Chinas African Policy and its Soft Power

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Chinas African Policy and its Soft Power

Jianbo, Luo & Xiaomin, Zhang, “China’s African Policy and its Soft Power”, in: AntePodium, Victoria

    University of Wellington (2009).

Luo Jianbo, of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, and Zhang Xiaomin, of

    Beijing Foreign Studies University, put forward their recommendations for China's foreign policy in

    Africa with a view to the improvement of China's international image. They give voice to an

    oft-neglected perspective in foreign policy studies, that of Chinese academia, and provide us with an

    insight into the principles guiding China's foreign policy-making.

    China’s African Policy and its Soft Power

     ?Luo Jianbo & Zhang Xiaomin

Abstract Africa is an important stage for China to enhance its soft power. The

    persistent development of the friendly Sino-African relationship has constituted a

    touchstone of Chinas national image and its international responsibility in the new

    era. Chinas soft power in Africa mainly lies in the following areas: Chinese foreign

    aid has gained political support from many African countries; Chinese cultural

    influence is increasing gradually in African countries; Chinas development mode is increasingly favored by most African countries; the Sino-African multilateral

    cooperation mechanism has promoted the development of a friendly Sino-African

    relationship. However, trade frictions and value differences between China and some

    African countries cast shadows on Sino-African relations to some degree. What is

    more, the negative evaluation of Chinas African policy in western countries has done great harm to Chinas national image. Therefore, it is high time to take measures to

    optimize and improve Chinas reputation and image in Africa.

Keywords: China Africa Soft power National image Development mode

     ? Luo Jianbo, Associate Professor of the Institute for International Strategic Studies, Central Party School of the

    Communist Party of China. (罗建波:中共中央党校战略研究所副研究员) His research focuses on China’s African policy and China’s national image.


    Zhang Xiaomin, Associate Professor of the School of International Studies and Diplomacy, Beijing Foreign

    Studies University. (张效民:北京外国语大学国际关系学院博士) His research focuses on diplomacy and China’s foreign policy.



    The rising of a country means the rising of its comprehensive power, among

    ?which soft power stands equal to hard power. During the course of Chinas peaceful rising, soft power is directly related to the protection and expansion of Chinas national interest overseas. It also determines in some way and to what degree a rising

    China can be accepted and recognized by the international community. In recent years,

    Africa has become an important stage for China to enhance its soft power and shape

    its national image. The continuing development of friendly Sino-African relations and

    its worldwide influence have served as a touchstone of Chinas soft power in the new era. Therefore, it meets the urgent demand of Chinas foreign strategy to analyze the

    achievements attained and problems still existing concerning the buildup of Chinas soft power and expansion of Chinas influence in Africa.

    I. Chinas foreign aid to Africaa profound foundation for building up

    Chinas soft power

    For over half a century, China and Africa have maintained a close historical

    friendship. During the period of African national liberation movements, China upheld

    the banner of support for African peoples national independence movements and

    stood together with African countries to fight against imperialism, colonialism,

    hegemonism and racism. When Africa experienced a wave of national independence

    movements in the 1960s, Mao Zedong frequently received friends and organizations

    from Asia, Africa and Latin America, proclaiming Chinas sincere sympathy and ?entire support for African peoples fight against imperialism and colonialism. During visits to African countries from December 1963 to February 1964, Premier

    Zhou Enlai brought forward the Five Principles of developing relations with

    African countries and Arabian countries as well as the Eight Principles of economic and technological aid, which designated clearly Chinas political stance towards

    ?African countries and marked the formation of Chinas African policy. From 1956 to

     ? Zhang Xiaomin & Luo Jianbo, Evaluation of Chinas Soft Power and Roadmap of Its Development, International Forum, Vol.10, No.5, 2008, pp.24-29.(张效民,罗建波:《中国软实力的评估与发展路径》,载

