Forget debt traps, Huawei ‘back-doors’ and vaccine diplomacy. They might be the disputes that define our current polarized moment. But I’m willing to bet they won’t have the staying power of the one – the original – dispute that has haunted Chinese engagement with Africa since the late 1990s: labor.
Those who’ve followed the Africa-China discourse for a while will know that African workers’ complaints about their treatment by Chinese managers crop up year after year, from sectors as diverse as mining to media and beyond. The complaints differ, but they keep circling around key themes: arduous working conditions, long hours, low wages, limited promotions, and disrespectful, or downright abusive, treatment by managers.
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Tea farmers in Kenya’s central highlands say Chinese interest in their tea is improving their income, but the journey for Chinese tea enthusiast and founder of the Chinya Tea Development Company Lewis Gao has not ...
The last year or so has seen a constant drip-drip-drip of social media videos showing Chinese managers abusing African workers. The trend has understandably cast a harsh light on Africa-China labor relations. To ...