Zambian-Chinese Relations, a Win-Win or New Age Imperialism?

Adel Alaali
3 min readJul 10, 2021

Poverty reduction and alleviating denizens from abject destitution are chief concerns for Zambia’s political and economic forces. Closing the poverty gap was initially intended to enable wealth generation for the destitute, but is now is leveraged as a tool to further the People’s Republic of China’s globalist agenda.

Globalization is the worldwide movement of ideas, products, and services. It is driven by the creation of international trade routes and technology- as a business strategy, globalization bears the responsibility for delivering most of the products we buy today and progressing today’s interconnectedness. It’s the phenomenon that occurs when international trade lines and the advancement of technology unify behind a singular market bearing asynchronous economic functions. It is the process by which business leaders scale their organizations for international trade.

Reports indicate advert Chinese-Zambian globalization dates several months after Zambia’s declaration of independence, coincidently, with Zambia’s sovereignty being funded partly by the PROC. In the late 1990s, many investors considered Zambia a high-risk/low return economy, which at the time left it a relatively uncontested landscape. Rather than an egalitarian distribution of wealth, reports indicate Zambian leadership efforts to alleviate poverty have been hampered since China’s intervention. China, in pursuit of their globalist agenda, leveraged a unique opportunity that exerts economic, political, and cultural influence on Zambia’s fragile economic and political systems.

Despite recent economic growth, chiefly driven by Chinese investment, Zambia remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with roughly 40% of the populace living below the poverty line. Early euro-centric colonization and subsequent political upheaval resulted in Zambia’s dependence on international trade and globalization. Unfortunately, Zambia benefits very little from PROC policy due to imposed barriers to trade, overproduction of similar commodities, and the over-emphasis on low-skill manufacturing. Similar to China’s early economic development under the Mao-Zemin generations, the over emphasis of low manufacturing has led Africa to become China’s China. To draw parallels to Zambia’s predicament, one can note similarities when comparing the early US-Chinese trade relations, to the trajectory and current status of Brazil-Uruguayan commerce, where Uruguay serves as a perpetually low-cost manufacturer for Brazilian designed products.

To further Zambian culture erosion, China’s 1.4bn population, with estimates as high as 1.6 million Chinese migrants within Africa, allows them to scale a global workforce and exert economic and social control. This supplements the already rampant proliferation of China’s disconcerting globalist policy- economic superiority and cultural appropriation through neo-colonization. Furthermore, Chinas foreign working population supplements the connectedness between nations by creating global trade infrastructure and communication channels. These globalist facets are conducive to China’s policy as it strengthens the conduit planted in Zambia during their revolution.

A caveat to scaling globalization is the invisible border: a line that distinguishes culture and traditions by an unstratified hierarchy consisting of languages, dialects, and the native tongue. This pecking order typically sees the erosion of lesser-used and aged dialects first with subsequent languages and eventually native lounge following suite. Anecdotal reports indicate the steady erosion of the country’s customs, traditions, and even language precipitated Zambia’s independence. These further compounds the ponderance many locals probe, “is China helping Africa, or harming her countries?” Some may argue the PROC’s corporatist strategy is a subterfuge masking their government’s true ambitions.

Unfortunately, state borders and ambiguous international guidelines blur the grounds necessary for an inquiry into the anecdotal imputations of malfeasance levied. China, with great success, subterfuged a seemingly zero-sum industry in Zambia, guised by altruistic intentions and heralded, by some, as a success.

Part 1 — Present one recent instance (within the last 50 years only) whereby a language, custom or national culture has been lost or diminished by the elimination or blurring of an existing border via globalization. (Please select non-U.S. examples)