Xinwen Lianbo

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Xinwen Lianbo
Opening titles use Chinese characters and pinyin. The show's opening sequence and theme music, first introduced in 1988, has remained mostly unchanged
Traditional Chinese新聞聯播
Simplified Chinese新闻联播
Theme music composerMeng Weidong
Ending themeTogether Again by Alastair Gavin
Country of originChina
Original languageMandarin
Original release
NetworkOriginates from China Central Television (see below)
Release1 January 1978 (1978-01-01) –

Xinwen Lianbo (simplified Chinese: 新闻联播; traditional Chinese: 新聞聯播; pinyin: Xīnwén Liánbō; lit. 'News Simulcast') is a daily news programme produced by China Central Television (CCTV), a state broadcaster. It is shown simultaneously by all local TV stations in mainland China, making it one of the world's most-watched programmes. It has been broadcast since 1 January 1978.[1]

This program is used as a medium for the state to announce government announcements and meetings, commentaries on major economic and policy issues, and the activities of national leaders. The program reflects official positions of the Chinese Communist Party on a wide range of matters. Some accuse the program as serving more as a means for the party to divulge its political agenda rather than to examine the day's important news events. It has been criticized both within China and internationally for its lack of neutrality. Despite declining popularity, it remains a widely watched program.

Name, format and distribution[edit]

There is no standard English translation of the name. Variants in use include "Evening News" and "Network News Broadcast".[2] An Oxford dictionary gives news hook-up.[3] The Chinese name contains two words: "Xinwen" (新闻/新聞) meaning "news" and "Lianbo" (联播/聯播) closely translating to "joint broadcast" or "simulcast", referring to the fact that material is broadcast by all provincial and municipal television stations (usually their flagship channel) in China, which guarantee that audience could watch the programme by Terrestrial television all over the country. And all the provincial TV stations have correspondents and reporters that are obliged to provide the programme with news reports and features from their respective areas.[4]

The program has also been translated into minority languages, such as the Korean version broadcast in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin Province, which is called "Domestic and Foreign News"(Korean국내외뉴스; Hanja國內外뉴스).[5]

The programme consists of a daily news bulletin of approximately thirty minutes, beginning with the headlines and proceeding to detailed reports.[6] In special circumstances, the broadcast is extended beyond the 30 minutes allotted when deemed necessary. For example, in 1997, the death of Deng Xiaoping extended Xinwen Lianbo broadcast beyond the regular time for over a week. The announcers are shown seated, with a window into the control room behind them.[7] The format has hardly varied for three decades, even its details. Mandarin language is always used, in accordance with government language policies, and throughout the broadcast the language is formal and flowery. The delivery is stilted, without happy talk or humour.[1]

Prior to January 2013, Xinwen Lianbo never included "two-way" (where the anchor conducts direct dialogue with a reporter or a commentator) or live reports, (although it did air live reports of the launch of the Chang'e 2 lunar satellite on October 1, 2010). The first live report was made on January 26, 2013.They have implemented only Vizrt-powered graphics since the September 25, 2011 newscast. As of 2020, the opening titles and music had been substantially unchanged since 1988.[6][8][clarification needed]

The programme justifies its title with a comprehensive distribution system that has led the Washington Post to dub it "one of the world's most-watched news programs." Calculations based on official statistics suggest as many as 135 million people tune in each day, which makes sense if one considers the large number people who live in China.[2] The Wall Street Journal calculated in 2006 that it had fourteen times the audience of the highest-rated US news show. The initial 19:00 UTC+8 broadcast is broadcast simultaneously on CCTV-1, CCTV-7 and CCTV-13 (simulcast on CCTV) and on the primary channel of provincial and municipal stations, as well as selected radio stations across the country. CCTV-13 usually repeats the programme (or live if the first broadcast is outdated or contains errors) at 9:00 pm, whereas CCTV-4 usually repeats the programme at a later time and CCTV-1 usually repeats the programme at 5:00 am. There are later repeats dubbed into selected minority languages for viewers in appropriate regions. This ensures that free-to-air and pay TV viewers in the country may see around half the available channels carrying the programme.

