The Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) is researching Chinese engagement in Africa. Its main vocation is exploring the variety of interactions and actors in Sino-African relations, with an analytical interest in the political, economic, social and environmental sustainability of Chinese engagement in Africa.

China and renewable energy in Southern Africa – Podcast series

December 2013

The CentRenewable_Energy_Conference_Logo_2013re for Chinese Studies co-hosted the 2013 China / Southern Africa Roundtable Dialogue on Renewable Energy in partnership with WWF RSA and the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies. This podcast series captures highlights of the conference dialogue that took place between key representatives from government, academia, business and the NGO sector. The objective of the workshop was to develop a policy and development road map to guide and inform future co-operation between Chinese and Southern African actors in renewable energy.

To listen to the podcasts click [here].

Securing Chinese assets and personnel in South Sudan: the role of state and non-state actors

As Chinese investments on the African continent grow, questions have arisen regarding the ways in which the Chinese state and corporations protect assets and personnel abroad. More broadly, in what ways do such measures compromise China’s oft-touted “non-interference” policy? This research project, written in conjunction with Jiang Hengkun (Zhejiang Normal University) seeks to map out the terrain through an examination of Chinese security practices in South Sudan. By drawing on examples of scale, from state-owned oil enterprises to small urban traders, the research highlights varying roles which the Chinese state plays in relation to its citizens’ protection abroad.  The research is based on a Saferworld funded field trip to South Sudan in April 2013.

Completed – For project output and results please see:
[External publication]


Managing Security and Risk and China-Africa Relations

April 2013

The Centre for Chinese Studies hosted a Conference entitled: “Managing Security and Risk and China-Africa Relations” As China’s economic expansion continues, its rolProgramme Cover pagee in global international affairs has become more prominent. A prominent instance of this is Africa, where Chinese trade and investment have grown exponentially in the last decade.

This presence on the continent will have implications regarding peace and security, both within Africa but also globally. The conference will deal with issues of security ranging from the practical nuts and bolts of investment and the risk involved in such ventures but also the broader picture of China’s role in regional and global security architectures.
Guiding the conversation will be the premise that China’s “going out” strategy has been accompanied with a growing awareness of risk aversion coupled with obligations to play a greater role in peace and security on the continent.

Thus the gathering will be informed by the following questions: How are Chinese notions of risk changing on the continent? How do questions of security at the level of individual economic enterprises (both private and state-owned) feed into larger political questions of stability? As the geo-political situation changes, what are some of features which characterize this shifting terrain on the continent? And, what kinds of forecasts can be made with regards to this changing role in Africa?

To view the programme [click here]

South African relations with China and Taiwan – Economic realism and the ‘One China’ doctrine

The project engages in an empirical comparison between the economic relations of South Africa and the PRC, and South Africa and Taiwan, in light of the (potentially conflicting) foreign policy doctrine of ‘One China’. As its primary question, this research will examine the extent of political reach into the economic exchanges which occur between the three parties, with a specific focus on South Africa’s ability to navigate its way through such a challenging relationship. The project examines ways in which the harnessing and deployment of non-state-actors enables South Africa to adapt to new political contexts. More broadly, it is anticipated that this research will shed light on the primacy of economic trade with regards to South Africa’s foreign policy toward East Asia, and an underlying pragmatism which may be at odds with official policy.

Completed – For project output and results please see:
[CCS Research Report]
[CCS Policy Briefing]


Conference Report – The 2nd China-Africa Think Tanks Forum

Date: 12-13 October 2012
Venue: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Brief conference report from the 2nd China-Africa Think Tanks Forum (CATTF II) which was held in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, October 12-13, 2012. The forum was hosted by the Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University and the Institute for Peace and Security Studies of Addis Ababa University under the theme of “Chinese and African Common Interests: Current Issues and Future Perspectives in Governance, Peace and Security”. CCS Director Sven Grimm, Research Fellow Ross Anthony, and Research Analyst Yejoo Kim attended the forum. Continue Reading