China in Africa: Soft power, media perceptions and a pan-developing identity
China is currently implementing a full-fledged ‘Going ¸Global’ strategy, particularly in Africa. Chinese engagement on the continent is all pervasive and spearheaded by summit conferences and flanked by a surge of Chinese state-own media houses and state-funded cultural institutions. This report seeks to contextualize the Chinese media and culture policies and to examine their ideological constituents. An important component of ‘soft power’ as understood by Chinese policymakers is to utilize non-governmental forces, and build citizen diplomacy. Thus mobilizing and educating the Chinese about the strategic importance of Africa has been on the government’s agenda. The report discriminates between various narratives on China-Africa relations and issues emerging from the Chinese press from 2002 to 2011. The conclusion drawn from examining this half-orchestrated, half freestyle media chorus is that, China has been employing domestic media to engage public support to buttress its expansion in Africa. Thus to build a positive image of Africa in China must be seen as a component of the mainly economic Chinese relations with Africa.
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