Chinese Government’s PR Arm Gets iPad App

iPad users rejoice, for China’s State Council Information Office has created it’s first app! At no cost, you can now access a variety of things from press conferences to white papers. From China Real Time Report blog:

The new app, from the State Council Information Office, is free on Apple’s App Store and simple to use. It includes videos of press conferences and full, downloadable copies of the State Council’s white papers on subjects like national defense, Internet development, ethnic issues and human rights in Chinese and English from 2005 to 2010.

The SCIO app isn’t likely to top rival the “Angry Birds” games and “Atari’s Greatest Hits” among the most popular apps any time soon. User reviews on the App Store were, on balance, running negative as of Wednesday afternoon, with 15 of 28 giving the app only one star, and 11 giving it the full five stars. In the Chinese App store, reviews were also mixed. Some users said it was useful and “good for understanding China,” encouraging other government organs to do the same. But one user criticized it as a misuse of public money, while another wrote “How could a thing full of lies be put on the shelf?”

The move is the latest in the Chinese government’s recent efforts to improve its image abroad, an effort that has entailed billions of dollars of investment in state media and propaganda outlets. The SCIO is largely responsible for getting the government’s message out, through white papers and press conferences, as well being one of the regulators of the media in China. A notice on its website said the app is meant “to increase the coverage and influence” of those efforts and “to introduce China to the world in a better way and to enhance the international image of China.”

According to recent instructions issued by the SCIO to the media
, all websites were instructed “to post in a prominent position” news about the new iPhone app.


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