China’s newly rebranded international media network, CGTV, has launched a new series titled “The 1.3 Billion” aiming to “explore the diverse lives that make up China.”
One of its first features is Wang Deshun, an 80-year-old actor and model which the network has branded China’s most handsome grandpa.
“Hi everybody, I’m Wang Deshun from Beijing – I’m 80 years old,” he says in a two-and-a-half-minute slickly edited video, “I’m a kidult, because I love to play even when I’m old.”
The former stage actor lists his hobbies as skiing, swimming and ‘hitting the gym.’
Deshun made headlines in March 2015 when he took to a Beijing catwalk as part of China Fashion Week.
“When I walked down the catwalk, I got to be me. Dominating, confident, like a king, with triumph,” he says, “it was my day, something like that.”
China's Most Handsome Grandpa
The video is a striking example of the newly created network’s mandate.
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent CGTV a congratulatory letter on its launch, urging the network to “tell China’s story well, spread China’s voice well, let the world know a three-dimensional, colourful China, and showcase China’s role as a builder of world peace.”
CGTV – China Global Television Network – is the newly rebranded international arm of China’s state broadcaster Central China Television.
It’s part of a renewed push to consolidate the country’s international media influence.
“The government has long grumbled about the Western news media’s hold on international discourse and has spent vast sums in recent years to enhance its own influence and shape global opinion, with CCTV as one of its spearheads,” Associated Press reported late last year.
The network broadcasts in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Russian with social media profiles around the world.
President Xi Jinping has made it a focus of his administration to expand the dominance of state-media, both domestically and internationally.