China officially announced the launch of its long-rumored Arabic TV station CCTV the other day. It thus joins the United States, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and Iran — and possibly soon India — in having a state-backed satellite television station broadcasting in Arabic. Why, given that none of them are likely to ever capture much of a market share or have much impact on Arab public opinion?
Good question! As it turns out, Marc doesn't really have a clue himself. But hey — if the United States can sponsor a useless, expensive media sinkhole, then I guess the Chinese figure they can do it even better. Or something.
Or maybe it's just an example of that famous long-term Chinese thinking. Maybe they don't really need an Arabic-language propaganda outlet now, but they might need one in 2050. And if they do, they'll be prepared.