Sunday, November 29, 2015

Everything you need to know about FOCAC: Rising Powers

We are continuing to discuss the Sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) for the rest of the month. FOCAC will be held in three weeks, December 4-5 in Johannesburg, South Africa. For historical context, FOCAC was initiated in 2000 in Beijing in order to sketch out a three-year cooperation plan between China and the countries of Africa. Since then, the triennial meetings have alternated between China and an African country. This week, hosts Winslow Robertson and Ms. Lina Benabdallah connect FOCAC to the idea of rising powers: what FOCAC means to South Africa and what these summits do for China as a member of the Global South, the developing world, or whichever nomenclature one may prefer. Joining them is Dr. Sven Grimm, a political scientist who has worked on external partners’ co-operation with Africa since 1999. He is a Senior Researcher and the Coordinator of the Rising Powers program at The German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn. Since 2006 his research has focused on emerging economies’ role in Africa, and specifically China-Africa relations. He obtained his Ph.D. from Hamburg University in 2002 with a thesis on E.U.-Africa relations. He has previously worked with the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and was the former head of the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa.


Everything you need to know about FOCAC: Security

Note: This episode was recorded live over lunch, and has considerable ambient noise which we were unable to remove.

We are continuing to discuss the Sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) for the rest of the month. FOCAC will be held in three weeks, December 4-5 in Johannesburg, South Africa. For historical context, FOCAC was initiated in 2000 in Beijing in order to sketch out a three-year cooperation plan between China and the countries of Africa. Since then, the triennial meetings have alternated between China and an African country. This week, hosts Winslow Robertson and Ms. Lina Benabdallah examine China-Africa security issues with Amb. David Shinn, who was U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, and co authored China and Africa: A Century of Engagement with Prof. Joshua Eisenman, which was published in 2012 by the University of Pennsylvania Press. In addition, he recently published a non-China-Africa book: Hizmet in Africa: The Activities and Significance of the Gulen Movement.


Friday, November 27, 2015

The Clean Boardroom: An alternative perspective on Chinese corruption and bribery in Kenya

“I am not a racist but…” Mrs. Zhang (pseudonym) begins smilingly. She is addressing me specifically, staring right at my nose. Still, I miss the end of the sentence. I am busy thinking to myself: has anyone ever started a statement that way and finished it gracefully?

If anyone could, it might be Zhang. I like her immediately. She is in her mid-forties, I am told. I would have guessed she is a decade younger. She runs a travel agency and energetically ushers my two colleagues and me into a clean, white boardroom.

I take in the room. A stark, unadorned contrast to the makeshift construction site offices where I often conduct my interviews, their dirt-covered walls collaged with attendance sheets and architecture floor plans. This is almost sterile in comparison. The blank walls shine in the wooden reflection of a large ovular table. A leafy green plant occupies a corner of the room.

We are here trying to make sense of tax-related issues facing Chinese residents in Kenya. She indulges us, explaining – without malice – her difficulties: “It does not matter how clean the records, how carefully they are maintained. When the revenue authority comes to investigate, they will always find a maobing”—a flaw. From Zhang’s perspective, the turbid tax regulations allow wiggle room for opportunistic officers. There is little to be done but pay up, she declares, still smiling.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Everything you need to know about FOCAC: Sustainable Development

We are continuing to discuss the Sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) for the rest of the month. FOCAC will be held in three weeks, December 4-5 in Johannesburg, South Africa. For historical context, FOCAC was initiated in 2000 in Beijing in order to sketch out a three-year cooperation plan between China and the countries of Africa. Since then, the triennial meetings have alternated between China and an African country. This week, hosts Winslow Robertson and Ms. Lina Benabdallah hope to discuss how how FOCAC will engage with sustainable development and have three guests from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Kenya, WWF China, and WWF South Africa respectively to explore the linkages between FOCAC and sustainable development: Jackson Kiplagat is the Interim Policy & Research Lead - Africa for WWF Kenya, Nan Li is Policy Program Manager for China's Green Shift Initiative at WWF China; and Louise Scholtz is Manager: Special Projects: Policy Futures Unit of WWF South Africa. In addition, WWF South Africa recently put up a FOCAC website that is well worth exploring.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Everything you need to know about FOCAC: Media

