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China and Africa

A Century of Engagement

By David H. Shinn and Joshua Eisenman

Publication Year: 2012

The People's Republic of China once limited its involvement in African affairs to building an occasional railroad or port, supporting African liberation movements, and loudly proclaiming socialist solidarity with the downtrodden of the continent. Now Chinese diplomats and Chinese companies, both state-owned and private, along with an influx of Chinese workers, have spread throughout Africa. This shift is one of the most important geopolitical phenomena of our time. China and Africa: A Century of Engagement presents a comprehensive view of the relationship between this powerful Asian nation and the countries of Africa.

This book, the first of its kind to be published since the 1970s, examines all facets of China's relationship with each of the fifty-four African nations. It reviews the history of China's relations with the continent, looking back past the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949. It looks at a broad range of areas that define this relationship—politics, trade, investment, foreign aid, military, security, and culture—providing a significant historical backdrop for each. David H. Shinn and Joshua Eisenman's study combines careful observation, meticulous data analysis, and detailed understanding gained through diplomatic experience and extensive travel in China and Africa. China and Africa demonstrates that while China's connection to Africa is different from that of Western nations, it is no less complex. Africans and Chinese are still developing their perceptions of each other, and these changing views have both positive and negative dimensions.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-xvi

‘‘Let China sleep, for when she awakes, she will shake the world,’’ was Napoleon’s response to those who asked about the quiescent China of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today, China has indeed awakened, and she is shaking the world. As Mao Zedong declared in October 1949, upon the...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-16

Political leaders in Beijing regularly refer to China as the world’s ‘‘largest developing country’’ and Africa as ‘‘the continent with the most developing countries.’’ Yet China is hardly a typical developing country and Africa is hardly a cohesive political entity. China’s growing economic and political clout over the last decade is a fact, but its remarkable rise remains incomplete...

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2. A Historical Overview of China-Africa Relations

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pp. 17-55

Trade was the first link between Africa and China. Chinese scholar Gao Jinyuan noted that Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, who reigned between 51 and 30 BCE, reportedly wore silks that likely came from China. In about 166 CE the Han emperor received gifts, some of which originated in northeast Africa, from the Roman emperor, who ruled Egypt at the time.1 Former...

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3. Political Relations

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pp. 56

Political ties are, of course, inextricably linked to the China-Africa government-to-government relationships described in Chapter 2. This chapter, however, traces the development of party-to-party relations, which in the early years of the PRC, were dominated by numerous united front, solidarity, and friendship organizations....

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4. Trade Relations

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pp. 99-127

Driven by Chinese resource purchases and African demand for affordable consumer products, trade is now the largest feature of the China-Africa economic relationship. China-Africa trade deals concluded before China’s economic reform and opening up in the late 1970s were politically expedient, but rarely amounted to much trade. Although trade with Africa was...

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5. Investment and Assistance

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pp. 128-161

Chinese overseas investment is a relatively new phenomenon. Beginning in 1979 and continuing until 1985, only state-owned corporations and provincial and municipal international economic and technological cooperation enterprises could invest outside China. Beijing had a strict approval system for outward investment projects. China liberalized the system between 1986...

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6. Military and Security Ties and Peacekeeping Missions

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pp. 162-193

China’s security relationship with select African countries dates back to the 1950s and now extends in some fashion to all fifty African countries that recognize Beijing. It began with Chinese support for African independence movements and several revolutionary groups that opposed conservative African governments. This was part of Mao Zedong and Vice Premier and...

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7. Media, Education, and Cultural Relations and Ties with Chinese Communities in Africa

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pp. 194-227

The state-controlled media are China’s most effective conduit for information collection and distribution in Africa. Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua), China Radio International (CRI), and China Central Television’s (CCTV) coverage of China-Africa relations have grown apace with China’s engagement on the continent. At the same time, China’s universities have become...

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8. China’s Relations with North Africa and the Sahel

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pp. 228-248

In the mid-1950s, the PRC began its African diplomatic offensive in North Africa for very practical reasons. It was the region of Africa that had the largest number of independent states; Beijing believed it could persuade several to recognize the PRC. China began with Egypt, and followed success there two years later in Morocco and with the provisional government in Algeria, which was in a war for independence with France. Although conservative...

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9. China’s Relations with East Africa, the Horn, and the Indian Ocean Islands

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pp. 249-283

The nine countries of East Africa and the Horn have had diplomatic relations only with the PRC; they never recognized Taiwan. Sudan was the first to establish relations, albeit three years after independence. Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Eritrea recognized Beijing the year they became independent. Djibouti delayed for two years. Ethiopia, under imperial...

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10. China’s Relations with West and Central Africa

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pp. 284-322

West and Central Africa were the principal diplomatic battlegrounds between Beijing and Taipei. The different political leanings among governments in this region were strong. These countries also experienced a higher frequency of regime change than those in other African regions, which increased the possibility for them to switch recognition between the PRC...

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11. China’s Relations with Southern Africa

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pp. 323-361

Five countries (Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland) of the ten in southern Africa achieved independence peacefully in the 1960s. Four (Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, and Angola) underwent wars of national liberation while South Africa experienced considerable violence as it moved from white minority rule to majority black control. Mozambique...

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12. Conclusion: Looking Forward

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pp. 362-376

In this volume we have examined China-Africa relations with a historical, topical, and geographical approach and through the eyes of the Africanist, Sinologist, and policymaker. China-Africa relations encompass a broad, multilayered set of fifty-four bilateral, political, economic, military, and social relationships, and we have investigated each of them. Bilateral relations...

Appendix 1. Establishment of PRC Relations with African Countries

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pp. 377-380

Appendix 2. Trade Between Africa and China, 1938–2010

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pp. 381-382


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pp. 383-498


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pp. 499-524


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pp. 525

E-ISBN-13: 9780812208009
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812244199

Page Count: 544
Publication Year: 2012