Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

The Thorny Politics of Gratitude

China's Ambassador to Mali, Zhu Liying, handing over donations from the Jack Ma Foundation to local authorities. Image via @LiyingZHU1.

The COVID-19 crisis is nothing if not instructive. It has functioned like an X-ray, revealing hidden weaknesses in systems across the world. This isn’t only true in the narrow sense, relating to health care, insurance, and protective gear manufacturing systems. It’s also true in the wider, political sense. 

In some ways, the pandemic reinforces depressing stereotypes about the continent. The discussions around possible debt relief, and regular donations of PPE, ventilators and other medical gear, present a familiar scenario of Africa as a continent acted upon by external actors, defenseless against economic decisions made in Washington, Brussels, and Beijing.

  • 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.

China, Africa and the Global South... find out what’s happening.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.