Jonathan Holslag On world order and disorder

China and the coups: Coping with political instability in Africa

Examining five coups that occurred in Africa between 2003 and 2010, this article argues that China did not see the coups as major threats to its interests, but accepted instability as a part of doing business in Africa. It remained sceptical of democracy and continued to display conservative self-restraint, a preference for unilateralism, and a pragmatic mercantilist policy intended to strengthen its economic presence. If China is guided by any strategy, it is the strategy of adapting to political realities, rather than trying to shape them. In: African Affairs, vol. 110, 440. (Read)