China-Africa Rhetorics and Discourses: The State, the Media and African Society

Convener: Ambass., Dr. David Shinn (The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA);

This subpanel explores Sino-Africa discourses on different levels: the state, in African media, and among African society. Much of Sino-Africa discourse has been framed by media outlets in the United States and Europe, so these papers present voices not often heard. Mario Esteban Rodríguez focuses on the official speeches given at the four meetings of the Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC); and he examines the two main African partners of China, South Africa and Angola. He focuses on the receptivity of Chinese leaders to African concerns, the consistency of China’s official rhetoric on Africa, and comparisons between their official rhetoric in Africa and Latin America. Maddalena Procopio’s paper explores how African peoples confront the Chinese state and as African people become more confident they will create new ways of modifying international relations. Bob Wekesa’s research investigates the changing media image of China in Africa with a view to determining different perceptions over time, using major Kenyan, Nigerian, and South African newspapers as the backbone of his research. Herman Wasserman draws on content analysis and interviews with journalists and investigates

how the South African media reports on China, the attitudes displayed towards China, and the constructions of China operating in South African media. It aims to explore these discourses across a wide range of media in order to probe whether different sections of the South African media might display different attitudes towards China’s involvement in Africa, depending on their audiences. Moving beyond the rhetoric of mainstream Western media, probing government proclamations, and interrogating the growing influence of African civil society, these subpanel participants give texture and voice to Africans as they perceive Chinese involvement in Africa.