This article analyses an emerging African trading community in Guangzhou, China. It is argued that migrant communities such as this one act as linguistic, cultural and economic bridges between their source communities and their host communities, even in the midst of tensions created by incidents such as immigration restrictions and irregularities. Socio-linguistic and socio-cultural profiles of this community are built, through questionnaire surveys and interviews, to address issues such as why Africans go to Guangzhou, which African countries are represented, what languages are spoken there, how communication takes place between Africans and Chinese, what socio-economic contributions Africans in Guangzhou are making to the Chinese economy, and how the state reacts to this African presence. Following from the argument that this community acts as a bridge for Africa–China relations it is suggested that both the Chinese and the African governments should work towards eliminating the harassment of members in this community by many Guangzhou law enforcement officials and instead harness the contributions of this community to promote Africa–China socio-economic relations.
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