    《国际论坛》2008年第5期,第24-29页。) ? Xie Yixian ed., Diplomatic History of China: 1949-1979, Henan Renmin Press (Henan, 1988), pp. 306-307. (益显:《中国外交史:19491979》,河南人民出版社,第306307) ? The Five Principles are: 1. Support the fight of African and Arabian countries against imperialism and

    colonialism to gain and maintain national independence; 2. Support the policy of African and Arabian countries of

    peace, neutrality and nonalignment in international affairs. 3. Support African and Arabian countries to realize

    unification and solidarity in their own ways. 4. Support African and Arabian countries to settle disputes and

    conflicts between each other through peaceful consultations. 5. Oppose any foreign interference in the internal

    affairs of African and Arabian countries. The eight principles are: 1. The Chinese government always bases itself

    on the principle of equality and mutual benefit in providing aid to other countries. It never regards such aid as a

    kind of unilateral almsgiving but as something mutual; 2. In providing aid to other countries, the Chinese

    government strictly respects the sovereignty of the recipient countries and never attaches any conditions or asks for

    any privileges; 3. The Chinese government provides economic aid in the form of interest-free or low-interest loans

    and extends the time limit for repayment when necessary so as to lighten the burden of the recipient countries as

    far as possible; 4. In providing aid to other countries, the purpose of the Chinese government is not to make the

    recipient countries dependent on China but to help them embark step by step on the road to self-reliance and

    independent economic development; 5. The Chinese government endeavors to help the recipient countries build

    projects which require low investment but yield quick results, so that the recipient governments may increase their

    income and accumulate capital; 6. The Chinese government provides the best-quality equipment and materials of

    its own manufacture at international market prices. If the equipment and material provided by the /Chinese


1977, China, despite its own great economic plight, offered economic aid amounting

    to $2.476 billion to Africa countries, which accounted for 58% of Chinas total ?foreign aid. What is mentioned most often is the 1,860 km long Tanzania-Zambia

    railroad built by China in six years, which constituted great support for southern

    African countries national independence and liberation movements. This manifested

    successfully Chinas will and ability to help African countries, expanded Chinas influence in the African continent and improved Chinas position and prestige both in

    the Third World and in the international society.

     Since the 1980s, most African countries no longer struggle for national

    independence, and the tasks of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and anti-racism

    have given way to economic development. Around this time, China also introduced a

    new policy of reform and opening-up, pronouncing economic construction the most

    ?important work hereafter. Under these circumstances, Chinas assistance to Africa mainly aims at helping African countries to realize political stability and economic

    development, which takes a number of forms such as more investments in Africa,

    personnel training, timely humanitarian assistance to some countries and writing off

    ?in its power debt owed by those heavily-indebted countries. As the statistics indicate,

    since the first Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

    (FOCAC) in 2000, China has canceled debt totaling 10.9 billion Yuan (US$1.4 billion)

    owed by the heavily indebted poor countries and the least developed countries in

    Africa that have diplomatic relations with China. At present, China is fulfilling its

    ?pledge of canceling debt of another 10 billion yuan owed by some African countries. The above facts provide evidence that China is determined to help African countries

    to realize their common development. The essence of friendly Sino-African relations,

    mutual help and win-win, lay not only in helping and supporting each other on

    the world stage but more importantly, win-win cooperation for economic and social

    development lays a solid foundation for furthering development of future relations. At

    the Beijing Summit of FOCAC in 2006, China and African countries pledged to

    establish a new type of Sino-African Strategic partnership on the basis of political

    ?equality, mutual trust, economic cooperation, win-win, and cultural exchanges.

government are not up to the agreed specifications and quality, the Chinese government undertakes to replace them;

    7. In giving any particular technical assistance, the Chinese government will see to it that the personnel of the

    recipient country fully master such techniques; 8. The experts dispatched by the Chinese government to help

    construction in the recipient countries will enjoy the same standard of living as the experts of these countries. See

    Lu Tingen & Peng Kunyuan, General History of Africa: Modern Times, Huadong Normal University Press

    (Shanghai, 1995), pp. 675-676. (陆庭恩,彭坤元:《非洲通史?现代卷》,上海:华东师范大学出版社1995年版,第675-676) ? Li Anshan, On the Adjustment and Transformation of China's Africa Policy, West Asia and Africa, Vol. 8, 2006, pp. 11-20. (李安山:《中国对非政策的调适与转变》,《西亚非洲》,2006年第8期,第1120页) ? China decided to concentrate on economic development at the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central

    Committee of the Chinese Communist Party held in December 1978. See The Chinese Society of International

    Relations ed., History of International Relations, 1980-1989, Vol. 11, World Affairs Press (Beijing, 2004), pp.

