Xinhua News Agency Launches Mega Billboard On Times Square

Xinhua News Agency - Times Square Billboard

If Americans were worried that the Chinese were coming, it seems that they have now officially arrived. Xinhua News Agency (新华通讯社 – Xīnhuá Tōngxùnshè), China’s largest news agency run by the country’s Government has taken over one of the most prominent billboards on New York’s illustrious Times Square. It is a clear signal telling Americans to take notice of the Middle Kingdom.

The LED billboard is 60ft high by 40ft wide and will be seen by around 0.5 million people every day. Xinhua News Agency has leased the advertising space to promote its name and make Americans aware of the agency and its various corporations including China Xinhua News Network Corporation (CNC), China Finance Corporation (CFC), China Image Corporation (CIC) and China Enews Company (CEC). The billboard will also promote Chinese cities and culture.

Xinhua News Agency - Times Square Billboard

Xinhua News Agency - Times Square Billboard

Xinhua News Agency - Times Square Billboard

Xinhua News Agency - Times Square Billboard

Some Americans may see this as a provocation from China, but really the billboard advertisement is just the next stage of Xinhua’s expansion plans in ‘the land of the free’, following the recent move of its North American head office to New York’s Broadway.

This isn’t the first time China has been featured on Times Square. Back in January this year, during President Hu Jintao’s state visit, the Chinese Government paid for pro-China advertising to be shown on various billboards around the square.

It will be interesting to see how Americans react to the new billboard and how it will affect negative perceptions of China. Sinophobia is common in the States partly thanks to political propaganda like the notorious Chinese Professor video:

Watch on Tudou.

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  • Grammar Alert

    “If American’s were worried”

    There shouldn’t be an apostrophe there.

    • Daniel Gilroy

      Good call. fixed. thanks.

  • There are over a million Chinese (not all of them read or speak Chinese fluently) in NYC, and the Chinese population grew by 60 percent in ten years.

  • Be afraid. Be very afraid. Xinhua is China’s prime propaganda agency and works with a huge budget in a very insidious way. If you’re in any doubt, take a look at my book – ‘Limp Pigs and the Five-Ring Circus’ – a unique expose of the inside workings of Xinhua and the end-product of two interminable, mind-altering years of working in the gearbox of the agency.

  • ellen jeffs

    Propaganda comes in all sizes, and communist China wants a piece of Times Square now. Xinhua, the state-controlled propaganda agency of the Chinese Communist Party, has leased a long-term advertising logo space in Manhattan’s iconic Times Square, renting a huge LED sign called a “spectacular” in U.S. advertising parlance. According to the New York Times, the Xinhua sign is underneath a sign for Prudential and above signs for Samsung, Coca-Cola and Hyundai brands.

    The problem is that Xinhua is not a brand. It is rather the mark of branded disinformation and propaganda. Americans need to know that.

    Like the former USSR, today’s China thinks it can fool the Western world with glass skyscrapers, space flights and glowing Times Square signs. But the West knows better – or does it? Xinhua is merely flexing its public-relations muscles as it attempts to pull the wool over gullible eyes in America and Europe.

    Xinhua isn’t a news agency. Let’s be honest: It’s the propaganda arm of a one-party state in an undemocratic land ruled by fear and paranoia that uses trumped-up prison terms to keep dissidents in line. Xinhua is akin to the old Soviet propaganda machines of yesteryear that served Russia so well in the 1970s and ‘80s. Remember Tass?

    It’s one thing for Times Square to open its advertising space to private brands from across the globe, and surely Chinese brands like Haier and Lenovo are welcome to showcase their logos there. But a “news agency” that prints blatant falsehoods about events inside China and in the West, and has the unmitigated gall to call its workers “journalists”? Whoever let Xinhua into Times Square ought to have his head examined.

    A New York real estate firm called Sherwood Equities seems to think there’s nothing wrong with pocketing the hefty monthly rental fees from Xinhua. After all, America wants to be pals with Beijing, and what better way to show it than to say “ni hao” (hello) in Times Square?

    Why China’s soft public-relations push in Times Square? For one thing, Xinhua has introduced a CNN-like 24-hour English-language broadcast service – China Network Corp. (CNC World), that seeks to reach millions of gullible viewers around the world with state-sanctioned propaganda of the most nefarious and sophisticated kind.

    Xinhua is also flexing its propaganda tentacles with an English-language wire service, hoping to compete with veteran news agencies like the Associated Press and Reuters.

    Does anybody not remember that official disseminator of government news releases in the former Soviet Union? Xinhua is just Tass in sheep’s clothing. Wake up, America.

    Behind the Times Square sign is China’s desire to counter what it insists is “widespread bias against China” in the Western media, from CNN to the New York Times.

    But as the New York Times itself said in a recent article about the new Xinhua sign in Times Square, Xinhua has some work to do. “Reports by Xinhua on topics like Taiwan and Tibet, which are of considerable political concern to its government bosses, are not necessarily known for being objective,” the Times editorialized.

    Welcome to Times Square, Xinhua. Maybe you’ll learn something about freedom and democracy while you’re there.

    Dan Bloom is a freelance writer who has lived in Asia for 20 years.

    © Copyright 2011 The Washington Times,

  • Simon Lange

    XinHua is a state run news agency know for censorship and it reports directly to the Communist Party of China. It is basically like Beijing’s mouthpiece. Chinese propaganda is not welcome in the United States and therefore the billboard should be removed.

    • Michael V. Gold

      Amen, Brother! (This is an addition to my original attempted post which was rejected for being “too short”. Hopefully, this is now long enough for the technocrats to allow!)

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