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Apr 6, 2016

How foreign journalists report on the China-Africa story is often determined by the national origin of their news organization. While there are no doubt exceptions, the US news media frequently frame China as the neo-colonial aggressor and Africa as the persistent victim of foreign agendas. The French, for their part, too often simply ignore the story and the Chinese frame Sino-African ties in almost exclusively positive terms that echo official policy positions.

These so-called "embedded narratives" run deep, particularly among older journalists, but a new generation of young foreign correspondents in Africa is challenging some of these dated caricatures.

Zhang Zizhu is a Special Correspondent in Nairobi for the Hong Kong-based global TV news network Phoenix Info News Channel. Zizhu is an unusual position as Chinese journalist based in Africa who does not work for any of the official Chinese Communist Party-run media like Xinhua or CCTV Africa. As an independent journalist reporting for a privately-owned TV channel, Zizhu has much more flexibility in the stories she covers and how she frames her reports.

Zizhu joins Eric & Cobus to reflect on the benefits of covering the Chinese in Africa with the benefit of being a Mandarin-speaking ethnic Chinese herself. However, she adds, that even with those advantages, Zizhu still faces many of the same obstacles that frustrate other foreign reporters assigned to report on China's engagement in Africa.

What do you think of the news media's coverage of the Chinese in Africa? Join the discussion:


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