    414-415. (中国国际关系学会主编:《国际关系史?第十一卷(1980-1989)》世界知识出版社2004年版,414-415页) ? Luo Jianbo & Liu Hongwu, On the Historical Evolvement of Chinas Aid towards Africa and Its Significance, West Asia and Africa, No.11, 2007, pp.25-30.(罗建波,刘鸿武:《论中国对非洲援助的阶段性演变及意义》,

    载《西亚非洲》2007年第11期,第25-30页。) ?th Speech by Wen Jiabao at the Annual Board Meeting of African Bank in 2007, People Daily, May 5, 2007. ? The Sino- African Cooperative Forum Beijing Declaration”, People Daily, November, 6, 2006.


     We think that Chinas Africa foreign policy is characterized by equality, respect and goodwill. Since establishing diplomatic ties with African countries, China has

    been adhering to the principle of equal sovereignty and non-interference of the

    ?internal affairs. China endeavors to establish partnerships with all African countries

    except those who maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. On the contrary, some

    western countries maintain diplomatic ties with African countries through choice.

    Take France for example, it mainly maintains relations with those countries where

    French is spoken. Not like western countries that offer aid to Africa with rigorous

    ?political and economic terms, Chinas aid, without any political or economic terms,

    aims at promoting the development of African countries and consolidating

    Sino-African friendly cooperation. Moreover, China never poses as an almsgiver. It

    tries to avoid words like donor, aid receiver, poverty and backwardness as far as Africa is concerned. Instead, China emphasizes solidarity, mutual help, equality,

    ?mutual benefit and common development in the course of cooperation, which ?constitutes a remarkable difference from western countries.

    Because the above-mentioned policies led to China having greater sincerity and

    credit standing in Africa, China has gained African countries recognition and support for over half a century. They reciprocated Chinas political support and assistance. In

    1971, 76 countries voted for Chinas resumption of its legal seat in the UN, of which

    26 were African countries. Chairman Mao vividly pointed out, It was the African

    ?people who carried China in the UN. After the Tiananmen Incident in 1989, African countries stood firmly on side with the Chinese government despite western

    pressure. Nine leaders of African countries visited China that year, which played a key

    role in helping China smash sanctions and isolation by western countries. African

    countries also support Chinas stance at human rights conferences. Since 1990, with

    the help of African countries, China has frustrated consecutively for 11 times the

    human rights motions against China initiated by America and some European

    countries at the UN Human Rights Commission. Most of these motions condemned

     ? In 1953, the Chinese government put forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence to handle relations among nations, namely, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression,

    non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence In 1956, China established diplomatic relations with Egypt and began to apply the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence

    to its relations with African countries. See, Xie Yixian ed., Diplomatic History of China: 1949-1979, Henan Renmin Press (Henan, 1988), pp. 306-307. (谢益显:《中国外交史:19491979》,河南人民出版社,第306307) ? For instance, the American government established Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to encourage the

    African countries to realize good governance through providing economic assistance. The African countries must

    meet the criterion set by the MCA to get the aid, namely, the level of good government, political freedom of the

    people, freedom of national economy, level of social development and health care and so on. Till August 2007, the

    MCA selected 17 developing countries in the world which were badly in need of aid, and among them 7 were

    African countries. ? In January 2006, the Chinese government issued Documents of Chinas Africa Policy which stressed that one of Chinas overall objectives of Chinas Africa policy was mutual benefit and common prosperity. To achieve that

    goal, the Chinese government pledged to support African countries to develop their economy and build their own

    nations, to carry out various forms of cooperation in the field of economy, trade and social development and to

    promote the common development. See Documents of Chinas Africa Policy, People Daily, January 13, 2006. ? For example, the DFID of Britain describes Ethiopia as one of the poorest countries in the world. Among its

    77million people, over 60 million (81%) live below a poverty line of $2 a day. See

    Another one is Kenya. Kenya is one of the poorest countries in Africa. About 55% of people live below the

    poverty line. See ? Fu Hao & Li Tongcheng, ed. Diplomats in the UN, China Hua Chiao Press (Beijing, 1995), p.9.


China for its lack of political democracy, lack of safeguard for human rights, violation

    of rights and interests of minorities and Tibet and Xinjiang issues. For example, on the

    pretext of lacking human rights in Tibet, America and some other western countries

    submitted a motion of Situation in Tibet to the UN Human Rights Commission in

    ?1992. Concerning the Taiwan issue, most African countries stick firmly to the one China principle.

