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.
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:
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