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Great Changes Unseen in a Century (and Frequently Ignored Now)

Big things are happening in the world, but don’t expect me to tell you what they are.  Like many South Africans, I’ve been a little distracted these days. The country’s notorious electricity situation has worsened to blackouts three times a ...

Chinese Leaders Fan Out Across Asia, Africa For a Busy Week of Diplomacy

The past 4-5 days have been especially busy for Chinese diplomacy in Africa and Asia. This outreach included the first time that President Xi Jinping left Beijing since the pandemic began almost 900 days ago.  Although technically still within China, President Xi's visit to Hong ...

Why China Building a Small Power Plant in a Small Congolese Town is Such a Big Deal

A consortium of Chinese entrepreneurs based in Angola recently signed an agreement to build an electric power generation facility in the small Congolese city of Kenge, 269 kilometers west of the capital Kinshasa, according to Radio Okapi. Not much is known about ...

Almost Every Major Kenyan Newspaper Published Column by Chinese Ambassador That Refutes Debt Trap Accusation

An unusual phenomenon occurred in Kenya over the past few days: the country's normally competitive newspapers all ran the same column written by China's envoy to Nairobi, Zhou Pingjian. Normally, newspapers insist on exclusivity when publishing columns like this. While we have no proof, ...

The Chinese Internet Turned on Lu Ke, the Culprit in the BBC’s “Racism for Sale” Documentary

For years, the Chinese internet reflexively defended all compatriots against any charges of anti-Black discrimination or racism. "China and Chinese people DO NOT DISCRIMINATE. Period." was the line that came back against any accusation by foreigners of Chinese maltreatment of Black people in places like 

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

Misadventures in the Skin Trade

This week I spent a few days in Cape Town, in time for a minor, if telling, crisis in international agricultural trade. A ship crammed with 19,000 (mostly still living) cows was stuck in Cape Town harbor, en route from Brazil to the Middle East.
As South African animal welfare authorities scrambled to inspect the horrors on board, the city was enveloped in a powerful farmyard funk. The entire episode can ...