     II. Cultural influence: manifestation of Chinas soft power in Africa.

    Cultural influence abroad comprises a very important part of soft power and a

    significant manifestation of it as well. A big country with a culture bearing the marks

    of amicability and friendliness can exert certain influence on other countries cultures or even influence on the progress of humankind. Cultural exchange with other

    countries is an effective way to build up a countrys national image and step up its soft


     After the 1950s when China and African countries established diplomatic ties,

    culture played a very important role in promoting Sino-African relations. Up until the

    present time, China has entered into 65 cultural agreements and signed over 150

    implementing plans of those agreements with African countries; more than 50 official ?cultural delegations and 170 various art groups have paid visits to Africa countries. Under the framework of FOCAC, China reinforced its cultural diplomacy in Africa. In

    2004, China held an activity titled Chinese Culture in Africa, which involved organizing four art groups to perform and three art exhibitions to be displayed in

    African countries. This activity promoted Chinese culture and did a lot to enhance its

    appeal to African countries. In the new century, China began to establish Confucius

    Institutes in some African countries to promote the spread of Chinese culture. In

    August 2005, the first Confucius Institute in Africa was founded in Nairobi, the

    capital of Kenya. Already 21 Confucius Institutes (including Confucius Classes) have

    been established in 14 African countries. In April 2006, when visiting Kenya,

    Chairman Hu Jintao met with teachers and students of Nairobi Confucius Institute and

    encouraged them to study hard and contribute to the development of the Sino-Kenyan


     Idea innovation is another manifestation of the charm of Chinese culture. To

    enhance soft power and shape a good national image, a nation should put forward

    values and political ideas conforming to the tide of the era, and hold its own

     ? Wu Jianmin, Memorable Days of Fight Concerning Issues of Human Rights in Geneva,, Guangming Daily, March 13,2008. (吴建民:《日内瓦人权战的难忘岁月》,载《光明日报》2008313) ? Luo Jianbo, Building Chinas Foreign Cultural Strategy in Its Peaceful Rise, Contemporary International Relations, No.3, 2006, pp.27-32.(罗建波:《构建中国崛起的对外文化战略》,载《现代国际关系》2006年第3期,第27-32页。) ? Cultural Exchanges Promote Sino-African Friendship, People Daily, August 8, 2006. (《文化交流促进中非友谊》,《人民日报》,200688日) ? Great Achievements in Sino-African Educational Cooperation and Exchange, People Daily, February 8, 2009. (《同育硕果 共谱华章——中非教育合作交流成就喜人》,载《人民日报》200928)


viewpoints concerning international peace, development and the common interest of

    all humankind. At the Bandung Conference in 1955, the principle of seeking common

    points while reserving difference and reaching agreement through consultation

    advocated by Zhou Enlai was acclaimed by most African delegates. The notions of

    Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, establishing a new international political and

    economic order, and promoting the multipolarization of the world were welcomed by

    ?the African countries. At present, the notions of peaceful rising and harmonious

    ?world, which were welcomed by the African countries at the Beijing Summit of

    ?FOCAC in 2006, can best illustrate China’s innovation in ideas. Just as the Chinese government says, China will fulfill its development in a peaceful way and at the same

    ?time promote the long-lasting peace and common development of the whole world. This is a pledge made by the Chinese government to the world.

    III. The effect of development mode as an example: a key factor to step up

    Chinas soft power in Africa

     China has entered a phase of fast development, great progress and most profound

    change since introducing the policy of reform and opening-up. With social stability

    and continuing economic development, China has achieved much in the process of

    modernization. In a country with a population larger than that of the total of America,

    Japan, Russia and all of Europe, those world-shaking changes are impressive and

    eye-catching. In some countries of Latin America, East Europe and African counties

    that practice the Washington Consensus, they have experienced to some degree

    economic depression and a sharp decline in living standards. For example, in the

    1980s, most African countries put into practice the Economic Restructuring Plan advocated by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but unfortunately

    in many countries the economy went from bad to worse. It was estimated by the

    United Nations Conference on Trade and Development that the Restructuring Plan for Africa at

    least lowered 10% of Africas development. The WB and IMF also had to admit that ?the plan did not work as expected. Contrary to this, Chinas economy has maintained an extremely fast growth over the past 30 years.

