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  • Author: Karsten Giese, Erdem Dikici
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: When we talk about “China in Africa”, we should always remember to differentiate between the various actors and scales that are too often conflated and hidden behind such large and all-encompassing labels like “China” or “Africa”. Common containers and the homogenizing of diversity seldom help to broaden our knowledge or deepen our understanding of the various phenomena which can be observed at the various scales of the multiple relationships that have evolved between this East Asian country and the African continent. Moreover, it is necessary to specify the point in time or particular period we are covering in our scholarly work and that from which we draw our conclusions. Quite a few of the publications addressing China–Africa relations have succumbed to broad generalizations, neglected diversity and specificity and overlooked the temporal dimension. The last couple of years, however, have seen the emergence of a growing body of well-informed case studies on the Chinese presence across the African continent that stress the particularity and the situatedness of Chinese–African encounters and interactions in Africa. We now can rely on thick descriptions of various Chinese actors' realities on the ground in Africa that more often than not defy and counter longstanding and still very common stereotypes, such as that of China's grand strategy in the scramble for Africa or of the generally exploitative and belligerent character of Chinese economic endeavours across the African continent.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Katy N. Lam
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Chinese migrant entrepreneurs in Ghana perceive themselves as vulnerable, as regularly they encounter problems and their businesses fail. The adaption experiences of Chinese entrepreneurs in Africa, especially non-traders, remain largely unstudied. By looking at the interactions of newly arrived and established Chinese migrants with institutional actors, partners, local employees and other Chinese in Ghana, this paper shows the multiple dimensions of how Chinese entrepreneurs' migration adaptation evolves, and how they create social capital to develop their businesses in Ghana. From the Chinese perspective, established entrepreneurs condemn the recent numerous “new” Chinese in Ghana as part of the root cause of problems, on account of their “poor quality and bad behaviour”; by comparison, the newly arrived Chinese attribute their challenges to deficiencies in the local people and institutions of the host country. The negative experiences of Chinese entrepreneurs in Ghana provide further evidence for, not only African, but also local Chinese agency from below, and suggest that the rising Chinese presence does not necessarily improve the social status of Chinese entrepreneurs or create a stronger, more unified Chinese community on the continent.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Romain Dittgen
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Chinese economic activities in Africa have gained increased visibility in parallel to the recent acceleration of Sino-African relations. This paper, which is framed from a geographical perspective that is often absent or neglected in studies covering China–Africa, focuses on the spatial forms and dynamics. It depicts the way in which two contrasting Chinese economic entities – a state-owned company in Chad and privately owned commercial malls in Johannesburg, South Africa – engage with their respective host environments. While drawing on concepts of “liminality” as well as “heterotopias”, I argue that the modalities of the Chinese footprint are characterised both by closure and interaction, creating a dynamic tension that produces its own set of unique practices. This ambivalence between enclave and active linkages with host societies is not only perceivable from a spatial point of view, but also emerges with regard to economic strategies. In the midst of a transitional period, along with a launching and a consolidating phase, the Chinese economic entities in both case studies show signs of change in terms of behaviour and territorial foothold.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Richard Aidoo, Steve Hess
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's non-interference policy has come under scrutiny in regards to its growing and deepening relations in Africa. The policy has come to represent an about-face from conditional assistance and investment associated with the Washington Consensus. Although often well received in much of the global South, this policy has drawn a lot of criticism from the West and others. These commentators have perceived non-interference as an opportunistic and often inconsistent instrument for enabling China's increasing access to African resources and markets. This article suggests that despite some consistent support for the rhetoric of non-interference, China's implementation of the policy has become increasingly varied and contextualized in reaction to Africa's ever-more diversified political and economic landscape since the early 2000s.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Washington
  • Author: Timothy Steven Rich, Vasabjit Banerjee
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article highlights the precarious nature of Taiwan's diplomatic relations in Africa. Whereas Cold War rationales initially benefitted Taiwan, economic interests now appear to incentivize African countries to establish relations with China. Through qualitative and quantitative data covering much of the post-World War II era, this analysis argues that economic factors have trumped political rationales for Taiwanese–African relations. In addition, this article problematizes both conceptions of diplomatic recognition and Taiwan's enduring relations with Africa.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Taiwan
  • 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: 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: 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: Gordon Mathews, Yang Yang
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article looks at the livelihoods and lives of African traders coming to Hong Kong and Guangzhou. These traders are practising “low-end globalization”, involving small amounts of capital, and semi-legal or illegal transactions under the radar of the law. The article first considers who these traders are, portraying them as, typically, members of the upper crust of their home societies. It then considers these traders in Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong, a building that is an entrepôt between China and the developing world. Finally, it looks at traders' livelihoods and lives in Guangzhou, South China, and traders' efforts to succeed in mainland China. The article argues that one essential economic role China plays today is in manufacturing the cheap, sometimes counterfeit goods that enable Africa and other developing-world regions to experience globalization; the African traders who come to China help make this possible.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Hong Kong, South China, Guangzhou
  • Author: Jonathan Holslag
