History and purpose
The China Media Centre was launched in 2005 by Sun Yusheng, Vice-President of China Central Television (CCTV) and Jeremy Paxman, Presenter of BBC’s Newsnight. It was the first international unit under the wider umbrella of the UK’s leading media research institute, Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), which has since attracted Indian, Arab and other media centres.
The China Media Centre (CMC) exists to study the world’s largest media system. Its establishment shows the university’s recognition that the study of any aspect of China requires specialisation.
The University of Westminster’s involvement with China goes back to the 1950s. The first institution to specialise in modern spoken Chinese, we taught generations of diplomats about China while welcoming students and visiting researchers from Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television, the People’s Daily and other leading Chinese organisations.
Funding and connections
Funded initially by a grant from the Quintin Hogg Foundation, the China Media Centre has provided for itself since 2007 by winning consultancy contracts from the British, Danish, Chinese and Swedish governments plus sponsorship from British companies for specific activities.
Through such activities we have made connections with Chinese institutions and individuals, which make research possible and allow us to learn from Chinese officials and media professionals. These have included the Chairman of Banking Reform Commission, the Vice Minister of Commerce, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the Vice President of National People’s Congress (NPC), as well as such leading media professionals as the Deputy President of China Central Television, the President of Hunan Television, the founder of Caixin magazine. We are also in touch with leading scholars from China Communications, Tsinghua, Peking, Fudan and Renmin universities, as well as senior leaders from provincial and city governments.
China Media Centre activities have funded scholarships, fee-waivers, conferences, seminars and research visits, as well as day-to-day administration so that today it is able to connect the Chinese and European media in three ways:
- Scholarship: research including team projects and individual publications, as well as regular series of seminars, workshops, annual conferences, debates and innovative curricular development, both independently and in collaboration with practitioners and scholars in China.
- Dialogue: a forum in the UK, promoting discussion on the different media systems and networks into the information channels of China. We provide consultancy to leading Chinese media organisations and are contracted by European governments projecting their media in China.
- Professional exchanges: China Media Centre, through its China Professional Leadership Programme, is the focus for large numbers of Chinese visiting scholars, practitioners and students who are working, or will work in their country’s media and for whom their first experience of abroad is London and the China Media Centre.
"The China Media Centre which I co-launched in 2005 has, since its establishment, been committed to enhancing mutual understanding and communication between Chinese and British Media. In January 2012, CMC invited Jeremy Paxman to have a dialogue with his equivalent, Mr. Yansong Bai, the most renowned current affair journalist in China, attended by many media experts and academics. I sincerely hope that the Centre will continue its efforts in this field and promote even further cooperation and conversation between Chinese media and British media." - Sun Yusheng, Deputy President, China Central Television China
"The Centre is a unique operation in the UK and has an impressive list of achievements since its establishment eight years ago, in academic research, training and reaching out to government and the media. The field is one that has been little researched in the UK and the Centre has added substantially to the UK’s knowledge base in this area, which is one of critical importance in China’s reform and development process. It has developed effective relationships with a wide range of Chinese institutions while maintaining an appropriate level of critical awareness of the problems that need to be addressed." - Rod Wye, Fellow, Asia Programme, Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, formerly Head of Asia Region Research Analysts, Foreign and Commonwealth Office