     The success of Chinas development model lies in its step-by-step reform instead

     ? In 2005, the Chinese government published the White Book of Chinas Peaceful Development, pledging that China will achieve its own development in accordance to the principle of peace, cooperation and win-win, and on

    such a basis, further promote the world peace and development. The News Press Office of P. R. C., The White Book of Chinas Peaceful Development, December 2005. ?th On September 15, 2005, Chairman Hu Jiaotao illustrated across-the-board the idea of Harmonious World at ththe Summit Meeting of the 60 anniversary of the UN, namely, advocating multilateralism and principle of mutual

    benefits and cooperation to promote the long-lasting peace and common prosperity of the whole world. See

    Endeavor to Build a world of Long-lasting Peace and Common Prosperity, People Daily, September 16, 2006. (《努力建设持久和平、共同繁荣的和谐世界》,载《人民日报》2006916) ? Leaders of China and Africa unanimously acknowledge that the important objective of the new type of strategic

    partnership is to promote the long-lasting peace and common prosperity of the whole world. See The Sino- African Cooperative Forum Beijing Declaration”, People Daily, November, 6, 2006. (《中非合作论坛北京峰会宣言》,载《人民日报》2006116) ?The News Press Office of P. R. C., The White Book of Chinas Peaceful Development, December 2005. ? Timothy Murithi, The African Union: Pan-Africanism, Peacebuilding and Development, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2005, P.4.


of shock therapy and properly handling relations between stability, reform and

    ?development. This model first and foremost endeavors to meet peoples most urgent demands, namely, poverty alleviation. China has gained outstanding success in this

    field. According to statistics by the Chinese government, the rural population in

    absolute poverty in China has reduced from 250 million in 1978 to 14.79 million in

    2007, which accounted for 55% of the population alleviated from poverty throughout

    the whole world and 75% of that of the developing countries. China achieved the

    United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing half of the population in

    ?poverty ahead of time. Put another way, without Chinas outstanding achievements, the work of poverty alleviation throughout the entire world would be far less

    significant. Therefore, Chinas experience carries far-reaching significance in the

    world. African leaders attended the Beijing Summit not only for aid and trade

    opportunities, but also to learn more about Chinas development model. For they know that China was as poor as Malawi 30 years ago and now Chinas economy has enlarged 9 times while Malawi still remains one of the least developing countries in

    the world.

    In recent years, in order to help other developing countries explore a way

    suitable for their own development, China has enhanced human resource development

    and personnel training. As early as 2000, an African human resource development

    ?foundation was set up at the FOCAC. Under this framework, China has trained

    about 20,000 technicians and administration personnel for African countries. The

    Chinese government also actively advocated some international seminars to exchange

    experiences with other developing countries in economic development and poverty

    alleviation. In May 2007, at the annual conference of the African Development Bank

    Council held in Shanghai, questions like African infrastructure construction,

    enterprise capability construction, debt management and poverty alleviation were

    ?discussed. That is another significant action taken by China to promote exchange

    and cooperation with African countries in aspects of development experience and

    state affairs management. After the Beijing Summit of FOCAC Thabo Mbeki, former

    president of South Africa wrote an article titled At the Heavenly Gate in Beijing hope is born highly praising Chinas Great achievements in development and its

    ?practical significance to Africas development. The World Bank also acknowledged, Chinas efforts created immediate opportunities for the economy of other developing

    countries as well as chances for them to acquire abundant knowledge and experience ?from China in regard to their own development.

     ? Yu Keping ed., China Model and Beijing Consensus: Surpass Washington Consensus, Social Sciences Academic Press (Beijing, 2006), pp. 409-434. (俞可平 主编:《中国模式与“北京共识”:超越“华盛顿共识”》,北京:

    社会科学文献出版社,2006年版,第409434) ? China is an Important Practicer of Poverty Alleviation among the World, People Daily, September 2, 2008. (《中国是全球减贫事业的重要实践者》,载《人民日报》200892) ? The Creed of Sino-African Cooperation in Economy and Social Development, (《中非经济和社会发展合作纲领》), ? The Annual Meeting of African Bank in 2007 Opens in Shanghai, Jiefang Daily, May 17, 2007. (2007年非

    行年会在上海开幕》,载《解放日报》2007517). ? Thabo Mbeki, At the Heavenly Gate in Beijing hope is born!, ? IBRD, China and the WB: Promote the Innovative Partnership, 2007,


