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Ghana Studies/Asian Studies/ International Politics

SIXTY

FRIENDSHIP, FRICTION, AND THE FUTURE


SIXTY YEARS OF GHANA-CHINA RELATIONS
YEARS
The year 2020 marked sixty years of Ghana-China
relations. After Guinea, Ghana was the second country,
south of the Sahara, to enter into formal diplomatic
relations with China. Ghana’s relations with China have
OF GHANA-CHINA RELATIONS
therefore earned the distinction of being one of the
FRIENDSHIP, FRICTION, AND THE FUTURE
longest on the continent. This relationship is among the
most vigorous, enduring and fraught between China and
any African country. In the tizzy Cold War era the world
watched keenly what Ghana and China were up to. In this
era of neoliberal capitalism, China’s forays into Africa are
analyzed using its relations with Ghana as a benchmark.
Sixty Years of Ghana-China Relations: Friendship,
Friction, and the Future attempts to offer sober yet bold
reflections on this six decade old friendship from its
inception to the present. The book has contributions on
race, gastro-diplomacy, architecture, aid, chrono-politics,
agency, COVID-19 and more. Edited by Lloyd G. Adu
Amoah, this volume commemorates the diamond jubilee
of Ghana-China relations. The work is a timely addition to
the literature on Ghana, Ghana-China, Africa-China and
Asian studies, and should serve as a bankable resource
for academics, researchers, diplomats, policymakers and
the intelligent lay man and woman.

Lloyd G. Adu Amoah is Director of the Centre for Asian


Studies(CAS); Director(Ag.), the Centre for European
Studies, and Senior Lecturer, Department of Political
Science, at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Amoah

ISBN: 978-9988-3-1566-5

Design & Print: 9 789988 315665


University of Ghana Printing Press, Legon Edited by Lloyd G. Adu Amoah
030 293 4987
SIXTY YEARS OF
GHANA-CHINA RELATIONS
FRIENDSHIP, FRICTION, AND THE FUTURE

Edited by
Lloyd G. Adu Amoah
© 2021 by Centre for Asian Studies
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including
photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods,
without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case
of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-
commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

ISBN: 978-9988-3-1566-5
Design & Printed by University of Ghana Printing Press, Legon
Typesetting by Joseph Leslie Quainoo
P. O. Box LG 1181 Legon, Accra, Ghana
Email: ugpressgh@gmail.com
Cover Art Illustration by Lloyd G. Adu Amoah

ii SIXTY YEARS OF GHANA-CHINA RELATIONS


FRIENDSHIP, FRICTION, AND THE FUTURE
CHAPTER TEN
(Re)centring anti-Black Racism in Africa-
China Relations
Lloyd G. Adu Amoah

INTRODUCTION

R
ace has emerged in full force in recent times in the rise of the Black
Lives Matter Movement. The broad daylight killing of George
Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota by a police officer has brought
anti-black racism back to the top of public agenda in the United States and
across the world. Mills (1997) is clearly right in his assertion that racism
has come to define the modern world as we have come to experience it in
our own times.
That racism, ideationally, is a recent Western (Eze, 1997) invention is not
in dispute in serious and objective intellectual circles. The key question for
scholars of race however is the nature and form of its uptake and expression
in other climes beyond(Isaacs, 1967) its Western founding heartland; an
exercise which has not been helped by the scant attention in the literature
on race in for example East Asia(Kowner & Demel, 2013). Indeed the
Chinese generally believe they are not racist (Huang, 2018). This chapter
will concern itself with making some sense of the racist treatment of Black
Africans in Guangzhou in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This
pandemic which has literally stopped the world in its tracks has brought
to the fore the need to come to grips with race in Africa-China relations.
More specifically I will seek to demonstrate through a critical engagement
with Chinese discourse on racism over a longue durée and documented

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FRIENDSHIP, FRICTION, AND THE FUTURE
cases that Chinese anti-black racism is part of the Chinese worldview;
that in contemporary times is hidden and only on occasion(such as the
COVID-19 crises) breaks out into the open. Following from these my
claim is that Chinese anti-black racism is a particular strain of Racism with
Chinese Characteristics, RCC1 (or better still Chinese Supremacy) and that
going forward this idea and practice long papered over, ignored or simply
dismissed needs to be re-centered in Africa-China relations given its
constant recurrence and the ways in which it has marked these relations.
This enterprise will therefore pull together the otherwise dispersed
meanings of RCC in order to provide preliminary notes on theorizing it.
We turn in the next section to the discourse on race in China to provide the
ideational scaffold for our subsequent analysis.

RACE, RACISM, CHINA AND BLACK


AFRICANS: A BRIEF SURVEY OF THE
DISCOURSE
Racism seemed to have become passé by the 1970s. Indeed with the
election of Obama strident claims were made about a post-racial America
and world. Major events in the 20th century had played a role in this
denouement.
Starting with India, imperialism anchored on racism faced a push back as
former colonies in Africa and Asia became independent. In America the
Civil Rights Movement will lead to voting and civil rights for African-
Americans. Apartheid ended in South Africa in the 1990s. But this lull has
been disturbed by racism linked events already referred to drawing in
China especially given its increasingly influential role in the world. In this
new role, China’s interactions with Black Africa have reached historically
unprecedented levels of intimacy especially expressed in the flow of
migrants both ways. On this interaction Huang(2018, p.196) makes it clear
that “even though the black/white binary does not organize Chinese
society as it does in the United States, one cannot deny it is an important
aspect in Chinese perception of strangers.” The key question to ask here
is from whence this “Black/white binary” in the Chinese consciousness?
What are its roots and antecedents? We turn first to Western thought
(which provided founding concepts for race discourse) for the examination
of these questions and then make our way to China’s own historical
intellectual exertions on this.

1 This term was first used by Cheng(2011).

244 SIXTY YEARS OF GHANA-CHINA RELATIONS


FRIENDSHIP, FRICTION, AND THE FUTURE

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