South Africa is hosting the sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) this December. FOCAC was initiated in the year 2000 and in Beijing in order to sketch out a three-year cooperation plan between China and the countries of Africa. Since then, the triennial meetings have alternated between China and an African country - and this time, will mark the first instance that FOCAC is held at a summit (instead of ministerial) level in an African country. To discuss FOCAC today as well as its media permutations, hosts Winslow Robertson (and Lina  Lina Benabdallah in spirit) invited Dr. Bob Wekesa on the show. Dr. Wekesa received his PhD in international communications at Communication University of China and is currently a Research Associate at University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He is a leading expert on all things relating to China-Africa media, and he actually attending the previous FOCAC in 2012, held in Beijing.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

More ways to connect with the Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network

The Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network aims to strengthen and widen the reach of emerging cross-regional communities of research and practice in the area of China-Africa studies. Originally established in 2007 as a small research working group at the Centre for Sociological Research, at the University of Johannesburg, the Research Network has grown rapidly to become a global network of researchers and practitioners. It provides a dynamic, virtual platform where members meet, debate, inquire, and stay in touch. Hosts Winslow Robertson and Ms. Lina Benabdallah (who are members of the Network) wanted to look at the Network's most recent outreach efforts and invited Dr. Tu Hyunh, who is the cofounder of the Network as well as a recent postdoctoral fellow at Jinan University on the pod to discuss these efforts.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Chinese Petty Traders In Nigeria (and a brief Yoruba lesson)

Chinese petty traders in Africa are always a fascinating subject - what drives a person to pick up and move to another country to try compete ferociously in a business with tiny profits? To help answer that question, hosts Winslow Robertson and Ms. Lina Benabdallah have invited to the pod Allen Xiao, a PhD student in Geography, with minor in African Studies, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was trained in anthropology in Hong Kong and his previous research focused on Chinese migration to Nigeria: he authored “In the Shadow of the States: The Informalities of Chinese Petty Entrepreneurship in Nigeria” which was published in the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs earlier this year. Now his interests lie in the making of multi-ethnic Lagos and shifting Yoruba identity, and to that end he has been learning Yoruba since 2014. Who are these Chinese petty traders in Nigeria and how do they fit into the Sino-Africa relationship?


Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Ivory Queen?

On Wednesday October 7, 2015, Yang Feng Glan, a 66-year-old Chinese restaurant owner in Dar es Salaam station and vice-president and secretary-general of the Tanzania China-Africa business council, appeared in a Tanzanian court to be charged with smuggling ivory between 2000 and 2014. Media reports have dubbed her the "Ivory Queen" and the Elephant Action League, an American NGO, described her as “the most important ivory trafficker ever arrested in the country.” Host Winslow Robertson and new cohost Ms. Lina Benabdallah are joined by Hongxiang Huang, owner and manager of the China-Africa social enterprise China House and expert on China-Africa ivory smuggling issues, to look closer at this story. Did Yang Feng Glan fit the proverbial profile of a Chinese ivory smuggler in Africa?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Clean cookstoves

Note: This episode was recorded last year and is missing some content. It has been uploaded as the podcast is relaunching.

Clean cookstoves are cooking instruments designed to save fuel, improve health, empower women, and protect the environment. They are rarely mentioned in the same breath as China-Africa relations, but in this episode, host Winslow Robertson has two clean cookstove experts connect the two topics. Jichong Wu, China Program Manager at the United Nations Foundation and Yiting Wang, Program Development Manager at WWF-China, both share their histories with clean cookstoves as well as explain how those stoves fit into the China-Africa relationship.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Are You a Chinese?

By Zander Rounds

“Are you a Chinese?”

After years in China, ineffectually trying to blur my gangly American edges and blend in, this is one question that I never really imagined I would receive.

And yet, on more than a few occasions since my arrival in Kenya a couple of weeks ago*, Kenyans have curiously posed precisely that: “Are you a Chinese?” Or the other day, while chatting with a Chinese colleague, our Kenyan waiter returned my change, looked me in the eye and un-ironically pronounced, “Xie xie” [Mandarin for ‘thank you’].

Admittedly, it’s the crew that I am now running with. China House (中南屋), a Nairobi-based collective of young Chinese movers and shakers, housed under a common vision of flourishing through collaboration and connection between Chinese and Africans. I am the newest (and most American) member of a team working to integrate two worlds that occupy the same physical universe yet are still often separate: the Kenyan community and the Chinese community residing in Kenya.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Great love engraved on a blue helmet: Peace-keeping Hero Jiang Hangang

By Zander Rounds

Author: Feng Chunmei
Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 12/3/10
Source: China Daily

Original text (in Chinese):

Jiang Hangang (third from left) with leadership team
members inspecting equipment (Zhu Min, Xinhua) 
In a country of peace and prosperity, why does the hero embark on journeys? To uphold peace.

