Commentaries are written by Research Analysts at the Centre and focus on current and topical discussions or media events with regard to China or China/Africa relations.

Hong Kong showdown – missed opportunities


03 December 2014

Recent developments of the Hong Kong protests threaten a showdown which does not favor either of the parties involved. The arrest of more than one hundred people in the Mong Kok stronghold of the protest on the 26 November is one such indication. The use of coercion against the protestors will only strengthen the “democratic versus communist forces” thesis held by the majority of the observers. Such a showdown would only spell losses for the Central Government in its promotion of the “One country, two systems” policy in the process jeopardising the image of China abroad. [Continue reading]

By Dr Paul TembeCCS_Image_Research_Fellow_Paul_2014_02
Research Fellow
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

Mali-China US$ 9.5 billion railway deal: will it come to life?

CCS_Commentary_Mali_China_Railway_NT_201424 November 2014

On 3 November 2014, a multi-billion dollar deal between China and Mali to develop Mali’s railway sector was announced. The project is said to help the country diversify its economy and spark economic growth. The deal, worth altogether US$ 9.5 billion, is part of a string of investment deals between China and Mali totalling US$ 11 billion, according to Malian officials. However, Chinese authorities have as of yet not confirmed the investment; this begs the question of whether the deal is finalised or weather the Malian officials are going public as a way of strong-arming the Chinese side into agreeing on the deal? [Continue reading]

By Nuša TukićCCS_Research_Analyst_Nusa_Tukic_2013_6
Research Associate
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

The China-USA climate deal: global responsibility trumps power politics

CCS_Commentary_US_China_Climate_Deal_Anthony_201419 November 2014

The recent announcement that Chinese president Xi Jinping and United States president Barack Obama have agreed for their respective countries to cut carbon emissions by nearly one third over the next two decades should be praised. Not only does it signal that the world’s two largest carbon emitters are taking the problem seriously, it also signals that, despite political and economic friction, China and America have the ability to co-operate on issues of global import. While some sceptics have dismissed the deal, the fact that such conversations are happening at all, is a positive sign. Given future climate challenges coupled with a global system which privileges endless economic growth, this will hopefully be the beginning of a sustained, long-term dialogue upon which planetary stability ultimately depends. [Continue reading]

By Dr Ross Anthony CCS_Research_Fellow_Ross_Anthony_2014
Interim Head
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

The China factor in the 2014 Mozambican general elections campaign

CCS_Commentary_China_Factor_Mozam_Elections_Njal_201410 November 2014

As many African countries face shortages of funds to finance public infrastructure construction, the relationship with Beijing is increasingly important for many elected African politicians, especially those seeking to remain in power. The recent elections in Mozambique, won by Frelimo (with approximately 56 per cent of the vote) and Filipe Nyusi (57 per cent), are no exception, and highlight the growing role of China, however indirectly, in domestic politics. As in some other African countries, the campaign for the elections held in Mozambique on the 15 October 2014 brought to the fore the China factor. The three main political parties, Frelimo (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, in power since independence in 1975), Renamo (National Resistance of Mozambique, the main opposition party) and MDM (Democratic Movement of Mozambique, the third biggest party), in their quest for wooing voters, presented different discourses on the role of China in the country. [Continue reading]

By Jorge NjalJorge_Njal
Institute of African Studies
Zhejiang Normal University

PRC China’s Silk Road Strategy: A foothold in the Suez, but looking to Israel

CCS_Commentary_Suez_and_China_ES_201403 November 2014

“China plans to develop a Silk Road economic belt that spans the Eurasian continent and a maritime Silk Road that links the Pacific with the Indian Ocean. We can see on a map that the two Silk Roads will cross in the Middle East region, which spells excellent opportunities and bright prospects for common development and common prosperity for China and the region’s countries”, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, January 14). The Silk Road narrative espoused by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi evokes China’s strategy of developing linking transportation nodes between maritime port terminals and inland rail networks throughout Eurasia, including across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With the overall purpose of carving out new export markets, this Silk Road strategy simultaneously seeks to develop large-scale transportation infrastructure construction projects for China’s state-owned enterprises (SOE) and create transportation routes to export products to foreign markets. Furthermore, as China’s national development has become increasingly dependent on maritime commerce to reach the global marketplace, Beijing has sought to minimize the risk of shipping disruptions by reducing its dependence on any single route through developing a variety of transportation corridors. [Continue reading]

By Emma ScottCCS_Visiting_Scholar_Emma_2013
Research Affiliate
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University