Archive for ‘media’

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Guizhou Donkey: Make Yourself at Home

You can serve lousy food, provided that your guests aren’t used to anything better, or because you are their boss and they can’t choose. In either case, it will help when you serve that stuff in a cozy environment. Your guests can make themselves at home – mum cooks as badly as ever.

The same is true for “Huanqiu Shibao, the Chinese sister paper of the English-language “Global Times”. On July 21, they missed (probably sarcastically) a more innovative Western propaganda approach.

huanqiu_headline

“America draws allies into political manipulation”,
Huanqiu Shibao, July 21

Several academics, the paper said, had stated in interviews that the U.S. and their allies, after failed campaigns concerning Hong Kong, Taiwan, or human rights, had now come up with accusations that China was behind cyber attacks. That was the Guizhou donkey’s weak trick.

Here’s the story in English, according to the Chinese online encyclopedia “Baike Baidu”.

Once upon a time, there were no donkeys in Guizhou. Nobody knew what a donkey was. Some day, a man took a donkey to Guizhou. He left it at the foot of a mountain. A tiger in the mountains saw the donkey from afar, heard it braying, and thought: “where does this monster come from? It looks awesome, and I’ll better keep a distance1

Some time passed during which the tiger saw the donkey walk to and fro and bray once in a while. Now the tiger thought: “pretty big pet, I don’t know what it can do, but let me see!”

The tiger approached the donkey unnoticed and touched it. The donkey became angry: “why the hell do you touch me?” Then he kicked with his hooves and missed the tiger two or three times. That’s how the tiger realized: “this donkey*) can’t do anything but kick, he can’t do anything!”

So he opened his mouth to eat the donkey, but the terrified donkey shouted: “don’t get any closer, I can kick you!”

“Kicking people is all you can do,” laughed the tiger, “but I can eat people!” No sooner said than done.

That was turned into a proverb, describing how people manage with makeshift methods that aren’t special. In short: “the donkey’s skills are poor”!

In Chinese, that writes 黔驢技窮 (黔驴技穷, qiánlǘjìqióng), and qián, another word for Guizhou (maybe not exactly the same territory as what it is now), can also be found in a more classical version of the story (Chinese and English there).

So why does “Huanqiu Shibao” use this proverb?
a) “Huanqiu Shibao” skills are poor – they can’t do any better.
b) You mustn’t try to say anything better when it can be said in four characters.
c) It’s cozy (see introduction). No matter how stupid the message is, readers will remember Granny’s bedtime stories and find it trustworthy. They may even feel sort of tiger.


Not the way Granny told it – click picture for video

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Notes

*) That’s what the Baike story says – maybe the tiger has gotten to know the donkey’s name, because he’ll only eat what he knows
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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Special two-hour transmissions by Radio Taiwan International in German

As custom at Radio Taiwan international‘s (RTI) German service, there will be a number shortwave broadcasts directly from Taiwan this summer, as announced here.

qsl_card_2019_national_radio_museum_minxiong_taiwan

Weekday Dates
Friday July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20.
Saturday July 31, August 7, August 14, August 21.
Sunday August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22.

On each of the above days, there will be a broadcast on 11705 kHz from 17:00 to 18:00 hours UTC and one on 9545 kHz from 18:00 to 19:00 hours UTC.

We can probably expect one hour of different program items per day, at 17:00, repeated at 18:00 UTC. RTI’s German program output per day is about sixty minutes, but routinely, only half of it is aired on shortwave, as regular broadcasts via the Kostinbrod relay in Bulgaria are only 30 minutes long. The remaining half is provided online.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Center for China and Globalization develops “new narrative system”

The following is my translation of an excerpt from a book review by a Chinese think tank named Center for China and Globalization (全球化智库), (re)published by a number of Chinese online media. The book is probably CCG’s own work. The review and the content related there should not be too easily thought of as a possible new trend in Chinese public diplomacy unless it is echoed elsewhere in Chinese politics. An article published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute contains some information about the think tank’s work abroad and its background.

My translation may contain mistakes. Corrections are welcome.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

[…]

Based on CCG’s practice of track-II diplomacy, this book summarizes the ten experiences CCG went through while developing a new narrative system. Specifically, CCG, in new international narrative exchanges, CCG emphasizes the following aspects.

基于CCG二轨外交的实践,本书总结了CCG打造新叙事体系的十条经验:具体来说,CCG国际交流新叙事注重以下几个方面:

1. Look at China’s topics from a global perspective, talk more about common values and emphasize universality. Let China’s voice in globalization be heard.

