For most people, the Chinese engagement with Africa is an enigma. The combination of these two peoples, cultures and, increasingly their politics, are just so foreign to most of us that we do not have the necessary reference points to form an opinion. Instead, what emerges, is a series of emotional arguments that mistakingly lay a Western colonial filter over a lack of understanding of Chinese culture on top of deeply-ingrained stereotypes of Africans themselves. From coffee shop conversations to newsrooms to college classrooms, the misunderstandings of the Chinese in Africa are pervasive. And I think I know, in part, why…
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