CGTN (TV channel)

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TypeState media
Broadcast areaWorldwide
NetworkChina Global Television Network
SloganSee the Difference.
HeadquartersCCTV Beijing Television Centre Headquarters, Beijing Central Business District, Beijing, China
Chinese (via SAP)
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 4:3 576i for the SDTV feed)
OwnerChina China Media Group
(Government of the People's Republic of China)
Launched20 September 1997; 23 years ago (1997-09-20)
Former namesCCTV-9
Digital terrestrial television
Digital terrestrial television
(United States)
Channel 31.9 (Los Angeles)
Channel 36.3 (San Francisco)
Channel 61.2 (Chicago)
Channel 32.2 (Santa Barbara)
Oqaab (Afghanistan)Channel 31
UHF Colombo-FTA (Sri Lanka)Channel 29 (SD)
CBC Multichoice Television (Barbados)Channel 209[1]
Dish Network (USA)Channel 279
DirecTV (USA)Channel 2053
Channel 2119 (Cantonese feed)
Streaming media
CGTN LiveWatch live

CGTN, formerly known as CCTV-9 and CCTV News, is an international English-language cable TV news service, one of six channels provided by China Global Television Network, which is based in Beijing, China, and owned by China Central Television (CCTV), a state-owned media organization in China, under the control of the Publicity Department of the Chinese Communist Party.[2]

CCTV-9 was launched on 25 September 2000, rebranded as CCTV News on 26 April 2010. On 6 February 2012, CCTV America was launched, with a schedule of daily programming originating from a production center in Washington, D.C.[3] On 11 October 2012, CCTV Africa were launched in Nairobi, Kenya.[4] All channels in the CCTV News group were rebranded as CGTN on 31 December 2016. CGTN currently has three broadcast centers—Beijing (main), Nairobi, and Washington, and 70 bureaus around the world.

Coverage includes newscasts, in-depth reports, and commentary programs, as well as feature presentations. Its free-to-air satellite signal is received in over 100 countries.


CCTV began considering English-language international news programming on 1 January 1979, at the start of China's "Reform and opening up" period. English news bulletins began on CCTV-2 in 1986 and became available to overseas viewers when they moved to CCTV-4 in February 1991. CCTV-9 began broadcasting across China on 25 September 2000, becoming the country's first all-English television station.

On 1 January 2003, CCTV-9 entered the United States cable market, as part of a deal that allowed AOL, Time Warner, and News Corporation access to cable systems in Guangdong. In its early years, CCTV-9 broadcast English language news bulletins and cultural interest shows for most of each day, and aired mostly reruns during the overnight hours in China. One of its biggest projects was covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Until 26 April 2010, CCTV-9 was a mixed general interest channel featuring news, travel programming, and language training. On that date it was rebranded as CCTV News, a 24-hour English-language news service.[5] On 31 December 2016, the channel was rebranded again as CGTN, and new programs debuted with the first program Global Watch and first news anchored by Rachel Bubble.

In 2018 Kong Linlin, a CGTN reporter, verbally accosted a panel at the Conservative Party Conference and accused them, among other things, of being "fake Chinese". After being asked to leave she assaulted another attendee.[6]

On 4 February 2021, Ofcom withdrew CGTN's UK broadcaster licence. Ofcom concluded a company called Star China Media Limited wrongly held the license for CGTN and "doesn't have day-to-day control over the channel," which is against Ofcom rules. The programming is claimed to be controlled by a company called China Global Television Network Corporation. The regulator said it was not going to transfer the licence to that company because it is, "ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, which is not permitted under UK broadcasting law".[7] CGTN later claimed Ofcom had been manipulated by extreme right-wing organizations and anti-China forces.[8] In most of Europe, distribution of the CGTN channel was permitted because it held the UK licence, and until CGTN obtains a licence in another country of Europe CGTN has to go off air across most of Europe.[9] In response, China banned BBC World News from airing in mainland China which was soon followed upon by RTHK withdrawing distribution of BBC's content in Hong Kong.[10]


The channel name of CCTV-9 was changed to CCTV News on 26 April 2010.[11] Some shows were rebranded while other new programs were added. The English website is managed by China Network Television (CNTV), a web streaming service of CCTV. On 1 January 2011, the channel's former name CCTV-9 was taken over by CCTV's two documentary channels.

