The China Monitor: Sept. 4 – Sept. 27

How is China engaging African nations? Why is Iraq joining the Belt and Road initiative? How will soybean and pork trade impact the state of the trade war? As China continues to try and exert power over Taiwan and Hong Kong, how are the people responding? What should the world expect to see at the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China? 
Read more to find out.

Every two weeks, The Carter Center China Program releases an overview of major events involving Chinese and US global engagement, with a particular focus on emerging issues in Africa and Latin America. In addition to using news sources, the news roundup will analyze papers and reports from academic journals, governmental bodies, and NGOs, and will also summarize debates and other events organized by think tanks on select issues. The news roundup is intended to be a platform and resource for both China watchers and for readers interested in political and economic development in developing countries. It aims to deepen the understanding of China’s foreign policy, and emerging issues and trends in developing countries, as well as to enhance the prospect of multinational cooperation among China, the U.S., Africa and Latin America.


Featured: Cultural Exchange among Chinese Migrants and Kenyans 

As a growing number of Chinese migrants settle in Africa, important social interactions are creating new dynamics of intermingling cultures. Chinese migrants settle and create visible social communities. This has led to a proliferation of Chinese culture in Kenya that has led to more interracial relationships and developments. There are many opportunities for social change and developments that go beyond popular discourse about Chinese exploitation of African nations.

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(Photo Credit: Flickr Commons)


China-Zimbabwe Memorandum of Understanding: China to Build Full Communications Network

Zimbabwe’s Information Communications Technology Minister and China’s Vice Minister for Internet Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding on September 11, 2019.  The MoU articulates the two nations’ future cooperative goals, including constructing a Zimbabwean fiber-optic network; mobile broadband and internet infrastructure; transborder cable networks; data service infrastructure; and more.  The signing of the MoU indicates strengthening relations between the two countries.

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Japanese Loans to Kenya up 162 Percent as China Goes Slow

Over the past year, Japan’s loans to Kenya increased by 162% as Chinese lending to Kenya grew by only 16%. China still lends approximately 500% more funds to Kenya than Japan, but Japan’s rapid growth is noteworthy. China and Japan both see Kenya as a strategic country for future geopolitical competition, and Kenya is important for access to the Indo-Pacific passage and the Indian Sea in general. Japan is currently engaging in several infrastructure projects in Kenya involving geothermal energy, irrigation, road transportation, and expanding port capacity in Mombasa

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Iraq to join China’s Belt and Road Project

On September 23, Iraqi prime minister Abel Abdel Mahdi announced that Iraq will be joining China’s Belt and Road Project. President Xi said that the countries will cooperate primarily on oil and infrastructure development. Mahdi voiced his support for the Belt and Road Initiative framework, and thanked China for its support. Iraq is China’s second biggest oil supplier, and China is Baghdad’s biggest trade partner. Trade last year between China and Iraq reached more than $30 billion.

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(Image Credit: Lintao Zheng / AFP) 


New Chinese Waivers for U.S. Soy

The Chinese government granted new waivers to several Chinese companies that allowed the purchase of U.S. soy without being subject to tariffs.  The waivers exempted 2 to 3 million tons of soy.  In response, soybean futures traded at a 0.2% increase.  The Chinese commerce industry did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

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China Prepares to Buy More Pork from the U.S.

Amidst domestic shortages of pork in China, Chinese firms have enquired about the price of pork from major U.S. exporters. Information about which firms and the exact volume of pork has not been released, but estimates reflect an order of approximately 100,000 tons. China, the world’s biggest pork consumer, saw pork prices skyrocket by 70% due to the spread of African swine fever that caused pig populations to plummet 40% this past year.

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China to Hold Military Parade on Oct. 1

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, China will hold a military parade on October 1st that highlights its most advanced and domestically produced weaponry. The Straits Times reported that the parade will involve “15,000 military personnel, 160 aircraft and 580 different pieces of military hardware.” As China flexes the strength of its military and attempts to downplay the perception that they are overly reliant on foreign technology, Western security analysts will no doubt be watching closely.

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(Image Credit: Reuters)


U.S. President Trump Attacks China at the United Nations

During his speech to the United Nations on September 24, 2019, United States President Donald Trump expressed his support for Hong Kong against China and criticized the Chinese position on trade. While President Trump did not mention the situation in Xinjiang in his speech, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang “the stain of the century.”

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Qualcomm Resumes Sales to Huawei

Qualcomm, a United States semiconductor manufacturer, has resumed selling products to Huawei.  Qualcomm’s CEO also stated that he would work towards solutions that would allow future sales. According to CER, “US businesses require a government license to sell products or provide services to the Chinese company. The US has argued that Huawei poses a national security threat due to its alleged close relations with the Chinese government.”

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Taiwan Loses 2 Diplomatic Allies, Wins US Support Ahead of Crucial Presidential Election

Last week, Beijing established relations with the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. In response, the United States threatened to cut aid to the Solomon Islands. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen emphasized her ties with the United States, in hopes of bolstering her chances of winning re-election in January 2020. Tsai is also pushing her New Southbound Policy to build stronger relationships with South and Southeast Asian nations to decrease Taiwan’s reliance on China for trade.

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(Image Credit: Makoto Lin / Office of the President)



Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam Tried to Calm Protestors in Direct Talks

Credit: Financial Times, 26 September 2019; Photo Credit: Bloomberg

On September 26th, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam conducted a community “dialogue” with 150 randomly-selected audience members. Participants raised several issues, including the belief that Beijing currently controlled the city’s leaders. Speakers also focused on the issue of why police have been permitted to use excessive force to respond to the protests. Although the extradition bill was withdrawn, four other demands by protestors remain unaddressed. Lam repeated lines she used in past conferences, asking people to respect the “one country, two systems” model.


  • The U.S.-China Perception Monitor (中美印象) is an online publication that explores perception and misperception in U.S.-China relations through insightful commentaries, interviews with experts, and profiles on key figures in the bilateral relationship.