Exploiting Africa: The Influence of Maoist China in Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania [NOOK Book]

Overview

The purpose of this book is to provide an historical examination of China’s activities in Africa, an important yet overlooked aspect of the broader subject of China in Africa today. There is a tendency of observers of China in Africa to always look forward; however, there is a need to look backward. Modern China’s historical presence in Africa must be scrutinized in order to understand the context of its current and future actions on the ...
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Exploiting Africa: The Influence of Maoist China in Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania

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Overview

The purpose of this book is to provide an historical examination of China’s activities in Africa, an important yet overlooked aspect of the broader subject of China in Africa today. There is a tendency of observers of China in Africa to always look forward; however, there is a need to look backward. Modern China’s historical presence in Africa must be scrutinized in order to understand the context of its current and future actions on the continent.

As the book will illustrate, China in the past meddled in the affairs of Africa, in places like Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania. It did so for self-interest, for the benefit of the Communist Party of China, specifically its leaders’ strategic objective, which was to demonstrate influence in the world, that is, power in international politics. Though its material resources were scant in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, China nevertheless used them, in addition to devoting time and attention to Africa. It was a Meddling Dragon.

China was not required to devote time, attention, and resources to Africa. But it did, in Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania, especially. China skillfully used its limited diplomatic, intelligence, and economic means to gain traction on the continent. It sought influence through a combination of means – through shaping perceptions, developing personal relationships, and providing tangible assistance.

There was a rhyme and reason to China’s early approach to the continent. And that rhyme and reason remains much the same today. Viewed in the broader historical and strategic contexts, China’s current presence in Africa demonstrates continuity with the past rather than a renewed focus. This book contributes vitally to the discourse on Sino-African history and adds to the contemporary strategic understanding and debate about China in Africa.

The Chinese arrived on the African continent without fanfare, yet maintained an active and influential presence, a presence which ultimately was more pragmatic than revolutionary. Though often couched in ideological rhetoric, China’s behavior in Africa in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s demonstrated goals and actions of an aspiring great power in the world. Contemporary China receives much more attention in Africa, as it does everywhere else around the world. Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand the nature and character of China’s historical actions on the African continent in order to properly grasp its future policies. Rather than merely looking forward, one must look backward to comprehend the true nature of China in Africa.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Donovan Chau's Exploiting Africa makes a valuable and timely contribution to the burgeoning literature on China's involvement in Africa today. In contrast to most extant accounts, this book demonstrates the link between the involvements of Maoist China on the continent from the 1950s to the 1970s. Although China's Africa policy then was influenced by its ideological orientation, Chau argues convincingly that 'China's meddling' was at a fundamental level pragmatically driven. In the long term, China was seeking to ensure access to Africa's vast mineral resources for its own primarily economic objectives. Chau's arguments are masterfully supported by empirical evidence from three case studies: Algeria, Ghana, and Tanzania."

--Edmond J. Keller, research professor of political science, University of California, Los Angeles

"Even before China overtook the United States as Africa's biggest trading partner in 2009, the expanding network of economic, political, and military ties that Beijing has cultivated across Africa has been cause for concern by policymakers and analysts in Washington. What many of them overlook, however, is that the recent activity is hardly the first Chinese foray into Africa. Donovan Chau's examination of Communist China's not inconsiderable efforts under Mao Zedong to gain influence in several post-independence African states not only lifts the veil on this little-known period, but also draws some tantalizing clues from the initial strategic engagement as to possible trajectories now that Beijing has emerged as one of the leading actors on the continent at a time when Africa as a whole enjoys both buoyant economic prospects and growing geopolitical importance."

--J. Peter Pham, director, Africa Center, Atlantic Council, and editor-in-chief, Journal of the Middle East and Africa

"Donovan Chau's informative and often provocative analysis of Sino-African relations, from the 1955 Bandung Conference until the death of Mao Zedong, is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the rising Asian power's involvement in the continent today. Dispassionate and avoiding polemics, Exploiting Africa engagingly explores the PRC's historical involvement in three case studies. Ultimately, Chau sounds the tocsin concerning Beijing's ongoing geopolitical ambitions in Africa that world leaders will ignore at their own peril."

--George L. Simpson, professor of history at High Point University and editor of The Journal of the Middle East and Africa

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612512518
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • File size: 723 KB

Meet the Author

Donovan C. Chau is an associate professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino. Educated at Claremont McKenna College, Missouri State University, and the University of Reading, his teaching and research focus on international politics, particularly in Asia and Africa. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Chau worked as a subject matter expert on U.S. government contracts and as a professional staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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