Category Archives: education

[Research] China Africa Millennials Project – CAMP

A fascinating new project about Afro-Chinese youth engagements has recently been launched. Worth following!


Africa’s population is young, and getting younger: 70% of the continent’s population is under the age of 30. In the next 35 years, an estimated 1.8 billion babies will be born, making Africa home to more young people than anywhere else in the world. In China, the post90s generation (90后), born after the political and economic tumult of previous decades, are coming of age. As they do, they adopt world views that differ radically—even unrecognizably—from those of their parents’ generation.

One of the major international sagas defining the world these young people grow up is, undoubtedly, China-Africa relations. We have heard a lot about the evolving relationship between country and continent in recent years. About stadium diplomacy and ‘win-win cooperation’, resource extraction and racial discrimination, transnational flows of money and people. Yet much of the knowledge about Chinese-African relations is produced by, well, older people—commentary articulated by political, economic and academic veterans. And, to be honest, some of the frames and narratives are getting a bit…old.

Which is not to shun the careful and hard-won wisdom of previous generations. Other spaces and sites are already doing a great job sharing their voices and highlighting their experience and insight (see here or here or here or here).

But we want a space for us. With the China-Africa Millennials Project (CAMP), we want to give voice to the currently voiceless millions of young people from China, Africa and around the world. We want to insert youth into the emerging kaleidoscope of voices telling and retelling China-Africa stories.

As such, the essays, reflections and reports collected here are authored by “millennials,” all of whom have had some unique involvement in intersections of China and Africa. The pieces range in nature, quality and content. Some are rough, unpolished—a few authors are publishing thoughts in English for the first time, based on micro-research projects conducted over just a few weeks. Others are written by emerging scholars, based on years of careful consideration. Taken together, however, we hope the disparate body of works here will add a sunburst of new and lively voices to existing conversations, chip away at the dominance of stale and aging narratives, and ultimately create new discursive frontiers.

We humbly hope that this space will serve as one in which a new generation of authors, artists, scholars, business people, and wanderers can test out their voices. Can question and explore, share and exchange.

There is a lot to learn from these young people—even our most venerable elders admit it. And who knows? Maybe, not so long from now, some of those posting here will be the ones shaping the narratives of China and Africa.

Read more about CAMP here


[Education] Ethiopian students awarded scholarship for postgraduate study in China

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ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) — China will continue to supporting human resource development endeavors of Ethiopia and Africa, said a Chinese envoy.

La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, made the remarks early this week during an awarding ceremony for the 2016/17 Chinese Government Scholarship to Ethiopian Students at the Chinese embassy in Addis Ababa.

26 Ethiopian students have been awarded the Chinese government scholarship to pursue their higher-level studies of masters and PhD programs at different universities in China.

“Human resource development is one of the pillars of our cooperation with African countries, and also with Ethiopia,” noted the ambassador.

“The scholarship to enable young, bright, ambitious Ethiopian youth to pursue your studies of high learning in top universities in China, in various fields from medical science, language, engineering…that are highly needed by Ethiopia in your current pursuit of industrialization,” he said.

Speaking during the ceremony, Zerihun Kebede, Representative of the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, has commended China for its continued support to Ethiopia’s efforts in capacity building programs by providing short and long-term training.

Stating that Ethiopia and China have a very long-standing relations for several years, the official said the relation between the two countries is being manifested in different forms of cooperation and support.

“This relation has gained momentum since recent years as the two sisterly countries have established a broader scope of bilateral relation and cooperation, especially in the field of education,” said Kebede.

“The training opportunities that we have been getting from China every year has immense contribution to our capacity building program,” he added.

Robel Gebre-Michael, one of the scholarship winners who will be pursuing his studies of master’s degree in information and communication engineering at Harbin Engineering University, told Xinhua that he is very happy about being one of the lucky Ethiopian students traveling to China for postgraduate studies.

He said they would be ambassadors of his country to promote Ethiopian culture to the Chinese, and the people-to-people relations and friendship of the two countries.

[vlog] From Africa to China: Strange things we’ve done since moving to China #SinoAfrica

Recently launched blog ‘From Africa to China’ goes into vlog mode:


[Documentary] 14+ Must-See #SinoAfrica documentaries

Over the last decade, more than a dozen #SinoAfrica documentaries have been produced. Here’s the list of the 13+ must-see films about Chinese in Africa and Africans in China. While the SinoAfrica filmic production is still in its infancy, the materials below are part of a wider assemblage of visual contents (i.e. documentaries, movies, music videos, personal recordings) that when put together give us a very interesting, somewhat comprehensive, perspective on what’s going on between Africans and Chinese in this (transnational) day and age. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the production processes of the materials below still replicate power asymmetries in terms of (global) media representation: an overwhelming majority of the available materials are done by white westerners. So, judge by yourselves, but I believe the ‘eurocentric gaze’ has a grip on the existing SinoAfrica documentary universe.


