China's official news agency said yesterday it will begin broadcasting in Europe this week, in the country's latest bid to project its "soft power" through an overseas media blitz.
The state-run Xinhua news agency's English-language television service will launch in Europe starting today, Xinhua's deputy editor Wu Jincai said.
"The service will be on screens in supermarkets, and in Chinese embassies in Europe too," Wu said.
Wu gave no further details but state media this year launched a global expansion, apparently aimed at shaping the communist-ruled country's image, which is often negative due to concerns over its human rights and rising power.
After setting up French and Spanish channels ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China Central Television (CCTV) has also announced plans for Russian and Arabic channels this year.
The Global Times, which is run by the Communist Party's print mouthpiece, the People's Daily, launched an English version earlier this year, while Xinhua and other Chinese media outlets are planning to expand their overseas bureaus.
Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper reported earlier this year that the government had earmarked 45 billion yuan (US$6.6 billion) for the media makeover.
A spokeswoman at China's foreign ministry declined detailed comment on Xinhua's European channel.
"It is quite normal for Xinhua's news to be shown in Chinese embassies. It is Xinhua's choice, according to their own business development plans," she said.
China's increased spending contrasts with many other news organizations around the world that are battling the global economic downturn and the cost-pressures forced on them by the Internet.
The chief of the Communist Party's overseas propaganda bureau, Wang Chen, said in January that expanding the global reach of China's media was an important way to engineer a better image for the country and its government.