Xinhua News Agency
|Red China News Agency (1931–1937)|
|Founder||Communist Party of China|
(Editor-in-chief) Liu Zhengrong
|Owner||People's Republic of China (state-owned institution)|
|Parent||State Council of the People's Republic of China|
|Xinhua News Agency|
|Literal meaning||New China News Agency|
|Literal meaning||New China Agency|
Xinhua News Agency (English pronunciation: //) or New China News Agency is the official state-run press agency of the People's Republic of China. Xinhua is the biggest and most influential media organization in China, as well as the largest news agency in the world in terms of correspondents worldwide. Xinhua is a ministry-level institution subordinate to the State Council and is the highest ranking state media organ in the country alongside the People's Daily. Its president is a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Xinhua operates more than 170 foreign bureaux worldwide and maintains 31 bureaux in China—one for each province, autonomous region and directly administered municipality plus a military bureau. Xinhua is the sole channel for the distribution of important news related to the Communist Party and Chinese central government and its headquarters in Beijing are strategically located close to Zhongnanhai, which houses the headquarters of the Communist Party of China, the State Council and the office of the President.
Xinhua is a publisher as well as a news agency—it owns more than 20 newspapers and a dozen magazines and it publishes in several languages, besides Chinese, including English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Japanese and Korean.
In 2018, the United States Department of Justice directed Xinhua to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act in US. However, Xinhua did not register as a foreign agent. In 2020, the United States Department of State designated Xinhua and other state-owned media outlets a "foreign mission."
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The predecessor to Xinhua was the Red China News Agency (紅色中華通訊社; Hóngsè Zhōnghuá Tōngxùnshè), founded in November 1931 as the Chinese Soviet Zone of Ruijin, Jiangxi province. It mostly republished news from its rival Central News Agency (CNA) for party and army officials. The agency got its name of Xinhua in November 1935, at the end of the Long March which relocated the Communists from Jiangxi to Shaanxi. By the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Xinhua's Reference News not only translated CNA news from the Kuomintang, but also international news from agencies like TASS and Havas. Xinhua first started using letterpress printing in 1940.
During the Pacific War the agency developed overseas broadcasting capabilities and established its first overseas branches. It began broadcasting to foreign countries in English from 1944. In 1949, Xinhua followed a subscription model instead of its previous limited distribution model. In the direct aftermath of the Chinese Civil War, the agency represented the People's Republic of China in countries and territories with which it had no diplomatic representation, such as British Hong Kong. In 1956, Xinhua began reporting on anti-Marxist and other opinions critical of the party. In 1957, Xinhua switched from a journal format to a newspaper format.
The agency was described by media scholars as the "eyes and tongue" of the Party, observing what is important for the masses and passing on the information. A former Xinhua director, Zheng Tao, noted that the agency was a bridge between the Party, the government and the people, communicating both the demands of the people and the policies of the Party. People's Daily, for example, uses Xinhua material for about a quarter of its stories.
Xinhua delivers its news across the world in eight languages: Chinese, English, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, and Japanese, as well as news pictures and other kinds of news. It has made contracts to exchange news and news pictures with more than eighty foreign news agencies or political news departments. Xinhua is also responsible for handling, and in some cases, censoring reports from foreign media destined for release in China. By 2010, the agency had begun converging its news and electronic media coverage and increasing its English coverage through its wire service. Xinhua acquired commercial real estate on New York's Times Square and is developing its English-language reporting staff. Xinhua has also started an English-language satellite news network.
The Chinese media's internal publication system, in which certain journals are published exclusively for government and party officials, provides information and analysis which are not generally available to the public. The State values these internal reports because they contain much of China's most sensitive, controversial, and high-quality investigative journalism.
Xinhua produces reports for the "internal" journals. Informed observers note that journalists generally like to write for the internal publications because they can write less polemical and more comprehensive stories without making the omissions of unwelcome details commonly made in the media directed to the general public. The internal reports, written from a large number of countries, typically consist of in-depth analyses of international situations and domestic attitudes towards regional issues and perceptions of China.
The Chinese government's internal media publication system follows a strict hierarchical pattern designed to facilitate party control. A publication called Reference News—which includes translated articles from abroad as well as news and commentary by Xinhua reporters—is delivered by Xinhua personnel, rather than by the national mail system, to officials at the working level and above. A three-to-ten-page report called Internal Reference (Neibu Cankao) is distributed to officials at the ministerial level and higher. One example was the first reports on the SARS outbreak by Xinhua which only government officials were allowed to see. The most classified Xinhua internal reports are issued to the top dozen or so party and government officials.
