When the first Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was launched in 2000, it was hardly a high-profile meeting. It was held at the ministerial level, hosting heads of governments rather than heads of state as in later summits. As such, the first FOCAC flew relatively under the radar in terms of international media coverage. We recall the iconic (and infamous) cover photo of the Economist in 2000 defining Africa as an “hopeless continent”.
The 2015 launch of China’s Digital Silk Road — and subsequent concerns around the cybersecurity risks associated with Chinese vendors’ network gear — have prompted US and European policymakers to turn their eyes to China’s footprint in Africa’s digital infrastructure.
2021 is a significant year for Africa-China relations. It marks 20 years since the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was established. China’s Communist Party, which has been in contact with African parties longer than any other political party in the industrialized world, turned 100. Meanwhile, South Africa’s African National Congress, one of the first African movements to be mentored by China, turned 109.
The geostrategic scenario around the Gulf monarchies has significantly changed, a phenomenon that is reflected by shifting American and Chinese approaches to military outposts in the area. As such, a new security season has opened in the Gulf: for the monarchies, pursuing autonomous capabilities in the defence field is, and will be, all the more strategic.
Over the course of the past decade, Russia and China have been increasingly aligning on a number of issues that encompass foreign and domestic politics. With the COVID-19 pandemic, such alignment has increased in the digital space.
The “vaccine production power” developed by some global actors to fight the COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a soft power tool to influence the international global order.
Looking back at how major international magazines commented on Xi Jinping’s rise as General Secretary in 2012 is a helpful exercise in understanding what the international community was expecting.
On the 23rd of July 2021, the Communist Party of China (from now on, CCP) will officially turn 100 years old—an event that marks the achievement of the first ‘Centenary goal’ set by President Xi Jinping in 2013. Despite Covid-19-imposed international mobility restrictions, posts and videos on social media platforms like Weibo or Douyin conjure vivid images of the ‘red fever’ currently running through the country.
Michael Schoenhals and Roderick MacFarquhar’s opus magnum on the Cultural Revolution bears the appropriate title Mao’s Last Revolution, but I have always thought that The Last Revolution would have been an even more appropriate title.
One indisputable trend of Xi Jinping’s leadership since taking up the reins of government in 2012 has been the reaffirming of the Party’s control over the state, the army, society, and the economy. To this aim, establishing heightened control over the national security apparatus has been his means as much as an end. Xi has thus strengthened the Party’s overall security authority through major institutional and legal reforms (not to mention through its anti-corruption campaign).