China’s role in the mediation and resolution of conflict in Africa
"The salience of China in relation to Darfur has generated a paradox in popular perceptions whereby China is seen as both the cause and the potential solution to an armed conflict. Such a black-and-white view may make effective ammunition for advocacy, but China’s role in Sudan and the African continent more generally is actually more complex. Media coverage of China’s expanding economic engagement and rising political profile in Africa has produced a disconnect between China’s projected and actual roles in Africa, where the China of popular geopolitical imagination is frequently removed from China as an actually involved actor. Meaningful participation in African conflict-resolution processes is not an important aspect of China’s current Africa relations. China is becoming increasingly important in the landscape of African politics, including in conflict-affected theatres, but is not as significant an actor as external perceptions contend. Nor has the Chinese government shown any particular inclination for more active engagement beyond spheres such as Sudan where the need is more compelling. This paper offers a short assessment of China’s role in the mediation and resolution of conflict in Africa, with Darfur used as a key example – in many ways forming the exception to the wider rule."