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Chinese Migration and China's Foreign Policy in Africa

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image of Journal of Chinese Overseas

Since the end of the 1990s, Africa has seen an increasing number of migrants of Chinese origin. It is possible to differentiate between three types of Chinese migration: a temporary labor migration flow linked to public building works and infrastructure projects undertaken by big Chinese enterprises; an entrepreneurial migration flow made up of merchants native to mainland China some of whom coming from the different diaspora communities; a proletarian transit migration flow consisting of people trying to sell their labor in western countries while waiting in Africa for opportunities to enter those countries. Over the same period, the foreign relations between China and Africa have expanded. There are roughly three elements in Chinese policy toward the continent: to gain access to natural resources such as oil and minerals, to widen China's export market and to strengthen China's diplomatic support for different international organizations. The objectives are to ensure the economic growth of the PRC and widen its political influence. This article aims to put in perspective the recent developments in Chinese migration and the orientations of China's foreign policy in Africa, and to re-address the question of relations between China and the Chinese overseas.


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