China has launched a Boston edition of its government-produced, English-language daily newspaper, as it tries to reach American audiences with news and feature stories told from an official Chinese point of view.
China’s government has spent billions of dollars in recent years to expand state-sponsored media agencies, including China Radio, Xinhua News Agency, and China Central Television, a CNN-like TV service. The US edition of its newspaper, called China Daily, debuted in 2009 and is now produced in eight other markets, including New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
In an August press release announcing a weekly tabloid produced by China Daily’s US edition, the newspaper claimed a total circulation of 150,000 copies. The newspaper does not participate in audits with the Audit Bureau of Circulations, according to a bureau spokesman.
Subscriptions to China Daily will cost Boston readers $99 a year for weekday editions, and $49 annually for weekend editions, according to a customer service representative.
In recent weeks, some readers have received free samples of China Daily inserted in their copies of The Boston Globe. The Globe is printing and distributing the local version of China Daily as part of a four-week promotion, according to Globe spokesman Robert Powers, who did not comment further.
Officials of China Daily did not return requests for comment, but the August press release, citing China Daily’s editor in chief, Zhu Ling, stated that North America is a key priority in the paper’s international strategy.
Aimin Yan, a Boston University business management professor familiar with China Daily, said the newspaper is used by China’s government to polish its global image. “All or most news is positive,’’ he said.
China Daily is a broadsheet newspaper, with the look and feel of a major metropolitan daily. There’s a business section where recent stories included a report on the prospects for the gold market in China.
One story in the lifestyle section told readers about “Chinglish,’’ a Broadway comedy that explores cultural misunderstandings, while another story focused on cab driver culture in China. The newspaper also has an editorial and opinion section with letters submitted by readers via e-mail. Recent copies of the paper ran about 40 pages.
Advertising was scant, though. In a recent issue, one half-page ad was from East West Bank in Pasadena, Calif. Another ad promoted the Kindle version of the Daily.
The newspaper is not the first Boston version of an official Chinese media outlet. This past summer, China Radio’s English-language news service, based in Beijing, took over programming at the former WILD-AM 1090, which had catered to Boston’s African-American community.
The station in Quincy now broadcasts feature stories about Chinese culture and tourism.
Local analysts and media representatives were surprised to learn that China Daily was being printed in Boston. They described the paper as a cheerleader for China’s government, not a source for objective or comprehensive news.
“It’s a public relations tool, and part of the propaganda to promote China the way they want it,’’ said Teresa Cheong, marketing coordinator at Sampan, a bimonthly Chinese-English language paper in Boston. “Most of the news they cover is boasting for the Chinese government.’’
China Daily probably selected Boston for its scholars, students, and professionals who have ties with or an interest in China, analysts said. The paper has posted online ads seeking an operations manager to help build the publication’s Boston presence.
“There is a pretty good Asian community here, and it’s grown in political power,’’ said Carrie Tang, a senior reporter for the Boston bureau of World Journal, a national Chinese-language newspaper.
“There are so many companies in the Boston area that have some business relationship or have some business operations’’ in China, said BU’s Yan.
Johnny Diaz can be reached at email@example.com.