Hawaii station picks up Chinese state-run radio


POSTED: Friday, September 04, 2009

Ni hao! (Salutations!)

Chinese state-run radio officially was presented to Honolulu at a luncheon at the Plaza Club yesterday, though it has been on the air since July 1.

Programming from Beijing-based China Radio International in Chinese, English, Korean and Japanese airs 24 hours a day on KHCM-AM 880 under an agreement between station licensee Salem Communications Corp. and R&C Productions Inc., both of California.

CRI was introduced to attendees through a slick video that described its Dec. 3, 1941, founding and its expansion to television broadcasting, newspaper and periodical publication and online and mobile platforms. The network has gone from broadcasting via shortwave to other countries via local AM and FM radio stations since 2006.

CRI's mission of introducing China to the world “;and vice versa”; to “;report world affairs to the world so as to enhance understanding and friendship between the peoples of China and other countries”; was echoed by Vice President Wang Yunpeng, who received congratulatory certificates from California state Sen. Bob Huff, San Gabriel Mayor Juli Costanzo and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Donna Woo read his statement: “;This 24-hour radio station means the Chinese community here in Hawaii can now enjoy the comprehensive coverage of Asia's leading international broadcaster.”;

CRI differs from American news organizations most notably in that it is controlled by China's communist government, but, Wang said, through interpreter Xiaohong Lu, “;after 30 years of opening up and reform in China, we are still in a learning process. We are trying to learn from the Western countries. Our media is run by the law, and we have our principals that we ... (describe as) the Chinese standard with a global vision and cultural respect.

“;Our reporters will act in the interest of our country. ... The reports will reflect the national interest. For example, we strongly condemn the separatist activities by those organizations or different parties, but most of our reporters have their own perspectives in expressing or explaining China issues and world issues, as well.”;

The Chinese government jams foreign broadcasters' transmissions to keep them from its citizens, according to broadcast historian Brock Whaley, but Wang said Voice of America broadcasts can be heard in China.

A special CRI team uses advanced facilities to receive the BBC and other foreign shortwave broadcasts, “;so we are able to track down what they're talking about, but perhaps ordinary people do not have these facilities,”; Wang said.

Chung added, “;That's why people think China is jamming the signals.”;

The CRI shows on KHCM include news, business, music, cultural and Chinese language instruction and are listed on the station's Web site.

“;It's not intensely political,”; said Michael Reichert, Salem vice president of operations, who attended the luncheon.

Primarily known as a broadcaster of Christian and conservative programming, Salem “;is in the business of selling time”; and has never had a complaint about the multiethnic programs, said Radio Division President Joe Davis. It also sells time to ministries who decry China's persecution of Christian missionaries and believers, but Reichert said China has “;let missionaries come in ... and build churches.”;

“;I think the more we can start working together, the more we're going to have an opportunity to get our word out in China, so I think this might be a good inroad to that,”; Reichert said.