China Radio International

China Radio International
China Radio International
City of license Beijing
Broadcast area Worldwide
First air date December 3, 1941
Format Foreign language radio shows
Affiliations State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television
Owner  People's Republic of China
Website CRI, CRI in English
China Radio International
Chinese 中国国际

China Radio International (CRI), (Chinese: 中国国际广播电台; pinyin: Zhōngguó Guójì Guǎngbō Diàntái) the former Radio Beijing and originally Radio Peking, founded on December 3 of 1941, is one of the three state-owned media in China along with China National Radio (CNR) and China Central Television (CCTV) in the People's Republic of China (PRC).

As the PRC's external radio station, CRI aims at promoting understanding and friendship between the people of China and people throughout the world with 30 overseas bureaus. CRI has broadcasts 1,520 hours of programs each day all over the world in 61 languages. CRI's programs include news, current affairs, and features on politics, the economy, culture, science and technology.

The station is government-owned, and as such, adopts the government stance on issues, such as Taiwan being an integral part of the PRC. It has the most comprehensive foreign service in Asia. More than 50 shortwave transmitters are used to cover most of the world. In addition, CRI broadcasts can be heard on the medium-wave AM band in many areas, including WUST, serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and on WNWR in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the USA. CRI is also broadcast via the Internet and numerous satellites, and the World Radio Network.



Radio originally developed in China in the 1920s and 1930s. However, few households had radio receivers. A few cities had commercial stations. Most usage of radio was for political purpose, frequently on a local area level.

The Chinese Communist Party first used radio in Yanan in March 1940 with a transmitter brought back from Moscow. Xinhua New Chinese Radio (XNCR) went on the air from Yanan on December 30, 1940. XNCR transmitted to a larger geographical area after 1945, and its programs became more regular and formalised with broadcasts of news, official announcements, war bulletins, and art and literary programs.

The English Service started at Shahe Village in the Taihang Mountains in Hebei Province on September 11, 1947, when China was in a civil war. This was done with the hope of spreading its political and cultural perspective beyond China and to the world at large.[1] XNCR, as it was called then, started in a cave-like studio in the mountains. Its mission was to provide information about the newly conquered areas.[2]

The station moved from the Taihang Mountains to Peking, China's capital, when The People's Republic of China was formed in 1949. Its name was changed to Radio Peking on April 10, 1950. In the 1960s, the station was known for its propaganda programming supporting the Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong.[citation needed] At the time, it had a relay station in Albania. Radio Peking, by that name, remained on the air until 1983, when the station's name was changed to Radio Beijing.

On January 1, 1993, the name of the station was again changed, this time to China Radio International in order to avoid any confusion with local Beijing radio broadcasting.

Short wave/international broadcasting

CRI broadcasts via shortwave radio, satellite and the Internet in English and numerous other languages (see below). There are also numerous AM and FM relays.

Shortwave broadcasts in English are targeted at North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific. CRI is notable for maintaining direct shortwave broadcasts to developed, media-rich countries in North America and Europe, even as major Western broadcasters (such as BBC World Service, Voice of America and Radio Netherlands) reduce or discontinue such broadcasts (e.g. [1]).


Mandarin Channel

At the beginning of 1984, it started to broadcast home service to the Beijing area on AM and FM frequencies. The service later expanded to dozens of major cities across China, providing listeners inside China with timely news and reports, music, weather, English and Chinese learning skills, as well as other services.

CRI News Radio (FM 90.5)

CRI News Radio can be heard online and in Beijing on the radio on 90.5 FM; in Tianjin FM90.6; in Chongqing FM91.7; in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau FM107.1; in Shandong FM89.8; in Anhui FM90.1. The broadcast is primarily done in Mandarin Chinese.

