[Media Reports] Booming China-Africa Ties Attract Africans to Pursue Dreams in Guangzhou

Interestingly, with the strengthening of Sino-African ties underscored by Xi Jinping’s recent ‘Africa Tour,’ Chinese media have resorted to highlighting (and thus legitimising) the presence of Africans in Guangzhou. Most recent reports, as the one you can read below (from CRI English), have a very positive approach – a departure from previous ways of reporting ‘African presence’ in China, which needless to say tended to be slightly negative.

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African residents buy fruits at a grocery in Xiaobeilu, a commercial area in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 21, 2013. With the Chinese economy expanding fast over the past decades, African immigrants, previously unseen in China, have streamed into prosperous cities of Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai and even to some second-tier cities. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, China’s annual trade with Africa surged to about 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2012. The booming economic relations between the two sides attract thousands of Africans to pursue dreams and make fortunes in Guangzhou, one of the pioneering cities of the country’s economic reform and opening up and a primary destination for Africans. Every afternoon, around Xiaobei Road and Huanshi Road, many Africans can be seen shuttling among stores to hand-pick jeans, T-shirts and other garments, carrying huge black plastic bags or giant backpacks. Authorities estimate there are some 100,000 inhabitants in the city.

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Angolan trader Mike (L) bargains with miss Zhou, a Chinese retailer in a wholesale market in Xiaobei Road, a commercial area in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 21, 2013.

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African residents walk in Xiaobei Road, a commercial area in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 21, 2013.

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Ojukwu Emma, a Nigerian businessman and chairman of Association of Nigerian community in Guangzhou, talks with business partners in his office in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 21, 2013. After doing business in Guangzhou for 16 years, Emma has not only a successful career but also a happy family here.

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African residents attend the Mass at a Cathedral in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 24, 2013.

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A Hong Kong businessman (R) consults Ojukwu Emma (C), a Nigerian businessman and chairman of Association of Nigerian community in Guangzhou, on doing business in Nigeria at Emma’s office in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 21, 2013.

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African residents walk in Xiaobei Road, a commercial area in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 21, 2013. It is not unusual to see black-skin residents in small groups walking, talking and bargaining with yellow-skin natives in bustling commercial areas in Guangzhou, such as Xiaobeilu and Sanyuanli, which are better known as “Little Africa”. China’s annual trade with Africa surged to about 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, up 55 percent year on year in average since 2000, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce. The booming economic relations between the two sides attract thousands of Africans to pursue dreams and make fortunes in Guangzhou, a new center of international trade. The latest available data, issued by Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences in 2007, showed that the number of officially permitted permanent residents (six months and above) from African countries was estimated to surpass 20,000.

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African acrobats perform stunts in the Chimelong International Circus in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 24, 2013.

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An African drummer performs tam-tam drum in the Chimelong International Circus in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 24, 2013.

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African residents attend the Mass at a Cathedral in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, March 24, 2013.

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