Week 7 Response: China in Africa/Africa in China

With regards to the social impacts of African-Chinese migrations and relations, xenophobia does exist and it is a social ill of which both groups of people are guilty. The short film by Films Media Group touched on the racial misunderstandings of some Chinese through one of the African women’s testimonies where she described that her skin colour was a scornful spectacle in the Guangzhou area. On the other hand, in my personal experience, I noticed within my first few hours of being at Kotoka Airport in Ghana that security personnel at the airport were interrogating Chinese immigrants very harshly and it was apparent to all witnesses that not only was this being done because of sheer discrimination, but also factoring in the language barriers that exist between some Chinese and African people. That being said, it is important to note however that there are many stories of triumph over these barriers of ignorance i.e. willful Chinese-African marriages, families, collaborations etc. Also, after watching this film I am curious as to the deliberateness behind the easier accessibility of a VISA to China than to parts of Europe or North America for Africans. I believe this accessibility gives much way to the increased African Diaspora in Asian countries. I was initially looking forward to this week’s readings as I am guilty of only viewing China-Africa relations as the critiques would by seeing it as a form of neo-colonialism whereby Africans are completely exploited by an un-entitled outside entity that deems itself superior. Whilst holding this view, I was also turning a blind eye to all economic and structural benefits of these relations and so I appreciate Zeleza’s arguments.

While many still disagree on the most accurate categorization of China as either a developed or developing nation, most would still classify China as, technically, a part of the Global South and so it is almost refreshing to be able to have a discussion on this topic as it nourishes the idea of South-South global relationships, all whilst diverging from the typical comparison of the South to the North.

Video: This short documentary sheds light on the illegality and overall negative effects of Chinese gold mining in Ghana.

“The price of gold: Chinese mining in Ghana documentary | Guardian Investigations”

Questions:

Is it the growing possibilities of mutual benefits mentioned in Bodomo and Ma’s article and in the short film by Films Media Group that are framing China’s involvement in Africa as less severe/harmful relative to the West’s imposition on African countries? Has this and other benefits for African states, such as improved infrastructure and boosted markets, allowed observers of this relation to overlook the illegality of some Chinese presence in African states as well as the human rights and environmental abuses that are perpetuated by industries like the mining industry?

If African states are able to come up with the most durable responses to Chinese imposition in the next decade, in terms of developmental and accountability policies for this relationship, what does this say about the future of Africa and about the single narrative that has existed concerning African’s [lack of] self-sustainability and independence?

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