Skip to main content
×
×
Home

A constructed (un)reality on China's re-entry into Africa: the Chinese online community perception of Africa (2006–2008)*

  • Simon Shen (a1)
Abstract

China's 21st-century re-entry into Africa has been made with considerable new fanfare and in a manner that contrasts sharply with the Maoist ideologist policy of the 1960s. However, how the Chinese perceive Africa, as expressed by the online community, has been little studied. In a country where full democracy and complete freedom of expression are still lacking, online communication arguably plays a particularly significant role. When it comes to topics in China which are not frequently addressed in the public domain, the flow of information among the online community is paramount in shaping public perceptions. The result of systematic qualitative research on the online community in China, this paper aims to bridge the gap between formal studies of Sino-African relations and online perceptions. Reconstructing the online image of Africa is essential in understanding not only contemporary Sino-African relations from the popular perspective but also the distorted nature of information that circulates in Chinese cyberspace.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Footnotes
Hide All
*

The author acknowledges the South China Programme of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, for supporting the primary research of this article. The author also acknowledges Mr Jacky Fung and Mr Wilson Chan for their assistance in the primary research.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Alden, C. 2005. ‘China in Africa’, Survival 47, 3: 147–64.
Chan, B. 2005. ‘Imaging the Homeland: the internet and diasporic discourse of nationalism’, Journal of Communication Inquiry 29, 4: 336–68.
Chase, M. S. & Mulvenon, J. C.. 2002. You've Got Dissent! Chinese dissident use of internet and Beijing's counter-strategies. Santa Monica: RAND.
China Daily, Beijing. 2006. ‘Premier's Africa tour to strengthen relations’, 16 June.
China Daily. 2007. ‘African tour highlights relations’, 12 February.
Christensen, T. 1999. ‘Pride, pressure and politics: the roots of China's worldview’, in Deng, Yong & Wang, Fei-Ling, eds. In the Eyes of the Dragon: China views the world. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 239–56.
CNNIC. 2008. Statistical Survey Report on the Internet Development in China, Beijing: CNNIC. Available at: http://www.cnnic.cn/uploadfiles/pdf/2008/2/29/104126.pdf.
Delanty, G. & Rumford, C. 2005. Rethinking Europe: social theory and the implications of Europeanization. London: Routledge.
Dikötter, F. 1992. The Discourse of Race in Modern China. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Downs, E. 2004. ‘The Chinese energy security debate’, The China Quarterly 177: 2141.
Downs, E. 2007. ‘The fact and the friction of Sino-African energy relations’, China Security 3, 3: 4268.
Foot, R. 2001. ‘Chinese power and the idea of a responsible state’, The China Journal 45: 119.
Gao, J. Y. 1984. ‘China and Africa: the development of relations over many centuries’, African Affairs 83, 331: 241–50.
Goldstein, A., , N. Pinaud, Reisen, H. & Chen, Xiaobao. 2006. The Rise of China and India: what's in for Africa? Paris: OCED Development Centre Studies.
Gries, P. H. 2005. ‘Chinese nationalism: challenging the States?’, Current History 104, 638: 251–6.
Hughes, C. 2005. ‘Interpreting nationalist texts: a post-structural approach’, Journal of Contemporary China 14, 43: 247–67.
International Energy Agency (IEA). 2007. ‘WEO 2007 Fact Sheet – China’, World Energy Outlook 2007, available at: http://www.iea.org/textbase/publications/free_new_Desc.asp?PUBS_ID=1987.html, accessed 10.12.2008.
Jackson, S. F. 1995. ‘China's third-world foreign policy: the case of Angola and Mozambique’, in The China Quarterly 142: 388422.
Lanteigne, M. 2007. ‘China's energy security and Eurasian diplomacy: the case of Turkmenistan’, Politics 27, 3: 147–55.
Large, D. 2008. ‘Beyond dragon in the bush: the study of China-African relations’, African Affairs 107, 426: 4561.
Liu, G. J. 2005. ‘All-weather friends in need and indeed: China-Africa relations seen from the eyes of a Chinese diplomat’, African Renaissance July/August.
Liu, S. D. 2006. ‘China's popular nationalism on the internet: report on the 2005 Anti-Japan network struggles’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 7, 1: 144–55.
Lorenz, A. 2005. ‘A technocrat riding a wild tiger’, Der Spiegel 10 November.
Luo, J. B. 2006. ‘Advancing China's multilateral diplomacy in Africa’, Contemporary International Relations 16, 12: 1125.
Muekalia, D. J. 2004. ‘Africa and China's strategic partnership’, African Security Review 13, 1: 511.
Nathan, A. J. & Ross, R. S.. 1997. The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China's search for security. New York: W. W. Norton.
People's Daily, Beijing. 2007. ‘Interview of PRC's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi’, 24 December.
