Thought China’s international media expansions are over? Think again – it seems that they’re at it again. The South China Morning Post reported today that the CCP will be launching an English-language version of its venerable magazine Seeking Truth (“Qiushi”, 求是).
Seeking Truth, usually categorized as a CCP mouthpiece magazine, is the latest of China’s many varied outlets that have received the English treatment. The CCP hopes that this new edition of Seeking Truth – as well as its other media expansions – will help boost China’s image and influence abroad.
The launch of an English-language Qiushi is of particular interest because it is the first of China’s international media expansions that will directly express Communist Party views and opinions. However, the content of the English Seeking Truth may be slightly less radical than that of its Chinese counterpart. As SCMP reports:
The English-language Qiushi will not be a simple carbon copy of the Chinese version. Instead, both the content and format of the English version will be tailored to fit the tastes of Western readers.
“The English-language Qiushi will mainly reflect the theoretical features of the party and make the core values of the party more understandable to Western societies, especially in the theoretical and academic circles there,” the source said.
Even after toning down the content, though, we’re still a bit unsure about what kind of market share Seeking Truth will get. While foreign audiences might be slightly open to the idea of English-language versions of Xinhua and Global Times, it doesn’t seem as if there is much demand outside of China for any magazine that publishes exclusively CCP ideology. However, as mentioned in the SCMP report, this does not seem to matter to party members:
The leaders of this latest attempt at increasing influence say they are aware that Western readers may give the cold shoulder to the theories and socialist dogma in the magazine, but they are determined to be in the campaign for the long haul.
“The issue of profitability won’t be a top priority of the English-version Qiushi in the initial stage,” the person familiar with the situation said. “The main purpose [at the outset] is to secure a footing in the Western media and allow the party’s voice to be accessed and understood by mainstream Western readers.”
Could be just us, but throwing a purported 3 million yuan into printing a publication that no one is expected to read doesn’t sound like the best use of government funds. If all the CCP wants to do is make the party’s voice accessible, we’re pretty sure that a website (CCPist.com?) would do the trick.