Protecting Africa from the Chinese: U.S. Media Print Coverage of Sino-African Relations, 2002-2012


  • Lena Tan University of Otago


China, Africa, U.S., media images


Burgeoning and increasingly important political and economic links between China and Africa have been accompanied by greater media attention on various aspects of this relationship and in particular, its benefits as well as problems for African states.  While there are references to the bias against China in much of the western media’s coverage of Sino-African relations in the scholarly literature analyzing this relationship, surprisingly little systematic work has been done to analyze and discuss this coverage.  In this paper, I seek to fill this gap in the literature by providing a qualitative analysis and discussion of the recurrent themes present in the coverage provided by four main U.S. broadsheets on Sino-African relations from 2002 to 2012.  Specifically, this paper argues that the following images and narratives dominate the coverage of Sino-African relations in these newspapers: (a) an opportunistic and merciless China that is out to exploit Africa, (b) an Africa that has no agency and must be protected from the Chinese, and (c) a West that has the sole ability and responsibility to protect Africa from the Chinese.


Author Biography

Lena Tan, University of Otago


Department of Politics


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How to Cite

Tan, L. (2014). Protecting Africa from the Chinese: U.S. Media Print Coverage of Sino-African Relations, 2002-2012. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 2(2). Retrieved from