The Listening Post

The great China handover

A look at how Chinese media constructs continuity in times of change and helps Beijing’s soft power push in Africa.

It is not often that two superpowers choose their leaders within days of each other. Last week we looked at the coverage of the US elections – and the cacophony of media voices that covered them. This week, it was China’s turn when it announced its new leader President Xi Jinping at the once-in-a-decade political event  – the 18th Congress of the ruling Communist Party.

And this time round, unlike the US, the media in China spoke with one clear voice: the official line was scripted, press conferences were tightly controlled, the internet slowed to a crawl, and Google was among the sites sporadically blocked by what has come to be known as the ‘Great Firewall of China’.

In this week’s News Divide we look at how Chinese media constructs continuity in times of change.

And in our News Bytes segment: the world’s biggest broadcaster, the British Broadacasting Corporation (BBC), is battling to contain an internal crisis that has already claimed the job of the man at the top, its director general; in Syria, the Free Syrian Army are also up to dirty media tricks; and Iran arrests officials amidst international condemnation after a blogger was arrested for criticising the government and days later, died in jail.

China’s soft power push in Africa

In the past few years, Beijing has been extending its media presence into the continent and some argue its offering a perspective that rarely gets offered by the western media.

But the push appears to be part of a wider trade strategy: China is growing more and more reliant on African resources and its relying on its own media to try to secure its trade relations with the continent. In this week’s feature, the Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead looks at China’s media offensive in Africa.

Finally, how Buyral went viral – a cautionary spoof about driving up the traffic on websites. It is less than a month old on YouTube and it is already approaching three quarters of a million views. Or is it? Either way, it is our Video of the Week – we hope you enjoy the show. 


Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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