Headquarters and regional sectors
The Xinhua headquarters is located in Beijing, strategically located in close proximity to Zhongnanhai, which houses the headquarters of the Communist Party of China, the State Council and the office of the President of the People's Republic of China. The Xinhua News Agency established its first overseas affiliate in 1947 in London, with Samuel Chinque as publisher. Now it distributes its news in Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Africa through more than 150 affiliates, with regional headquarters in Hong Kong, Moscow, Cairo, Brussels, New York City, Mexico City and Nairobi, plus a United Nations bureau.
Xinhua's branch in Hong Kong was not just a press office, but served as the de facto embassy of the PRC in the territory when it was under British administration. It was named a news agency under the special historic conditions before the territory's sovereignty was transferred from Britain to China, because the People's Republic did not recognise British sovereignty over the colony, and could not set up a consulate on what it considered to be its soil.
Despite its unofficial status, the directors of the Xinhua Hong Kong Branch included high-ranking former diplomats such as Zhou Nan, former Ambassador to the United Nations and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, who later negotiated the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the future of Hong Kong. His predecessor, Xu Jiatun, was also vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Basic Law Drafting Committee, before fleeing to the United States in response to the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests, where he went into exile.
It was authorized by the special administrative region government to continue to represent the central government after 1997, and it was renamed "The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR" on January 18, 2000, retaining branch chief Jiang Enzhu as inaugural director. The State Council appointed Gao Siren (高祀仁) as the director in August 2002. After the Liaison Office was established, Xinhua Agency was reconstituted as a bona fide press office.
Criticisms and controversies
Political bias and censorship
Both foreign and domestic anti-government critics have routinely criticized Xinhua for its political correctness and favorable portrayal of China's state policies. In 2005, Reporters Sans Frontieres called Xinhua "The World's Biggest Propaganda Machine", pointing out that Xinhua's president held the rank of a minister in the government. The report further stated that the news agency was “at the heart of censorship and disinformation put in place” by the government.
In a 2007 interview with the Times of India, then Xinhua president Tian Congming affirmed the problem of "historical setbacks and popular perceptions". Newsweek criticized Xinhua as "being best known for its blind spots" regarding controversial news in China, although the article acknowledges that "Xinhua's spin diminishes when the news doesn't involve China".
During the 2003 SARS outbreak, Xinhua was slow to release reports of the incident to the public. However, its reporting in the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake was seen as more transparent and credible as Xinhua journalists operated more freely. After the Beijing Television Cultural Center fire, cognizant of Xinhua's "tardy" reporting in contrast to bloggers, China announced the investment of 20 billion yuan to Xinhua. The vice president of the China International Publishing Group commented on this, saying that quantity of media exposure would not necessarily help perceptions of China. Rather, he said, media should focus on emphasizing Chinese culture and the Chinese way of life "to convey the message that China is a friend, not an enemy".
Xinhua for its own part has criticized foreign media bias and inaccurate reporting, citing an incident during the 2008 Tibetan unrest when Western media outlets used scenes of Nepalese police arresting Tibetan protesters as evidence of Chinese state brutality with commentary from CNN's Jack Cafferty calling the Chinese "goons and thugs". CNN later apologized for the comments, but Richard Spencer of The Sunday Telegraph defended what he conceded was "biased" Western media coverage of the riots, blaming Chinese authorities for not allowing foreign media access to Tibet during the conflict.
In 2019, Xinhua was criticized for perceived bias in its portrayal of the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests as violent and illegitimate, which led Twitter to ban it and other state-sponsored media outlets from ad purchases.
In 2020, Xinhua was one of several state-owned agencies reported to have been propagating disinformation related to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic through targeted Facebook and Instagram ads and Twitter posts.
1989 student movement
Xinhua staff struggled to find the "right line" to use in covering the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Although more cautious than People's Daily in its treatment of sensitive topics during that period – such as how to commemorate reformist Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang's April 1989 death and then ongoing demonstrations in Beijing and elsewhere – Xinhua gave some favorable coverage to demonstrators and intellectuals supportive of the movement. Conflict between journalists and top editors over the censorship of stories about the Tiananmen Square crackdown lasted for several days after the military's dispersal of demonstrators on June 4, with some journalists going on strike and demonstrating inside the agency's Beijing headquarters. Government oversight of the media increased after the protests – top editors at the agency's bureaux in Hong Kong and Macau were replaced with appointees who were pro-Beijing.
2011 Bob Dechert emails
In 2011, CBC reported on leaked "flirtatious" emails sent by Canada's Conservative MP and parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice Bob Dechert to married Xinhua Toronto correspondent Shi Rong, which prompted both sexual harassment and security breach allegations from opposition members. Dechert apologized, while the Chinese embassy in Ottawa responded to the matter by saying that it is "in no position to comment on domestic disputes and privacy of those involved."
