JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – When Chinese premier Li Keqiang announced a laundry list of pledges to Africa this week, there was an unexpected item: $10 million for preserving African wildlife.
It comes at a time when Chinese demand for elephant ivory has pushed poaching to record highs. The pledge is an example of Beijing’s efforts to recast its relationship with African countries, under a strategy that appears to reflect a newfound sensitivity toward criticisms of Chinese demand for the continent’s resources.
Yun Sun, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, writes that the Chinese business community’s aggressive pursuit of economic gains, with little regard to the impact on African communities, has fueled perceptions of China as a new “colonial power.”
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