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Scientific article


The Chinese story: Historical narratives as a tool in China’s Africa policy


The rise of China as a key actor on the African continent not only challenges the Western dominance in economic and political terms, Beijing is increasingly also offering a challenge on a different level, by contesting the Eurocentric history that has underpinned the West’s policies towards African countries throughout the modern era.

In order to bolster the Sino-African relationship, this article argues that Beijing is propagating towards African publics a range of historical narratives about African history and the Sino-African relationship. Developing and testing a theoretical framework for analysing these historical narratives, the research finds that this Chinese history of Africa represents China’s recent actions on the African continent as incarnations of a long historical tradition of friendship and anti-colonial support, thus serving the role of legitimizing Chinese policies as well as delegitimizing Western powers’ economic and political strategies.


  • Diplomacy
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Governance