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International Symposium: Inequality and Well-being in China-African Relations


Promoting comparative research on social change and social policy, the Centre for Social Policy and Social Change organised an International Symposium aimed at examining the nature and implications of the Sino-Africa relations for inequalities and well-being from an interdisciplinary perspective. The Symposium was well-attended with over fifty participants and experts from around the world. They included Prof Adams Bodomo (University of Vienna), Prof Gordon Mattews (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), Prof Yoon Park (Georgetown University, SAIS-CARI), Prof Ka Ho Mok (Lingnan University), Prof Catherine Montgomery (University of Bath), Prof Ray Forrest (Lingnan University), Prof Barry Sautman (The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology), Dr Obert Hodzi (University of Helsinki), Dr Seyram Avle (University of Massachusetts), Dr Patricia Agupusi (Brown University), Dr Padmore A. Amoah (Lingnan University), Dr Liang Xu (Peking University), Dr Lina Benaddallah (Wake Forrest University), Miriam Driessen (University of Oxford), and Dr Emily Shun Chow (The University of Hong Kong). These scholars deliberated on some of the critical emerging questions around the growing relations between China and African countries, particularly at the micro level including:


  1. How is China’s economic and social transformation agenda impacting well-being and social inequalities in Sub-Saharan Africa?
  2. To what extent can recent changes in inequalities and well-being in China and Africa be attributed to rising migration trends?
  3. How do we resolve growing tensions in natural resource interests and management for the well-being of the poor and disadvantaged?
  4. Can the revitalised Sino-Africa relations address the critical infrastructural deficit in sub-Saharan Africa?


With several high quality and provocative papers, it was apparent that issues of inequalities and well-being are fundamental and significant topics of inquiry for different forms and levels of engagements between Chinese and Africans. This was relevant irrespective of the disciplinary lens the issues took. Indeed, the papers presented at the Symposium cut across numerous academic disciplines including Sociology, Social Policy, Political Science, Linguistics, Cultural Studies, Economics, Design Studies, and Information and Communication Technology. While the event illuminated and thereby debunked several contentious and mythical narratives on Africa’s engagement with China, more efforts, by way of research through collaborative endeavours are required to strengthen the discourse around the field. Participants unanimously agreed on the need to keep the conversations alive and resolved to collaborate on more research to theorise different aspects of the relations, in particular, the implications for inequalities and well-being of private actors and enhance public awareness on the opportunities and challenges involved.  Prof Ka Ho Mok, Vice President of Lingnan University, shared the deep interest and potential plans of Lingnan University to create more platforms for studies and research on China-Africa relations when addressing the participants and presenters in the Symposium. Another conference related to African-China Studies will be organized by the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University in June 2020 with enthusiastic support from the African-China Studies network being formed during the Symposium.