Howard French

When it comes to Chinese abroad, avoiding cliches is tough. Author Howard French of China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa. According to this review in the Huffington Post, he does a good job.

The Huffington Post:

Meanwhile, French also captures well the frustrations many Africans hold against this surge of Chinese attention, one aspect of which is the tendency for Chinese to import their own workers and subsequently underinvest Racism is also a source of contention, particularly with respect to Chinese opinions of Africans’ work ethic. “Black people are not good at getting things done. Their customs were formed back when there was no telephone and no highway,” is one of the less offensive quotes French captures.

Yet, as French writes in retort, “I felt like reminding [his host] that perhaps forty million Chinese people had died of starvation a half century earlier … It was the largest famine in history. A snapshot taken then would have given a very different picture of the supposedly essential character of Chinese people, and it would have entirely missed the point. Governments matter. Markets matter. History matters. International circumstances matter.”

Perhaps even more important than this superficial racism is the combination of ignorance toward African history and arrogance that the West has long been guilty of alone. Both make China’s future standing on the continent vulnerable. Yet, instead of attempting to engage the broader population or insist that government relations be conducted at an institutional level, China prefers to deal directly with individual African leaders. The result is, quite ironically, a subversion of African governance.

The full review in the Huffington Post.

Howard French is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´ request form.

Are you looking for more experts on China´s outbound investments at the China Speakers Bureau? Do have a look at this recent list.

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