2012 Mark Bourrie resignation
In 2012, Xinhua's Ottawa correspondent Mark Bourrie resigned after Ottawa bureau chief Zhang Dacheng allegedly requested him to report on the Dalai Lama for Xinhua's internal media, which Bourrie felt amounted to gathering intelligence for a foreign power. Zhang denied the allegation, telling the Canadian Press that Xinhua's policy is to "cover public events by public means" and his bureau's job is to cover news events and file the stories to Xinhua's editing rooms, who would then decide which stories would be published. Bourrie, who had a press pass providing him access to the Parliament of Canada, had previously tried to consult the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in 2009 on the matter of writing for Xinhua, but was ignored by CSIS.
2014 Song Bin suicide
On 7 pm, April 28, 2014, vice-president and chief editor of Xinhua's Anhui provincial branch Song Bin was found dead in the newsroom in an apparent suicide. The author for some award-winning reports on social and economic issues, the senior editor had been battling depression before ending his own life by hanging himself.
2017 Doklam standoff
During the 2017 China–India border standoff, Xinhua's English-language new media program The Spark released a satirical video named the "Seven Sins of India" on August 16, 2017, where presenter Di'er Wang spoke of Indians having "thick skin" and "pretending to sleep" on the matter of the border dispute. Wang went on to claim India was physically threatening Bhutan, and compared India to a "robber who breaks into a house and does not leave". An actor in the video portraying "India" with a turban, beard and accent sparked allegations of racism and anti-Indian sentiment. The video has received strong backlash on Twitter as well as from Indian and Western media.
2018 Devumi allegations
In January 2018, The New York Times published an investigative report on social media promotions, alleging that the US-based company Devumi was providing "Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online." The article goes on to allege an unnamed Xinhua editor was among the many celebrities and organizations implicated in a transaction with Devumi, in which the company boosted the news agency's English-language Twitter account with followers and retweets.
Cooperation with Associated Press
In November 2018, Xinhua News Agency and the Associated Press (AP) of the United States signed an memorandum of understanding to expand cooperation with the U.S. news service, which worried some lawmakers in the US congress, demanding AP to release the text of its memorandum of understanding with Xinhua. In response, AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton said to the Washington Post that AP's agreement with Xinhua is to allow it to operate inside China and has no bearing on AP's independence. Xinhua has no access to AP's sensitive information and no influence over AP's editorial products.
- Central News Agency (Taiwan)
- China News Service
- China Securities Journal
- China Xinhua News Network Corporation
- Media of the People's Republic of China
- J. C. Wells: Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, 3rd ed., for both British and American English
- International Media and Newspapers (October 30, 2017). "Top 200 News Agencies Worldwide". Archived from the original on November 9, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 18, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Brunnstrom, David (November 15, 2017). "U.S. Congress urged to require Chinese journalists to register as agents". Reuters. Archived from the original on September 1, 2018. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- Yik-tung, Ng; Siu-fung, Lau (September 19, 2018). "U.S. Orders Chinese State News Outlets to Register as Foreign Agents". Radio Free Asia. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
- Tandon, Shaun (April 8, 2020). "US tightens rules on Chinese state media". Hong Kong Free Press. Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on April 8, 2020. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
- Lee, Matthew (February 18, 2020). "US designates 5 Chinese media outlets as foreign missions". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
- Xia, Liang (2019). A Discourse Analysis of News Translation in China. Routledge. pp. 26–27.
- Pares, Susan. (2005). A political and economic dictionary of East Asia. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-85743-258-9
- Malek, Abbas & Kavoori, Ananadam. (1999). The global dynamics of news: studies in international news coverage and news agenda. p. 346. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-56750-462-0.
- Markham, James. (1967) Voices of the Red Giants. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.
- "Justice Department Has Ordered Key Chinese State Media Firms to Register as Foreign Agents". The Wall Street Journal. September 18, 2018. Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
- Charles Glasser. (2009). International Libel and Privacy Handbook: A Global Reference for Journalists, Publishers, Webmasters, and Lawyers. Bloomberg Press. ISBN 978-1-57660-324-6
- Troianovski, Anton (June 30, 2010). "China Agency Nears Times Square". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on October 10, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
- Lampton, David (2001). The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Era of Reform, 1978–2000: 1978–2000. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4056-2
- The Economist, "Chinese whispers: Not believing what they read in the papers, China's leaders commission their own Archived October 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine", June 19, 2010, p. 43.
- 解密中国特色的“内参”：直抵政治局 能量巨大 Archived January 28, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. Sohu.
- Hong, Junhao (2011). "From the World's Largest Propaganda Machine to a Multipurposed Global News Agency: Factors in and Implications of Xinhua's Transformation Since 1978". Political Communication. 28 (3): 377–393. doi:10.1080/10584609.2011.572487. S2CID 143208781.