    IV. Multilateral cooperation mechanism: an effective way to step up Chinas

    soft power in Africa

     In an age of global interdependence, international or regional multilateral

    mechanisms constitute a platform for a nation to show its national image. This is an efficient way to build up a country’s good image and improve its international

    position and influence through active participation in the multilateral mechanism. Since the policy of reform and opening-up, China has tried to enter the international system and regional system and participate in international and regional affairs through multilateral diplomacy. At the international level, China participates in a more active and responsible way in the work of the United Nations Security Council

    (UNSC) and promotes UN reform; it successfully entered the WTO and plays an

    important role at present; and it attempts to constructively communicate with the Group of Eight. At the regional level, it actively promotes APEC integrity; it

    endeavors to propel the establishment and development of a China-ASEAN free trade zone; it promotes the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); and it has

    successfully established an all-round strategic partnership with the EU.

    Multilateralism has become an important strategy and form of diplomacy for China, and the Chinese government seems to have realized that the practice of

    multilateral diplomacy is an important way to deal with foreign relations. For instance, China has begun to apply the multilateral cooperation mechanism to its foreign

    relations with African countries and evidence shows this to be an efficient way to step up its soft power in Africa. This mechanism is illustrated by the following examples:

    - First, China and African countries initiated FOCAC, a new pattern of cooperation which indicates Chinas special position and responsibility as a big power.

    With Chinas active advocacy, the first Ministerial Conference of FOCAC was

    successfully held in Beijing in October 2000, announcing the new cooperation pattern of communication and multilateral consultation between China and African countries. This clearly shows that China has successfully applied multilateral diplomacy to its foreign relations with African countries. The Forum has convoked Ministerial

    conferences three times. In 2006, the Beijing Summit of the third FOCAC was held. Taking the FOCAC as a platform, China and African countries carried out substantial dialogues and consultations in respect to establishing a just and reasonable

    international political and economic order, so as to protect as much as possible the common interests of developing countries and to further trade, culture and education cooperation between the two sides. The Chinese government has firmly kept its

    promise to cancel some debt owed by African countries in the stipulated time.

    Furthermore, taking advantage of the framework, it has offered them tremendous

    material and technological aid and trained lots of technicians. At the Beijing Summit, China promised to help build the African Union (AU) Conference Center in order to show its support for the unification and integrity of African countries. Just as Zhai Jun, the assistant minister of the Foreign Ministry of China remarked when meeting with Jean Ping, of the African Union Commission, the Chinese government would attach


great emphasis on the project of the African Union Conference Center and would

    continue to support the efforts together made by the African countries to strengthen


     - Second, under the UN framework, China in cooperation with the UN nations

    supports peace and development of African countries in a responsible way. As the

    only developing country of the five permanent members of the UNSC, Chinas

    responsibility lies first in protecting the interests of developing countries. Deng

    Xiaoping had emphasized more than once, China will belong to the Third World

    forever and will stand side by side with the countries of the Third World

    ?forever.Africa has the densest amount of developing countries and the most

    frequent armed clashes. To efficiently control the turbulence and clashes and create

    conditions suitable to the development of African countries, China actively

    participates in peace-keeping activities in Africa. As mentioned by Zhai Jun, the

    assistant minister of the Foreign Ministry, till October 2007, China dispatched about

    1300 soldiers in total to participate in 7 UN peace-keeping operations in Africa, which

    ?contributed a lot to the peace and stability of Africa.At present, Chinas organic peace-keeping force is mainly deployed in Africa, comprising an important part of the

    UN peace-keeping mechanism in Africa. Notably, China dispatches more soldiers to

    Africa than any other of the five permanent members of the UNSC.

    V. Challenges to Chinas soft power in Africa

    Because of geographical distance and limited historical relations, there is still a

    lack of cultural exchange between China and African countries. Most African people

    know about western civilization and Islamic civilization much better than that of

    ?Chinese civilization and this is predicted to be so for some time to come. There remains little existence of Chinese culture in Africa. On the contrary, western media is

    quite popular among people from African countries and through this media, western

    value systems and ways of living infiltrate into African culture. Influenced by

    European and American culture and public opinion, some Africans do not hold

    favorable attitudes towards Chinas fast development and reform, which results in

    prejudice against and misunderstanding of Chinas African policy. In this case, to build up soft power in Africa, China needs to conduct cultural diplomacy, so Africans

    can learn more about Chinese culture and build up a more favorable attitude. This will

    play an important role in further developing friendly Sino-African relations as will

    China’s attempts to learn more about and respect African culture.

