No. 73 | 30.10.2021

Vice Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua at UN Assembly hall, 1971 [via China Daily]

Dear reader,

This week, Tings Chak published an article at the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research (English, Portuguese, Spanish, French) about the recent overhaul of the billion-dollar private tutoring sector in China and the new measures to reduce pressure on students. In an interview with Opera Mundi’s Breno Altman (Portuguese), Marco Fernandes spoke on several topics, including the real estate and energy crises, Taiwan, and the return of the Party to the “mass line.”

Read, watch, and share!

Dongsheng editorial collective

Moment in History

On 25 October 1971, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of restoring the seat of the People’s Republic of China at the UN. After 22 years of US-led exclusion, the “resolution 2758” vote replaced the Kuomintang-led government in Taiwan with the PRC as the sole representative of China in the UN. On this historic moment, Mao Zedong affirmed that China’s role is to voice support for countries fighting foreign interference, aggression, and control.


President Xi upholds multilateralism and “opposes hegemony of all forms” at 50th anniversary of China’s seat being restored in the United Nations

Majority support of the 1971 UN General Assembly countries, including recently independent African, Asian, and Latin American countries, broke the US-led blockade; China is now the UN’s largest contributor of peacekeepers and second-largest funder

Xinhua, 25.10.2021

Ministry of Foreign Affairs position paper, 22.10.2021

Chinese magnesium production falls due to soaring demand and input prices, and caps on energy use and emissions

China accounts for 85% of global production, which has seen prices increase 75% in the last month; exports are expected to fall 10%, worrying reliant European aluminum producers and are calling for intervention from EU governments

Global Times, 24.10.2021

Financial Times, 19.10.2021

Over 80% of global high-purity quartz supply is in the US, crucial for making polysilicon, the main raw material for solar panels

Despite leading global solar panel manufacturing (Xinjiang), China relies on importing the rare metal monopolized by two manufacturers (Belgian and Norwegian) in North Carolina, USA; but Chinese company owns intellectual property of special quartz manufacturing processes

South China Morning Post, 26.10.2021

Science and Technology

Chinese scientists establish the world’s first integrated quantum communication network, an “unhackable” system stretching 4,600 km

Network combines 700 optical fibers with two ground-to-satellite links to serve over 150 industrial users, including state banks, power grids, and governments; research was led by Pan Jianwei from the University of Science and Technology

Asia Times, 20.10.2021, 06.01.2021


Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in China grew 19.6% year-on-year (Jan-Sept 2021) to US $129.26 billion

In this period, 36,000 foreign-invested companies were created (+36.5% year-on-year), the second highest number in 20 years; FDI increased in the services (22.5%), hi-tech industries (29.1%), hi-tech manufacturing (15.2%), and high-tech services (33.4%)

China Daily, 21.10.2021

Global Times, 22.10.2021

National Politics

China will implement urban residential property tax pilot, aiming to increase tax revenue and reduce real estate speculation

Goal is to decrease dependence on land use concession sales for local government revenues (US $1.3 trillion, 2020) and to contain the long-term rise in real estate prices; the government yet to announce cities included in five-year pilot

Caixin Global, 25.10.2021

Global Times, 24.10.2021

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Agriculture and Environment

China outlines plan to reduce CO2 emissions and increase clean energy to 25% of total in 2030, and over 80% by 2060

Policy includes measures to control coal power production, specific emission targets according to industry, and banning new energy-intensive projects (oil refining, ethylene); government reaffirms commitment despite the current energy crisis

Global Times, 24.10.2021

Government releases report on state-owned natural resource assets, calling for strengthened protection and efficiency in their use

China’s state-owned lands (523.3 million ha) include construction (17.6 million ha), agriculture (19.6 million ha), and wetlands (21.8 million ha), with 173 types of minerals; in last five years, the government resolved 4,300 compensation cases for ecological damage

Xinhua News Agency, 25.10.2021

China’s National People’s Congress, 21.10.2021

People’s Life and Culture

Boosted by livestream culture, China’s Generation Z are consuming more domestic products but accumulating more debt

Born between 1995 to 2010, Gen Z have greater Chinese cultural confidence and identification than prior generations, but spend 13% of the household income (vs. 4% in US and Britain) and owe half of the country’s credit card debts

Sixth Tone, 19.10.2021

South China Morning Post, 23.04.2021

Government estimates that 24.6% of teenagers suffer from depression and proposes mental health courses and services in schools and universities

Measures encourage discussion and destigmatizing psychological suffering while incentivizing students to seek psychotherapy services offered at schools; high pressure for school performance is one of the main causes of stress in youth

China Daily, 25.10.2021

Sixth Tone, 11.10.2021

“Lipstick king” livestream celebrity, Li Jiaqi, promotes made-in-China products [Sina]

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No. 27 | 20.08.2021

Chinese and Eritrean doctors prepares an operation for a hydrocephalic child in Asmara, Eritrea, 23 May 2008. [Xinhua/Zhu Xiaoguang]

Dear reader,

News on China: Africa Weekly has looked back on key stories we’ve published over the last few months, as we transition towards discussing weekly news in our new podcast.