- The Long History of United Front Activity in Hong Kong Archived January 29, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Hong Kong Journal, Cindy Yik-yi Chu, July 2011
- 'Poet diplomat' Zhou Nan takes aim at Occupy Central Archived October 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, South China Morning Post, June 16, 2014
- China's ex-proxy in Hong Kong fired for 'betrayal' Archived May 10, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, UPI, February 22, 1991
- "Jiang Enzhu on Renaming Xinhua Hong Kong Branch". People's Daily Online. Beijing: Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. January 17, 2000. Archived from the original on October 10, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- New office building of Xinhua Middle East regional bureau opens in Cairo Archived November 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine 2005/11/26
- "Xinhua: the world's biggest propaganda agency". Reporters Without Borders. September 30, 2005. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- "Xinhua, China's news agency and 'propaganda tool'". www.hindustantimes.com/. July 25, 2016. Archived from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- Q&A: 'Our credibility is doubted to a certain degree' Archived October 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Times of India, September 28, 2007.
- Fish, Isaac Stone; Dokoupil, Tony (September 3, 2010). "Is China's Xinhua the Future of Journalism?". Newsweek. Archived from the original on September 4, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
- Quake coverage 'testing China's media credibility' Archived June 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Radio Australia, May 16, 2008
- Quake Moves Xinhua Past Propaganda Archived November 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Newser, May 13, 2008
- China to spend billions to boost media credibility Archived June 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Radio86, March 10, 2009
- Commentary: Biased Media Reports Reveal Credibility Crisis Archived October 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Xinhua, March 26, 2008
- Barboza, David (May 16, 2008). "China: CNN Apologizes Over Tibet Comments". New York Times. Archived from the original on July 23, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- Spencer, Richard (March 28, 2008). "Bias over Tibet cuts both ways". The Sunday Telegraph. London, England. Archived from the original on September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
- Kan, Michael (August 19, 2019). "Twitter Bans State-Sponsored Media Ads Over Hong Kong Propaganda". PC Magazine. Archived from the original on August 21, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
- Doffman, Zak (August 19, 2019). "China Pays Twitter To Promote Propaganda Attacks On Hong Kong Protesters". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 21, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
- Lakshmanan, Ravie (August 19, 2019). "China is paying Twitter to publish propaganda against Hong Kong protesters". The Next Web. Archived from the original on August 20, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
- Dodds, Laurence (April 5, 2020). "China floods Facebook with undeclared coronavirus propaganda ads blaming Trump". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on April 6, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
- Zhong, Raymond; Krolik, Aaron; Mozur, Paul; Bergman, Ronen; Wong, Edward (June 8, 2020). "Behind China's Twitter Campaign, a Murky Supporting Chorus". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
- Li, Jinquan & Lee, Chin-Chuan. (2000). Power, Money, and Media: Communication Patterns and Bureaucratic Control in Cultural China. p. 298. Northwestern University Press. ISBN 978-0-8101-1787-7
- Kemp, Brian. "Xinhua under the microscope: The Dechert case". CBC News. Archived from the original on May 3, 2020.
- Carlson, Kathryn Blaze (August 22, 2012). "China's state-run news agency being used to monitor critics in Canada: reporter". National Post. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- The Canadian Press (August 22, 2012). "Reporter says Chinese news agency asked him to spy". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on August 23, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Blanchfield, Mike. "Mark Bourrie: Xinhua, Chinese News Agency, Tried To Get Me To Spy". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on February 9, 2018. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- Bourrie, Mark. "THE EX FILES: Journalist Mark Bourrie's behind-the-scenes account of his two years in the employ of Xinhua". Ottawa Magazine. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- Wu, Nan. "Xinhua editor found dead inside newsroom in apparent suicide". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "7 Sins of India: China's bizarre video attack over border dispute". NewsComAu. Archived from the original on September 6, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- "Chinese media mocks India with racist video on Doklam standoff". Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- Linder, Alex (August 17, 2017). "WATCH: Xinhua attacks India with racist propaganda video on Doklam border dispute". Shanghaiist. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- Chandran, Nyshka (August 17, 2017). "Chinese media Xinhua mocks Indians and PM Narendra Modi's policies in racist video". Archived from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- Chandran, Nyshka (August 17, 2017). "Chinese media Xinhua mocks Indians and PM Narendra Modi's policies in racist video". www.cnbc.com. Archived from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
- "The Follower Factory". New York Times. January 27, 2018. Archived from the original on January 28, 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
- Rogin, Josh (December 24, 2018). "Congress demands answers on AP's relationship with Chinese state media". Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 26, 2018. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Xinhua News Agency.|