Porpora, D. 1993. ‘Cultural rules and material relations’, Sociological Theory 11, 2: 212–19.
PRC Economic and Commercial Counsellor's Office (ECCO). 2003. ‘Implications from the Lebanese merchants in Sierra Leone to China’, 14 April.
PRC Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC). 2005. ‘The situation, problems and solutions about Nigeria's fishery products’, 29 March.
Qiu, J. 2003. ‘The Internet in China: data and issues’, working paper for the Annenberg Research Seminar on International Communication, available at: http://arnic.info/Papers/JQ_China_and_Internet.pdf,html, accessed 18.6.2008.
Said, E. 1979. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books.
Sautman, B. & Yan, H. R. 2007. ‘Friends and interests: China's distinctive links with Africa’, African Studies Review 50, 3: 75113.
Shen, S. 2008. ‘Alternative online Chinese nationalism: response to the anti-Japanese campaign in China on Hong Kong's internet’, Intercultural Communication Studies 17, 3: 172–86.
Shi, H. T. 2004. ‘Zhongguo Nengyuan Anquan De Qianzai Weixie: Guodu Yilai Maliujia Haixia’ (Latent threat against China's energy security: dependent on the Malacca Strait), available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/world/2004-06/15/content_1526222.html, accessed on 17.7.2008.
Shinn, D. H. 2007. ‘Africa, China, the United States, and oil’, African Policy Forum, available at: http://forums.csis.org/africa/?p=34,html, accessed 7.12.2008.
Snow, P. 1988. The Star Raft: China's encounter with Africa. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Taubman, G. 1998. ‘A not-so World Wide Web: the internet, China and the challenges to non-democratic rule’, Political Communication 15: 255–72.
Taylor, I. 2006a. China and Africa: engagement and compromise. New York: Routledge.
Taylor, I. 2006b. ‘China's oil diplomacy in Africa’, International Affairs 82, 5: 937–59.
Todorov, T. 1982. The Conquest of America. New York: Harper Perennial.
van Ness, P. 1993. ‘China as a Third-World state: foreign policy and official national identity’, in Ditttmer, L. & Kim, S., eds. China's Quest for National Identity. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 194214.
Warschauer, M. 2000. ‘Language, identity, and the internet’, in Kolko, B., Nakamura, L. & Rodman, G., eds. Race in Cyberspace. New York: Routledge, 151–70.
Wendt, A. 1992. ‘Anarchy is what states make of it: the social construction of power politics’, International Organization 46, 2: 391425.
Wendt, A. 1999. Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge University Press.
Xu, W. Z. 2007. ‘Beijing summit promotes Sino-African relations’, Contemporary International Relations 17, 1: 72–9.
Yang, G. B. 2003. ‘The internet and civil society in China: a preliminary assessment’, Journal of Contemporary China 12, 36: 453–75.
Zhang, Y. P. 2005. ‘On new international environment and the formulation of China's African strategy’, West Africa and Asia, January, 1925.
Zhao, Y. Z. 2003. ‘Falun Gong, identity, and the struggle over meaning inside and outside China’, in Couldry, N. & Curran, J., eds. Contesting Media Power. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 209–27.
Zhou, M. 2007. ‘The 2005 anti-Japanese demonstration in China: the rise of popular nationalism’, in Chinese Papers Collection Online of University Service Centre for China Studies, Hong Kong: University Service Centre for China Studies, available at: http://www.usc.cuhk.edu.hk/wk_wzdetails.asp?id=6212.
163 Easyweb Forum (163, Wangyi Luntan). <http://bbs.163.com.html>, accessed 1.8.2008.
African Blog (AB, Feizhou Buluo Wang). <http://www.africaren.com.html>, accessed 1.8.2008.
Collection of Cats' Wrestling (DZH, Maimop Da Zhihui). <http://dzh.mop.com.html>, accessed 1.8.2008.
Community of Iron and Blood (CIB, Tiexue Shequ). <http://bbs.tiexue.net.html>, accessed 1.8.2008.
Go Go Web (GGW, Liuliu Wang). <http://www.guolv66.com.html>, accessed 1.8.2008.
Message ID 84, 2007. ‘Feifa Zhiliu Zhongguo De Feizhouren’ (Illegal African immigrants in China), KaKu De Buluoge (Kaku's Blog), 23 May. <http://www.kakug.com/blog/archives/84.html>.
Message ID 534, 2006. ‘Feizhou Fenghui’ (The African summit), Blog Buxu Lianxiang (No Associative Thinking), 2 November. <http://www.wangxiaofeng.net/?p=534.html>.
Message ID 708, 2007. ‘Xifeiyouji Feizhouren Yinxiang’ (Journey to West Africa: impression of the Africans), GGW, 18 September.