On April 18, 2008, Jiang Hangang, Party Secretary, Military Engineer Platoon Captain of China’s seventh dispatch of peacekeepers to Liberia, and Regiment commander of Beijing Collective Military Engineering Corps, was in charge of 274 soldiers preparing to set off.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Translation Tuesday: The Wedding of a Post-90’s Pair of Workers in Africa

By Zander Rounds

Author: Sun Rui, Bo She
Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 5/4/15
Source: Xinhua
Original text (in Chinese):

On May 2, near the eighth section of Nairobi, Kenya’s Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, workers dressed in the clothing of the Masai people delivered their blessings to Post-90’s newlyweds Mu Xuqiang and Li Zhiyuan.

That same day, those in the China Luqiao Engineering LLC Mombasa-Nairobi’s Project Eight camp bore witness as a pair of worker based in central Kenya became happily united in matrimony. Mu Xuqiang, the groom, is inherited the family business. In 2012, the Beijing youngster took root in Africa. Li Zhiyuan, the bride, formerly studied abroad in England. In 2014, the Inner Mongolian girl rushed to Africa. They met and got to know each other while working on the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, eventually deciding to enter into marriage. At the wedding ceremony, two Kenyan girls wearing white dresses stood behind the beautiful bride, lifting the massive wedding dress tail with small hands and revealing pure smiles. The local male workers were draped in red-checkered cloth and grasped long sticks, evoking the spirit of Masai warriors. Female workers wore short, exquisite red dresses and earrings, as if characters from a painting

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Benguela Railway: The Glory of “Made in China”

By Christian Straube

Authors: Zhu Jianhong, Zhang Baojun and Long Jiamin
Translator: Christian Straube
Published on: 15/05/04
Source: People’s Daily

Original text (in Chinese):

The Benguela Railway was officially inaugurated on February 2015 after rehabilitation by the China Railway 20 Bureau Group Corporation. Initially a colonial project by the Portuguese at the end of the 19th century, it integrated with the Katanga Railway, and now connects the African Copperbelt with the harbor of Lobito on the Atlantic Ocean.
---- Christian Straube

The Benguela Railway, which has been built by Chinese in the African country of Angola, is the longest railway built by a Chinese company overseas in the 21st century.

It is a railway filled with glory. When it was opened on February 14, the presidents of Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Zambia took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. They also interacted with the meritorious people representing the construction: Liu Feng, Chen Lei, and Ma Junfeng of the China Railway 20 Bureau Group Corporation (CR20).

It is a railway full of blood and sweat. Over a period of more than ten years, more than ten thousand of CR20's staff helped with the construction. They suffered from land mines, malaria, a shortage of materials, and worsening security conditions. They had to overcome language, traffic, and communication difficulties as well as the discomforting climate. Several workers sacrificed their lives.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Translation Tuesday: A Guangzhou Enterprise Receives a 100 million RMB Injection from CAD

By Zander Rounds

Author: N/A
Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 4/15/15
Source: Nanfang Daily
Original text (in Chinese)

A recent multi-million dollar cooperative agreement between the China Africa Development Fund and Choice Investment LLC makes Choice the “first private enterprise in Guangzhou to receive support from a national foundation”, demonstrating the diverse and dynamic landscape of Chinese economic engagement with African countries.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Translation Tuesday: A Chinese Farmer’s Story of Wasteland Reclamation in Africa

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Xu Wenting, Wang Bo
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 05/03/2015
Source: Xinhua News
Original text (in Chinese):

As the saying goes “Chinese people will never change their Chinese stomach”. Chinese people in Africa are always looking for better Chinese culinary ingredients, and Chinese farmers are lookign to tap into that market.
----Laiyin Yuan (Translator)

For Cao Huizhong, a Chinese vegetable grower living in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC], the first thing after getting up every morning is to take a look at his Chinese cabbages in the field. Row upon row of green leaves growing on the land, his cabbages are slightly different from their Chinese relatives: bigger leaves but thinner bodies. This is his tenth crop of experimental Chinese cabbages.

