n Journal of African Foreign Affairs - Constructing China’s identity in Zambian politics : a tale of expediency and resignation

Volume 6 Number 3
  • ISSN : 2056-564X
  • E-ISSN: 2056-5658



The paper argues that Zambian political parties have ascribed convenient identities to China to satisfy their quest for, and in some cases retention of, political office. Ruling parties realise the ideological and economic importance of China and hence support Sino-Zambian ties. Opposition parties denounce China to inflame the sensibilities of ordinary Zambians who feel threatened, especially by the recent increase of Chinese migrants who are perceived as threats to Zambian small scale entrepreneurship. The paper concludes that it is convenient for opposition parties in Zambia to construct and promote a negative identity of China to win the support of ordinary and disillusioned Zambians. The Patriotic Front (PF), Zambia's ruling party since 2011, has shown that, once in power, parties are more likely to change their stance on China because of pragmatic ambitions and a sense of resignation as China will increasingly be involved in, and influence Zambia's political and economic future.

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