1. When China Met Africa (UK, 2010) [Chinese in Africa]

This 2010 documentary produced by British brothers Nick and Mark Francis is one of the best films on SinoAfrica relations. With a focus on Chinese in Zambia, the Francis brothers comprehensively explore the many layers of Chinese involvement in the country. This is a documentary about grassroots exchanges between Chinese and Africans that manages to represent the SinoAfrican encounter in all its complexity. Amongst the 4 or 5 documentaries that I show to my ‘Africa China Relations’ students at HKU, this is generally their favourite. Great teaching resource! Full version available for online rent here (IMBD: 6.2/10 – 77 votes) | web:


2. Empire of Dust (Belgium, 2011) [Chinese in Africa]

At first, it’s difficult not to be suspicious about this documentary. Bram Van Paesschen, a Belgian national, directs a film that features the cultural encounter/clash of a Chinese and a Congolese in Congo. The risk of the typically biased eurocentric gaze runs high here. However, as you watch, the film becomes a really unique piece portraying the SinoAfrican everyday and the cultural (mis)understandings between Leo and Eddy (who’s perfectly fluent in Mandarin) – both men work for the Chinese Railway Engineering Company (CREC). Slow narrative, and at times seems as if it was acted, but it’s definitely worth watching. Not very suitable for classrooms (if you ask me). Full version below (7.3/10 – 61 votes)


3. The Africa China Connection (Netherlands, 2012) [Africans in China]

This is among the first documentaries that looked into the flipside of Chinese presence in Africa: Africans in China. This is perhaps the strongest reason to watch the film. Dutch director Pieter van der Houwen makes it clear since early on, ‘The Africa China Connection’ is a ‘Western’ perspective/reflection on why are Africans going to China – and NOT to Europe. Arguably, the documentary is not so much about ‘Africans in China’, as such, but about Europe’s alleged decline. In the eyes of van der Houwen, (Fortress) Europe has managed to isolate itself to a point in which it’s not attractive to Africans anymore. A yearning for the days in which young Africans dreamed of Europe (and only Europe) underwrites the film’s narrative. Critically, van der Houwen tackles some issues surrounding African presence in China (i.e. visa problems), but he mistakenly assumes that China makes it easy for foreigners to stay in the country. Having said this, the discussion about mobility/migration comes across as interesting – mainly because philosopher and political scientist Achille Mbembe, and Ian Goldin, former Vice-President of the World Bank & advisor to Nelson Mandela, analyse the significance of changes in the destinations of the African diaspora. A fly-in/ fly-out perspective but still worth the while. Full version not available (Not rated) | web: FB page


4. China Remix (USA, 2015) [Africans in China]

American directors Melissa Lefkowitz and Dorian Carli-Jones explore Guangzhou’s burgeoning African entertainment industry through the lives of three African hip-hop artists who are trying to find success in the face of China’s challenging labor and immigration laws. The film follows the entertainers as they prepare for their shows, perform, and live their daily lives with their Chinese and African family members and friends. Also a fly-in/fly-out perspective, but very worth watching! Suitable for classrooms (short documentary).

Full version here (Not rated) | web:


5. African boots of Beijing (South Africa, 2006) [Africans in China]

A 2006 documentary film by Luke Mines and Jeremy Goldkorn about Afrika United, a team of Africans playing in a football championship league in Beijing, China. Full version (Not rated)


6. King Cobra and the Dragon (2012) [Chinese in Africa]

People and Power sent Sino-French academic Solange Chatelard and filmmaker Scott Corben to Zambia during the presidential elections in September 2011 to investigate whether Africa has entered a new era of colonialism with Chinese firms maltreating workers and devouring the continent’s natural resources. Full version (Not rated)


7. The Battle for Africa (2014) [Chinese in Africa]

China’s big arrival on the continent has challenged Western powers and sparked debate about a new Battle for Africa. But the real Battle for Africa is between Africans and its leaders – a battle for better governments. Al Jazeera English’s People and Power program broadcast this two-part documentary hosted by veteran journalist Sorius SamuraFull version (Not rated)


8. African Business in China (2015) [Africans in China]

Many African entrepreneurs today consider China as the new land of opportunities. One of them is Nathalie Fodderie from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On a reconnaissance trip to Guangzhou, in Southern China, she has three weeks to find equipment for her Kinshasa restaurant that needs complete refurbishment. Fodderie works with an established network of African and Chinese middlemen and traders and haggles with some of the toughest businessmen in the world. Aljazeera’s Witness takes us through her journey, as she grapples with geographic and cultural hurdles to make a profit. Must documentaries about Africans in Guangzhou are about Nigerians – this is a rare exception. Worth watching! Full version (not rated)



