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Chinese Workers in Africa: Working Conditions and Potential Conflicts

By Sasha Gong

Introduction

While China's investment in Africa raises eyebrows around the world, the vast number of Chinese migrant workers in the region rarely attracts attention. China has quickly become a prominent presence in many key industries in Africa, including petroleum fields, construction sites, mines, and textile mills. Unlike the western investors in Africa, who only brought managers and engineers and hired mainly local laborers, the Chinese have brought along their own workforce. Many of them, especially the illegal ones, are determined to stay. This will have profound impacts on the Sino-African relationship.

WORK IN PROGRESS


Bio: Sasha Gong is a scholar, a writer, and a journalist. In the 1970s, she worked as a mechanic in a factory for seven years, and gained first-hand knowledge about industrial relations in China. In 1979, she was admitted to Peking University and earned a BA and an MA in history. In 1988, she joined the graduate program at Harvard University and earned her PhD in sociology in 1995. Since then, she has taught sociology at UCLA and George Washington University, and worked as the director of the Cantonese Service at Radio Free Asia. In 2004, she joined the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

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