Few issues in the China-Africa relationship are as old or as contentious as that of labor. Accusations that Chinese companies prefer to hire their own unskilled laborers and then mistreat the local employees they do hire are among the widely believed perceptions about Chinese labor practices in Africa. While there’s ample evidence that confirms some truth to both allegations, a number of different researchers from Hong Kong, Britain, and elsewhere have found that the situation isn’t quite so clear-cut.
While criticisms of Chinese labor practices by both African and Western stakeholders are well-established, little is known about the Chinese perspective on the issue. Tang Xiaoyang, a well-known China-Africa scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing and deputy director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, recently published a paper in Beijing Cultural Review that explains the rationale as to why Chinese companies operating in Africa tend to prefer to hire their own people over locals.
- Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
- Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
- Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.