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Learn Chinese with News: 9 Mandarin Channels to Bookmark

Getting in touch with the world around you is a powerful thing to do.

News media is an important part of Western culture, be it reading the news online or tuning in to news broadcast channels on TV or the internet.

Likewise, just about every nation in the world consumes daily news about politics, culture and everything in between.

Knowing about what’s happening in one’s country and the rest of the world keeps us in the loop. It highlights culture and facilitates knowledge.

You, Mandarin learner, can also benefit in a linguistic way from watching the news.

Mandarin-language news channels are abundantly available, and consuming Chinese news is incredibly valuable when it comes to learning the language.

But how does watching the news actually improve one’s Chinese?

How Can Watching the News Help Me Learn Mandarin?

News shows boast a variety of Mandarin dialects and speaking speeds.

Of all Chinese media, news channels provide the best content to watch in order to improve Mandarin listening skills. Since news shows typically include interviews and employ many different people from various regions of China, you can expect a rich and diverse mix of accents and types of spoken Mandarin.

Watching the news provides in-depth looks into Chinese culture, politics and events.

This is necessary to be aware of if you’re learning Mandarin in order to move or travel there. Even if you aren’t planning on living abroad, knowing more about Chinese culture is a part of learning the language.

News broadcasts are a great way to immerse yourself in the language.

By watching news shows, you expose yourself to authentic Chinese, helping you see how words are used and how the language sounds in general.

Want to know another great way to immerse yourself in Mandarin Chinese? Use FluentU! FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

But FluentU is about so much more than videos: Use interactive video flashcards, annotated subtitles and customizable vocabulary lists that change with your learning. You can also use it to ease yourself into watching the news if you find that the channels below are too fast or complicated for you.

Using news and FluentU together will boost your language skills in no time!

Learn Chinese with the News: 9 Mandarin Channels to Bookmark

1. News Mandarin

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Mandarin News is a rich and diverse news channel based in Malaysia. Much of the content available on this channel consists of economic updates (worldwide) and political situations (in Malaysia).

There are also a handful of segments that focus on strange or unusual events and stories in Malaysia as well as fashion and culture news, so if politics and the economy tend to bore you, you’re sure to find something more interesting on News Mandarin.

Where to watch it:

News Mandarin is available on YouTube for free viewing. There are no subtitles for a majority of the news videos, so advanced learners would benefit best from listening to spoken Mandarin on this channel.

2. SinoVision

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SinoVision is a United States-based Chinese TV network, considered to be the most influential Mandarin-language network available in the U.S.

This channel includes a ton of great independent content from interviews and chat shows to breaking news and stock market information. This is a great channel to invest in if you want to know more about Chinese-American culture, especially in the New York City area.

Where to watch it:

SinoVision is available for Roku. You can also enjoy this channel directly from their website as well as their YouTube channel, although there isn’t quite as much content available as on the Roku channel. The YouTube channel also doesn’t offer subtitles, while the Roku version offers English and 汉字 (hàn zì) — Chinese character subtitles.

3. CCTV Live

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We can’t have a list of Chinese broadcast channels without including CCTV. China Central Television is the largest TV network in mainland China. It’s based in Beijing and boasts over 50 different channels.

This network is fantastic for staying up-to-date on breaking news in China. The mix of dialects and spoken Mandarin also varies quite a bit on this channel, as their content features on-site news all over the country.

If you’re looking for a live broadcast streaming in real time, CCTV’s streaming YouTube broadcast is definitely the right channel for you. However, this channel has plenty to offer if you just want to see some news in a variety of different dialects.

While no subtitles are offered (except during interviews) hanzi is used throughout most of the chat and news shows in the form of headlines and scrolling updates.

Where to watch it:

You can enjoy CCTV’s main news network on YouTube or via their website, which has an English-language section to make navigation a bit easier.

4. Mandarin TV

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Another great Roku station is Mandarin TV, a comprehensive film and TV series channel based in China. If you’re a beginner Chinese learner and love Mandarin films and TV, you can benefit significantly from the Chinese and English subtitles this channel offers for all of their content.

We are, of course, talking news channels here—you can get those with Mandarin TV, too, along with dramas and historical documentaries.

Where to watch it:

Mandarin TV is only available on Roku, so expect to pay around $3 a month to access this channel. It’s definitely worth it.

5. GDTV

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广东卫视 (guǎng dōng diàn shì tái) — Guangdong Television is based in the Guangdong province of China and is the oldest news network in the province. Most of the news content on this channel covers points of interest only in that area, but you can definitely benefit from learning what Guangdong accents and dialects sound like by viewing this channel.

Besides news broadcasts, one can enjoy cooking shows, game shows, chat shows and much more on this channel.

Where to watch it:

As of now, GDTV is available in the West via their website for free, but keep in mind that the website is entirely in hanzi. Once you navigate to the particular show you’re interested in, you’ll be able to enjoy HD TV in Mandarin for free, with some videos offering English subtitles.

6. BBC Mandarin

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Just about everyone’s heard of the British Broadcasting Corporation, but did you know you can enjoy their content in Mandarin for free?

BBC’s Mandarin YouTube channel hosts a ton of great short video clips and some full-length segments about Chinese events of interest and history.

Where to watch it:

BBC Mandarin is available for viewing on YouTube. Much of the channel is in spoken English with some Mandarin mixed in, but every video offers hanzi subtitles. Need to practice your reading skills? You need to check out this channel!

7. XinJiang Television

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新疆電視台 (xīn jiāng diàn shì tái) — Xinjiang Television is based in northwestern China, broadcasting in the Mandarin, Uyghur, Kazakh, Mongolian and Kyrgyz languages.

It’s definitely a very different news channel from what you’d find in central China, so if you’re interested in northern Chinese culture, check out the news segments and chat shows offered here.

Where to watch it:

Xinjiang Television can currently only be viewed from their website via a live broadcast for free. You can also enjoy multiple subtitles options.

8. JSTV

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Love short and sweet video clips? JSTV is like a sampler platter of Mandarin news, chat shows, game shows and much more. Not only is this channel updated multiple times a day with new content, but most of their videos offer Chinese subtitles.

There are often multiple people speaking at once (especially on the game show segments) which may be difficult for beginners to keep up with, but the singing competitions can offer helpful insight into how Mandarin tones sound when singing.

Where to watch it:

Watch JSTV on the official YouTube channel.

9. ZheJiang Satellite TV

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浙江卫视 (zhè jiāng wèi shì) — Zhejiang Television is a Hangzhou-based satellite broadcast channel known for their rich mix of music commentary programs similar to American Idol in the West.

If you love reality shows and a bit of news on the side, you should check this one out! What’s better than getting your fill of what’s going on in the world, only to follow up with some seriously inspirational people singing their hearts out?

Where to watch it:

The channel is available to watch on the official website. You can also enjoy clips from ZJTV via their YouTube channel, which has Chinese subtitles.

 

Getting in touch with the world around you can only benefit you as a person. Why not brush up on your Mandarin at the same time? We bet these awesome news channels will help you on your way to fluency.


Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.

And One More Thing…

Since you’ve made it this far, you’re obviously serious about learning Chinese, which means you may just love FluentU.

FluentU naturally eases you into learning the Mandarin language, and you’ll learn Chinese as it’s spoken in real life.

FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos. In fact, below you’ll even see the song “Let It Go” from the hit movie “Frozen”:

FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you’d like to review to a vocab list.

From the description page, you can access interactive transcripts under the Dialogue tab, or review words and phrases under Vocab.

FluentU’s Quiz Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It suggests content and examples based on the words you’re learning. You have a 100% personalized experience.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.

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