chapter
19 Pages

Introduction

Becoming Africans, Becoming Blacks in China

This introduction provides an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book begins with a historical review of Sino-African connections. It examines how the Chinese knowledge about Africans and blacks has been developed, contested, and mediated by China's encounters with Africa and the West in different historical periods. The book discusses the structural and personal reasons for recent African migration to South China, followed by an analysis of some key characteristics of the African diaspora communities in Guangzhou. It explores the multiple reasons for the formation of mutual stereotypes between Chinese and African petty traders. The book then discusses the possibility of structural racism against black Africans in China. It examines the tension between mobility and immobility in the daily life experiences of undocumented Africans in Guangzhou. The book focuses on 'illegal' residence as a business strategy in maintaining vital transnational trade networks between China and Africa.