Victimized State and Visionary Leader? Questioning China’s Approach to Human Security in Africa

Over the past decades, numerous critiques have emerged of China’s policy towards Africa. These critiques perceive China as a mercantilist or neocolonial power seeking to dominate the African continent through land grabs, exploitative trade deals, and resource extraction. These critiques do however not consider how the Chinese government has attempted to justify its aid policy towards Africa in ways that claim to secure human beings. Though the Chinese government has not officially adopted the concept of human security, it has engaged with the concept and developed its own interpretation of how human beings should be secured. This interpretation is based on the depiction of China as a state victimized through imperialism that has emerged in the twenty-first century as a global power with visionary ideas. Accordingly, Chinese policymakers believe they can offer an alternative model to Western interventions, imposition of neoliberal economic doctrine, and emphasis on democratization and human rights. In Africa, though China’s vision has generated benefits for some, it has also victimized others. China needs to critically reflect on and adapt its developmental vision if it truly intends to help human beings overcome the myriad challenges they face in their daily lives.

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Hwang, Y. and Black, L. (2020) 'Victimized State and Visionary Leader? Questioning China’s Approach to Human Security in Africa', East Asia 37: 1–19

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