In the last few hours (days?) weeks, China has launched a new website for its Ministry of National Defense. It comes in two flavours, Chinese and English, which only differ in colour scheme, The Dark Visitor tells us (Chinese green, English red). I might be showing my ignorance of international English here, but ‘defense’ with an ’s’ is the American, as opposed to the UK/European, way of spelling it, so perhaps that’s a sign of who it’s aimed at, public diplomacy-wise. Today’s official press release tells us the following:
The website of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense mainly releases authoritative information of China’s national defense and army building. The founding of the website is designed to let the outside world have a better perception of China’s national defense policy, help enhance foreign exchanges and cooperation, display before the world the fine image of the PLA as a mighty, civilized and peaceful force and better promote the national defense and army modernization drive.
Netizens to visit the website will be impressed by its succinct and graceful webpage featuring novel and attractive design with distinctive military characteristics.
Indeed – I particularly like the green, Mandarin version.It continues:
The Chinese version of the website is composed of three parts, i.e. news channels, data and documentary materials, columns and special reports.
The news channels are today’s headlines, high-level development, national defense building, national defense education, national defense technology, military operations, military diplomacy, arms control & disarmament.
The data and documentary materials provided by the website include brief introductions to the leaders of the CMC and the four general headquarters/departments of the PLA, military laws and regulations, weaponry and equipment and military history.
The website also offers columns and special reports such as the collection of national defense videos, military photo gallery and special reports on domestic and international hot spots inside and outside the military circle.
The English version of the website will give more consideration to the concerns of overseas netizens on Chinese national defense information and their reading habits and better accord with the characteristics and rules of foreign publicity.
More from Reuters here.
Update: the London Times ran this story on 1 August 2009. Shows how slow I am. One of the comments on that article says,
You forgot to mention that the website is sponsored by Wulianyue – the PLA generals’ favourate [sic] and the strongest spirit in China (Chinese Whisky)!!!
That’s just not true. More on Chinese whisky here.
Interesting how both the US and China released new defense websites recently...