The temptations and promotion of “China Dream”: calling for Africa’s home-grown rhetoric

Tembe, Paul (2015-08)


Scholars have raised concerns that political rhetoric manifest in China-Africa relations tend to replicate China’s domestic ideals on the African continent. The exercise is witnessed in the coupling of the “Chinese Dream” and the “African Dream” in the rhetoric of China-Africa relations. In essence, the slogan “African Dream” is framed within the historical trajectory of “Chinese Dream” which articulates China’s reform policy implementation goals for the 21st century. The “Chinese Dream” is the first Chinese political slogan which has been witnessed to directly seek spaces and manifest beyond China’s domestic borders. Such manifestation deviates from China’s past political norms, that of limiting political propaganda to domestic consumption. One of the spaces used beyond China’s borders to promote the Chinese Dream has been the media; this includes African media outlets. Media groups such as CCTV international and Xinhua have African headquarters where they have partnered and co-operate with a variety of local media agencies. South Africa is no exception. The People’s Daily Online established a subsidiary company in South Africa and has linkages to the New Age newspaper, a state newspaper in South Africa. In addition, African academics, journalists and students have since 2013 been invited to China to participate in the “Chinese Dream” promotional events. It is within this context that the notion “Chinese Dream” has found fertile ground to manifest and even replicate itself on the African continent in the form of the “African Dream”. This policy brief discusses the domestic context of the Chinese Dream and analyses its extension into Africa in the form of the “African Dream”. It concludes with recommendations on the need to establish an African home-grown rhetoric that will help Africa maximise gains in the spaces provided by China’s para- digm shift and offer lessons that will better prepare China for its engagement in Africa.

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