Tian'anmen screens show best of China to world

Updated: 2012-10-02 08:14

By Wang Xiaodong (China Daily)

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In Tian'anmen Square in the heart of Beijing, tourists from all over the world are gazing up at the two big LED screens set up in the center of the square. The two giant screens are showing videos of the city's scenic and cultural spots, such as the Great Wall and the numerous golden-roofed palaces of the Forbidden City.

The two screens are both 40 meters long and 5 meters high, and they each stand on a 2-meter-high concrete base.

Tian'anmen screens show best of China to world

The giant LED screens in Tian'anmen Square attract a lot of attention. Zhu Xingxin / China Daily

"We had to use special cameras to produce the videos, because of the screens' high definition," said a producer with Beijing TV, which produced about 20 of the videos displayed on the screens.

"The definition is so good the pictures shown on the screens are twice as clear as those for TV programs," she said on condition of anonymity.

"I've never seen so vivid images on so large screens before," said Wang Ying, a tourist from Anhui province. "The pictures are so clear and the color so bright, I can see them clearly even in daylight."

The screens come alive in the early morning when the national flag is raised in the square, and are switched off in the late afternoon when the flag is lowered.

Promotional videos of the natural or cultural wonders, or social and economic development of other places in China are also being displayed on the screens. But for now, only promotional videos from provincial-level governments, that is, provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, are being screened, according to the Administration of Tian'anmen Area, the government department in charge of the square.

Commercial advertising is banned, the committee said.

Since the two screens were set up in September 2010, more than 50 videos have been displayed. Each video is limited to about five minutes, and English captions have been added to some of them.

In recent years the Chinese government has been taking steps to introduce itself to the world.

In 2009, the Ministry of Commerce made a 30-second short video about Chinese companies working with foreign partners to produce quality products. The promotional video was also broadcast on CNN.

A promotional video about China also illuminated New York's Times Square in January last year. The 60-second video - which featured basketball superstar Yao Ming and astronaut Yang Liwei, among other celebrities - was shown 300 times a day over the following month.

Huang Shengmin, dean of China University of Communication's school of advertising, talking to China Daily about the Times Square video at the time, said it was a milestone moment, signaling that China was more than ready to embrace the world.