China And Africa Essay

2271 words - 10 pages

The African continent is often deemed the basket case of the world; overflowing with resources but vastly underdeveloped the continent is often ignored until it is needed to satisfy the cravings of the developed world. After achieving independence from the hands of its European colonizers, the continent was demarcated as a playground for the Soviet Union and the United States to battle for world dominance during the Cold War. Then the continent entered an era of financial bondage through economic assistance and “one size fits all” programs forcibly implemented by the Western nations. Many African countries have begun to lessen their debts, stabilize their economies, promote democracy and ...view middle of the document...

China’s relationship with the continent is far from novel. Though historians differ on when they belief the relationship began, many date it as far back as the Han Dynasty at 100 years B.C. (Jinyuan 241-251, 1984). During the Sung Dynasty (960-1279), a Chinese explorer named Zheng He reached the eastern coast of the continent but did not seize any slaves or attempt to colonize the area though he had the military capacity to do so. Zheng instead left a legacy of trade by stimulating trade between the two regions (Raine,1-39). Different Chinese artifacts ranging from coins to porcelain fragments dated to the Sung Dynasty have been found as far inland as Zimbabwe (Jinyuan 241-251, 1984). When the Europeans invaded Asia and Africa, trade between the two regions was halted but the relationship was never terminated.
Three important events mark major turning points in the dynamic relationship between China and Africa. The first event being the Bandung conference of 1955, this conference marked the beginning of an ideological and strategic relationship between China and the African continent. After gaining independence, China believed it that it was its mission to help the remainder of the colonized world achieve freedom from their European masters. China was heavily involved in several countries like Zimbabwe, Angola, Algeria, and Mozambique during their fight for independence. China continued to provide military aid, economic assistance in various sectors, and sent medical teams to various African countries (Jinyuan 241-251, 1984). The strategic reason behind China’s involvement was to prevent newly independent countries from aligning with the two major factions in the world: the Western/capitalist camp and the Soviet/socialist camp. China presented the idea of the Non Aligned Movement during the Bandung Conference to convince newly independent nations to remain united and sovereign from the two factions in the world. China’s efforts were not unnoticed by the African governments. With the support of the newly liberated countries, the PRC was able to regain its seat from Taiwan as the rightful ruler of China during the 36th General Assembly of the United Nations (Jinyuan 241-251, 1984, Adebajo, 163-169, 2013, Corkin 69-90, 2011).
Unfortunately, the relationship did not remain this remarkable for long. During its Great Leap Forward, China went through a cultural revolution and closed its doors to the outside world. During its twenty years in seclusion, China attempted to rebuild its economy and significantly decreased the amount of aid it provided to African countries. The second major turning point that marked China’s renewed interest in the continent is the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989. While the Western world condemned China for denying its citizens democracy, many African leaders condemned the Western powers for forcing their ideals unto China. China was grateful for the support and decided to reevaluate its foreign policy tactics towards...

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