On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Chenchen Zhang @dustette
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Chenchen Zhang @dustette
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.
By Emilio Dirlikov and Qiuyu Jiang as part of the series ‘Ebola fieldnotes’ published by Somatosphere
On a steamy mid-August afternoon, Mariatu Kargbo, a Sierra Leonian expat residing in Beijing, stood at the front of a packed hotel ballroom. As reported by Xinhua News (新华网), Kargbo addressed the crowd, saying:
I know everyone has come because they would like to support us, but I really didn’t know that today so many people would come, thank you everyone! What we’ve done today is to say to Ebola ‘You cannot go forward, you need to stop’!
Kargbo had organized the event as a fundraiser to support ongoing efforts to stop the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. To this end, a variety of donated items were auctioned off, including art pieces from Chinese artists and several embassies of African countries, flights departing from Shanghai to Africa, pottery and ceramics, and a set of gloves donated by Chinese short-track speed skater Yang Zhou. Kargbo was no stranger to fundraising: as Miss Sierra Leone 2009, she set up a foundation to donate school supplies and other things to those in need. Nor was she a stranger in China: she has appeared on Chinese variety shows, fielding questions about Africa and singing her song in Mandarin Chinese, “Marry a Chinese” (嫁给中国人).
In this initial report, we provide insight into China’s response to Ebola as the epidemic unfolds. We focus on three key areas: 1) print media coverage, 2) social media commentary, and 3) brief stories of Africans living in Guangzhou. We finish with a discussion on the role of anthropology in engaging the ongoing epidemic, following Sharon Abramowitz’s recent post on Somatosphere.
Why raise the issue of China, a country that, to date, has not had any cases of Ebola?
The answer to this question is brought into view by Kargbo’s event, “Combatting Ebola: Mariatu and her Chinese friends,” exposing two overlapping trajectories that have emerged in recent years. First, the Chinese state sees itself as a global power, and as such, it should play a key role in global affairs. As China “goes global” (Shambaugh 2013), it adds a “distinctive” approach to global health (Han et al. 2008, Florini et al. 2012, Liu et al. 2014). Across the African continent, Chinese medical aid has come in the form of bilateral collaborations, financial and technical aid, and infrastructure projects. For example, the Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital was inaugurated by President Ernest Bai Koroma on November 13, 2012, after three years of construction, and is now being used to treat Ebola patients (photos here).
Second, Sino-African political and economic relations are substantial. In 2012, the total volume of trade between China and Africa reached US$198.4 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 19.3% (Xinhua News 2013). Over more than a decade, the direct exports from Guangzhou to African countries (mainly manufactured products) have increased more than ten times, from around US$165 million in 1996 to US$2.1 billion in 2010 (Lyons, Brown, and Li 2012). As a result, there has been a substantial increase in migration between the regions (Mathews 2011, Lyons, Brown, and Li 2012).
The Ebola outbreak adds another layer to the Sino-African relationship, whereby China is beginning to take a more active role in foreign aid to African countries and respond to emergency situations there. Therefore, China’s role in the control of the Ebola epidemic, which is reported by Chinese media outlets, will influence future relationships with African countries.’ Further, we posit social media commentary is a reflection of local anxieties about the outbreak, which largely work themselves out by framing “Africa” and “Africans,” especially in China, as a threat. [KEEP READING HERE]
In July of this year, China enacted its first major reform to its immigration policy since 1986. Passed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee in 2012, the Exit-Entry Administration Law, which has replaced the Law for Foreigners and the Law for Citizens, features harsher penalties for visa overstays and unauthorized work. This new law, along with China’s upcoming revisions to its permanent residency application system, makes abundantly clear the fact that China has little interest in becoming a receiving country for transnational migrants. Yet, as the country with the second highest GDP in the world, porous borders and strong incentives to maintain healthy diplomatic relations with the global South, it is necessary for China to rethink its piecemeal policies and opt for a more comprehensive strategy toward international immigration.
Although this is not the first time China has cracked down on visa applications—visa issuance was severely restricted to foreigners leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics—this is the first time that foreigners will face detention and investigation for overstaying their visas (up to sixty days “if the case is complicated”). Foreigners working illegally will now face detention (five to fifteen days) or monetary fines of up to 20,000 RMB ($3,260 USD). Previously, the penalty for unauthorized work did not exceed a monetary fine of 1,000 RMB ($163.00 USD). Companies and institutions that provide fake certificates or invitation letters to unqualified foreigners will be fined up to 10,000 RMB ($1,630.00 USD) per person, and be responsible for the cost of their deportation. The fines will not exceed 100,000 RMB ($16,290 USD), as opposed to 50,000 RMB ($8,145.00 USD) in the previous law. Lastly, foreigners who own companies and delay paying wages to workers will be prevented from leaving the country (China Daily, July 1).
Historically, China has not been a destination country for labor. For centuries, China has sent its workers abroad, as Chinese companies have in recent years in establishing operations in Africa. Yet significant inflows of labor have emerged over the past decade. According to a 2011 Brookings Report, China’s transnational migrants are increasing at an “unprecedented scale,” or ten percent annually since the year 2000, according to Yang Huanming, vice-minister of the Ministry of Public Security (Brookings, September 8, 2011; Xinhua, June 30, 2012). China’s 2010 census, the first to record the amount of foreigners residing in the country, documented approximately 594,000 foreigners living in China in 2010… [KEEP READING HERE]