Home / Articles / Evolving Principles and Guiding Concepts: How China Gains African Support for its Core National Interests
For decades, the People’s Republic of China has advocated rhetorically consistent, albeit gradually evolving, principles of state sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs that find particular resonance in African nations. Under Xi Jinping, China has packaged its policies using two interrelated guiding concepts, the “Chinese Dream” and the “The Community of Shared Future.” Africans have greeted the former with little enthusiasm, but have been more receptive to the latter. These principles and concepts represent the conceptual framework that China has built to engage African countries amid a rapid expansion in its diplomatic, economic, technological, and security footprint on the continent. Beijing has successfully garnered African support or, at least, acquiescence on topics its leaders consider the country’s “core national interests,” namely Taiwan, Tibet, the mistreatment of Muslim minorities, human rights, South China Sea, and Hong Kong. On these key sensitive issues, reciprocity has long been an essential element of Beijing’s approach, one that together with financing, investment, aid, and political backing of African interests, ensures that African countries support China’s position—lest they open themselves to criticisms of their own domestic affairs.