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[Beijing Forum 2013] Yang Rui: China’s Rise and the Role of Media

Peking University, Dec. 10, 2013: The famous CCTV-News host Yang Rui, who is alsos the producer and anchor of the 30-minute current-affairs talk show called Dialogue, delivered his keynote speech on The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Panel of Beijing Forum. In his speech, he focused on global implications of China’s rise and the role of media.


For starters, Yang pointed out that China’s rise had been a global concern. Indeed, China’s rise has been witnessed globally, and has influenced China itself and the rest of the world. As Yang put it:Ever since China’s accession to the WTO in 2001, many people in different countries have said they were compelled by the drastic increase of export and huge influx of tourists and the very idea that China will quickly become the No.1 economic superpower by 2020.The whole world is wondering what China’s rise can bring about. As for the global implications of China’s rise, Yang raised five thought-provoking questions to the audience: Will China be a super power and have a harmonious relation with US? Is China ready to accept and be responsible for universal values? (Or rather we fail to follow up the rules that formulated by the western nations?) Can China use force to solve the territorial disputes in East China Sea and South China Sea? Will China come to terms with its own internal instability such as corruption, poor social justice, the climate and environmental conditions? Will Confucianism be a symbol of our soft power?


As an English host in CCTV, Yang also expressed his opinion on the role of media in China’s rise. “The role of the media is hugely important, it serves to accurately provide information and completely check out what is going on instead of being subject to bias, which might be the hallmark of the current flow of information. With the west being far stronger and we so weak, the establishment of the English channel CCTV News, serves to give a balance to report the new realities and the evolving realities of China.”


Yang pursues objective and accurate reporting as an anchor and producer. “Sure, CCTV-9 (later changed into CCTV-News) functions in some respects to help polish China's image, this is because foreign correspondents tend to dwell on the negative points in their reporting on China. What we want to present is a mature outlook”, Yang said in the interview by Beijing Journal in 2001.


Balanced reporting, which was mentioned several times in his speech, is a principal virtue of his program. Yang gave an example how the European counterparts reported China to illustrate the dangers of biased recount. “5 years ago, we were covering the annual big sessions of NPC & CPPCC, I noticed one article from L'Agence France-Presse a French news agency. The author used ‘rubber stamp’ four times to describe the National People’s Congress in a very short article, as if people will not understand the new realities of China without utilizing the phrase ‘rubber stamp’. This is a shame. It is no good to always label each other. I use this example to emphasize the importance of self-discipline, not self-sensation, for the media place, so that we can have consensus.”


At last, Mr. Yang talked about the role the media play in China’s rise and in different civilizations. For instance, he suggested that UNAOC (United Nations Alliance of Civilizations), of which the initiative sought to galvanize international action against extremism through the forging of international, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and cooperation, should open its own Twitter, Facebook and Weibo, to make it available for people to follow it on the Internet, because most of the net users were young people, and they represented the future.


He also spoke highly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, which aimed to help the development of broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region and to promote the collective interests of its members. He hoped that this kind of organization could be popularized in other areas of the world.


“Karl Marx once said ‘Philosophers only interpret the world in various ways, but the point is to change the world.’ As journalists, we cannot change the world like businessmen, but we can guide public opinion, which is also very important”, said Yang.

Reported by: Wang Yawen

Edited by: Zhang Jiang