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Despite claims of promoting “soft power,” China seeks to consolidate hegemonic control in Africa




Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Beijing [China], June 22 (ANI): Despite Chinese President Xi Jinping’s lofty claims to promote “soft power” in Africa, Beijing is engaged in strategic activities, employing aggressive propaganda efforts with specific objectives in order to establish a positive image and to consolidate hegemonic control.

Jianli Yang for National Review writes that amid criticism that China is pursuing an exploitation strategy in Africa, with its increasing projections of soft power, including COVID-19 vaccines, propaganda efforts have intensified to present China as a positive and benevolent development partner.

The growing investments in media, the growing number of Confucius Institutes, the organization of major cultural festivals and the generous granting of scholarships have all been adopted to establish China’s strong foothold in the mainland.

Meanwhile, resentment among the African population towards the Chinese diaspora on the continent has surfaced, fueled by incidents such as the recent mistreatment of Africans in Guangzhou. In the absence of strong linguistic and cultural affinities between the two, interactions between Chinese and Africans remain quite limited.

Despite this, Chinese media is gaining a deeper presence on the continent, at a time when Western media has largely withdrawn from the African landscape, according to National Review.

Beijing is also actively pursuing its dream of taking control of local sporting markets and securing access to major sporting events in Africa. The initiative is aimed at both control and economic gain. China’s agenda is to advance and flood its own domestic substandard products in local African markets to demonstrate its ability to compete with international brands.

At the same time, to fuel demand, Chinese authorities have built sports facilities in many poor African countries that are sorely lacking in sports infrastructure, including stadiums and the training facilities necessary for the sport.

Yang writes: “It is time for African nations, and those in other parts of the world, to realize the Chinese method of debt trap diplomacy, which, beyond hitting them economically, is capable of enslaving them in a neocolonial configuration, this time with China at the helm. “

The author also said that Beijing claims to be deploying “soft power” in Africa, but in reality it is deploying “sharp power”, which refers to the use of manipulative and subversive methods by authoritarian regimes to win. influence in other countries.

Media work is also done almost entirely under the heavy hand of state “directives”. As China’s economic weight and clout allows it to provide free technical assistance and to purchase or finance media houses, the autonomy of African media is in serious question.

Meanwhile, dozens of Chinese-backed and funded projects in Africa, most of them developed under the Beijing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), continue to face an intense backlash. communities and environmentalists who accuse developers of destroying ecosystems in search of products like oil, metal and wood.

Chinese investments in Africa are also overlooked, as many have accused it of trapping countries in its “debt trap” diplomacy.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) persistently warns African and other third world countries that growing debts to China are dangerous. He points out that Chinese creditors create some instability or vulnerabilities. (ANI)

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