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: From all accounts, China's return to Africa has been a bumpy journey. Not only was it one of the most scrutinized recent events in international politics, but it also tested China's traditional diplomatic premises such as non-interference, equality and mutually beneficial cooperation. This thematic issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs will not judge the degree to which these principles were upheld. Rather, it will present new insights into how China's presence on the African continent has evolved, what challenges it has encountered, and how this all affected the prospects for Chinese cooperation with Europe in Africa. It is clear that China has seen its economic presence and its diplomatic manoeuvrability in Africa become imperilled, not least by bad governance, lack of regional stability, and piracy. Most contributors to this issue also recognize that this makes cooperation with Europe imperative. Yet, they also find that pressing common interests have not been sufficiently converted into synergies – neither bilaterally between China and Europe, nor in a trilateral setting with African stakeholders.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe
  • Author: Bert Jacobs
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: As China's footprint in African trade grows larger by the day, the need to contextualize this rise through comparative analysis becomes ever more necessary. This paper contrasts the sub-Saharan trade relations of both China and Europe with their respective designated stereotypes: those of a dragon and a dove. The article compares the trade dynamics on four levels: the policies and institutional mechanisms that shape the relationship; the composition of the trade flows; the geographic distribution of trade dominance; and the influence of norms and values on the trade pattern. It concludes that although there are empirical grounds behind these stereotypes, Chinese and European trade relations with sub-Saharan Africa are becoming more similar, partly due to a more hawkish European stance.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe
  • Author: Lucy Corkin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: It has long been recognised that the actors involved in crafting and implementing China's foreign policy are not always in agreement. This paper argues that the prioritisation of commercial outreach over purely political objectives in Africa has led to a shift in influence from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). To that end, the paper examines the rising prominence of China Exim Bank's concessional loans as a foreign policy instrument in Africa along with the process through which they are negotiated and implemented. Using the case of Angola, this paper shows how despite formal institutional equality, the MOFCOM is playing a far more influential role than the MFA is in defining the direction of China's foreign policy toward Africa.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Sara Van Hoeymissen
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: African regional organizations play a significant role in maintaining peace and security on their continent. This article looks at how China, as an emerging power in Africa, has incorporated these organizations into its policies on African security crises. It asserts that China has explicitly endorsed regional conflict resolution mechanisms, which it perceives as having a less intrusive impact on third world countries' sovereignty than have initiatives taken under the global collective security system led by the UN Security Council. Moreover, China strengthening cooperation with African regional organizations and aligning its stance with the views emerging from these regional bodies is an important way in which China has tried to respond to the rising security challenges and political demands it is faced with in Africa. The article briefly considers what influence China's increased attention to African regional bodies is having on efforts by Africa's traditional donors to help build – but also shape – Africa's emerging peace and security architecture.
  • Topic: Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, United Nations
  • Author: Susanne Kamerling, Frans-Paul van der Putten
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article aims to assess how China is using its navy to secure its interests in the Gulf of Aden, and what this means for the European Union. The analysis of how China's naval presence in the Gulf of Aden has evolved since early 2009 suggests that China's increasing interests and involvement in Africa do not necessarily lead to the establishment of Chinese naval bases in or close to the continent. To supply its ships, the Chinese navy may well continue using the commercial-diplomatic model that China has been developing. This model is based on China's close diplomatic relations with countries in the region and the extensive presence of Chinese companies to whom logistical services can be outsourced and who are under a greater degree of state influence than most Western multinationals. One of the consequences of this approach is that although China may not establish overseas military bases, it may be able to keep expanding its naval presence in or around Africa.
  • Topic: Piracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Aden
  • Author: Anna Stahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In recent years, both the European Union (EU) and the People's Republic of China (PRC) have considerably stepped up their presence in Africa, including in the field of peace and security. This article discusses how the EU's and China's understanding of governance and sovereignty affects their respective security strategies in Africa. It argues that although European and Chinese rhetoric significantly differs in terms of the doctrines of sovereignty and governance, the conventional wisdom of two competing security models is inaccurate. As a matter of fact, Brussels and Beijing pursue converging security interests in Africa, a fact that can open the door for coordinated Sino-European crisis management efforts.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, North America
  • Author: Gunter Schubert
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last couple of years, Taiwan studies has seen a remarkable institutionalization in Europe, most notably through the foundation of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) in 2004, with its head- quarters at London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS); and the establishment of the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT) in 2008, based at Tübingen's Eberhard Karls University. Whereas EATS has gradually gained momentum through its annual conferences, which assemble an increasing number of scholars from Europe and Taiwan, the ERCCT's initial efforts to promote graduate and postgraduate social science research on Taiwan and to offer a platform for European-Taiwanese academic cooperation and dialogue are most promising. This special issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs (JCCA) has been produced to tie in with these recent developments in the field of Taiwan studies and aims to become institutionalized as well. The publishers and the ERCCT intend to jointly produce a Taiwan edition of the JCCA at regular intervals to further strengthen European and international Taiwan studies. This will give scholars of Taiwan worldwide a useful and respected channel for presenting the results of their research which does not exist elsewhere. With EATS, the ERCCT, regular Taiwan special issues of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, and a new book series on contemporary Taiwan published by Routledge and edited by SOAS-based scholar Dafydd Fell, Europe has indeed taken a leading position in developing the Taiwan studies field.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Taiwan