“It is not ideal, but they finally look like Chinese cabbages. We should keep improving the process,” he said.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Translation Tuesday: China Nonferrous Metals News: China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group goes off the beaten path

By Christian Straube

Author: Wang Changming
Translator: Christian Straube
Published on: 04/09/2015
Source: Zambia-China Economic & Trade Cooperation Zone
Original text (in Chinese):

 China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group Corporation's leadership
In March of 2015, China held the famous "two meetings." [the annual plenary sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) - Winslow] On March 5, the third meeting of the Twelfth National People's Congress was held in Beijing and, in the morning, Premier Li Keqiang delivered an exciting government work report. Luo Tao, general manager of China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group Corporation [CNMC Group] and member of the NPC was impressed by the report, as the focus on state-owned enterprise reform has highly raised expectations. Like him, the non-ferrous industry is being guided and inspired by a mission: to perform duties conscientiously; to build the non-ferrous industry; and to share wisdom in order to promote the healthy development of the nation's economic power! 

"All people work together, going to the same direction." Achieving a better "China Dream" is a glorious and career goal; building the non-ferrous metals industry is a long way to go on in that direction. Dream in front of the road. Only one non-ferrous industry leader has cultivated more maturity, more power, more flexibility, more ability in order to better promote the construction of non-ferrous industrial world power step by step into a brilliant reality. In fact, the non-ferrous industry in recent years has been actively responding to major national development initiatives, deepening reform, improving quality and efficiency, strengthening management, greater efforts interpretation of adversity and strong one after another glorious chapter, the emergence of a large number of outstanding Enterprise Group. Among these, the CNMC Group's development is particularly significant. The Group successfully entered into the Fortune 500. Behind the rapid growth of CNMC is a road of transformation, innovation, and strong culture and technology. 

Let us analyze the China Nonferrous Metals Group, to understand how this thriving enterprise has operated in recent years, which blazes a path for the future development of the non-ferrous metals industry, and provides valuable experience for the reform of state-owned state-owned enterprises.
---- Original Chinese editor's note

On 29 January 2015, Standing Committee of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China member and Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang addressed China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group Corporation with an important remark. He encouraged the CNMC Group “to continue focussing on core business, strengthening management, attaching importance to effectiveness, and constantly raising the level of competitiveness when ‘going out’ in order to further increase China’s natural resource security.” It was the third consecutive year that Premier Li Keqiang gave important instructions to the group. This reflects the importance that the Central Committee and the State Council attach to and what they expect of China’s non-ferrous metals industry and the CNMC Group in particular.

As a matter of fact, the CNMC Group received the attention of Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Gaoli, Li Yuanchao, Hu Chunhua, Qiangba Puncog, Chang Wanquan, Wang Yong, Ma Peihua, and other party and state leaders in 2014. Since 2015, Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Gaoli, Wang Yang, Wen Jiabao, Chang Wanquan, Guo Shengkun, Wang Yong, and other party and state leaders, as well as Xu Shaoshi, Zhang Yi and more than 20 provincial leaders, have made important comments regarding the CNMC Group. They have high expectations for the group’s development.

The group’s general manager Luo Tao, delegate to the 12th National People’s Congress, said: “This caring encourages new vitality. The CNMC Group always bears in mind with what it was entrusted and what is expected of it by the party and the country. It takes on the mission of state-owned enterprises and stands firm on its pathway to grow better and stronger. Right now, the group strides forward towards the dream of becoming a mining enterprise of international standing.”

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Despite considerable Chinese aid, why do not Africans appreciate China?

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Shang Xi
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 04/03/2015
Source: Southern Metropolis Daily (SMD)
Original text (in Chinese):

This article is a trenchant diagnosis of the underlying problems in Sino-Africa economic relations. During the recent Third Africa-China Young Leaders Forum, the Deputy Secretary General of the China Foundation for Peace and Development suggested that the Chinese government and companies should rethink how they do business in Africa. More local efforts should also be encouraged in order to enhance people-to-people exchanges between both sides. It is a useful introspection for the Chinese to find a way to “clear its name” in African countries.
---- Laiyin Yuan (translator)

China has been providing aid for thousands of projects in Africa. In addition to famous ones such as Ethiopia’s African Union Conference Center, Tanzania’s Nyerere Conference Center, and Mozambique’s National Stadium, there are also a large amount of highways, railways, airports, hospitals, schools, etc.

However, with more and more Chinese people moving to Africa, conflicts between them and locals are intensifying. On the eve of the Third Africa-China Young Leaders Forum, a Chinese restaurant in Kenya provoked widespread condemnation because it barred local Kenyans from entering after 5:00 pm (read more here - Laiyin).

