CHINESE students gained insight into the UK's local news culture during a visit to the Oxford Mail offices.

While most tourists head for the city's iconic spires or prestigious university colleges, a group of youngsters from the city of Nanjing had a slightly less picturesque detour to West Oxford's Osney Mead Industrial Estate.

There they visited the paper's newsroom and had a tour of the on-site newspaper printing press, learning about the process of putting out a daily newspaper as well as various sister weekly titles and magazines.

The group of 20 students, all aged between 10 and 14 years old, visited on July 18 and were accompanied by 10 adults including interpreters.

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They visited as part of a media-themed tour of the UK, and went on to the Sky Academy Studios in London and BBC Media City in Manchester.

Their trip was organised by Oxford-based Culture Elite Education, which organises educational and cultural tours for schools across the UK and China.

Liang Han, founder of the Cultural Industry Federation of Pukou District, in the city of Nanjing, addressed Oxford Mail staff members during the visit.

She said: "The development of Chinese civilisation requires exchanges and mutual understanding with the civilisations of various countries, so that we can progress and develop in mutual learning.

"The relationship between two countries is based on the affection between their civilians.

"The cultural exchanges between our two countries have lasted for hundreds of years.

"Pukou and Oxford, two cities named after rivers, both have long history and traditional cultural genes, and also both renewed the vitality of youth due to the development of high-tech enterprises and creative industries."

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Oxford has a strong link with China and is home to Oxford University's Oxford China Centre, which is Europe's biggest centre dedicated to the study of the history and culture of the country.

It is located in the Dickson Poon Building in Canterbury Road, North Oxford, and employs about 50 academics.

The children who visited the Oxford Mail were from different schools in Nanjing, in the Jiangsu Province, who were attending an after-school club run by the Nanjing TV Station - a channel with an audience of more than five million viewers.

As well as Mrs Han they were joined by Mrs Wu, executive producer of the station's 'English newsreader' programme, who is also behind the after school-club run by the station.