lesson in the USA using very simple sentences (e.g. Mary goes to the bank).
  • CRI 91.9 FM (Kenya 91.9 FM)
  • Chinese Studio is a 5-minute segment that follows most CRI English programmes
  • China Drive is an English radio show about life in the PRC
  • CRI Sri Lanka FM 97.9 in Sri Lanka in Sinhala and English (05:00 — 00:00 Sri Lanka Time)

English Podcasts[edit]

The English podcast from the World Radio Network includes the following programmes, all of which are also played on Easy FM, CRI 91.9 FM in Kenya, and in radio stations throughout the world.

  • Hourly News
  • The Beijing Hour (7 days a week since April, 2015)
  • People in the Know
  • Press Clippings
  • Studio Plus
  • Today
  • China Drive
  • Realtime China
  • Africa Express
  • Chinese Studio (sponsored by the Bridge School)

Holiday Broadcasts[edit]

During major Chinese holidays (dubbed Golden Week), such as Chinese New Year, May Day, and Mid-Autumn Festival, China Radio International typically broadcasts special programmes such as:

  • Growing Up In China (during the May Day holiday)

Most of these programmes are not typical of the broadcast during the other parts of the year. The analogy is similar to Christmas music broadcasts in the United States.

Olympic Radio[edit]

In July 2006, CRI launched a new radio station called CRI Olympic Radio at 900 AM in Beijing. This special broadcast is done in Mandarin, Korean, English, Russian, French, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese and German 24 hours a day. This service terminated in late 2008 and now the frequency 900 AM is occupied by CRI News Radio (Beijing only).


China Radio International broadcasts in the following languages:[8]

Language Launched Website
Armenian 12 April 2011[9]
Belarusian 23 September 2009[10]
Central Bikol
Cambodian 11 December 2008[11]
Dutch 23 September 2009[10]
English 11 September 1947[12]
Esperanto 19 December 1964[13]
French 5 June 1958[14]
German 15 April 1960
Greek 23 September 2009[10]
Hebrew 23 September 2009[10]
Ibanag language
Icelandic 23 September 2009[10]
Japanese 3 December 1941[15]
Korean 2 July 1950[16]
Laotian 20 November 2006[17]
Nepali 25 Jun 1975[18]
Norwegian 23 September 2009[10]
Russian 24 December 1954[19]
Spanish 3 September 1956[20]
Swahili 6 March 2006[21]
Tamil August 1963[22][23]

The Tibetan, Uygur and Kazakh services are broadcast in association with local radio stations (Tibet People's Broadcasting Station and Xinjiang People's Broadcasting Station).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Qing, Koh Gui; Shiffman, John (2 November 2015). "Beijing’s covert radio network airs China-friendly news across Washington, and the world". Reuters. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "The International Metropolitan Broadcast Media Cooperation Forum". Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "CRI Marks China's First English Radio Show." (Archive) CRI English. November 25, 2011. Retrieved on November 16, 2013.
  4. ^ Chang, Won Ho, "Mass Media in China: The History and the Future", Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1989, pp. 151-152.
  5. ^ China Radio International, History and Milestones: CRI English Service (Archive)
  6. ^ "Ѷ㲥 CRI News Radio". 
  7. ^ China Broadcast
  8. ^ "CRI Online". Retrieved 2015-02-15. 
  9. ^ CRI English - CRI Launch In Armenia
  10. ^ a b c d e f China Daily - Six New Websites
  11. ^ Cambodia Friendship Radio
  12. ^ 中央人民广播电台研究室《解放区广播历史资料选编 1940–1949》. Beijing: 中国广播电视出版社, 1985.
  13. ^ Skizo pri Esperanto-elsendo de ĈRI, CRI.
  14. ^ Service français, CRI.
  15. ^ 日本語部紹介, CRI.
  16. ^ 조선어부 소개 및 연계방식, CRI.
  17. ^ CRI English - New Station In Laos
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ Международное радио Китая, CRI.
  20. ^ Breve Historia del Departamento de Español, CRI.
  21. ^ - CRI Launches First Overseas Radio Station
  22. ^ NDTV - Tamil FM Station To Launch
  23. ^ The Hindu - Tamil Radio Station Plans Expansion


  • Bishop, Robert L., "Qi Lai! Mobilizing One Billion Chinese: The Chinese Communication System", Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-8138-0296-2
  • Chang, Won Ho, "Mass Media in China: The History and the Future", Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1989.
  • Hamm, Charles, "Music and Radio in the PRC," Asian Music, Spring/Summer 1991, vXXII, n2, p. 28-29.
  • Howkins, John, "Mass Communication in China", New York: Annenberg/ Longman Communication Books, 1982.

External links[edit]