- When China Met Africa
When China met Africa – an intimate portrait of three characters on the front line of China’s foray into Africa
A historic gathering of over 50 African heads of state in Beijing reverberates in Zambia where the lives of three characters unfold. Mr Liu is one of thousands of Chinese entrepreneurs who have settled across the continent in search of new opportunities. He has just bought his fourth farm and business is booming.
In northern Zambia, Mr Li, a project manager for a multinational Chinese company is upgrading Zambia’s longest road. Pressure to complete the road on time intensifies when funds from the Zambian government start running out.
Meanwhile Zambia’s Trade Minister is on route to China to secure millions of dollars of investment.
Through the intimate portrayal of these characters, the expanding footprint of a rising global power is laid bare – pointing to a radically different future, not just for Africa, but also for the world.
For a full review of the movie check out AFRICA IS A COUNTRY
In November 2006 Beijing cemented its long-term relationship with Africa by hosting a summit of 48 African heads of state. President Hu Jintao proudly declared that, “China will remain a close friend, reliable partner and good brother of Africa.”
Meanwhile, the western media became gripped by a frisson of ‘yellow-peril’ paranoia and articles of China’s ‘take-away’ of Africa and ‘neo-colonial’ rise appeared everywhere. The only China- Africa narrative that was being told again and again was China’s unstoppable quest for resources and support for the governments of Zimbabwe and Sudan.
These stories rarely gave voice to the millions of ordinary Chinese and African people who were working at the frontier of this relationship.
We wanted to tell the China-Africa story in microcosm from the perspective of three characters that were living out the daily reality of this paradigm.
It was important that the film had no commentary because we wanted audiences to have the opportunity to interpret this story for themselves. This would be the first time that Western audiences would see the grassroots interaction of China and Africa in this way.
This was about creating an observational portrait of a critical moment in time, which will be looked back on as the biggest geo-political shift of our age.