     ? AU Committee Chairman Meets with the Envoy of Chinese Government, People Daily, January. 30, 2009 (《非盟委员会主席会见中国政府特使》,载《人民日报》2009130). ? Deng Xiaoping: China Still Belongs to the Third World even when it becomes developed in the future, People

    Daily, June 22, 1986 (《邓小平:中国将来发展了仍属于第三世界》,载《人民日报》1986622). ? Zhai Jun, Promote the new style of Strategic Partnership between China and Africa (翟隽:《推进中非新型战略伙伴关系》), ? Luo Jianbo, African Integration and Sino-African Relations, Social Sciences Academic Press (Beijing, 2006),



    Chinas development mode to some degree is also questioned in Africa. Political

    differences concerning democracy and human rights are becoming more and more

    prominent. Since the 1990s, the practice of democratic reform and multi-party

    elections has been prevalent in most African countries and their political and

    economic systems have undergone great changes. These changes are different from

    Chinas political system and operation. Most of the new-generation of leaders of

    African countries were educated in western countries, therefore, they identify a great

    deal with the western notions of democracy, human rights, freedom, and good

    governance. In the increasingly active African civil society, Chinas political system and foreign policy in Africa is criticized for ignoring democracy, human rights and

    good governance, among which the most often cited concern is China’s close relations ?with Sudan and Zimbabwe.

    These increasing frictions in Sino-African trade impacts the mutual benefits

    brought forth by the economic and trade cooperation between the two sides. Since

    1965, China had maintained a surplus position in the trade with African countries. In

    the 1980s the trade imbalance got even worse. In 1987, Chinas exports to Africa amounted to 854 million dollars, which was 5.53 times the imports (Chinas imports

    ?from Africa only amounted to 155 million dollars). In recent years, the Chinese government has taken many measures to increase imports from Africa and the trade

    imbalance between the two sides has been gradually relieved. In 2006, Sino-African trade amounted to $55.5 billion and Chinas trade deficit amounted to $2.1billion; in

    2007, Sino-African trade amounted to $73.57 billion and China attained a favorable

    ?balance of $1.01billion. Although the volume of trade between the two sides is

    marching towards balance on the whole, China still maintains trade surplus to some

    degree with most African countries apart from some energy exporters such as Angola,

    Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Libya, Mauritius, Gabon, Chad and Nigeria. Another

    concern of African countries is that the mass flow of Chinas cheap goods, especially textile products, into African markets may impact the growth of their manufacturing

    and lead to enterprise bankruptcy and unemployment. Countries including South

    Africa and Egypt have begun to adopt anti-dumping measures against Chinese

    products (especially textile products). For example, by the end of December 2007, the

    South African authorities have initiated 41 anti-dumping investigations on Chinese

    exports, 4 of which took place in 2007. South Africa is among those nations that most

    ?frequently subject Chinese exports to anti-dumping investigations.

     ? Daniel Deng Bul, “Oil Exploration and Exploitation in Northern Upper Nile”, in Kwesi Kwaa Prah (ed.),

    Afro-Chinese Relations: Past, Present and Future, SED Printing Solutions, Cape Town, 2007,pp.175-203. Ali

    Askouri, “China’s Investment in Sudan: Displacing Villages and Destroying Communities”, in Firoze Manji &

    Stephen Marks (eds.), African perspectives on China in Africa, Cape Town, Fahamu-Networks for Social Justice,

    2007, pp.71-86. ? Oxfam Hong Kong, How to Promote Mutual Prosperity and Development between China and African

    Countries through Chinese Aid, Trade, and Investment in Africa, Paper presented at the meeting of “Chinas

    Footprint in Development Countries Research Sharing Workshop”, January 22-24, Hong Kong, YMCA International House. ? Sino-AfricanTrade Amounts to $73.57 Billion in 2007 (中国海关:《2007年中非双边贸易规模突破700亿

    美元,零关税待遇商品范围扩大成效显著》), ? Ministry of Commerce of P.R.C, Foreign Market Access Report 2008: South Africa,


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