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Chinese Immigrants in Africa Assimilate Far More Than You May Think

It’s often widely assumed that Chinese immigrants in Africa prefer to isolate themselves from local communities and generally resist assimilation. That perception, though, is incorrect according to the findings of two leading scholars from Hong Kong, Yan Hairong and Barry Sautman, who’ve recently completed research that explored Chinese self-segregation in five African countries.

The two professors join Eric & Cobus to discuss their findings and to dispel some of the myths surrounding Chinese immigration in Africa.

Show Notes:

About Yan Hairong and Barry Sautman:

Yan Hairong is an anthropologist who is an Associate Professor at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and M.A. from University of California, Berkeley. Yan has published articles on not only China-Africa relations, but also Chinese proverbs, modernization in East Asia, and the discourse of development. She has been particularly active in the discussion about Chinese copper mining in Zambia. She has published a number of monographs and numerous journal articles, as well as op-eds and online contributions.


Barry Sautman is a political scientist (PhD Columbia University) and lawyer (JD UCLA, LLM NYU) who primarily teaches international law, China/US relations, contemporary China, ethnicity and nationalism.  One of his areas of research has been ethnic politics in China and comparative perspective, including ethnic policies, the political economic and legal aspects of the Tibet and Xinjiang issues.  He has examined the global mystification by politicians and media of these questions, as well as the issue of dissent in China.  His other area is China-Africa links, including political economy, labor rights, migration between China and Africa and interactions between Chinese and Africans, representations and perceptions of China and Chinese in Africa, and the supposed strategic rivalry between the US and China in Africa.  He has published several monographs and numerous journal articles, as well as print media op-ed pieces and online contributions.

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