The Centre for Chinese Studies

The Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS), at Stellenbosch University, serves as the most prominent and high quality point of reference for the study of China and East Asia on the African continent.

Latest Commentary

China’s Hydraulic Fracturing Activities: Implications and Lessons for Africa

14 July 2017

Under the Chinese 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), China is keen to promote shale gas and oil usage to 10 per cent of China’s annual energy usage, a significant supply shock for many oil and gas exporting countries. Hydraulic Fracturing involves using high-pressured water mixtures to fracture gas or petroleum-bearing rocks to release oil and gas to the surface for extraction. Utilising such technology in developing countries is not economically one-dimensional. Local adoption of fracking technologies, whilst difficult, afford developing countries opportunities in transiting to cleaner forms of energy, as well as stimulating infrastructure investment. What is the projected impact of Chinese fracking on African oil and gas exporters, and what implications does this have for African hydraulic fracturing ventures? [Continue reading]

By Yi Ren Thng
Research Affiliate
Centre for Chinese Studies
Stellenbosch University


CCS_Research_Analyst_Meryl_12We are proud to announce that one of our research analysts, Meryl Burgess, has successfully completed her PhD in Political Science at Stellenbosch University. Dr Burgess’s PhD study assessed how the contrasting political systems of China (authoritarian) and South Africa (pluralist) shape the roles of environmental NGOs in conservation policy. This study is an important and under-researched field, especially within the China-Africa arena and within the environmental context. Her post-Doctoral work will continue in this vein of research, with a greater attention to the role of policy development within the China-Africa environmental relationship as well as implications for other East-Asian actors.

CCS New Publication

CCS Discussion Paper: A study of perspectives on how to enhance Botswana-China relations

Second draft -Discusssion PaperBy Frank Youngman

China’s relations with Africa date back to the 1950s but they have transformed in scope and depth since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000. The increased interactions between African countries and China have brought important benefits to both sides in a variety of areas, from trade and investment to cultural exchange. Nevertheless, stresses and strains have also arisen and it is apparent that for optimal cooperation purposeful measures have to be undertaken to promote positive relations. Botswana’s experience parallels that of the continent as whole. Engagement with China has developed very rapidly in recent years. However, although Botswana’s current relationship with China has positive dimensions, it also has significant tensions. In this situation, it is timely to consider how improved bilateral relations can be promoted at both the state and non-state level.

[Download CCS Discussion Paper 01/2017]

CCS in the Media

Is China the new lodestar for Africa’s students?

Picture111 April 2017

Within the global context, 20th century higher education has been dominated by institutions of the Global North. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent spread of market economies to the Global South, a growing band of elites hankered to attend fabled institutions such as Oxford, Harvard, the Sorbonne or at least to secure themselves a tertiary education in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the like. As anyone who has worked in higher education, either in the Euro-American sphere or beyond, knows, the aforementioned countries function as brands, in and of themselves. For example, when I worked as a lecturer in Taiwan, hardly anyone in the faculty had a PhD from Taiwan; they mostly attended US institutions, with the remainder from the United Kingdom and France. If you had a PhD from Taiwan, it seemed as if you didn’t stand much of a chance.

While the African context, broadly speaking, is not as extreme a case as Taiwan, these centres have long functioned as the gravity points of African scholarly pilgrimage – for the lucky few, in practice; for most, in the imagination. But this is changing. [Continue reading]