The Chinese Communist Party's official newspaper will soon be peddling its viewpoint at newsstands in North America, Western Europe, and Japan. Beginning July 1 this year, the People's Daily will publish an overseas edition which is meant to reach Chinese living in the capitalist countries of the West. The Chinese-language daily will be transmitted via satellite and printed in New York, San Francisco, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
``We're publishing this new edition so people will know what we're doing and why we're doing it,'' said Li Zhuang, editor in chief of the People's Daily. He was referring to the Communist Party's goals of furthering the socialist cause and building a rich and powerful nation through the reform programs of leader Deng Xiaoping.
Mr. Li told a gathering of foreign journalists yesterday that the overseas edition would be ``lively in form and rich in content.'' His remark hinted at criticism that the domestic edition is too dull and stodgy.
About half the contents of the overseas edition will be pulled directly from the domestic edition. The rest will be original articles on political, economic, and cultural life inside China written for overseas readers, Li said.
The People's Daily is the principal voice of the Communist Party Central Committee. Its purpose is to set forth the policies and instructions of the party and to provide political guidance to millions of government officials and party cadres. It is read mainly in offices and factories and has a circulation of 4 to 5 million.
The domestic edition already has a circulation outside China of about 20,000 copies, including 11,000 in the United States. Since 1981 it has printed copies of the domestic edition in San Francisco. The initial press run for the overseas editon will be about 100,000 copies, Li said. But later a staff member said that officials expect circulation to increase rapidly to several hundred thousand.
The English-language China Daily is already distributed in the US. But it is meant primarily for foreigners living in China. It has a circulation of about 70,000. About 5,000 of that is in the US, and is printed in New York.
Li said there were political problems in setting up the printing and distribution for the party's principal propaganda organ in the developed capitalist countries. But distribution is forbidden in most of Southeast Asia where the majority of China's overseas population lives.
In deference to its overseas Chinese readers, the new edition will use traditional Chinese characters and not the simplified printing system now common here.
A new computerized type-setting system, purchased from Japan at a cost of $800,000, permits typesetting as many as 110 characters a minute for the overseas edition. The domestic edition still uses hot type, and workers can typeset only 30 characters a minute.
The overseas edition will sell for 20 cents a copy in the US and will accept advertising. ``But we don't expect to make any money on this,'' added one staff member.