In its bid to increase its soft power through the strategic purchasing of media power the Chinese government has been increasing media programing in the Middle East. Current estimates report that very low numbers of Middle Easterners tune in for Chinese programing. This seems to be of no concern for Beijing however, and with good reason. Like typical Chinese policy the overall strategy in the Middle East is long term. While only 5,000 listeners tuned in to Radio Beijing’s recent 45 minutes documentary on Confucius Beijing hopes to create niche markets of listeners who appreciate the information being conveyed. This way the Chinese government hopes to co-opt them as vehicles for espousing the virtues of Chinese society and culture, creating larger groups of viewers in the years to come.
This strategy seems sound due to a number of reasons. First it capitalizes on the culture and society of China, two strategic resources that only China has. Secondly it focuses on using historic and entertainment programing instead of focusing on controversial current events. This means that the chance of alienating viewers is far lower. China’s PD policy in the Middle East seems to be sound already despite its short lifespan and should be noted by the United States if it hopes to keep pace.