During this forum, the China Foundation for Peace and Development (CFPD) held a dialogue focusing on “People-to-People Exchange and Sino-African Relations.” Ji Ping, CFPD’s Deputy Secretary General, created a new word “Afrina” combining “Africa” and “China” in his speech, hoping the two sides can truly understand each other on a non-governmental level.

“Now the most important thing in Sino-African relations is people-to-people exchange, and everyone has responsibility in it,” said Ji Ping during an exclusive interview with our reporter after the forum. China’s aid in Africa should “break the whole into parts” and penetrate into the African grassroots.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Translation Tuesday: No Africans allowed? Suspicions about Chinese restaurant discrimination in Kenya provoke widespread anger

By Zander Rounds

Author: Yingying
Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 3/25/15
Source: Sohu News
Original text (in Chinese):

A recent scandal involving a Chinese restaurant in Kenya that barred locals after dark made international headlines, revealing tensions surrounding Chinese businesses practices in Africa. Yingying, a Chinese entrepreneur working in the continent, draws on a large survey of ethnic Chinese opinions in Africa to illuminate why the restaurant did what it did, wrong as it was.
---- Zander Rounds

On March 23, the most influential newspaper in Nairobi, Kenya published on its front page a story titled, “Restaurant: Sorry, No Africans, we don’t trust them after dark.” This attracted the attention of ethnic Chinese from all walks of life within Kenyan, and even those in other African countries.

Also on March 23, the author’s Quan Fei Gou [全非购] media platform published an article called, “The lead story in Kenya’s biggest newspaper reports on an incident where some Chinese restaurants bar locals at night; Chinese people, what do you think,” and conducted a survey. Based on the 312 received results, ethnic Chinese in Africa think, first of all, that this practice is painfully embarrassing, and subsequently, that this incident could have been a little more tactfully mediated. They also think that locals should be allowed to dine at night. To resolve public security concerns, restaurants can strengthen security practices. At the same time, the respondents commonly considered Kenyan’s commentary and media coverage of the incident too extreme.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Translation Tuesday: China's Peacekeepers in Mali: Bringing the “Lei Feng Spirit” to West Africa

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Bai Yuntian, Li Xianghui
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 03/04/2015
Source: China National Radio (CNR) Military
Original text (in Chinese):

Lei Feng, an ordinary Chinese soldier in the People's Liberation Army, was the Chinese model of altruism and modesty due to his good deeds and selfless contribution to the people. Now, Chinese soldiers are bringing the "spirit of Lei Feng" to West Africa.
---- Laiyin Yuan (Translator)

Photo 1: China’s second batch of peacekeeping troops in Mali are showing the locals how to read the blueprints of prefabricated homes/Photo: Bai Yuntian

“We are able to live in these cozy prefabricated homes thanks to your generous help,” said Ayette (transliteration from Chinese – Laiyin), a Malian, to the Chinese peacekeepers lending a helping hand in Gao Super Camp on the morning of March 4. Recently, the soldiers of China’s second peacekeeping troops were "learning from Lei Feng, to help people, to sow friendship," and to promote the Lei Feng spirit widely in West Africa.

Shortly after Spring Festival, the peacekeepers were dispatched to Gao Super Camp for prefab house construction without any “post-holiday recovery.”

Orlando, the United Nations’ Mali Mission officer who supervised the Super Camp, introduced that “the process of prefab house construction by 17 Malian employees on this site has been very slow due to the limitations in technology and skills. It has been more than a half month since they stationed in the Super Camp, but they are still living in thatched huts now.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chinese Companies in Africa: Is Addressing Labor Conflicts Mission Impossible?

By Hou Yixiao

“We have been working together for almost half a year, and they can understand me although I can’t speak English and can only use gestures,” explained a Chinese manager proudly when asked about his relationship with his local staff on a construction site in Nairobi, Kenya. He is in his fifties and is originally from the countryside. Walking inside the construction site of the new Two Rivers shopping mall, there was no shouting, no raised voices when orders were given, and minimal disagreement between local workers and Chinese managers. I could see local workers actively greeting managers and embracing visitors with friendly smiles.

Chinese vice president Li Yuanchao emphasized in the second China Tanzania Investment Forum that China has cooperated with Africa for decades based on “mutual benefit”. China provides Africa badly-needed finance and trade, while Africa provides the PRC with a steady supply of natural resources. According to the Economist, China has been Africa’s top trading partner since 2013.