With new faces, new studios, and new equipment, the channel's upper managers said they hoped to strengthen the network's news gathering abilities, while aiming to present more perspectives from throughout China, and across Asia, to the rest of the world.[12] The next steps in this process included hiring additional foreign correspondents and setting up a number of international bureaus.

The revamp also saw the permanent addition of news and world financial markets tickers, similar to those seen on leading news channels, although these features had already been used intermittently in the previous decade.[citation needed]

Foreign news anchors[edit]

In addition to Chinese anchors, CGTN employs foreigners as news presenters, some of whom have extensive experience, such as Edwin Maher (a former newsreader and weatherman from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), while others may be recent university graduates just embarking upon their careers.

Former comptroller Jiang Heping defended the policy of putting foreigners on air, arguing that "we feel international on-air personalities boost the credibility of CGTN and befit its image as an international channel. In this regard, CGTN will not restrict the origin of its employees and choose to build its unique identity through its programming."[13]

The first foreign news anchor on what was then known as CCTV-9 was Chris Gelken, who joined the channel from Hong Kong's TVB and presented the 30-minute business show, BizChina. Gelken left CCTV News in 2005, and returned to TVB from 2010 to 2013.[citation needed]

Another prominent personality in CCTV-9's first decade was Mark Rowswell, otherwise known as Dashan. He hosted Travel in Chinese on CCTV News and has been honored for his work in promoting cancer awareness in China.[14]

In addition to those individuals, the channel later recruited Phillip Yin of Bloomberg Television, and Mike Walter from USA Today, to helm Biz Asia America and The Heat, respectively, when the Washington bureau opened in 2012. In 2016, Rachelle Akuffo took over from Phillip Yin as the anchor of Biz Asia America, which was then rebranded as Global Business America.[citation needed]

On 18 September 2019, Nick Pollard, a veteran British TV executive, resigned from his post as consultant and advisor to CGTN, giving his reason for leaving as being CGTN's failure to comply with Ofcom's rules on impartiality in connection to its coverage of the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests.[15] He had joined CGTN in December 2018.[16]

Detention of Cheng Lei[edit]

In mid-August 2020, Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist who since 2012 worked for CGTN as an anchor for a business show, was detained by Chinese authorities and charged in February 2021 with sharing state secrets, with no further information being provided.[17] Soon after Cheng was detained, two Australian journalists working in China fled the country after being questioned by authorities on national security grounds, leaving Australia's media without any journalists working in China for the first time in nearly 50 years.[18] CGTN has deleted all reference to Cheng from its website and social media, and has not made any report or comment on Cheng’s detention.

CGTN Africa[edit]

CCTV Africa is China Central Television's news productions center which was launched in Kenya on 11 January 2012.[citation needed] CGTN Africa initially produced a one-hour program every day, including Africa news, Talk Africa and Face of Africa editions, and broadcast through CGTN's English news channel.

CGTN America[edit]

CGTN America is the Americas division of CGTN that began broadcasting on 6 February 2012.[citation needed] It is based in Washington, DC and runs bureaus in North and South America. The service employs American and Chinese journalists and produces Americas-based programs for CGTN and CCTV. CGTN America’s director general is Ma Jing, with veteran Asia journalist Jim Laurie as executive consultant.

The United States Department of Justice ordered CGTN America to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), which CGTN America did on 1 February 2019.[19] Registration requires CGTN America to disclose information about its annual budget and ownership structure, and to include disclaimers on broadcasts, published materials and social media identifying itself as a registered foreign agent. On 8 March 2019, after CGTN America registered under FARA, its director general Ma Jing and a dozen other staffers were recalled to Beijing.[20]

Notable personalities[edit]




In 2010, CCTV-News won the National Window award at 2010's Hot Bird TV awards.[23]

The channel's Washington, DC based broadcast center, CGTN America, has won a News & Documentary Emmy for Jen Bricker: When Can't is a Four-Letter Word, and has also won multiple New York Festivals medals and White House News Photographers Association awards.[24][25]


