Week 7

Alden and Alves spin China off as a lesser evil when it comes to investment and diplomacy ties in Africa since its ascendency to a communist state in 1949, this maintains until pretty much the last sentence of the article, to follow is a semi- self aware conclusion section that does not provide nearly enough critique simply settling on the notion of bi-lateral amnesia between actors to progress if all else fails. The author stresses how Foreign Policy can shape a national identity almost trying to make the leap that sound foreign policy is directly related to a stable nation who have risen under the drive and conscious construction of the”national myth”. It was hard to understand where this point remained relevant because it could be so easily contested. China’s presence in Africa seemed to be pre-dominantly trade oriented, while also influenced by past regimes granting or denying mobility to reach the continents shores. The article’s main theme is that Chinese foreign policy as of recent, has harnessed the commonality of sharing a common history of colonial oppression and economic ties to further develop sound economic and diplomatic relations with different nations throughout the continent. Mostly those of which have great resource potential (funnelling loan grants and aid incentives into these destination) as well as those who have had long standing political relations and who have recognized Beijing since the Bandung conference or following the successive recruitment strategies during the Cold War timeline. The article although trying to indicate that Chinese imperialist efforts have been modest at most (informal formal policy instruments), creates the notion that China’s history and connectedness has almost been fait oriented or purposefully less intrusive and more sympathetic of African states and this is geared to bring the South-South idea into the conversation which has supposedly fastened China and Africa together. When I read this article I see convenience not shared struggle, I see a history that just so happened to always been undermined by an even worse history and that China if they had had the foresight, innovativeness or global presence may have not sought the peaceful stability approaches of foreign policy when addressing Africa. It seems almost out of sheer luck that the country has been able to call upon favourable instances of history to permeate the nations who together comprise of one third of UN votes and have the best mineral resource potential on the planet. As we have learned, China was alongside the other competing world ideologies in the Cold War arming and training guerrillas and taking over communicative outlets in Ghana, Niger, the DRC and Mozambique. Perhaps China has realized this strike of luck (without doubt they have) having always been the shadow of a far worse oppressive force and has utilized this to their advantage and while perhaps some genuine sentiments do exist at the diplomatic level, as a industrial country on the rise why would their approach to hegemonic power not include the most important initiative of securing resources. In addition it seems in Africa as we learn of China’s influence in states across the continent, messing up and losing political or popular favouritism in one country does not echo over to the next country who might have an even more lucrative mineral deposit or crude oil field, this idea shows a divide of communicative and cultural statuses as well as a continent that does not hinge it’s relations in unison to its neighbour state. Bodomo & Ma indicate in their article that the exchanges of migration between Africa and China is that of a two way channel, which has been beneficial for commerce and has allowed China to experience further growth trading internationally while offering prosperous jobs to African migrants. Although new city centres and trade capitals are emerging in central China these destinations particularly Guangzhou have created difficulty by reign of corruption and cultural profiling for African immigrants who are not Arab Africans to live comfortably and confidently in the areas. It is suggested this signifies how Chinese expats are treated abroad in Africa and also that there is not complete saliency between shared histories bringing identities together to mutually benefit. It is also mentioned that African’s do not concentrate in Diasporas as Chinese do when migratory patterns settle and that for the most part flows of migration between China and Africa have largely been accepted.

The dialogue, economic exchanges and transparency initiatives seem applaudable at this point but could this be because China has not gotten their hands as dirty as the West’s yet? Are they ascending to power through means of good diplomacy only to one day be presented with the opportunity of taking the hot seat to consolidate world power and reverse these current policies?

Why does the city at large of Guangzhou feel threatened or pressured to profile Black Africans in the trading sector? What has lead to this, is it perhaps South East Asian culture not to immediately accept or naturalize immigrants?


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