第一,全球化视野思考中国问题,多说共同价值,多讲普遍性,向世界发出中国的全球化声音;

2. Less conceptional advocacy1), and more objective and reasonable ways of expression. Use facts and figures. Talk more about China’s contributions to globalization, and tell China’s story from a multilateralist point of view.

第二,少理念倡导,多客观理性表达,用事实与数据说话。多讲中国对全球化的贡献,从多边角度讲中国故事;

3. Be modest but self-confident, tolerant but not without a position of your own. Practice mutual respect and an interlocutory attitude, without an aim of defeating your counterpart, communicate your own ideas and communicate effectively.

第三,谦和而自信,包容而有立场,相互尊重,对话姿态,不以博倒对方为目的,传递自身理念,做有效沟通;

4. Innovate the popularized narrative discourse system, all-embracing, narrating your case multi-levelled and multi-angledly, from the perspectives of politics, diplomacy, trade, human affairs, and individual experience. Above all, analyze the logic of China’s development with inside information about concrete details of Chinese culture.

第四,创新民间化叙事话语体系,兼容并包,从政治、外交、商业、人文、个体经验多层次多角度讲述个案。尤其通过讲述中国文化底蕴分析中国现实发展逻辑;

5. Take interviews from international mainstream media and make yourself heard on international social media.

第五,接受国际主流媒体访问,通过国际社交媒体发声;第六,走出去主动参与国际主流轮坛平台,积极发言交流;

6. Go out and participate in international mainstream forum platforms, speak out actively and communicate socially.

第六,走出去主动参与国际主流轮坛平台,积极发言交流;

7. Actively set an agenda and expand the topic’s impact on international mainstream platforms.

第七,主动设置议题,在国际主流平台扩大议题影响力;

8. Be creative in building new types of international exchange platforms. Constructively initiate new types of multilateral international organizations.

第八,创造性搭建新型国际交流平台,建设性发起新型多边国际组织。

9. Take the courage to face different opinions, make contact with a multitude of interlocutors. Establish wide-ranged exchange and dialogue in Chinese and foreign political, business, academic and research circles. Promote track-II diplomacy.

第九,勇于直面不同意见,接触多元交流对象,在中外政商学研界建立广泛交流与对话,促进民间二轨外交。

10. Keep up with international and domestic points of strong [public] interest, be flexible in strengthening the think tank’s2) influence through a multitude of channels and methods.

第十,及时紧跟国际国内热点,灵活通过多渠道多方式传播增强智库影响力。

[…]

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Notes

 1  conceptual advocacy is just my guess for the Chinese term for 理念倡导 – to argue in favor of a topic, approach, or perspective. It may as well be translated as <em>idea advocacy</em>.
  2   the think tank in question here should be CCG.
Saturday, July 3, 2021

Radio Taiwan International Shortwave Test Transmissions 2021 to Europe (updated)


Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) German service has announced test transmissions from Tamsui transmitter site, northwestern Taiwan, targeting central Europe on July 17 (UTC).

Time (UTC) Frequency
from to
17:00 17:10 11995 kHz
17:15 17:25 11705 kHz
18:00 18:10 9545 kHz
18:15 18:25 7250 kHz
RTI QSL: Shennong Street, Tainan

RTI QSL: Shennong Street, Tainan
中央廣播電臺 QSL卡: 台南 神農街

According to RTI, the two frequencies that do best during the tests will be chosen for one-hour transmissions that start later this month, and continue into August, apparently every week from Friday through Sunday. It sounds like a pretty ambitious schedule, and if lucky, we will get to listen to programs that are usually only available online as those broadcasts will be 60 minutes each.

Normally, Radio Taiwan International’s German service only broadcasts one half-hour program a day on shortwave, but its actual program output (shortwave and online) is about 60 minutes per day.
RTI welcomes reception reports.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

External Propaganda: Cai Mingzhao’s then, Xi Jinping’s now?

30th_politburo_study_session

Politburo’s 30th study session, Xinwen Lianbo, June 1, 2021

English-speaking Chinese media translate 传播 (chuánbō) as “communication” – as in this English-language rendition of a Xi speech on May 31, to the “30th collective study session of the CPC politburo. I don’t quite trust the translation, because there is a Chinese habit of making Chinese terms more palatable to a foreign audience by using not-quite-the-closest possible translation.

