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China and Africa—A Reading Roundup

As a follow-up to our most recent ChinaSource Quarterly on the topic of China and Africa, I thought it would be good to highlight some other articles from a variety of outside sources.

In July of this year, the Asia Dialogue, a publication of the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute published a fascinating post titled, “Chinese Christianity Encounters Islam along the Belt and Road Initiative”:

Religions have always travelled along the Silk Road through conquest, colonialism and commerce: Buddhism, Christianity and Islam all came to China this way. Now Chinese Christians see it as their responsibility to re-evangelise the non-Christian regions of the Belt and Road Initiative. Christian missions, heavily discouraged by the CCP, will create new types of inter-religious exchange between Christianity and Islam as Sino-Christianity, so long repressed by the state, blossoms overseas in equally hostile environments.

More recently, they wrote about tensions between Chinese and Africans in a post titled, “As the Sino-African relationship flourishes, increasing anti-African sentiment in China is alarming”:

. . . as more and more Africans migrate to China, this is leading to rising social and economic tensions in the host nation, just as was previously the case in Africa, and this needs to be addressed at the highest level. First and foremost among these problems is the sharp increase in racist and hate comments online against black people—particularly Africans—by Chinese internet users.

This month, the website Quartz has posted a couple of articles highlighting the growth of tourism between China and the African continent. The first article, “Why Chinese are traveling to Africa, and why Africans are traveling to China”, explores the reasons behind this trend:

Direct airline flights between Africa and China have jumped over 600% in the past decade. Planes today are not only full of workers and traders seeking prosperity, but also short-term tourists and students, seeking leisure and knowledge.

The second article, “These Chinese vloggers are changing how China’s rising middle class sees Africa” focuses on how these travelers are helping to break down, not re-enforce stereotypes.

Molly says, “I knew that China’s mostly state-ran mainstream media offered a very simplistic, sometimes biased view of the continent, but I had not realized the extent to which it affected everyday people’s opinions.” It was then that she decided that she was going to share her experiences on the continent to show the Africa most Chinese people do not get to see.

Earlier this year, she launched her Instagram and YouTube channels with the goal of challenging stereotypes prevalent in Chinese and western media. She does this through making fun, quirky videos of her experiences in South Africa, but also when traveling round the continent to countries including Ethiopia, Zambia and others.

The plot of this China and Africa story will continue to grow in scope and intensity. May God use it for the advancement of his kingdom in both places. 

Image credit: Nahashon Diaz from Pixabay
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Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio

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