STEVEN KUO: Building on a great civilisation, China deserves respect
The West’s refusal to accept the country's philosophical basis is at the root of notions such as the ‘yellow peril’
Many of us in Africa are fascinated with China. However, our knowledge of things Chinese is tainted by our Western-centric education and English language international media. Our textbooks hardly mention the opium wars of the mid-19th century, for example, when the British sought to punish the Chinese government for refusing to buy opium. The same Western mainstream media that has written Africa off as the “hopeless continent” also portrays China as the “yellow peril”.
In my book Chinese Peace: From Peacekeeper to Peacemaker, published earlier in 2020, I explore if there is a Chinese model for building sustainable peace and how China sees African insecurity. I accounted for Chinese pragmatism in its security policy over the past 30 years by examining its participation in UN peacekeeping operations across Africa. China participated in its first UN peacekeeping mission as an observer in Namibia in 1989, and by 2019 it was the largest troop contributor of the five UN Security Co...