The contractor for Two Rivers' construction is the Chinese company AVIC International. The mall is planned to be the largest shopping center in East Africa, ideally situated near Nairobi’s diplomatic community and its wealthier residents. Some 200 Chinese employees and 1,000 local workers are working together to build the new mall. The Chinese managers are responsible for training, supervision, and ensuring overall safety; each leads around 20 local workers to accomplish their daily assignments. “We are required to finish the project before Christmas. Although we are in a hurry, we are still confident that we’ll be able to meet the deadline,” explained the project’s director, Xiong, whose name has beene changed for this story in order to protect his identity.

Translation Tuesday: Gansu Television Program Daguo Wenhua Demonstrates the “International Style” of an African Brother

By Zander Rounds

Author: N/A
Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 3/2/15
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese):

It might not be so uncommon to see a foreigner that speaks Mandarin fluently. But its not every day that you see a foreigner who comfortably “plays” with Chinese national culture! Just a few days ago, the Gansu television program Daguo Wenhua [The Culture of a Great Nation] invited an African brother who is well-versed in Chinese national culture. As soon as Jiege, a Cameroonian, entered the stage during the last program, he attracted the attention of the entire audience. While his dark skin and authentic Mandarin was enough to stun Internet users, his self-introduction – delivered in Chinese opera form – even inspired Old Gu’s repeated praise.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Chinese in South Africa Gradually Entering the Local Mainstream Sectors

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Song Fangcan
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 03/05/2015
Source: Chinese News Service (CNS)
Original text (in Chinese):

The new generation of Chinese immigrants in South Africa is quite different from their predecessors. With better education, more ambition, and international vision, they are breaking the old stereotypes of overseas Chinese as ill-mannered or cheap laborers. This new generation is laying a solid foundation for their future as well as the future of other overseas Chinese.
---- Laiyin Yuan (Translator)

Having no knowledge of English; preferring to carry cash; loving abalone, ivory, and rhinoceros horn; and only spending time with their own small social circles… these are all stereotypes that some South Africans have for the local Chinese population. However, with the arrival of many new immigrants from mainland China and the rise of local Chinese South Africans, more and more Chinese are integrating into South African society and entering major industries in the.

“Today will be the beginning of your brand new life as an attorney,” said to He Hai (Jacky), a Shanghai-born Chinese, by Judge Ismael [transliteration from Chinese – Laiyin] of the South Africa Supreme Court on March 3. On this very day, He Hai successfully passed the South African attorney bar examination and took an oath to become an attorney. He is also believed to be the first mainland-born Chinese to pass the bar in South Africa.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Translation Tuesday: The Chinese in Africa long to “celebrate New Year like migratory birds”

By Zander Rounds

Author: Song Fangcan
Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 2/24/15
Source: China News Service
Original text (in Chinese):

What is it like for the Chinese living and working in Africa? This article about China’s “migratory birds” – the people that return home from abroad every holiday season – provides some insight into what it is like being abroad during the holidays.
---- Zander Rounds (Translator) 

During a skit from the Year of the Goat Spring Festival Gala that took place on New Year’s Eve, a lonely father (Played by Pan Changjiang) morosely passes the time in an empty car. After a “serendipitous meeting” at a train station he receives a call from his son saying that he has already returned from Africa to celebrate the New Year. Viewers are moved as this previously unattainable dream of reunion becomes a happy reality. Although this is only an art piece, now returning to China has undeniably become a common practice for Africa’s Chinese people.

“The most remote distance in the world is when you are in China but I am in Africa.” Someone posted this sorrowful message. However, along with developments in communication technology and as transportation methods become more convenient and individual purchasing power increases, more and more overseas Chinese in Africa return to China (their ancestral home) to celebrate the New Year. This is no longer an unattainable dream. During this traditional festival more and more people embark on this homeward-bound, “migratory bird-like” journey to celebrate the holiday.

Monday, March 2, 2015

How to use Chinese social media to effectively engage Chinese people in elephant conservation

By Li Jiayu

“Hello, guys. Do you have Weibo and WeChat?” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder and CEO of Save The Elephants the first time he met us. It really surprised me to meet a foreigner so familiar with Chinese social media.

However, after communicating with the staff and many similar conservation groups, I have gradually discovered that, despite the strong interest, these organizations knew little about using Weibo and WeChat (the most popular Chinese social media platforms) effectively. “I don’t understand what our translated Weibo account name means,” Resson, the project officer of Save The Elephants, explained when I pointed out that Save The Elephant’s account name was too long and confusing for Chinese people to understand.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Advice for International Elephant Conservation Groups from a Chinese Youth

By Wu Yue

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's elephant orphanage/Wu Yue
At 8:20 pm on January 27, almost one month ago, I touched down in Kenya at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Before I got off the plane, I had already received a text message from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). At that time, I was bored waiting for my luggage, so instead of deleting the message as usual, I read it. They wanted me to have a safe and wonderful trip in Kenya and also gave me some advice, such as "do not go out alone at night". I promptly discarded that counsel. I was in Kenya to learn about elephant conservation and the ivory trade with China House, the first Chinese social enterprise in Africa focusing on studying and improving China-Africa engagement.

Translation Tuesday: Chinese Medical Personnel in Africa: Unceasing Fights against Ebola during the Spring Festival

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Shao Siyi
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 02/19/2015
Source: Chinese News Service (CNS)
Original text (in Chinese):

Do not forget those who who are working hard while we enjoyed ourselves celebrating Chinese New Year. A prosperous and auspicious Year of Sheep to Chinese medical personnel working in Africa!
---- Laiyin Yuan (Translator) 

On February 19 at 3:00 am, when China had already greeted the first day of the Lunar Year of Sheep, Sierra Leone, which is eight hours behind China, was still waiting for the Chinese New Year. After a busy day, Chinese medical team members finally had the chance to celebrate the New Year with some rest, dumplings, and parties. During this all-too-limited leisure time, Xu Feng, the Deputy Director of the Infectious Diseases Department of the Zhejiang University Second Affiliated Hospital (ZUSAH), had a WeChat video call with his family to send his New Year greetings.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Translation Tuesday: When stones strike the People’s Liberation Army in Mali until blood flows, they brandish bayonets in a show of force

By Zander Rounds

Author: Qi Zhongxi, Fan Xi, Liu Shiping, Su Xiaozhou, Chu Xiaoliang, Yang Jian, Wu Hao
Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 2/2/15
Original text (in Chinese):

“It is our great honor to be able to receive your protection” – They bear the brunt as danger approaches

As far as guard unit soldier Wang Zhangjun can recall, “5/19” marks the single most thrilling day of the entire peacekeeping period.

The 170 soldiers that constitute the “guard” unit are the first security unit that China dispatched for the United Nations peacekeeping mission. Their primary responsibility was the defense of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)’s East Warzone Headquarters and peacekeeper barracks. When danger approached, they bore the brunt from the frontline.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Chinese High-Speed Rail: Go Overseas and Share the Benefits with the World

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Qi Zhongxi, Fan Xi, Liu Shiping, Su Xiaozhou, Chu Xiaoliang, Yang Jian, Wu Hao
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 01/26/2015
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese):

From the “promotion” of Chinese leaders during overseas visits to business development, Chinese high-speed rail (HSR) is accelerating “going overseas.” The cooperation between Chinese HSR and foreign companies can not only build more advanced transportation facilities but also bring the benefits of HSR to various countries around the world.

“Now I have dozes of overseas projects to follow up simultaneously, including Laos, Thailand, the U.S., Russia, Hungary-Serbia, Morocco, etc. while also tracking an HSR project in India,” said Chen Juemin, Director of China Railway Corporation’s International Cooperation Department.

In Asia and the surrounding region, China is planning to build a major corridor throughout Southeast Asia reaching Malaysia and Singapore in order to serve the “One Belt, One Road” strategy, as well as HSRs bridging Central Asia and Europe in the Silk Road Economic Belt. In Africa, China’s “steel dragon” will link together multiple countries. In Europe, Chinese railway companies have just started to reveal their excellence. In America, Chinese HSR projects are expected to breakthrough in their contract bidding.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Africa: You Probably Have a Number of Misconceptions about It

By Zander Rounds

Author: Kong Shuyao
Translator: Zander Rounds
Published on: 12/21/2014
Source: Chengdu Business News
Original Text (in Chinese):

Addressing common misconceptions about Africa, Kong Shuyao draws on personal experience living in Lagos and engaging with locals, adding depth and nuance to conversations about Africa. While this piece was written for a Chinese audience, it may be equally applicable to other parts of the world. 
----Zander Rounds (Translator)

“Look West, Look East” [a regular section for Chengdu Business News] authors have written about many places around the world. One day Kong Shuyao, someone who works in Africa, suddenly raised the question: where is Lagos? Where is Nigeria? We quickly got on the Internet to look it up. We had not considered that, as Kong Shuyao bluntly stated, no matter if you are using Google or Baidu, the information that you get when you search is either biased or outdated.