In part two of our retrospective, we share stories that deal with some of the prevailing narratives around Africa-China relations. We also share stories that give a general overview of the historical development of key Africa-China relations and collaborations.

If you have any comments or questions, please let us know at [email protected].

Dongsheng editorial collective

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2020 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) marks 20 years of strategic partnerships in trade, infrastructure projects, and political relations

Chinese infrastructure investments total US $110 billion – boosting industry on the African continent (16,000 km of roads and railroads, 20 ports, 80 power plants, etc.) – with bilateral trade reaching US $200 billion in 2019


US study of 1,000 Chinese loans refutes allegations of “debt-trap diplomacy” and seizure of African assets for unpaid loans

Between 2000-19, China cancelled US $3.4 billion in debt and restructured/refinanced 26 loans; holding 20% of Africa’s debt, China’s bilateral negotiations offer tailor-made solutions, with 20 countries receiving debt relief in 2020

Agriculture and Environment

Belt and Road infrastructure investment plays key role in climate change response in Africa, where 45% of people lack electricity access

Beyond energy financing (US $3 billion, 2019-20), China is pursuing a “green silk road” and low-carbon development, but to facilitate this in Africa, it is necessary to strengthen domestic institutions and invest US $120 billion (2020-30) to broaden electricity access

Science and Technology

Africa advances space cooperation with China, which launched 59 satellites in 2020 to provide TV, navigation, and meteorological services

Mozambique joined 115 countries and regions (1,200+ people trained) using Fengyun meteor technology; Ethiopia launched second Chinese-backed satellite and 19 African countries (8,162 villages) completed project acceptance for satellite TV in 2020″


China’s ‘Health Silk Road’ (2020) to facilitate international cooperation on pandemic control is grounded in nearly six-decades-long medical internationalism

Since sending a medical team to newly-independent Algeria (1963), over 23,000 Chinese medical personnel have been sent to Africa, where proactive healthcare delivery (targeting rural settings and seeking out patients) has characterized their work

People’s Life and Culture

Boomplay expands music streaming to 47 African countries, as sub-Saharan Africa expects 475 million mobile internet users (2025)

Launched by Transsion, Chinese app partners with Universal Music Group, aiming to become the largest African music streaming service, investing (US $1 million) in local artists; Transsion’s Tecno holds 48.2% share of Africa’s smartphone market (Q4 2020)

Moment in History

China’s development model and international relations have the potential to help Africa break historical underdevelopment and poverty

From supporting national liberation movements to agricultural training centres (1950s-1990s) to contemporary relations such as funding 6,200km of railway and over 5,000km of roads (2017), claims of China’s role in Africa being “colonial” are unfounded

No. 26 | 13.08.2021

A visitor at the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo in Changsha takes selfies with a Ugandan staff member, 28 June, 2019 [ Xinhua]

Dear reader,

For the next two weeks, News on China: Africa Weekly will share retrospectives covering some of the key stories we’ve published over the last few months.

As we look back at recent headlines, it is clear that there is so much yet to uncover and understand of the multiple existing relations between Africa and China, and their dynamic realities. Too often, mainstream reporting provides a limited or partial scope. Many times, distortions are offered in place of complex realities and relationships.

The following stories make humble steps towards understanding these relationships, which is in the interest of all humanity.

If you have any comments or questions, please let us know at [email protected].

Dongsheng editorial collective

Category Icons


African nations strengthen agency through infrastructure projects and leadership visits to China (222 trips; 2009-18)

From Zimbabwe’s parliament buildings (US $140 ­million) to the African Union’s headquarters (US $200 million), African governments leverage diplomatic relations for Chinese-funded government facilities and more advantageous trade relations; China tops diplomatic visits to Africa, with 82 trips to 40 countries (2009-18)

China overtook US as Africa’s top trading partner and largest source of investment (US $106.7 billion, 2013-19), in two decades

US share of Africa’s foreign trade fell (15.5% to 5.6%), while China’s share jumped (4% to 25.6%) of the total in 20 years; Biden promises to resume investments in the continent without concrete plans


Chinese direct investment in Africa (US $49.1 billion) increased tenfold and contributed to more than 20% of GDP growth from 2000-19

Faced with rising domestic consumption and an aging population, China bets on the growth potential of Africa’s population (2.5 billion, 2050) and middle class (350 million, 2020), but intra-continental economic obstacles remain

Agriculture and Environment

Hybrid rice scientist Yuan Longping (1930-2021) remembered for contributions against global hunger, including 16 grain pilot programs in Africa

In Madagascar, seed technology and innovative methods tripled transplanting speed (to 0.3 hectares/day) and yields (to >7.5 tons/hectare) from 2006 to 2019; China trained 14,000+ technicians in 80 developing countries

Science and Technology

Transsion leads Africa’s growing mobile market (+14% year-on-year, Q1), with low-priced handsets (US $35-100) and features customized to African consumers

Shenzhen-based manufacturer of the Tecno, Infinix, and Itel brands leads the African smartphone market (44.3%), overtaking Samsung (22.9%), with four-chip phones and keyboards in local languages (Amharic, Swahili, Hausa)