As a shortwave user, the most familiar translation to me would be propagation, which may stand for a process of information flow, “transmissions of impulses (or triggers) to influence the behavior of others” (传播就是某个人传递刺激以影响另一些人行为的过程), or “social information flows and the information of social information systems” (郭庆光定义传播是社会資訊的流动和社会資訊系统的运行). All that, and more, plus propaganda, I suppose.

So, the official Chinese translation for chuánbō would be communication. But China Copyright and Media, in an October 2013 translation of an article by Cai Mingzhao, director of the State Council Information Office’s Foreign Propaganda Office at the time, referred to chuánbō as dissemination. It’s a translation that leaves room for a lot of interpretation.

What strikes me when reading the China Copyright and Media translation of nearly eight years ago is its similarity with Xi’s speech of May 31. Back then, Cai Mingzhao, the State Council of Information Office’s external propaganda bureau at the time, discussed the future priorities in public diplomacy work in the light of Xi Jinping’s recent speech at the National Propaganda and Ideology Work Conference.

While Xi’s national propaganda conference speech in August 2013 had contained some referals to external propaganda, too, most of it had been about propaganda in general, and ideological work within China. In fact, I’m under the impression that in his May 31 speech, which focused exclusively on external propaganda, Xi borrowed heavily from Cai Mingzhao’s 2013 article.

You can contrast these two English renditions: one by China Daily on June 2, i. e. four days ago, reflecting Xi’s speech, and one by China Copyright and Media, in October 2013, translating Cai Mingzhao’s article.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Europe’s Voice on Shortwave: Radio Romania International

Floriilor Cave, South Carpathians 45.212 N and 23.132 E,
Radio Romania International QSL, 2015
Click picture for more info

The following translation is an excerpt from Radio Romania International’s mailbag show in Chinese. The letter read out there last week was from a long-time listener who hadn’t written before.

[…] By now, Radio Romania International is the only European radio station that has maintained shortwave broadcasting. I cherish your station’s broadcasts all the more!

[…..] 如今,罗马尼亚国际广播电台,是欧洲唯一一家保留对华中文短波广播的电台,我对贵台的广播更是格外珍惜!

Although it isn’t too easy to receive your broadcasts in our area, there are sometimes indications of your signal, obscured by noise. But half of the time, I can hear Radio Romania International clearly, even if it weakens intermittently, but thanks to the hosts’ fluent Chinese, I can still get the general meaning clearly. I cherish every time you broadcast.

虽然,在我的地区,接收贵台并不是一件太容易的事,有时候依稀能够听到播音迹象,却淹没在短波噪音中,但是,另一半的时间里,我还是能够清晰收听罗广的,虽也有信号衰减迹象,断断续续,但得益于主持人们字正腔圆的中文,我还是能听清楚大概意思的,每一次您们播音,我都格外珍惜!我害怕失去你们!作为欧洲唯一保留中文短波的国家,我真的害怕失去你们!作为第一次联系罗广的老听友,我诚恳的建议您们,绝不能依赖网络!

The aforementioned European stations, including yours, although keeping broadcasting online, may not know that in our country, it isn’t convenient to listen to foreign stations online. The network may not be very responsive, it’s operation speed be limited, freeze after a few seconds of good listening, may take time to load again. That’s disappointing, these factors have has made internet radio devoid of value. It can’t be compared with the reliability and smoothness of shortwave radio. I hope your station can hear an ordinary listener’s voice and accompany us on shortwave forever!

前面提到的欧洲国家,包括贵台在内,虽然保留了对中国的网络广播,但是他们或许不知道,在我国,接收外国的网络广播是很不舒服的,网络卡顿,运营商限速,听的好好的,卡顿好几秒,继续播音,甚至加载的时候都得等好久,非常非常的扫兴,这些因素,都导致他们的网络广播收听价值荡然无存………与收听短波广播的可靠流畅是无法比拟的!希望贵台能够听到我一个普通听众的声音,能够在收音机里永远陪伴我们!

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Related

Some Radio Romania International history, Jan 25, 2018
DW Chinese informs listeners, Oct 27, 2012
“Opinion leaders”, May 20, 2011

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Friday, February 26, 2021

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Navel-gazing Rogue in the Broadcasting Room

Why, sure …

 

Canada’s parliament declares China’s persecution of Uighurs a “genocide”? Cool, but who in China cares when Canada doesn’t speak to the world, including China, and explains the declaration?

If the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) critics state their case correctly, that’s the state of Canada’s foreign broadcasting. Not only will CBC, reportedly, violate the Broadcasting Act by cutting Radio Canada International (RCI) down further. It would also be sort of privatizing it, by shifting its focus to domestic minority broadcasting, thus competing with private ethnic radio operators – and, according to the “RCI Action Committee” – to newcomers to our country”, “engaging with its target audience, particularly newcomers to Canada”, and making this new content “freely available to interested ethnic community media”.

