China’s Second Continent Book Summary By Howard French

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China's Second Continent is an eye-opening book that dives into the Chinese migration and its impact in Africa.

It explores how over the past few decades, millions of Chinese citizens have emigrated to the continent and left their mark.

The book examines the sources of these migrations, as well as their many effects both on African people and culture as well as on a global scale.

It provides an unsettling but fascinating look at how a single country can have such a large influence all around the world.

China's Second Continent Book

Book Name: China's Second Continent (How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa)

Author(s): Howard French

Rating: 3.8/5

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Categories: Politics

Author Bio

Howard W.

French is an acclaimed journalist, professor and photojournalist.

He served as a foreign correspondent at the New York Times for over two decades and was even nominated for a Pulitzer Prize during his tenure.

Currently, he's working as a professor of journalism and photography at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

His book, "China's Second Continent," provides readers with a comprehensive look into the daily lives of Chinese cultures living in African countries.

With vivid descriptions and photos that capture the essence of these people, French offers readers an unforgettable experience into this lesser-known side of Chinese life.

Understanding The Growing Relationship Between China And Africa

Relationship Between China And Africa

China has taken an increasing interest in Africa over the last few decades, and it’s not just the Chinese government getting involved.

Many Chinese individuals are making their way to Africa for a better life.

But why has China found such an interest in a continent that is thousands of kilometers away?

The answer lies within China’s Second Continent –a book which looks into the many levels of interaction between China and Africa, from geopolitical to economic, as well as personal.

It has been discovered that by 2050, there will be more people in Africa than Asia–making it China’s main interest.

Such discoveries have prompted one Chinese farmer to move his family to Mozambique and have completely changed the demographic makeup of cities like Dakar, Senegal.

China’s unique approach to investments in African countries blossoms opportunities for both sides and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

China’s Rise To An Economic Superpower Sparks Global Migration

China has greatly benefited from globalization, accumulating an impressive economic wealth since the ’70s.

Through foreign investments and businesses, the Chinese economy has seen tremendous growth in the past two decades, establishing it significantly in the global market.

Much of this was made possible by the large pool of human resources and political climate that many Western companies saw as profitable investments for their production.

Although China is experiencing rapid economic growth still, this progress has not had positive effects on all citizens.

Chinese people interviewed by the author describe being under immense social pressure due to heavy competition in job markets, overpopulation and extended consequences brought on by the one-child policy put in place by the government.

This highly competitive marketplace along with endemic systemic corruption has created a significant gap between those who are wealthy and those who are not.

As a result of these social challenges, some have chosen to look elsewhere for opportunities where they can better their families’ lives; leading to a large amount of migrants out of China looking for new homes abroad where they can find relief from oppressive living conditions back home from which there seemed no way to move forward.

Thus we can see that even though China has certainly benefited from globalization throughout history, it still faces many difficult social issues that its people must overcome before achieving a more equitable society for all its citizens.

The Chinese Investment In Africa Promises Great Gains But Also Comes With Risks

The Chinese government has had its eyes on Africa for decades.

As far back as the mid-1990s, former Head of State Jian Zemin began making official visits to foster greater collaboration between China and African countries.

Years later, he offered $5 billion in aid to construct hospitals, schools and other public institutions in Africa.

Additionally, Zemin urged Chinese companies to invest in African economies.

These efforts have paid off – currently over 30% of China’s foreign revenue comes from Africa.

This should come as no surprise seeing as how China has been strategically strengthening its ties with the continent for the last 20 years.

Whether it’s through economic partnerships or helping Chinese migrants who’ve moved to Africa, China’s involvement has certainly made a difference.

The Impact Of Chinese Migrants In Africa: Friends Or Foes?

Chinese Migrants

Chinese migrants have had a dramatic impact on Chinese-African relations.

From Hao, the farmer who moved to Mozambique and started a farm with his son’s in-laws, to the thousands of other immigrants that followed, Chinese citizens are providing a key presence in Africa.

Their presence is leading to major changes in the dynamics between China and African nations.

Through their day-to-day contacts with African locals, as well as through their businesses that they established, they are making an impact felt beyond simple funding or public buildings.

Yet this hasn’t always been welcomed with open arms.

Many locals view Chinese migrants as competing for the same livelihoods, causing tension between certain groups.

Some even see it as a form of colonization and protest against what they perceive as Chinese invasion into their lives.

Chinese-African Relations: Overcoming Prejudices To Realize Mutual Benefits

It’s not uncommon to hear Chinese migrants in Africa make negative comments about Africans and the locals expressing concern over Chinese people taking over their communities.

This mutual distrust has developed for a variety of reasons, including lack of respect for host cultures and prejudice from both sides.

Chinese migrants are often uneducated and do not understand or appreciate African cultures.Numerous interviews revealed many lack basic knowledge of their host countries, such as mistakenly believing which countries border Mozambique.

On the other hand, locals view Chinese people as ruthless conquerors out to steal resources with no plans of giving back.

Many are suspicious when they see Chinese businesses operating in Africa and paying their African employees less than what their Chinese workers make.

Despite these tensions looming between both groups, it is clear that there is potential for great benefit on each side if they come together in partnership.

A lot of Africans believe Chinese migrants are capable of bringing educational and technological advancements to the continent, while China can find huge human resources in Africa along with greater markets for products.

The advantages far outweigh any prejudices each hold against the other, so hopefully this will be a stepping stone towards forging closer relations between the two regions moving forward.

Chinese Migrants In Africa Provoke Hatred Through Resource Theft And Dangerous Working Conditions

It’s no secret that Chinese companies are often exploiting the resources of African countries, which causes a lot of political tension in local communities.

This is evident in countries like Mozambique and Zambia, where Chinese migrants have created territorial disputes and exploitation problems all over their respective regions.

In Mozambique, local tribes have farmed their land for centuries but many now feel that the Chinese are taking what isn’t theirs by buying land with entire communities living and farming on it without respect for existing rights.

The legal complications around this issue lead to a lot of animosity between locals and Chinese migrants.

In Zambia, copper mining has become extremely lucrative for Chinese firms with damaging consequences -not only to the environment– but also to its people with terrible working conditions, little pay and even violence.

In 2006, a protest against the manager of a copper mine ended in six people being injured when he opened fire on them.

The day before that another violent altercation occurred due to payment discrepancies between a Chinese supervisor and Zambian miners.

China’s exploitation of African resources has provoked a great deal of hatred from locals that can only be addressed if changes are made soon.

Chinese Migrants And The Difficulties Of Integration In Liberia And Senegal

Chinese Migrants

Chinese businesses and workers are rapidly taking over African economies.

In Senegal, Chinese migrants have completely dominated the local trade in recent years and taken over nearly all of the shops on the main streets.

As a result, many local businesses have gone out of business – leaving Senegalese people feeling like they’re being invaded.

In Liberia, meanwhile, more and more Chinese construction companies are building hospitals in an effort to gain favor with locals.

Nevertheless, these hospitals still tend to employ mostly Chinese workers, which does nothing to solve the high levels of unemployment or chronic illnesses such as malaria and yellow fever affecting Liberians.

Furthermore, because public education is practically non-existent and fees for healthcare are so expensive due to corruption in government agencies, locals can’t take advantage of the increased investments from China anyway.

It’s clear that while there may be economic benefits from the increasing presence of Chinese businesses and workers in Africa, it has done very little to actually improve lives or conditions for African citizens.

China’s Corrupt Business Deals With Africa Undermine Local Industries And Destroy Trust

In the more corrupt African countries, the Chinese government has made backroom deals that don’t benefit local populations.

These secret agreements are often negotiated with the main goal of securing more business and resources for China.

The Chinese authorities don’t involve any organizations like NGOs or institutes that could protect local people’s interests.

Mali is one of those countries most affected by this kind of corruption.

Their own government is highly corrupt and takes advantage of opportunities to make backroom deals with China in order to gain resources and favour for their own benefit – at the expense of the citizens’ wellbeing.

China has sponsored some large-scale projects, such as building hospitals, but they haven’t done anything to help improve living standards in Mali.

In exchange for funds, they have been allowed to acquire great tracts of farmland and kick local farmers off it so they can rent out land that once belonged to them.

China Establishes A New Empire Of Interest In Africa


The Chinese government is in the midst of constructing a new form of empire, this one rooted in Africa.

Rather than deploying military forces like the European powers did to colonize countries and oppress their people, the Chinese have opted instead for an “empire of interest.” This involves deepening their presence in Africa by providing Africans with a steady stream of economic opportunities as well as creating more dependence on China through accepting corrupt deals.

As such, China has been able to increase its control over African markets and resources, further connecting itself with the continent.

These actions are done without regard for local populations, meaning that current issues such as apartheid may only be made worse due to this increased presence.

With China’s influence continuing to grow in African politics and economics, corruption between two regions will become more intertwined than ever before.

Ultimately, this new type of empire will be a force to be reckoned with and can shape major developments that will transform not only Africa but also world affairs at large.

Wrap Up

China’s Second Continent Book Summary provides us with a detailed look into China’s growing influence on the African continent.

Through this book, we are able to see that China has managed to establish its presence in several different sectors of African economies and by doing so, has managed to exert control in ways very much like traditional colonial empires did.

We also learn that the influx of Chinese migrants has been a major contributing factor to this trend.

Ultimately, this book provides us with an understanding of how these trends will shape both Africa and the rest of the world, making it clear that they are of great importance worldwide.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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