On 18 July 2020, Xinwen Lianbo transitioned to 16:9 high definition format.[9]


It is always presented by two news presenters, usually one male and one female. From 1989 to 2006, the main newscasters were Xing Zhibin and Luo Jing,[2] assisted by four others.[1] On 5 June 2006, two younger newscasters were introduced, namely Li Zimeng and Kang Hui.[1]



Political significance[edit]

News values[edit]

What is the judgement for important news in the minds of many Chinese journalists working for the official media or for propaganda journalism today? Xu Zhaorong, a reporter of Xinhua makes the following 14 observations (Symposium of Journalism 1998):

  • 1. Important activities, personnel changes and meetings of the party and the state, such as the banquets of the National Day, meetings of Party and the national People's Congress;
  • 2. The activities of party and state leaders, such as their inspection tours, their meetings with foreign guests, their meetings with home delegates, the departures and arrival of their visits abroad and the tea parties hosted by them;
  • 3. Important policies, guidelines, laws, rule, regulations and documents of the party and the state;
  • 4. Important commentaries on important events and policies...
    — Li Xiguang

Effectively, Xinwen Lianbo is a mouthpiece for the party and the state. As with all news broadcasts in mainland China, the running order is dictated by the socio-political importance of the individual or group concerned (rather than other news values). Therefore, the activities of the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party are almost always the first item, followed by reports on the members of the Politburo Standing Committee in rank order.[2] Diplomatic engagements are usually shown before domestic engagements. Significant statements from the Central People's Government or the Chinese Communist Party have been read out, in full, after the headlines.[11] When significant events or speeches are covered, the camera will carefully pan across the Politburo Standing Committee.[12]

The program has been heavily criticized for its formulaic presentation of news items and its heavy focus on party and state leaders, and its lack of critical focus. Around half of the programming on average is dedicated to political content: party announcements, government meetings, or leaders' activities.[13]

News orientation[edit]

The programme plays a role in the CCP's communication mechanisms at both the mass and élite levels. Zhan Jiang, professor at China Youth University for Political Sciences, aptly summed up its content in three phrases: "The leaders are busy, the motherland is developing rapidly, other countries are in chaos."[14]

On the one hand, it is the news source with the widest reach amongst China's large population,[15] and so it provides the Party with the opportunity to influence the masses. According to Li, watching the bulletin has traditionally been "a national ritual at the family dinner table."

On the other hand, it has been used as a mechanism to signal changes and continuities in policy and personnel. New policies have been introduced by special features, such as the 'model cadre' used to promote Three Represents in 2002. The ranked shots of the Politburo Standing Committee indicate their relative power: "Each leader is allocated a certain number of seconds in front of the camera, Chinese media experts say, with the time for each one carefully regulated by the party propaganda department."[2] This lies behind the programme's extreme formality, because any miscommunication could have serious consequences.

An example of this, the coverage of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre saw longtime anchors Du Xian and Xue Fei fired after they both "wore black and read the news more slowly than usual".[16]

Declining popularity[edit]

...[T]he main viewers are China's legions of government and party officials, particularly in the provinces, and businessmen who want to keep up with the policies and attitudes that will affect their ability to make money.

— Edward Cody, Washington Post, citing Zhou Xiaopu of Renmin University[2]

All CCTV programmes are under commercial pressure, but Xinwen Lianbo is less-affected than most. It has few competitors, though Hong Kong's Phoenix Television and Shanghai's Dragon TV news shows are competition.[17] It is also one of CCTV's major earners.[citation needed] While there are no commercials during the show, the slots immediately afterwards have sold for US$100,000 each,[18] and the five-second slot just before 7 pm has been the most expensive CCTV offered, worth 24 million RMB in 2003 (about 7% of CCTV's annual advertising revenue).[19]

The China Daily reported that interest in the programme has declined, only receiving 10% of the audience share market compared to 40% before 1998. This was due in part to reporting of official government announcements, which have attracted little interest. After June 20, 2009, Xinwen Lianbo has focused more on critical reporting and human-interest stories.[20]


Broadcast time[edit]

All times are (UTC+08:00).


China Central Television rerun[edit]

  • CCTV-4 (international channel): Next Day at 22:30-23:00 and 02:00-02:30 (Asia), 03:00-03:30 (Europe), 05:30-06:00 (America) CST.
  • CCTV-13: Daily at 21:00-21:30 CST.
  • CCTV-1 (free-to-air channel): Next Day at 05:00-05:30 CST.

International-language version[edit]


"Very erotic very violent"[edit]

On 27 December 2007, Xinwen Lianbo aired a report about the wide and easy availability of explicit content on the internet. The report appealed to juristic institutions and government to hurry to make relevant legislation in order to purify the internet environment. In the report, a young student described a pop-up advertisement she saw as being "very erotic very violent".[21] After the airing of the report, many parodies were posted by internet users ridiculing the comment and CCTV's credibility in part.[22] The incident also questioned the reliability of Xinwen Lianbo, noting the unlikelihood of a web page being both violent and erotic at the same time (even though such pages do exist), and the age of the student interviewed. Personal information of the interviewed girl was later also leaked, identifying the girl in the report by name.[23] Online message boards were populated by large threads about the incident,[24] and a satirical work even stated that CCTV's website was the number one "very erotic very violent" website on the internet,[25] with some users even creating their own toplists of sites which meet these criteria,[26] the "top 8 very erotic very violent sports events"[27] and even identifying things that are yellow as being erotic (since 黄, huáng, the Mandarin character for "yellow", also means "erotic").[28]