The idea that publicly-funded foreign broadcasters (or media platforms) should shift their attention to migrant communities at home, at least to some extent, is nothing new. Germany’s Deutsche Welle has been doing this for a number of years now, and so has (it seems to me) Radio Sweden.

But that’s not RCI’s mandate, writes the Action Committee.

CBC’s supervisors appear to be fast asleep, while there is “a rogue elephant in the broadcasting room”, according to Peter Menzies, a former Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) vice chair.

According to the “RCI Action Committee’s” blog on December 4 last year, RCI, after what CBC calls its “modernization”, won’t run its own website any more, and the Spanish, Arabic and Chinese services will be basically closed – cut from three editors each to only one editor per language remaining, to translate content from the CBC and Radio-Canada websites. And the English and French programs, it seems, will cease to exist completely.

Menzies, a signatory to a letter calling on senior government officials to get CBC executives to put their latest plans on hold and give RCI employees a few weeks to come up with an alternative restructuring plan, also gives a short account of Radio Canada International’s history, from the final days of world war 2 to 2012, when RCI’s budget was cut into by 80 percent, two-thirds of staff laid off and RCI ceased shortwave and satellite transmission, becoming internet only.

Will CBC listen to its critics? Not if its supervisors remain silent. In fact, RCI staff has often put up resistance and creativity against budget and program slashes, but never successfully, at least not in the long run.

Radio Canada International has been a shadow of itself since early this century, and it had seen cuts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, too.

Radio Canada International once ran a German service. It was one of the most popular shortwave programs among German listeners both in East and West Germany until it was closed in late 1989 or early 1990. At the time, new language services such as Arabic or Chinese were said to be the reason for terminating the daily half-hour German programs.

Gunter Michelson, one of the Radio Canada International German service’s editors who had left or retired before the department was closed, said in a telephone interview at the time that

This is a strange issue. The German programs’ termination is explained by the launch of broadcasts in Chinese. The idea of a Chinese service in itself is up-to-date and very good. China will, after all, be one of the world’s greatest markets. But the same logic demands that Canada broadcasts in German, to the European-Community, which is going to be the world’s biggest trading block in the foreseeable future, with 340 million consumers and 60 million people within the EC and 80 million in central Europe speak German. You can’t simply ignore them.[…]*)

Sure thing: you can, just as you can ignore a potential billion-and-a-half Chinese audience. OK – many of them were lost when the shortwave broadcasts from Canada ended, anyway.

Thirty years later, the budget slashes are coming full circle – it’s the Chinese service’s turn to be (nearly) eliminated. To whom is Canada talking when its parliament passes a resolution concerning China?

Probably to itself. Be a human-rights advocate and feel good about it.

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Note

*) Michelson, August 27, 1989: Das ist eine außerordentlich befremdliche Sache. Begründet wird die Einstellung des deutschsprachigen Programms mit der Aufnahme von Sendungen in Chinesisch. An sich ist die Idee eines chinesischen Dienstes aktuell und sehr gut. China wird ja eines Tages einer der größten Absatzmärkte der Welt sein. Aber die gleiche Logik erfordert auch, dass Kanada auf Deutsch ins EG-Gebiet sendet, das ja in zwei oder drei Jahren mit 340 Millionen Verbrauchern den in absehbarer Zeit größten Wirtschaftsblock der Welt darstellen wird. Und über 60 Millionen Personen im EG-Gebiet, um 80 Millionen in Mitteleuropa, sprechen ja Deutsch. Die kann man nicht einfach ignorieren. […]

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Related

RCI “effectively retired”, April 9, 2012
Advocacy journalism not the problem, Jan 26, 2012
Opinion leaders, May 20, 2011

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Thursday, September 10, 2020

Radio Taiwan International suspends 1098 kHz Transmissions for ~ 2 Months

Radio Taiwan International‘s Mandarin programs on the usual 1098 kHz frequency from 21:00 to 01:05 Taipei time (13:00 – 17:05 UTC) will be suspended, because of antenna maintenance work from September 21 to November 20.

据RTI消息,由於中央廣播電臺自9月21日至11月20日止進行天線更新維護工程,原1098千赫頻率21:00~01:05播出之「國語」節目暫停播出。

Radio Taiwan International QSL, 2015

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Related tag:

Radio Taiwan International

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