China launches media training ahead of Olympics

From Xinhua news agency
Ten media officials from China’s Foreign Ministry and BOCOG, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games, are having their skills of dealing with western media sharpened in a bid to make China better understood by the world.

The 10 people are the first batch of trainees of the “advanced international media management program”, co-developed by Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), Hong Kong-based TV Phoenix CNE and China-i Ltd., a British media company.

“Some people in the west are not comfortable and worried about China’s rise,” said Fu Ying, the Chinese ambassador to London, at the opening ceremony of the programme on Tuesday. “At the same time, they are also eager to know about China, it’s just there aren’t many channels to do that.”

Hao Ping, president of BFSU, said the programme invited veterans of western media to give lectures on the perspective and interests of western press, their strategies of raising questions and giving criticisms, and how to deal with them in amicable or even hostile atmospheres. The courses will be given in the forms of lectures, class discussions and scenario press conferences, Hao said.

“We should put more emphasis on improving skills to heighten our voice in the international community through media, and thus to strengthen China’s soft power,” said the female ambassador. The programme lasts only two days, including one day of practical English training, but trainees can opt to join other courses in media management offered by the program in the long-run.

More than 20,000 registered journalists are expected to cover the Olympics in August. China has promised to allow wide freedom for foreign media. The media transparency during the Sichuan quake was seen as unprecedented and hailed by some of the foreign press.

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