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  4. Emerging Perceptions of China in Zimbabwe: Mixed Views of the “Look East Policy”




Emerging Perceptions of China in Zimbabwe: Mixed Views of the “Look East Policy”



Speaker: Winston Mano, Media and Development, University of Westminster


Zimbabwe's "Look East Policy" was designed to take advantage of the on-going geopolitical shifts in the world economy by increasing its commercial links with South East Asian countries. However, Zimbabwe has mainly dealt with China. Since 1980, Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe has visited China 14 times, with the last visit in August 2014. The Chinese interventions in Zimbabwe are rapidly growing, covering critical sectors such as transport, communication, mining, health, energy, education, hospitality and agriculture. Research on Sino-Zimbabwe relations is mainly on the scope and dimension of Chinese expansion. By analyzing how journalists, politicians, students, workers, amongst others, the paper provides a unique account of the emerging perceptions of China in Zimbabwe.

The findings show a diverse range of views but these can be reduced to three main types. In discussing the mixed perceptions, the research invokes Nyamnjoh's (2012) metaphor of the blind men and an elephant, in which perceptions can be influenced by prior assumptions, lack of familiarity and prejudices. The research is also important in terms of conceptualizing power between countries in the global South. Power between states is often perceived as a system of total domination, with one country in complete control of another. Using Foucault's (1980) concept of power as a "network of relations" the paper expands the perception of power between countries by considering the way it works uni-directionally and at multi-levels. The paper offers original insights into perceptions of China in Zimbabwe and into the processes behind the changing global media world order that has been thus far dominated by the West.

About the speaker

Winston Mano is a Reader and Course Leader of the MA in Media and Development and current Director of the Africa Media Centre at the University of Westminster.He is also the Principal Editor of the Journal of African Media Studies published by Intellect Ltd. He joined the University of Westminster's Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) from the University of Zimbabwe in 2000. He has studied in Zimbabwe, Norway and Britain.

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When & where

12.00pm - 1.00pmTuesday 24th February 2015

DLG09 Rhind Building City, University of London Rhind Building London EC1R 0JD United Kingdom