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.

China-Africa co-operation: a mind shift east

CCS_Commentary_Cultural_Acceptance_TF_201416 July 2014

Within the broad process of globalisation, the economic effects of the China-Africa relationship are having affects in various other aspects of social life. For instance, in Guanzhou, in the south-west of China, there are an abundance of African students. On the Chinese television channel CCTV, there is a thirty minute program every day devoted to Africa (with a bureau in Nairobi), and the Chinese publication ChinaAfrica can be bought in  bookstores all over Africa. There are currently over thirty Confucius Institutes in Africa and the number is growing; the centres have proved popular, with reports from Nairobi University claiming its students are “hooked” on Chinese. Many students from Africa now receive scholarships to further their studies in China. The South African Department of Basic Education and its Chinese counterparts recently signed an agreement that Chinese would be taught in South African secondary schools. However, while such cultural exchanges have helped toward dispelling fears of the ethnic “other” – be they Chinese or African – there is still a long way to go before true mutual cultural acceptance can be achieved. [Continue reading]

By Tienie FourieCCS_Image_Guess_Author_Tienie_Fourie_2014
Guest Author

China’s domestic environmentalism and its global implications

CCS_Commentary_China's_Domestic_Environmentalism_MB_201407 July 2014

On a recent trip to the Chinese city of Changchun, in Jilin Province, I visited Jingyuetan National Forest Park – a protected wilderness area on the outskirts of the city. Even though the forest park is predominantly a tourist attraction with many development projects taking place around the park, there nevertheless remains a focus on environmental protection and keeping the forest park clean from waste. This was a reassuring observation considering the enormous amount of industrial development and urbanisation (with harsh effects of pollution) I witnessed elsewhere in China. However, as someone who researches China’s environmental impact on Africa, such parks left me wondering how this domestic, eco-friendly turn, squares up with China’s international environmental impact, as it “goes global”. [Continue reading]

By Meryl BurgessCCS_Research_Analyst_Meryl_12
Research Analyst
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

Message from CCS Director Sven Grimm – change at the helm of the CCS

Dr. Grimm30 June 2014

Dear readers,

After about four years at the Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS), I will step down as director of the CCS with effect of 30 June 2014. The CCS has grown quite substantially in capacity and is a great team, as you will have noticed. We are in our 10th year of existence, which, in itself, is no small feat! Managing the day-to-day business of the CCS does obviously require a full-time commitment. My family and I have decided to return to Europe. The centre will be fully managed by my colleague Dr Ross Anthony from 1 July onwards. In the last two months, we have quietly prepared the handover at the CCS; quite a few things have been co-managed by Ross already and he is a very good choice to take up the baton as Acting Head of the CCS. [Continue reading]

Emerging and growing economies: same same but different?

CCS_Commentary_Emerging_Economies_DC_201424 June 2014

While some countries, particularly those which bore the brunt of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, are noticing an economic recovery, countries which were at that time enjoying stable growth, currently see their economy in difficulty. During the years following the financial crisis, a lot has been written and said about growing or emerging economies. A number of those countries are developing countries. For instance, it has been mentioned that a few African countries are among the world’s fastest growing economies. But the paradox is that analysts tend to forget the previous economic indicators of those countries, which were either poor or low. While some countries noticed growth, such growth did not contribute to developing infrastructure, creating jobs, bridging the income gap between rich and poor people. In many countries; particularly in Africa, the growth is linked to the increasing foreign investments in the energy sector and the rise in commodities price. However at the micro level, targets have not been met and the number of strikes and protests can justify the unsustainable growth. China, South Africa and Brazil are three cases which highlight the broader economic challenges now facing developing nations. [Continue reading]

 By Dr Daouda Cissé
Research Fellow
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University

Decrease in demand and in supply? The impact of new Chinese regulations on wildlife crime in South Africa

CCS_Commentary_Wild_life_Crime_DL_201418 June 2014

During December 2013 the Chinese news agency, Xinhua, reported that new regulations were published by Chinese authorities that ban shark fin and bird’s nest (amongst other commodities) from official reception dinners. The main reason for this was the start of an initiative to regulate the use of public funding and curb official extravagance. Since his coming into power in 2013, President Xi Jinping has launched a crackdown on official corruption and luxuries, dramatically changing the operational habits of high ranking levels of Chinese society. With specific reference to some traditional Chinese delicacies such as abalone and shark fin, such commodities are often harvested illegally in South Africa and also listed as endangered (as is the case with abalone). It remains to be seen if the new Chinese government regulations will lead to a decrease in the illicit wildlife trade in South Africa. [Continue reading]

By Dr Derica LambrechtsCCS_Associate_Derica_Lambrechts_2013_07
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University