Message ID 2627, 2007. ‘Ouzohuren (Bairen), Zhongguoren, Feizhouren’ (European whites, Chinese, Africans), AB, 26 May.
Message ID 58305, 2006. ‘Zhongguo Nurenmen, Qing Xiaoxin Heiren Ba’ (Chinese women, please beware of the Negroes), 163, 28 October.
Message ID 82043, 2008. ‘Feizhouren Weishenme JJ chang’ (Why do Africans have long dicks), Hunan Daxue Xiaoyuan Luntan, 19 March. <http://wlzb.net/phpwind/read.php?tid=82043.html>.
Message ID 142695, 2008. ‘Youyou Yanzhong Di Feizhou Dalu’ (Travelling to the African continent), TYC, 5 January.
Message ID 148612, 2008. ‘Tiyu Jujiao: Tianjing – Ershijiu Jie Aoyunhui Tianjing Bisai Zhibo Taoluntie’ (Sports focus: field – the discussion post of live 29th Olympic Games), TYC, 18 August.
Message ID 156285, 2007. ‘Shijie Gailan Renzai Feizhou’ (People in Africa: overview of the world), TYC, 27 July.
Message ID 166266, 2007. ‘Wenming Chongtu Zai Feizhou’ (Clash of civilisations in Africa), TYC, 30 December.
Message ID 167971, 2007. Response to ‘Wenming Chongtu Zai Feizhou’ (Clash of civilisations in Africa), TYC, 30 December.
Message ID 809662, 2006. ‘Dao Feizhou Taojinqu’ (Go to gold-mining in Africa), TYC, 20 October.
Message ID 1469849, 2007. ‘Zhongguo Geiliao Feizhou Ouzhouren Bugei De Zixin’ (China gave Africa a sense of confidence that cannot be gained from Europeans), Jianzhi Lantian (Sword to the Sky Blog), 7 December. <http://blog.china.com/u/070106/24849/200712/1460849.html>.
Message ID 2308022, 2007. SNF, 20 May.
Message ID 7835502, 2007. ‘Qingxi Feizhou’ (Emotion attached to Africa), DZH, 18 October.
Message ID 7918396, 2007. ‘Feizhou Junren Nanjing Xue Saolei’ (African military learns mine-sweeping in Nanjing), DZH, 25 November.
Message ID 85014172, 2008. SNF, 12 March.
Message ID 85217128, 2008. SNF, 30 March.
Message ID 85420541, 2008. SNF, 17 April.
Message ID 85428195, 2008. SNF, 18 April.
Message ID 85496042, 2008. SNF, 23 April.
Message ID 85496103, 2008. SNF, 23 April.
Message ID 85498640, 2008. SNF, 23 April.
Message ID 85548424, 2008. SNF, 28 April.
Message ID 85594156, 2008. SNF, 3 May.
Message ID 85595517, 2008. SNF, 3 May.
Message ID 85611130, 2008. SNF, 4 May.
Message ID 86205651, 2008. SNF, 13 May.
Message ID 86244154, 2008. SNF, 16 May.
Message ID 86455443, 2008. SNF, 28 May.
Message ID 86541820, 2008. SNF, 3 June.
Message ID 86616883, 2008. SNF, 8 June.
Message ID 86682113, 2008. SNF, 13 June.
Message ID 86906864, 2008. SNF, 26 June.
Message ID 86932074, 2008. SNF, 28 June.
Message ID 2_2104481, 2007. ‘Nirier Panjun Bangjia Zhongguoren Di Liyou Xiangdang Guiyi’ (Very weird reasons for the Niger insurgents to kidnap Chinese), CIB, 13 July.
Message ID 200781164714, 2007. ‘Shuoshuo Guoren Dui Feizhou Di Wujie’ (About the Chinese misconception of Africa), Blog of Bo Ku, 1 August. <http://www.126blog.com/u5/guleite/archives/2007/200781164714.shtml#>.
Qiangguo Xiequ. 2007. ‘Information tree – 2007’, <http://bbs2.people.com.cn/fuwu/dt/hm07.html>, accessed 10.12.2008.
Strong Nation Forum (SNF, Qianguo Luntan). <http://bbs1.people.com.cn/boardList.do?action=postList&boardId=1.html>, accessed 1.8.2008.
Tianya Community (TYC, Tianya Xiequ). <http://www.tianya.cn.html>, accessed 1.8.2008.
TYC. 2008a. ‘Mailbox for Advertisement Enquiry’, <http://article.tianya.cn/2005/ad/forty.html>, accessed 10.12.2008.
TYC. 2008b. ‘Information for Tianya Community’. <http://help.tianya.cn/about/about.html>, accessed 10.12.2008.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Modern African Studies
  • ISSN: 0022-278X
  • EISSN: 1469-7777
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-modern-african-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed