African Students in China: Research, Reality, and Reflection

by Li Anshan

Abstract

With the fast development of China-Africa relations, the African community in China becomes an impressive phenomenon and an attraction for international academia. Various African diasporic groups exist in China such as traders, students, artists, professionals, etc., with students forming the second largest group. Although there have been debates about whether international students can be considered as immigrants, the opinion that they are largely prevails in he scholarly literature. Studying African students in the context of China-Africa relations, the article is divided into five parts. The first provides a survey on the research on the topic, followed by an overview of the history of African students in China. The third part is an analysis of China’s policy towards African students. Why do the African students want to come to China? What attracts them? What are their purposes? The fourth part will discuss the favorable conditions for their coming to China and their motivations.The last part will describe their contribution to both the African and Chinese societies. I will argue that by their initiative the African students’ existence in China and their interaction with the Chinese people has brought various new things to China and made a great contribution to Africa as a whole.

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LI Anshan is Professor and Director, Institute of Afro-Asian Studies and Center for African Studies, School of International Studies, Peking University. His research focuses on Sino-African relations, African studies, and Chinese in Africa.