Former New York Times Africa and China correspondent Howard French revisited Africa for his upcoming book on China’s involvement in Africa, and intends to dismantle some of the current myths. Some of the stories he summarized for AllAfrica.com.
And for every one of these kinds of stories, there were Chinese migrants with generous-hearts and integrity, who had forged deep African friendships and thoroughly embraced their adopted countries. They had built solid, honest businesses, with meaningful African partners, and instead of going for the quick, sleazy killing, they sunk real roots. The more I spent time with this rich mix of characters, and with their African partners, and people in the surrounding societies whose lives were affected by their presence or who merely observed them, the more I came to sense the hollowness of the traditional discourse of the bashers and boosters.
If it is true that China is affecting the present course of Africa, and perhaps even its destiny, understanding what is going on under the radar, well beneath the level of official policies, plans and initiatives, is every bit as important as analysing China’s geopolitical strategy and the official responses of 54 African countries to it. By plunging into this sometimes messy, often unplanned but terribly important human story, I hope that my book will make a modest contribution to this understanding.
China’s new visa system is on the agenda of the China Weekly Hangout coming Thursday 12 September. The system kicked in on September 1, and many questions have already been raised. In the hangout we try to answer questions, as far as possible in such an early phase. Read here our initial announcement or register here at our event page.
The China Weekly Hangout discussed on June 13 China’s involvement in Africa with Eric Olander of the China Africa project, more specifically the arrest of Chinese gold miners in Ghana, and the position of Chinese labor in Africa.Moderation by Fons Tuinstra of the China Speakers Bureau.