Accusations of bias[edit]

Despite its revamp launching of CCTV America, critics have voiced concerns over the level of self-censorship exercised by the channel, especially on sensitive domestic issues in China. Philip Cunningham of Cornell University, who has appeared more than 100 times on China Central Television talk shows said sensitive issues such as Tibet and Xinjiang were heavily edited on various programs.[26] Ma Jing, Director of CCTV America defends such allegation by saying that the channel edits stories the same way other news organizations do. She said: "We uphold the traditional journalistic values. We consider accuracy, objectivity, truthfulness, and public accountability very important, more important than anything else."[26]

The UK's Ofcom is inquiring into alleged state bias over its coverage of the Hong Kong protests since September 2019.[27]

Accessory to torture and forced confessions[edit]

On 23 November 2018, a British corporate investigator named Peter Humphrey submitted a formal complaint[28] to the United Kingdom's government communications regulator The Office of Communications, or Ofcom, maintaining he was forced under duress to confess on air over Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television's (CCTV) network and that, as the confession was subsequently broadcast[29] over the international arm of CCTV, China Global Television Network (CGTN), CGTN itself should be held culpable by Ofcom and denied the right to operate its broadcast service in the U.K. Humphrey's complaint cited two films produced by CCTV and additionally aired in the UK by CGTN, stating that both were scripted and directed by the Chinese police, the public security bureau, while he was a prisoner, in conditions of duress amounting to torture.[30][31] One such confession, staged in August 2013, was filmed by a CCTV crew with Humphrey locked in an iron chair inside a steel cage, wearing handcuffs and an orange prison vest. This was before he had been indicted, tried or convicted of a crime. The second, in July 2014, was once again filmed by CCTV, not in a cage this time, but still in a prison vest and handcuffs, before he had been tried or convicted on the charge of illegal information gathering.[32]

Ofcom said it would investigate the complaint and would "take necessary enforcement action" if rules are determined to have been violated.[28][33] In November 2019, CGTN aired a video of a UK consular employee, Simon Cheng, in captivity "confessing" to consorting with prostitutes. Within a week, Cheng had filed a new complaint to Ofcom.[34]

On 4 February 2021, CGTN had its license to broadcast in the United Kingdom revoked by broacasting regulator Ofcom after an investigation found that it was "controlled by a body which is ultimately controlled owned by the Chinese Communist Party".[35] In a statement, Ofcom said:

We have given CGTN significant time to come into compliance with the statutory rules. Those efforts have now been exhausted. Following careful consideration, taking account of all the facts and the broadcaster's and audience's rights to freedom of expression, we have decided it is appropriate to revoke the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK. We expect to conclude separate sanctions proceedings against CGTN for due impartiality and fairness and privacy breaches shortly.[36]

Links to Chinese Communist Party[edit]

During Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping's tour of state media outlets in February 2016, he emphasized that they must "speak for the Party", and, further, that they must expand their influence abroad in order to "tell China’s story to the world". The Guardian's Louisa Lim and Julia Bergin wrote that while the "[China] Communist Party has always maintained a tight grip over domestic media, their strategy has shifted in recent years to spread that control globally", by "exerting their influence on media abroad, through a multifaceted approach that includes offering generous salary packages to recruit talented journalists away from local media in Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere; buying advertising supplements in mainstream foreign publications; buying foreign media companies outright; and making deals with local broadcasters in Africa and elsewhere to spread their content in local markets". One result of the China Communist Party's international media strategy has been the elimination of the independent Chinese-language media outlets in the United States, "through a mix of co-option and aggressive expansion of its own competitors".[37] Alongside their international media strategy, the Chinese Communist Party has also stepped up the use of "Pro-Beijing trolls -- the so-called 50-cent army, named for the price they are supposedly paid for each post" plus the "state-backed media and botnets [who] have been employed to pump out huge quantities of disinformation and misinformation" on social media platforms like Twitter.[38][39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MCTV - Digital, Barbados
  2. ^ "China is spending billions on its foreign-language media". The Economist. 14 June 2018. ISSN 0013-0613. Archived from the original on 20 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  3. ^ About CCTV America Archived 10 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Archived 10 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine CCTV America
  4. ^ About CCTV Africa Archived 20 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine Archived 20 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine CCTV Africa
  5. ^ "About CCTV News". Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
  6. ^ Palmer, James. "China's Global Propaganda Is Aimed at Bosses, Not Foreigners". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 8 January 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  7. ^ "Ofcom revokes Chinese broadcaster CGTN's UK licence". BBC News. 4 February 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  8. ^ "CGTN statement on Ofcom's ruling on CGTN's UK broadcasting license".
  9. ^ "Vodafone Germany suspends China TV from cable". Reuters. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  10. ^ China bans BBC News after UK pulls CGTN's license - CNN Video, retrieved 17 February 2021
  11. ^ CCTV News, Your Link to Asia Archived 12 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine Archived 12 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine CCTV Press Release, 26 April 2010
  12. ^ China's English news channel relaunches 26 April Archived 31 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine Archived 31 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine CCTV Press Release, 26 April 2010
  13. ^ Jiang Heping (2005). "Window on China and the World: CCTV News" (PDF). In Sucharita S. Eashwar (ed.). Asia Media Summit 2005: Promoting Peace and Prosperity in a Globalised World. Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development. pp. 173–75. ISBN 983-41053-3-9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  14. ^ Welter, Sophie. "China's Most Famous Foreigner to Receive Prestigious – Mark Rowswell ("Dashan") to be Honoured for Raising Awareness of Cancer in China". Archived from the original on 10 September 2005. Retrieved 4 May 2007.
  15. ^ Nilsson, Patricia (18 September 2019). "Former Ofcom director quits Chinese state broadcaster". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on 23 August 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  16. ^ Yan, Sophia (11 July 2019). "Chinese state broadcaster hires former Ofcom director amid investigation". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 May 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  17. ^ China confirms detained Australian Cheng Lei is accused of leaking state secrets, as her family break their silence
  18. ^ China arrests Australian TV host on suspicion of spying
  19. ^ "Chinese State Media Giant CGTN Registers as Foreign Agent in U.S." 5 February 2019. Archived from the original on 4 April 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
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  24. ^ "Winners at the 37th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards". Emmy Awards. National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  25. ^ "CGTN America Receives 15 Awards in White House News Photographers Association 2018 Eyes of History Video Contest" (Press release). PR Newswire. 24 January 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  26. ^ a b "China's Programming for U.S. Audiences: Is it News or Propaganda?". PBS NewsHour. 22 March 2012. Archived from the original on 2 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  27. ^ Ofcom investigates CGTN over coverage of Hong Kong protests Archived 11 April 2020 at the Wayback Machine Archived 11 April 2020 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian, 2019
  28. ^ a b "British man seeks China state TV ban for forced confession". AP NEWS. 23 November 2018. Archived from the original on 8 December 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  29. ^ "UK watchdog may probe China state media's role in extracting 'confession'". South China Morning Post. 26 November 2018. Archived from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  30. ^ "'I was locked inside a steel cage': Peter Humphrey on his life inside a Chinese prison". 30 November 2019. Archived from the original on 8 March 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  31. ^ Waterson, Jim (26 May 2020). "Chinese state TV broke Ofcom rules with biased Hong Kong coverage". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 28 May 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
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  33. ^ Moore, Matthew (24 November 2018). "Call to ban Xi's 'propaganda TV'". The Times. Archived from the original on 9 November 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  34. ^ "Hong Kong 'torture' victim files Ofcom complaint against CGTN". 28 November 2019. Archived from the original on 23 August 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  35. ^ Mathers, Matt (4 February 2021). "Chinese state-owned TV network CGTN has UK licence revoked by Ofcom". The Independent. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  36. ^ "Ofcom revokes CGTN's licence to broadcast in the UK". Ofcom (Press release). 4 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
  37. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 March 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^ "From Hong Kong to the NBA, how China is losing the media war". Archived from the original on 24 February 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  39. ^ "Diplomats and trolling operations: How China uses social media to sell its narrative". 7 February 2020. Archived from the original on 22 February 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.

External links[edit]