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Communist Party workplace materials for CCTV employees

You’ll never see CGTN come out and announce that it takes orders from the Communist Party of China, but it’s clear in the workplace who’s running the show. Party materials made specifically for CCTV (of which CGTN is a part) employees are littered throughout the newsroom.

I took some as souvenirs of my time working there.

"CCTV Party-Building"  an "internal" publication put out by China Central Television Communist Party Membership
“CCTV Party-Building” — an internal publication put out by the China Central Television Communist Party Membership Committee
Subtitle says (roughly): “Keep up with innovation and struggle” “Strive to create a world-class new mainstream media”
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Liu Xin named a ‘top ten’ host by CCTV’s Party Committee

Liu Xin named a 'top ten' host by CCTV's Communist Party of China Committee; as seen in the March 30, 2018 employee newsletter distributed at headquarters in Beijing
Liu Xin named a ‘top ten’ host by CCTV’s Communist Party of China Committee. From the March 30, 2018, employee newsletter distributed at headquarters in Beijing.

A certain American-right-wing propagandist might be interested in this image of a certain Chinese government propagandist. This is Liu Xin, a CGTN show host, as shown in the March 30, 2018, edition of Dian Shi Sheng Huo, a Communist Party of China newsletter for CCTV employees. It recognized her as a “top ten” host and applauded her work in telling China’s story.

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A Glimpse of Hong Kong Subversion

It’s very satisfying to at last be able to put up this post. It is full of — gasp! — messages against China’s central government. I visited Hong Kong in late November, about a month before leaving China for good. There I was able to take many photos of graffiti and other anti-government messaging put up by protesters.

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Last Storage Trip from Beijing

I stepped outside on Christmas Day 2019 to a gloriously foggy morning. I was overjoyed. Fog is my favorite weather.

“Ah, that’s right! Michigan has weather! This is why I moved back.”*

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Broadcast Word Play

I used to loathe puns, but as a reporter and assigning editor I was grateful to have copy editors in my corner who could turn a phrase or come up with something clever on the spot for a headline or title.

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Early Workplace Impressions

The old CCTV News control room, or “gallery” as it’s called internally

Once I arrive to work at CCTV Headquarters, I make my way to a newsroom in “Tower Two”.

This tower is treated as the lesser of the building’s two legs. One coworker who carries around a handheld air quality tester recently noted to me that Tower One has much cleaner air. That’s where management offices are housed.

When I first got here in 2016, I wondered if the newsroom would be a caricature of a tight-assed commie environment, with humorless Party hardliners stomping around everywhere, giving gimlet-eyed glares at everyone as they tried to spot hints of subversion. A strict camp for party doctrine.

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Views of CCTV Headquarters

Window view from CCTV Headquarters with side of tower in frame

CCTV Headquarters has exactly the feel one would expect from a paranoid control state’s base of media operations.

The predominating experience inside is that of walking through nondescript passageways, gray in color and climate.

Sidelong glances, outright stares, and even suspicious glares from passing Chinese staffers in the halls are a constant feature of work-life. I get expect them as soon as I leave the newsroom. Even though I’m still in the work area of CGTN, the channel I work on, there will always be people immediately outside the glass walls of our newsroom who will look at me askance.