Chengdu J-10 footage[edit]

On 23 January 2011, the program showcased the Chengdu J-10 in the air by firing a missile at an airplane, the target plane then exploded. This footage lasted half a second, and the destroyed airplane shown was identified as that of an F-5E, a US fighter jet. It turns out the clip was taken from the 1986 US film Top Gun.[29][30][31][32]

Similar newscasts in other socialist countries[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Jason Dean and Geoffrey A.Fowler (9 June 2006). "Two Youthful Anchors Give China's TV News A Jolt of Personality". Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Edward Cody (23 March 2007). "In a Changing China, News Show Thrives With Timeworn Ways". Washington Post. p. A01.
  3. ^ Manser, Martin H. (1999). Concise English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary (New ed.). Oxford University Press/Commercial Press. pp. 345, 联.
  4. ^ "为每晚七点都要转播中央电视台新闻联播?" [Why "Xinwen Lianbo" must simulcast on 7pm?]. Guangzhou Daily. 22 January 2016. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Korean-language broadcasting in China". North Korea Tech. 22 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b See the Duowei external link below, passim.
  7. ^ See this edition at 00:16, where a lady clearly walks behind the window: CCTV (4 September 2007). "- YouTube" 新闻联播20070904 (in Chinese). Retrieved 11 September 2007 – via YouTube.[dead YouTube link]
  8. ^ 1991年的新闻联播 (Flash) (in Chinese). via 6rooms. 1991. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  9. ^ "Xinwen Lianbo" for 18 July 2020 (YouTube) (in Chinese). 18 July 2020. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b "北京避谈1989年天安门屠杀纪念日 (Chinese)". Voice of America (China). 4 June 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  11. ^ See this edition at 01:09, where a Party announcement related to the 17th Party Congress preceded coverage of the one-year countdown to the Beijing Olympics: CCTV (9 August 2007). "- YouTube" 新闻联播20070809 (in Chinese). via Duowei and Youtube. Retrieved 11 September 2007.[dead YouTube link]
  12. ^ See this edition, where Standing Committee members are mentioned by rank at 00:42 and shown at approx. 01:50: CCTV (7 June 2007). "- YouTube" 新闻联播20070625 (in Chinese). via Duowei via YouTube. Retrieved 11 September 2007.[dead YouTube link]
  13. ^ Zhu, Ying (2009). TV China. Indiana University Press. pp. 50–1. ISBN 978-0-253-22026-4.
  14. ^ Zhan, Jiang (5 August 2009). "展江:轻松和包装不是央视新闻的出路". Yangtze Commercial Times via People's Daily. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  15. ^ "No news is bad news". The Economist. 6 February 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  16. ^ Tsai, Wen-Hsuan; Liao, Xingmiu (8 June 2020). "A Mechanism of Coded Communication: Xinwen Lianbo and CCP Politics". Modern China. 47 (5): 569–597. doi:10.1177/0097700420920204. ISSN 0097-7004. S2CID 225785676.
  17. ^ . Note that the station's Chinese name translates as "Eastern TV" or "Oriental TV". It is the flagship station of the Shanghai Media Group.
  18. ^ Dean and Fowler, op.cit. CCTV commercial spots have sold through a complex auction process, so this is likely to be an estimate.
  19. ^ Zhao Yuan (3 December 2003). "Ads Tender Reflects Booming Economy". CCTV. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  20. ^ CCTV to revamp flagship news program, China Daily, June 10, 2009
  21. ^ 广电总局官员:对互联网的管理是为了其大发展 [Officers of State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television] (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  22. ^ 女生上"新闻联播"称网页很黄很暴力遭恶搞 (in Chinese). People's Daily Online. Archived from the original on 18 February 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  23. ^ Kuso events caused by “very erotic very violent", on 7 January 2008, Yangtze Evening News
  24. ^ "Interviewed girl got kusoed who said internet is very erotic very violent". New Express. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  25. ^ "10 very erotic very violent websites". Nings. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  26. ^ "guess who's the real body of very erotic very violent according to the primary student". Tencent. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  27. ^ "TOP 8 VERY EROTIC VERY VIOLENT SPORTS EVENTS". Tencent. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  28. ^ "A primary school girl: webpages are very erotic very violent". Yangcheng Evening News Online. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  29. ^ "CCTV Tries to Pass Off 'Top Gun' Clip as Real?". Online Wall Street Journal. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  30. ^ " Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine." 中國‧殲10“擊中”F5戰機?‧央視新聞畫面疑造假. Retrieved on 2010-02-02.
  31. ^ " Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." 殲10演練片央視疑造假. Retrieved on 2010-02-02.
  32. ^ " Archived February 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." 央視新聞疑用美國電影畫面. Retrieved on 2010-02-02.

External links[edit]