BEIJING – The China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) on Wednesday formally opened here its annual training program for media members from countries in the Asia Pacific and Africa.

Under the China International Press Communication Center (CIPCC), the China-Asia Pacific Press Center (CAPPC) Program and China-Africa Press Center (CAPC) Program gathered 49 journalists from the two regions for a 10-month training program.

CAPPC Director Yu Lei said the program aims to provide journalists from other countries a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of China.

Yu added that the Chinese government values the role of media in strengthening people-to-people connection between China and other parts of the world.

“Many people of these countries have intention to know China. If the journalists cannot come here in China, so they cannot get first-hand information about China; our objective is also to help them in 10 months to have more direct contact with Chinese people, and then they can introduce the real picture of China to their people in their countries,” he said.

“This program will let them have a real and comprehensive picture of China,” Yu stressed.

During the opening ceremony of the China-ASEAN Year of Media Exchange last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted the vital role of media in promoting closer ties between China and Southeast Asian nations.

"It is my hope that media from the two sides do more to become friendship facilitators of practical cooperation and guardians of harmonious coexistence," Xi said in his congratulatory message.

Meanwhile, the CIPCC, through Renmin University of China, will be providing participants with lectures on China’s politics, economy, diplomacy, history, society, and culture.

On the other hand, the Beijing International Chinese College will be holding primary Chinese courses for the participants.

CPDA started the program in 2014, establishing the CAPC and expanded it to Asia Pacific as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. For this year, it opened a new program for media in the Arab states and Europe.

About 100 journalists from these regions are expected to be in China this year from these five programs.

From 2014 to 2018, CPDA invited 187 participants from 70 countries for the media training programs.

The Philippines has participated in this program since 2017, represented by reporters from the Philippines News Agency and the Presidential Communications Operations Office. (PNA)