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Debunking Myths About Chinese Labor in Africa

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comments this week that suggested China imports labor to work on infrastructure projects highlights the incredible durability of one of the oldest myths about Chinese engagement. The reality is there’s been a steady decline in the number of Chinese workers over the years and that the overwhelming majority of laborers on Chinese-run construction projects are locally hired.

Ding Fei, a postdoctoral research associate at the Arizona State University, is among a growing number of scholars who have published research that challenges many of the misperceptions about Chinese employment and labor practices in Africa. She joins Eric & Cobus to discuss her recent column in the Washington Post that focuses on Chinese management practices in Africa and why she thinks people like Secretary Blinken and so many others hold on to outdated perceptions on this issue.

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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.


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