The Centre for Chinese Studies

The Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS), at Stellenbosch University, serves as the most prominent and high quality point of reference for the study of China and East Asia on the African continent.

Latest commentary

Politics and peacekeeping: Japanese constitutional reform and its African implications

CCS_Commentary_Japan_Article_9_Rob_201520 January 2015

Since 2011, Japan has maintained a peacekeeping force in South Sudan. However, the recent reinterpretation of Article 9 of Japan’s post-war constitution – pushed through by the Abe administration despite domestic and regional disapproval – will have a significant impact on the nature and composition of Japanese peacekeeping operations in South Sudan and elsewhere. Japanese peacekeepers have, until recently, been constrained by Japan’s International Peace Cooperation Law (PKO). This law set out five guiding principles for Japanese peacekeeping operations. The fifth of these principles is particularly noteworthy. It states: “The use of weapons shall be limited to the minimum necessary to protect the lives of personnel, etc.” In practice, this only allowed Japanese troops to use their weapons for self-defence or emergency evacuations. It forbids them from firing warning shots when under attack or coming to the support of allies when they are under attack. Now that Article 9 of the Japanese constitution has been revised, Japanese peacekeepers can take on a greater variety of roles – including more combative ones. The reinterpretation also offers Japan a chance to increase its diplomatic capital in Africa – via peacekeeping – which will be beneficial in bi- and multi-lateral settings. [Continue reading]

By Robert AttwellCCS_Intern_Robert_4
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University


CCS Discussion Paper: Navigating The Gulf: China’s balancing strategy


By Mandira Bagwandeen

Due to China’s growing energy needs that stem from its unrelenting economic development, Beijing stresses the importance of maintaining a continuous supply of energy – particularly oil – to maintain its impressive economic growth. However, seeing as China’s domestic resources are unable to satisfy its projected future oil demands, the Chinese realise that, barring significant domestic oil discoveries, their dependency on oil imports – particularly from the Middle East – will continue to increase. Of particular importance to the Chinese is the Persian Gulf as it contains a large share of the world’s proven oil reserves. China has thus sought to improve relations with Persian Gulf nations such as Iran. However, Iran’s pursuit to obtain nuclear capabilities has implicated China in Iranian-American tensions. Although China has sought to steer clear of becoming embroiled in the Iranian nuclear situation due to its improved standing in the Gulf, Beijing has unavoidably become a significant actor in the diplomatic brinkmanship regarding Iran’s nuclear situation. By means of a literature review, this paper posits that China’s response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions essentially mirrors its overall diplomatic strategy towards the Middle East; a strategy of pragmatically balancing its own relationship with the USA whilst simultaneously advancing profitable geo-economic relations with oil rich Gulf nations.

[Download CCS Discussion Paper 04/2014]

African-Asian Encounters (II) conference website now liive



The conference website for:

African-Asian Encounters (II) Re-Thinking African-Asian Relationships: Changing Realities – New Concepts, to be held on 24 – 26 March 2015 at the Doubletree by Hilton, Cape Town, South Africa, is now live.

Please visit the CONFERENCE WEBSITE for more information.

CCS in the Media

“China-South Africa economic engagement” – Radio France

CCS_Radio_France_Logo_201517 January 2015

Ross Anthony, Interim Director of the CCS and Yejoo Kim, Research Fellow at the CCS, discuss South Africa’s economic engagements with China with Radio France. They identify some opportunities in the relationship and highlight current shifts. [Listen to interview here – French]