Lagos is Africa’s biggest city—that's right, surpassing Egypt’s Cairo and South Africa’s Johannesburg. Think for a second: Nigeria’s Lagos is equivalent to America’s New York, Europe’s Paris, Asia’s Tokyo. However, except for soccer and the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus, we seem to be not familiar with it at all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is Your Relationship with China Better than Mine?

By Hannah Ryder, Deputy Country Director, United Nations Development Program China

Just a few weeks ago, my sister got married. The wedding was beautiful, her husband is an absolutely wonderful man from Uganda, and my two other sisters and I were bridesmaids. But there was one problem. I found myself comparing her wedding to mine seven years ago. Either thinking “Oh, I wish we had done our flowers like that” or “I wish we had practiced our first dance a bit more”. It was when I turned to my husband to tell him yet another comparison that he reminded me of a famous phrase first coined by Mark Twain in the late 1800’s: “comparison is the death of joy”. And in so many words, he helped me curb my comparative reflection.

But comparison is an easy trap to fall in, whether you’re an individual, group, country – and even a region. Here in China last week, comparison was in the air as the first ever meeting between Chinese government leaders and Ministers of CELAC – a group of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries formed in 2011 – got underway. The comparison was with another region – Africa.

Translation Tuesday: Op-Ed: Don’t Forget Africa in Anti-Terrorism

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Chen Junxia
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 01/14/2015
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese):

This op-ed points out the potential negative outcome of imbalanced media coverage regarding Africa’s anti-terrorism, but it seems to blame only developed countries without interrogating the responsibilities of other stakeholders.
---- Laiyin Yuan (Translator)

In the beginning of the New Year, the terrorist attacks in Paris, France caught major attention from Western media, which not only allowed the world to sympathize and ruminate on this tragedy, but also left an extraordinary impression of the reporting capabilities of Western media.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Soft Power: Chinese Family Dramas across Africa

By Joseph Webster

Author: Jing Ya
Translator: Joe Webster
Published on: 12/07/2014
Source: Sina Weibo Entertainment
Original text (in Chinese):

The ability to attract and persuade, or what the political scientist Joseph Nye terms “soft power”, is a vital instrument of national power. The People’s Republic of China has an increasingly large commercial and trade presence in Africa, but it remains to be seen whether or not the PRC can overcome linguistic barriers and increase its political and cultural influence on the continent. Television dramas are one element of cultural power. As the article notes, some elements of Chinese culture, such as an emphasis on the family unit, have special appeal to Africans. There is a tension, however, between PRC soft power promotion and the Chinese state's overall attitude to international entertainment.
----Joe Webster (Translator)

Chinese Family Ethics television shows receive warm reception

In recent years, many Chinese TV exports to Africa have been welcomed by African people. Shows such as "Let's Get Married,” "Endeavor,” "Beijing Youth," and "A Beautiful Daughter-in-Law Era” have become hit series in Africa.

In 2011, the Swahaili-language version of "A Beautiful Daughter-in-Law Era" has, after its successful introduction to Tanzania, led to more Chinese TV series being aired in Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt, Senegal, Zambia, and other African countries. More and more Africans, through watching contemporary Chinese television program, are coming to understand Chinese society. In the second half of 2014, "Beijing Television African Broadcaster" aired in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, and other African countries. Along with "Let's Get Married," "Endeavoring," and "Beijing Youth," six other TV series were broadcast to African audiences.

According to reports, Chinese television dramas are in-demand by African audiences because their storylines feature strong family ties. Some of the characters feel familiar to African audiences, so much so that African audiences deal with family and social contradictions through watching Chinese television dramas.

The Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania stated in an interview with media that China's family ethics dramas are the most sought-after television shows in Tanzania. Moreover, because the themes easily resonate, aspirational dramas are also most popular among young people.

About Sina Weibo Entertainment (
Sina is a Chinese microblogging site that is roughly equivalent to a combination of Facebook and Twitter. It is one of the most popular sites amongst Chinese internet users, and it offers specialty sites to its diverse audience. The Entertainment site focuses on news affecting Chinese entertainment.