| 23 Sep 2023
CRI Tamil Service aims to air real China in India

Leader of China Radio International (CRI) Tamil service, Kalaimagal, has offered more than 14 years of services.  She by and large has worked in providing news and stories of China in Tamil

Being a Chinese by origin, Zhao Jiang aka Kalaimagal has learnt Tamil from University of China - only school in Beijing that teaches Tamil. Soon after completing her undergraduate degree in Tamil at the Communications University of China, she joined CRI.  She heads a team of 18 Chinese and 2 Indian employees.

Earlier this year, her first book in Tamil titled China’s Travel Attractions was published. It provides an introduction on the history and culture of Beijing, Shanghai and Tibet.

In a conversation with, Kalaimagal gave an insight on the content and the future of the Tamil service. She tries to focus on the message to have a stronger bond between the two countries-India and China. This year CRI Tamil Radio Service will complete 50 years. It started broadcasting in August 1963.


What kind of content do you air in Tamil?

As a section of China Radio International (below mentioned as CRI), now the Tamil Radio has a 4-hour daily broadcasting to India. The programs are rich and colourful, including ‘International and National News’, ‘Learning Chinese’, ‘Chinese Culture’, ‘Travelling in China’, ‘Today’s Tibet’, ‘Science and Technology’ and other features. Besides, we have established a news and programs website in Tamil language ( When browsing it, you will find that there’s even a special feature named ‘The Tamils in China’. It’s a video program, which tells you all about the life of the Tamil people in China. We know that in India the communication network is good and it’s very popular navigating in the Internet by cell phone. So we specially made a website in Tamil based on the mobile platform, in order that the Tamil friends could have some easier experiences. All programs are made and broadcast in Tamil by ourselves.

How is the response among the Tamil audience?

We have a great number of audience in Tamil Nadu (TN) state. In India, we have more than 30,000 members registered in CRI Tamil Audience Association of India. We have a yearly average number of 500,000 letters from our listeners. From that we can tell that the Tamil audience likes our programs very much. And we also lead the ranking of similar websites on the browsing number.

Why did CRI decide to extend its services with other radio stations in TN?

In fact, it means a better service to the audience. We work in Beijing and we do not have enough direct contact with the Tamil audience. So we wished we could extend our Tamil service by cooperating with some local radio stations in Tamil Nadu state. For example, we could co-produce some programs about local features and that would make the broadcasting more interesting. Any radio station with the cooperation intention will be warmly welcomed to contact with us.

What is the vision of CRI for its Tamil service?

It’s CRI’s objective to introduce China to the world and to introduce the world to China. As one of the 63 languages, the Tamil service aims at telling the Indian audience of a real China through our programs.

What is the growth in terms of revenue and listeners for CRI Tamil service?

Since the appearance of our website and its mobile platform in Tamil, we’ve got more and more young people concerned about our programs, except those short wave listeners. These people are from different parts of society like the campuses and famous enterprises. Especially many Tamils from the overseas prefer our online radio service. For all CRI Tamil Service team, we use the genuine and pure Tamil to make our programs. We’re proud of it and it’s also the preference of our listeners. At present, we’re studying to develop some more competitive programs, because we got more and more highly educated audience, who are stricter with the program quality. And cooperating with some radio station of Tamil Nadu, we would be able to increase the number of the interview programs as now in China only few Tamil people could only take part in our programs.

Why is CRI targeting Chennai alone when there are other services in India?

We hope to cooperate with Tamil Nadu’s radio stations. The co-operation could be in different ways. And of course the target is not only Chennai. It could be Madurai, or Tanjore. I’ve been in these places before. The Meenakshi Temple in Madurai is very attractive.

Indian Diaspora especially Tamil-speaking Indians are wide spread around the globe so are you planning something in those lines?

For CRI Tamil Service, we have many Tamil audience that lives overseas. Some live in USA and Canada, others live in the Middle East. And many of them live in China, such as Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Tianjin. They often browse our website and listen to our radio online. You can find their messages in the website.

How will new partnership help growth for CRI services?

For sure a new partnership will help the CRI Tamil Radio Service to get more interviews directly in India, and to make programs more related to the life of our listeners. We’ll get a more economical production and more audience, and also a bigger influence.

Is CRI looking for any big partnership with private FM’s in other parts of India?

We’ll not reject any cooperative idea of any private FM station.

Where do you see the future of CRI Tamil service?

In the future, we hope that the CRI Tamil Radio Section will be a multimedia platform, included by short wave, FM, websites, magazines and mobile phone services. We’ll keep being dedicated to improve the mutual understanding between India and China, to make more contributions for the relationships between the two countries, and to offer a better service to the Tamil audience.