ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – In a small office at the Pakistani Television Corporation (PTV) headquarters in Islamabad, producers are preparing to air a video interview of a Pakistani man and his Chinese bride.

The woman in the footage is dressed in traditional Pakistani clothes, sitting next to her husband who addresses her in fluent Mandarin, amplifying a message of trans-national love prevailing over differences in language, religion and culture.

Videos – Sign – China – Push – Power

The videos are the latest sign of China’s growing push to build up cultural “soft power” to complement the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the $60 billion infrastructure program it has launched as part of the Asian giant’s flagship “Belt and Road” project.

Over the past year, China has sent state-owned PTV and other commercial television channels a series of documentaries, dramas and other television programming for free, officials from PTV told Reuters.

Experts – China – Attempts – Hearts – Minds

Experts say China has been ramping up attempts to win the hearts and minds of citizens in Belt and Road nations through language, traditional media and social media campaigns, echoing the cultural firepower previously wielded by Western nations, which have leveraged everything from language centers to Hollywood and blue jeans to burnish global influence.

“We have learnt from the experience of the United States, the UK, and other Western countries – but now, it’s time for the world to understand China,” said Chen Xiang, a correspondent coordinating state-run China Radio International’s wide-ranging presence in Pakistan.

People – Truth – China – China – Radio

“We want to tell the people the truth about China, what real China is … through radio programs, through TV and through other cultural activities we can do this.”

China is boosting its Mandarin teaching through state-backed language and culture organizations called Confucius Institutes – Pakistan is home to four with two more Confucius resource centers set to open – and spreading exposure to its arts and narrative media in…

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