|Founded in 1958,
the weekly's English version was originally called Peking
Review, but later was changed to Beijing
Review. As a serious
publication featuring news and views about China, Beijing
Review has targeted foreign government organs, think tanks,
academic institutions and transnational companies that
study and follow what is happening in China. It has maintained
a wide readership covering more than 100 countries on five
Liu said in his letter to Beijing Review, "In the past
five decades, Beijing Review has served as China's most
authentic English-language news magazine following closely
on the development trends of the New China, timely introducing
its principles and policies to the world, reporting on
the achievements of the Chinese people in various fields,
and explaining the Chinese Government's stance on major
international issues. Beijing Review has become an important
channel for the world to understand and know about China.
It is warmly received by readers from different nations,
and has made positive contributions to the mutual understanding
and friendship of the Chinese people and peoples around
It is believed that Beijing Review was an outcome of the
government's opening-up policy. During the Bandung Asia-Africa
Conference in 1955 and thereafter, then Premier Zhou Enlai
received a number of foreign diplomats and journalists
who proposed that China establish a news publication in
foreign languages to enable foreign readers, and suspicious
Westerners in particular, to have a better understanding
of the young republic, which was just founded in 1949.
It was under the auspices of the government that the first
issue of Beijing Review in English came out in March 1958.
Premier Zhou and his cabinet members paid much attention
to the magazine and they even took some time to visit the
newsroom to attend editorial meetings.
In 1992, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin praised the
magazine as "a window into China and a friend of the world."
In 2006, President Hu Jintao wrote to Beijing
reading the magazine's special issue marking the 55th anniversary
of China-Pakistan diplomatic relations. "It is hoped that
Beijing Review will continue its efforts in promoting cooperation
and traditional friendship between China and Pakistan,"
The foreign interests in and demand for information about
China have never ceased. During a long period from the
early 1960s to 2000, Beijing Review started publishing
French, German, Japanese and Spanish versions. The magazine
even published Indonesian, Portuguese and Arabic versions
for some years to cover a wider readership. The mid-1960s
was a golden time for the magazine's circulation, which
exceeded 130,000 per issue.
From 1990 to 2000, the newsroom published a monthly called
ChinAfrica, targeting the African continent. The English-French
bilingual magazine, introducing China's economic and social
development experiences and including analyses of all issues
related to China-Africa relations, was very popular among
Although Beijing Review's print version is only available
in English, the publication's multilingual website provides
more information nowadays and receives 5 million hits every
week from all over the world.
Writing news in foreign languages for foreign readers
is tough work that requires a special group of employees.
The newsroom boasts a talent pool of well-educated and
hardworking journalists, who carefully study China and
then explain its events and trends by writing stories and
opinions. During the past 50 years, more than a thousand
of foreign experts from every part of the globe have worked
at Beijing Review as reporters, editors and copy editors.
While helping Beijing Review to be readable and understandable
for foreign readers, some of them became China hands themselves
after working and living in China for years.
Accompanied by the clicking of typewriters and keyboards
day and night over the years, the magazine has seen its
number of volumes grow from No. 1 to No. 51. What's worth
mentioning, nevertheless, is that its reputation as a serious
news magazine about what's happening in China and how the
Chinese view the world has remained unchanged. The 2,600
issues of Beijing Review serve as a history of China's
social development. They also contain the government's
work report from the annual National People's Congress,
main content of every five-year plan for economic and social
development, reports about every high-level foreign exchange
and full texts of related joint declarations and agreements.
The magazine's numerous articles cover a wide range of
topics, including legislation, foreign policy, national
projects, cultural events, scientific inventions and archaeological
In order to follow the trend of media development in the
21st century, the editorial board of Beijing
shifted some of its focus to its online publications. By
providing up-to-date information from time to time in different
languages via the Internet, the online versions are more
reader-friendly and give readers from every corner of the
world quick access to China-related news and views. Digital
versions of the old issues of Beijing
Review have been
added to the publication's online database, so that readers
can retrieve every story published during the past 50 years,
thereby allowing the history of modern China to flow in
front of their eyes like a river.