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Ambassador Lin Songtian’s Recall Signals Shifts Ahead in China-Africa Relationship

Former Chinese ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian.

The sudden recall from South Africa of Chinese ambassador Lin Songtian was initially interpreted as being a demotion. But the contrary appears to be true – it now looks as though his deft use of Twitter has propelled him into another role: A combatant in the growing U.S.-China media confrontation.

And then he was gone: Lin Songtian, China’s outspoken ambassador to South Africa, who has reshaped how Beijing communicates with the continent, has left South Africa. His departure was hastened by the COVID-19 crisis, but his tenure will have a lingering impact in Africa and beyond.

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