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Tampere Broadcasts China’s Official Voice in Europe

The People's Republic of China has strengthened its communications foothold in Europe. A 30-person team in Tampere broadcasts multilingual state-sponsored programming, which reaches most of Europe. Experts say the Chinese government is attempting to exert influence through the non-critical programming.

Sormet pyörittävät radion asemanvalintasäädintä
Image: Yle

The Chinese-funded Tampere radio station produces radio shows and online content in ten different languages, including Finnish, English, Estonian, Danish, Russian, German and French. Listeners around Europe can tune into the station located at 963 kHz.

The station is run in cooperation with FutuVision, a Tampere-based company. Programme makers have had no problem recruting international people to help produce the multilingual programming on-site, as Tampere is a vibrant university town with many international students.

The radio programmes do not take a critical look at events in China, such as human rights abuses often reported by the western media. The station mainly focuses on culture and travel topics.

Jutta Valkeinen, who heads the station, says no media is objective in her opinion, adding that the station provides a unique glimpse into Chinese life.

"Listener surveys have suggested that Finns are keener on Chinese food and history than they are on the country’s political scene," she says.

Some of the station’s programming stems from China Radio International, which also funds the station.

Heikki Luostarinen, a communications professor who’s researched propaganda, says China is also looking to get its money's worth, meaning programming is a mode of influence.

“You can call it propaganda, as China thinks in much of the same way as the former Soviet Union did. It's trying to further its own interests around the globe,” says Luostarinen.

Sources: YLE

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