Chinese podcasts

The following programs can be heard on the Mandarin version of the podcast from the World Radio Network:

  • News (Chinese: 新闻节目 Pinyin: xīn wén jié mù), which comes from the Xinhua News Agency.
  • Tángrénjiē (Chinese: 唐人街 English translation: "Chinatown"), a program about overseas Chinese (outside China)
  • Weather forecasts around China
  • Sports

This broadcast was originally targeted for London in the United Kingdom. In 2006, they removed the "London" reference, which was part of the introduction as "Ni hao London. Hello London"[3]

English Channel

CRI in English ( 88.0FM, 88.7 FM, 91.5 FM, 846 AM, 1008 AM)

The CRI English channels that can be heard online are:

  • Pete and Leon in the Morning is an English radio airing in Canberra 6-8am weekdays.
  • Round the Clock ( Internet only)
  • News Center ( 846 AM in Beijing)
  • Hit FM ( 88.7 FM in Beijing( 24H All Day),88.5 FM in Guangzhou( 06:00—21:00 Beijing Time) )
  • Easy FM (91.5 FM in Beijing(24H All Day),87.9 FM in Shanghai( Shanghai Edition)( 24H All Day),98.5 FM in Lanzhou)
  • Language Studio ( 1008 AM in Beijing) - a one hour program that teaches English for someone who only knows Mandarin (not to be confused with Chinese Studio). The program will sound like a kindergarten English lesson in the USA using very simple sentences (e.g. Mary goes to the bank).
  • CRI 91.9 FM (Kenya 91.9 FM).
  • Chinese Studio is a 5 minute segment that follows most CRI English programs
  • China Drive is an English radio show about life in China
  • CRI FM 102 in Sri Lanka in Sinhala, Tamil, English and Chinese (05:30—19:30 Sri Lanka Time)
  • The Hot Pot Show with DJ Duggy Day (featuring pop music from China and around the world, Chinese pop star interviews, popular website reviews, travel features on China, The China Top 5 chart countdown and much much more.) The Hot Pot Show can be heard in China, Australia, The US, Kenya, Nepal, Liberia, Laos and the pacific islands of Vanuatu.

English Podcasts

The English podcast from the World Radio Network includes the following programs, all of which are also played on Easy FM, CRI 91.9 FM in Kenya, and in radio stations throughout the world.

  • Hourly News
  • The Beijing Hour ( replace weekday 'News & Reports' since early 2010)
  • News & Reports
  • People in the Know
  • Press Clippings
  • China Now
  • Today
  • China Drive
  • Realtime China
  • Africa Express
  • Chinese Studio (sponsored by the Bridge School)

Holiday Broadcasts

During major Chinese holidays (dubbed Golden Week), such as Chinese New Year, May Day, and Mid-Autumn Festival, China Radio International typically broadcasts special programs such as:

  • Growing Up In China (during the May Day holiday)

Most of these programs are not typical of the broadcast during the other parts of the year. The analogy is similar to Christmas music broadcasts in the United States.


China Radio International broadcasts in the following languages:

Mandarin Chinese



Tibetan (Lhasa and Kangba)

(Source: )‎‏

Olympic Radio

In July 2006, CRI launched a new radio station called CRI Olympic Radio at 900 AM in Beijing. This special broadcast is done in Mandarin, Korean, English, Russian, French, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese and German 24 hours a day.


  1. ^ Chang, Won Ho, "Mass Media in China: The History and the Future", Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1989, pp. 151-152.
  2. ^ China Radio International, History and Milestones: CRI English Service
  3. ^ China Broadcast


  • Bishop, Robert L., "Qi Lai! Mobilizing One Billion Chinese: The Chinese Communication System", Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1989. ISBN 0813802962
  • Chang, Won Ho, "Mass Media in China: The History and the Future", Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1989.
  • Hamm, Charles, "Music and Radio in the PRC," Asian Music, Spring/Summer 1991, vXXII, n2, p. 28-29.
  • Howkins, John, "Mass Communication in China", New York: Annenberg/ Longman Communication Books, 1982.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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