In a country well known for the government spying on its own citizens, it is ironic that China's main television station is called CCTV - Chinese Central Television.

CCTV was established in 1958 as Peking Television, and was renamed in 1978 after spreading all to all over China. It is managed by a government organisation known as the State Administration of Radio, Television, and Film, and thus has no editorial independence.

Like the BBC, CCTV comprises of a number of specialised channels numbered CCTV-1, CCTV-2...up to CCTV-12, plus three other channels:

CCTV-1 ('comprehensive' nationwide channel, mostly news but also documentaries and light entertainment)
CCTV-2 (programmes about life)
CCTV-3 (art programmes)
CCTV-4 (for foreign audiences in Chinese)
CCTV-5 (sports)
CCTV-6 (movies)
CCTV-7 (programmes directed at farmers, the military and children)
CCTV-8 (TV plays, about half being domestic)
CCTV-9 (or CCTV-International, broadcasting in English and other foreign languages)
CCTV-10 (science and technology)
CCTV-11 (Chinese opera and traditional music)
CCTV-12 (special programming directed to China's western provinces)
CCTV-NEWS (China's attempt at replicating CNN with a Chinese perspective)
CCTV-Children (for children)
CCTV-Music (music, of all genres)

Aside from conventional wireless broadcasting, CCTV uses cable and satellite technology. CCTV-9 is accessible off the PAS-8, PAS-9, PAS-10, Asiasat-2 or Asiasat-3S satellites, depending on the region of the world. Alternatively, CCTV-9 is carried by cable through Time Warner Cable in the United States, and B-SKY-B in Europe.