The Chinese entry into the African continent and the subsequent effect on soft power in global relations are of increasing interest to many scholars. This article explores local perceptions of this trend by analyzing the media coverage of China in Africa, using Uganda as a case study. The literature review of general perceptions of China in the West revealed a predominantly negative image that portrayed China as bringing neo-colonialism and a new capitalist system to Africa, thus reflecting China’s relationship with Africa as exploitative. However, our findings showed that the local perceptions of China in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa are largely neutral and positive, rather than negative. Both the engagement and the actors largely remain at government levels, and the major focus is on politics, foreign affairs, and trade. Most respondents believed that Uganda benefitted from the relationship with China, but despite the portrayal of China as a benevolent nation, a considerable part of the coverage focused on China’s lack of transparency in its procurement processes, its marginalization of local companies, and the low quality of its products. This article makes a valuable contribution to the global discourse on China–Africa relations from an African perspective.

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