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Reflections on Lin Songtian’s Reported Departure from South Africa

18-hours before the story broke on The Daily Maverick website, we heard rumors that China’s outspoken, high-profile ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, had been recalled. “Holy ^%#*$! That’s huge!” I said to myself when I first heard about the news.

South Africa is the most important country in Africa for China. The bulk of China’s investments on the continent are there, it’s a major trading partner and home to the largest ethnic Chinese population on the continent. So, it’s no surprise that Beijing’s envoy in Pretoria is also China’s most important diplomat on the continent.

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