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China-Africa Relations through the Prism of Culture – The Dynamics of China’s Cultural Diplomacy with Africa


  • Haifang Liu


China’s use of cultural diplomacy dates back almost to the beginning of the founding of the People’s Republic of China; it is not something invented by the Chinese government in the last few years, as the popular myth of China’s engagement in Africa via a well-established “grand geopolitical strategy” suggests. This study begins by providing a deeper historical understanding of China’s diplomacy and China’s Africa policy, and discusses at length the importance of cultural diplomacy as a path breaker and a lasting instrument of foreign policy. Focusing on several cases of current cultural diplomacy, the second half of the article explains the underlying reasons for and functions of these prominent practices, concluding that cultural diplomacy is a useful prism through which to observe the very nature of Sino-African relations and that the study of it is the right way to explore the special diplomatic culture the Chinese government has been practising.

Suggested Citation

  • Haifang Liu, 2008. "China-Africa Relations through the Prism of Culture – The Dynamics of China’s Cultural Diplomacy with Africa," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 37(3), pages 10-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:chaktu:v:37:y:2008:i:3:p:10-45

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