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China state radio’s largest foreign audience is … Tamil

China Radio International’s Tamil service enjoys the widest reach of all its channels and Tamils comprise the state-owned broadcaster’s fast-growing overseas fan base.

See the reports by The Hindu newspaper here and (video) here.

See CRI Tamil's website here.

The Tamil station now has more than 25,000 registered listeners - besides thousands of others who tune in casually every day - in Tamil Nadu and the rest of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Germany, the United States and Japan.

The Tamil station started broadcasting in 1963. Since then, it has continued to beam its shows uninterrupted, building up an almost cult following overseas, with its fans even organising themselves into a network of listeners' clubs.

Leading the station is Zhu Juan Hua, from Shanghai, who prefers to go by the Tamil name Kalaiarasi.

Speaking in fluent Tamil, she says the station receives more than 450,000 letters every year, accounting for 30 per cent of all the letters CRI's more than 60 channels receive.

“When I joined CRI, the situation was far different,” said Ms. Zhu. “We had few speakers. Today, we have 15 highly trained Chinese Tamil-speaking staff, and plan to hire six more this year. We have been growing, and growing.

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