f_0021873_18109

f_0021873_18109 - ALTERNATIVES: Turkish Journal of...

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ALTERNATIVES: Turkish Journal of International Relations Vol.9, No.4, 149-186, Winter 2010 Public Perceptions and Reactions: Gauging African Views of China in Africa Max Rebol * Abstract While economic and political ties between China and Africa have grown substantially in the last years, our understanding of African perceptions of China is still limited. Those pieces of cross country survey data which are available draw a positive picture of African perceptions of China but surveys are not comprehensive and only consider various African countries as a whole. Starting from here, this paper looks into how opinions on China form in different parts of African society, using case studies from unions, political elites and civil society. It comes to the conclusion that trade has an overall bigger impact on popular perceptions of China than FDI, which has been the focus of much literature. While a rising trade deficit has an overall negative impact on perceptions of China, increased Chinese trade is perceived positive by consumers that get more competitive prices and small scale vendors. Civil society organizations in Africa sometimes show critical opinions but * PhD researcher at Fudan University, Department for International Relations and Public Administration, Shanghai, CHINA, max.rebol@gmail.com .
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Max Rebol Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 9, No. 4, Winter 2010 are also increasingly engaged by China. Western Media generally tends to portrait China’s relations with Africa in a more negative way, than it is perceived by most Africans. Several studies confirm that Africa is the continent that on average holds the most positive views on China. Key words: China, Africa, public opinion, perception, labor unions, political elites, civil society. Introduction The growth and intensifying of China – Africa relations has recently given rise to the question of how Africans see their new partner country. Opinions are difficult to generalize about, as China already plays many different roles in Africa and therefore produces a multi faceted relation that is no less complex than that of Africa with any Western power. Considering this complexity, the generally negative sub tone of Western media reporting about China in Africa is surprising. 1 The picture that has emerged however through some recent surveys and studies is that Africans generally see China in a much less negative way than often portrait by Western media. Also the diverse roles that China has started to play have led to more nuanced views by Africans. In a survey the majority of people stated that Chinese Businesses generally help the economic development of their country, while acknowledging some problems that they create. 2
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f_0021873_18109 - ALTERNATIVES: Turkish Journal of...

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