Chinese pharmaceuticals will supply 550 million COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX by mid-2022, while African manufacturers (Egypt and Morocco) start production

110 million Sinopharm and Sinovac doses will be immediately available; five African countries are involved in vaccine production and will meet <1% of the needed doses for the continent, where only 2% of the population is fully vaccinated

People’s Life and Culture

“C-Dramas” draw ten million African subscribers in 30 countries due to shared values and expansion of streaming services

With 300 African voice-actors, media giant StarTimes has dubbed over 20,000 episodes of Chinese series into 11 local languages (including Swahili and Yoruba) since 2011; some African viewers prefer Chinese themes and styles absent in Western productions

Moment in History

With the death of independence leader Kenneth Kaunda (1924-2021), Chinese-supported Tanzania-Zambia railway built under his leadership remains a symbol of internationalism

With interest-free loan (US $500 million), 56,000 Chinese (1970-76) alongside African workers constructed 320 bridges, 22 tunnels, and 93 stations of the 1,860km railway, reducing dependency on neighboring colonial states; >60 Chinese died in the process

Led by Kenneth Kaunda (1924-2021), Zambia was the first southern African nation to establish relations with China in 1964 based on international solidarity

No. 61 | 31.07.2021

National Politics

China overhauls private tutoring sector (US $125 billion), banning for-profit, foreign, and listed companies in school-curriculum teaching

New regulation targets institutions teaching school curriculum content to address unequal access to education, lower costs and children’s workloads, and improve public online education; enrollment grew from 202.6 to 325.3 million students (2015-9)

Government announces new guidelines to improve delivery workers’ wages, safety, social security, and working conditions

Increasing oversight concerning Big Tech, policy guidelines address controversial outsourcing practices, formalizes employment agreements, and prohibits platforms from using stringent algorithms to complete deliveries; national trade union federation encourages the creation of local unions in the gig economy

Online music player Tencent receives government orders to end exclusive copyright deals within 30 days

Acquiring China Music Corporation in 2016, Tencent Music holds 66 million licensed tracks (80% of total) and over 622 million monthly active users (2020); Tencent Holdings was fined US $77,143 and their fintech businesses are under separate scrutiny


Xinjiang exports to EU grow 131%, reaching US $373.2 million in first half-year

Main goods include tomato-based products, cotton goods, components for artificial fibers, and wind energy equipment; despite US sanctions, Xinjiang’s exports to Germany (+143%) and Holland (+187%) grew well above China’s total exports (+35%) to the EU


US companies lead foreign direct investment in China (US $13.9 billion, Q2), despite escalating diplomatic tensions

Led by acquisitions for controlling stake in financial, real estate, and logistics sectors – topped by Blackstone’s two acquisitions (US $4.3 billion) – Q3’s main investments came from North America (US $6.8 billion) and Asia (US $6.1 billion)

Agriculture and Environment

“Once in a millennium” floods in Henan province kill at least 99 and affect 13.91 million people

A year’s worth of rainfall fell in three days (617.1mm), devastating transportation, power, and telecoms systems in Zhengzhou, a “sponge city” whose intensive urban drainage is designed to capture 70% of rainfall only in cases of moderate precipitation

Henan flooding kills millions of animals and affects 1,678 large livestock farms and 972,100 hectares of crops fields

The province produces nearly ⅓ of China’s wheat – already harvested – and about 10% of corn, vegetables, and pork, which are vulnerable to damage as Ministry of Agriculture works to ensure seed supply

“Sponge cities” aim to make China’s 126,000 km² of coastal areas resilient to rising sea levels from climate change

Since 2014, thirty pilot sponge cities were named, using permeable water systems and green infrastructure to manage floods, replenish water supplies, and restore ecosystems, though experts continue to stress importance of reducing carbon emissions

Science and Technology

China deploys drone to restore communication services and map damages in hardest-hit areas by the Henan flooding

The Wing Loong 2H captures satellite signals and ensures telephone and internet access for thousands of people in the affected area, including in a Zhengzhou hospital; telephone company sends SMS to warn of drone’s arrival

People’s Life and Culture

Across China, people use social media to express support for Zhengzhou flood victims, circulate crucial information, and facilitate rescue operations

Weibo and WeChat users share videos of rescue efforts, while hundreds of people contribute to an online spreadsheet that crowdsources, organizes, and prioritizes data to connect rescuers with those trapped by floods

Flooding rescue efforts in Zhengzhou, Henan Province [People’s Daily]

Moment in History

In the early years of the CPC, the Party developed a “patriotic financial system” to support its activities, expand the revolutionary army, and support workers and peasants. Proposed by Mao Zedong, the first Peasant Bank (1926) was established in Hunan, creating convertible currencies that promoted agricultural production, solved material difficulties, and provided an alternative financing to loan sharks (50-100% interest rates) for peasants.

“Red finance” initiatives during the Civil War period (1927-37, 1945-49) helped break the Kuomintang’s economic blockade and build trust among the peasant base. This included secret institutions, the first state-bank (1932), the Red Army’s first bank (1937), and the People’s Bank of China (1948). The Party’s ability to lead the economic sector during this period built the foundation for China’s economic system post-Revolution.

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