Who is in Charge? State Power and Agency in Sino-African Relation

Padraig Carmody, Peter Kragelund

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Recently, much has been written about the role of African agency in
the continent’s emergent relationship with China. Some scholars have
argued that previous writing on the subject of Sino-African relations
presented an unbalanced picture in which an all-powerful China subjugated
weak African states, thereby replicating previous Orientalist tropes
about Africa. More recent scholarship by Corkin, Mohan, and others, however,
has focused on the significant power of African political elites in shaping
the nature of relations with China. This Article seeks to conceptualize
the nature of the power relations between China and African states by
examining concepts deployed in these scholarly debates. We then test
these concepts through case studies of Angola and Zambia— two of the
African states with which China has been most engaged and two major
commodity exporter monoeconomies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCornell International Law Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-23
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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