9. The Chinese are Coming (UK, 2011) [Chinese in Africa]

Travelling across three continents, BBC correspondent Justin Rowlatt investigates the spread of Chinese influence around the planet and asks what the world will be like if China overtakes America as the world’s economic superpower. While many in the West view Africa as a land of poverty, to the Chinese it is seen as an almost limitless business opportunity. From Angola to Tanzania, Justin meets the fearless Chinese entrepreneurs who have travelled thousands of miles to set up businesses. Worth watching and suitable for classrooms – the least popular of the documentaries that I show to my students, though. Full version (IMBD: 5.8/10 – 48 votes)



10. Faces of Africa – When Chinese Meet Zambians (China, 2015) [Chinese in Africa]

Full version (not rated)


11. 中国人在非洲 – Chinese in Africa (China, 2015-16)

This is a recently released documentary series showcasing Chinese presence throughout the African continent. In Mandarin, no subs. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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12. China in Africa (2016)

Coming Soon!

13. A Guangzhou Love Story (USA, 2016?)

In China, an unprecedented surge in African migration has led to a rise in marriages between Chinese women and African men. A GUANGZHOU LOVE STORY captures the love, heartache, and real life challenges of Afro-Chinese couples attempting to forge a meaningful future together in the face of racism and xenophobia.

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14. Guangzhou Dream Factory (USA, 2016?)

GUANGZHOU DREAM FACTORY is a documentary portrait of the African communities of Guangzhou, China – currently in post-production.

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Extra – TV shows (Al Jazeera & CCTV)

The Stream – How China is changing Africa

Inside Story – China in Africa: investment or exploitation?

Inside Story – Is China exploiting Africa?

And the more than 100 chapters of CCTV’s Talk Africa





[DIY course] Free online Africa – China Relations course #SinoAfrica

Africa – China Relations


Welcome to the free, online version of ‘Africa – China Relations’, an undergrad, introductory & interdisciplinary course taught at the University of Hong Kong.

At this stage, below you’ll find the course contents as they stand as of early 2016. In the future, the presentations (prezis) will be replaced by video lectures (narrated prezis), but I’m still in the process of finding both time and funding to do so.

Finally, I believe that the best way to improve/expand my knowledge about any subject is by sharing it as it is – this has always been the leading idea behind this blog & and behind my scholarly work. There is a lot to improve (of course!) but as an introductory, free, online course, the assemblage of ideas, readings, videos, discussions & arguments in this collection are on the cutting edge of #SinoAfrica debates. In the future, I plan to add more advanced (and specific) courses but, first, let me take a selfie; and second, 摸着石头过河



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Course Description

In recent years, China and Africa have renewed their relations at many different levels. From political engagement to increased trade and economic relations, and perhaps more importantly, to increased contact between ordinary Africans and Chinese. The figures of Chinese living in Africa, and Africans living in China, have increased to a point that has no parallel in the history between these two regions. What are the implications of contemporary Sino-African engagements? What does this mean for the future of these regions and the world? In order to provide answers to these questions, this course introduces the main debates around Sino-African engagements and analyses some of the associated sociocultural, political and economic processes. Instead of simply reviewing the main literature on Africa-China relations, this course takes you into a critical and interdisciplinary journey in which crucial aspects of these relations are analysed through various texts and documentaries. Through discussion and analysis, this course will challenge extant narratives about Africa-China relations and delve into the possibilities (i.e. opportunities and challenges) that this ‘renewed’ engagement entails.

Course Objectives

  • Consider the ways in which Sino-African relations have evolved throughout history and to explore the possibilities for the future.
  • Explain the complex and contested dynamics of Africa-China relations.
  • Critically analyse and challenge extant representations about Chinese presence in Africa and African presence in China.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of historical encounters, contemporary exchanges, and issues of representation around Africa-China relations;
  • general knowledge around the major debates, themes and concepts in Africa-China relations;
  • an ability to critically engage in discussions about the topic, and reflexively apply the knowledge generated in the course to future research.


Week 2: A new scramble for Africa?

(If you are unable to navigate the Prezi through this screen you can also view this Prezi on the website)

Primary reading

Large, D. ‘Beyond the Dragon in the Bush’.

Screening: The Battle for Africa


Week 3: Early encounters and pre-modern imaginations: did the Chinese discover Africa?

(If you are unable to navigate the Prezi through this screen you can also view this Prezi on the website)

Primary reading

Snow, P. ‘Chinese Columbus’

Wyatt, D. ‘Blacks of premodern China’ Chapter 1

Other sources

Smidt, W. ‘A Chinese in the Nubian and Abyssinian Kingdoms (8th Century)’

Wilensky. ‘The Magical Kunlun and ‘Devil Slaves’: Chinese perceptions of dark skinned people and Africa before 1500’

Keywords: #Kunlun #ZhengHe #ChengHo #Trade #DuHuan #Malindi #IbnBattuta #MingDinasty #VascoDaGama #NewSilkRoad #Coolies