March 29, 2014, by Tony Hong

International Symposium ‘China’s Soft Power in Africa’ 4th & 5th Sep 2014 at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China

International Symposium on:

‘China’s Soft Power in Africa: emerging media and cultural relations between China and Africa’

An international symposium on ‘China’s Soft Power in Africa: emerging media and cultural relations between China and Africa’ will be held on 4th and 5th of September 2014 at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China.  This is a joint effort by the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, the University of Westminster’s Africa Media Centre, and Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies.

China has increased dramatically its economic engagement with Africa. At the same time, it has been promoting its soft power on the continent. As important platforms for the promotion of soft power, large investments are being poured into the official media organizations to improve their reporting and broadcasting, including greatly increased and increasing media presence, exchange programmes and training for African journalists, and providing infrastructural and technical support to the media sector in Africa.

The involvement of China in Africa has been controversial. It is seen by some to have negative consequences for the deepening of democracy on the continent, if China’s attitude towards press freedom would be adopted by their new African partners. This symposium is to promote better understanding of China’s involvement in Africa, using its media engagement as an entry point. It welcomes proposals addressing the following topics:

  • China in Africa as a particular point of focus in media debates
  • Types of media controversies around China’s involvement in Africa
  • Soft power by China and ‘going out’ via the media
  • Agency and resistance against China’s soft power
  • The representation of China’s involvement in African media
  • The perceptions of journalists and editors of China’s soft power strategy and the implications of these developments for the liberal democracy model of journalism and media systems in Africa
  • The effectiveness of China’s soft power media push in Africa
  • The impact of China’s ‘soft power’ offensive on journalism in African countries
  • China’s influence on the balance of power in Africa’s media sector
  • The Africa media publics’ perspectives of China’s media involvement
  • China’s model for utilizing the media as a soft power tool in Africa
  • Implications of China’s media relations for the existing western liberal democracy model
  • Implications of China’s media push for the global media world order

All proposals must include the title, author’s name, institutional affiliation, and full contact information (email address, and telephone number), and a 500-word abstract.

Confirmed keynote speakers

Wenping He       Professor and Director of African Studies Section at the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies (IWAAS), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

‘Building China’s Soft Power in AfricaRestraining factors and the way forward’

Gary Rawnsley  Professor of Public Diplomacy in the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, UK.

‘To know us is to love us: An assessment of Chinese Soft Power’

Daya Thussu      Professor of International Communication and Co-Director of India Media Centre at the University of Westminster in London.

‘Re-configuring cultural diplomacy: Asian soft power in Africa’

Other speakers confirmed to date include Xiaoling Zhang the University of Nottingham, UK, Herman Wasserman from Rhodes University, South Africa, Winston Mano, the University of Westminster, UK and Xiaonong Long from Communication University of China.

Important dates:

Deadline for individual papers and panel proposals:                    15 April, 2014

Notification of the status of the proposals:                                      15 May, 2014

Draft program:                                                                                         31 May 2014

Early bird registration deadline:                                                         30 June 2014

Full paper submission deadline                                                           1 August 2014

Full fee: £120 (two nights’ accommodation, meals, local transport)

Early bird registration fee: £80


The review panel will select papers for proposal for an edited volume by a leading publisher such as Palgrave Macmillan and/or for a special issue of leading international journals such as Global Media and Communication.

For Maps & Travel Information and other updated information please go to


For abstract/paper submission:

For general enquiries: Nathan Stone

For logistics: Yolanda Sheng

For local information: Vicky Zhu

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