At the recent World Media Summit in Beijing, China’s official Xinhua News Agency placed itself at center stage with other international “media giants.” It was at once a symbolic enunciation of China’s coming of age as a global media superpower — whatever that means — and a reflection of China’s future ambitions in the arena of global information.
As we took pains to point out, Xinhua is far more than just another media organization, a fact that lent a strange asymmetry to the proceedings in Beijing.
For China, the summit was an act of statecraft. Xinhua was there representing not its own interests but those of the Chinese Communist Party as the embodiment of the nation’s voice. For the rest, the summit was about business. Rupert Murdoch was there, as he should have been, to represent his own interests and those of his shareholders — not our voices as Australians or Americans, Canadians or Indians.
Xinhua’s global information strategy is China’s global information strategy. But what exactly is that strategy?