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BUYING FRIENDS

Can China convince Africa to like it?

  • Nikhil Sonnad
By Nikhil Sonnad

Reporter

This story is part of an ongoing series on how China is reshaping our world.

China’s dramatic rise on the world stage has some people worried about its motives, and China wants to fix that. It’s putting vast amounts of money and resources toward the goal of improving its image. This can be seen in one major hotspot, Africa, where China is anxious to assure Africans that the goals of its investments there are benign.

It will take some convincing. In Africa, China often comes off as “unattractive” and “kinda racist.” A “This is Africa” exhibit at one Chinese museum compared Africans to animals. A skit during the widely watched Lunar New Year gala, aired on state TV, featured Chinese actors in blackface, depicting Kenyans.

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