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  • Author: Karsten Giese
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last few years, Sino-African relations have become a hot topic both in the general media and for scholars worldwide. Large parts of the global mass media are still engaged in painting the big picture of the relationship between China and Africa by conflating the multiple stakeholders and actors on both sides and generalizing about China's "neocolonialist" strategies vis-à-vis weak African states: its exploitation of African raw materials and populations, its support for non-democratic regimes and its undermining of all Western efforts for reforms across the continent. Where media reports transcend this stereotyping and homogenizing on the macro-level and portray Chinese–African encounters on the ground, it is power differentials, competition, tension and conflict between disempowered African locals and (at least economically) powerful Chinese – the latter as exoticized as alien "others" – that are often the focus of attention.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Ben Lampert, Giles Mohan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's renewed engagement with Africa is often framed as a form of imperialism, with the growing number of Chinese migrants on the continent seen as an exploitative presence. Such claims have generally been based on little evidence, and where more detailed empirical studies have emerged, they tend to emphasise the tensions and conflicts that have arisen. Our research on Chinese migrants in Ghana and Nigeria suggests that while there are concerns about Chinese competition in the informal retail sector and the treatment of local labour in Chinese enterprises, narratives of apparent tension and conflict are often much more nuanced than is generally recognised. Furthermore, more convivial and cooperative relations have also emerged and these have facilitated important opportunities for Africans to benefit from the Chinese presence. However, while the presence of Chinese migrants in African socio-economic life can be more integrated and mutually beneficial than is often assumed, the ability of African actors to benefit from this presence is highly uneven, placing the politics of class at the centre of any understanding of Sino-African encounters.
  • Topic: Development, Migration
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Nigeria
  • Author: Cheryl Mei-ting Schmitz
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The sense of mystery around Chinese presences in Angola impels researchers to understand not only the empirical details of economic transactions and diplomatic partnerships but also the various ways in which the actors involved make sense of a novel social, political, and economic configuration. By drawing several ethnographic portraits of the social practices and discursive strategies at play in Chinese–Angolan relations, I show how, in a context of mutual uncertainty and suspicion, appeals to "security" play a central role. Instead of viewing Chinese and Angolans as two separate groups with opposed interests and lack of communication between them, I explore how participation in a shared context generates common modes of explanation. Moreover, I propose a parallel analysis of state-level negotiations alongside everyday social encounters to consider how a political economic partnership between China and Angola is lived through the everyday negotiations of Chinese and Angolan residents in Luanda.
  • Political Geography: China, Angola, Luanda
  • Author: Guive Khan Mohammad
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Burkina Faso currently has no diplomatic relationship whatsoever with the People's Republic of China. Engaged in cooperation with Taiwan since 1994, it is one of only three African countries not a part of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation. This unusual situation has produced a unique manifestation of the Chinese presence in Burkina Faso, where the estimated 600 Chinese migrants are primarily private entrepreneurs. This phenomenon of "globalization from below" – or, this migration of entrepreneurs that transcends the absence of diplomatic relations – creates new intimate social relations between the Burkinabe and Chinese people who come into contact with each other. Far from simply turning Chinese and Burkinabe into economic competitors, these relations have also led to the emergence of many forms of interpersonal and business cooperation. In this paper, I therefore demonstrate how Sino-African cooperation from below has developed in Burkina Faso, which stands in radical contrast to the latter's cooperation with Taiwan, which takes place almost exclusively on a broader state-to-state level. The empirical evidence of this study is drawn from field survey interviews and observations of both Chinese and Burkinabe entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso between 2010 and 2011.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Tanzania
  • Author: Tanny Men
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The paper presents a single case study of how one Chinese firm operates in Dar es Salaam and how the firm's embeddedness and unique managerial style in the local context affect local benefits for Tanzanian employees. The results demonstrate the need to fill a gap in the knowledge about Chinese economic activities in Africa, particularly in relation to the cultural constructs present in manager-employee interactions. The findings paint a picture of a firm that intends to localize its business strategies and engage a local labour force, but similarly reveals the inherent cultural, behavioural and social norms of Chinese management, which may create organizational challenges and power differentials in the workplace.
  • Political Geography: China, Tanzania
  • Author: Codrin Arsene
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the context in which a group of African workers interact with their Chinese employers within a specific ethno- graphic space: Chinese-owned shops in Kampala, Uganda. By exploring enjawulo, the locally embedded cultural, social and economic notion of work and labour, I reveal how relations between Chinese employers and Ugandan employees are shaped by the former's knowledge and acceptance of this practice. This analytical lens contextualises the two groups' divergent goals, opinions and aspirations, examines the interpersonal dimensions of their social relations, and also analyses employers' and employees' opinions on labour conflicts, cooperation and understanding. The goal of the paper is to explore and deconstruct the context in which Chinese store owners and their local employees interact, cohabit, and sometimes even find common ground, despite markedly different economic, social, cultural, racial and linguistic backgrounds.
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, China, Kampala
  • Author: Berthold Kuhn, Yangyong Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Climate protection issues are receiving more attention in China. Responding to this survey, 133 environmental and climate protection experts indicated that the government is a key factor in raising awareness of climate protection in China. Experts participating in the survey also referred to the role of the media – in particular social media – NGOs and educational institutions in spreading climate protection awareness. Additionally, interviews were carried out with 40 of the experts, who were grouped into different categories to discover whether there were any striking differences of opinion between experts of different backgrounds. Their assessments revealed few statistically relevant differences, though some are worth noting: Chinese researchers, project managers and representatives of NGOs were more positive than international experts regarding the impact of the Rio+20 conference on climate change discourse in China. Also, the youngest experts with the least international experience evaluated the potential of green volunteer work highest.
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Andre Beckershoff
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The recent rapprochement between China and Taiwan cannot be understood if our conceptual apparatus is unable to cope with the distinctive new quality of cross-Strait relations. A critical framework provides a transnational account of cross-Strait dynamics. An analysis of the KMT–CCP Forum through the lens of the neo-Gramscian notion of hegemony sheds light on the Forum's strategies, mechanisms, practices and instruments to secure consent for cross-Strait rapprochement. While this mode of governance has broadened the KMT's strategic options, it has also compromised Taiwanese democracy.
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan
29. Editorial
  • Author: Karsten Griese
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs presents two important topics. The first part of the issue reflects some strands of a recurring debate within the area of social science research on China. The conditions under which research in the People's Republic of China can be conducted, primarily in cooperation with Chinese academic institutions, have been a meta-topic for critical discussions within the scientific community. Researchers must be aware of these conditions, and the limitations but also the opportunities that are inherent to this system, which officially requires every foreign scholar to cooperate with an official Chinese partner when conducting research in China. A number of issues – including the integration of Chinese research institutions with government bodies an d administrations, the widespread self-conception of Chinese colleagues as policy consultants, and the political agendas involved in many research interests – have caused some non-Chinese academics to refrain from collaborative research altogether. Other researchers have been accused by the mass media in their home countries for being biased and acting as propaganda tool for the PRC government for producing research results that have not replicated longstanding media prejudice.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sascha Klotzbücher
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: It would be naïve to pretend that politics and the actual needs of governance do not play a role in social sciences in any part of the world. However, the political dismissal of faculty members in Chinese universities, along with other political interventions reported in recent Western media, reveals the outspoken trend toward scientific professionalisation and scientific autonomy in a different light.
  • Political Geography: China