Archive | past events

Seminar on Sino-African satellite cooperation

On 11 June 2018, the UJCI, in collaboration with the UJ Library, presented a seminar on ‘Satellite Cooperation: The Next Frontier of Sino-African Relations?’

The seminar was chaired by Professor Esther Akinlabi, Vice-Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the University of Johannesburg.

The keynote speaker was Dr Zhu Ming, Research Fellow of the Centre for West Asian and African Studies of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS).

The respondent was Professor Arthur Mutambara, independent technology and strategy consultant, and a Visiting Professor of the University of Johannesburg. He is a former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, and former president of the African News Agency (ANA).

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Seminar on shifting Sino-American relations: implications for Africa

On Friday 11 May 2018, the UJCI, in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg Library, hosted a seminar on ‘Battle of the Giants?: Shifting Sino-American Relations and Re-Globalisation: Implications for Africa’.

The event was chaired by Dr David Monyae, Co-Director, UJCI.

The keynote speakers were Prof Wang Dong, Associate Professor in the School of International Studies, and Executive Deputy Director of the Institute for China-US People to People Exchange at Peking University; and Prof Henry Sun, International Director of the Business Research Institute and Professor at the Business School, University of Chester, United Kingdom.

The discussant was Ms Sanusha Naidu, Foreign Policy Analyst.

The year 2018 will be a busy one for Sino-South African relations. First, these two countries are celebrating 20 years of formal diplomatic relations. Second, South Africa will host the 10th BRICS Summit to be held in Johannesburg on 25-27 July. As host of the Summit, South Africa will be able to set the agenda for this increasingly important alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. In September, China and South Africa will co-chair the 2018 meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), to be hosted by China and held in Beijing. The Forum last met in Johannesburg in 2015.

Representatives of some 50 African countries are expected to meet with Chinese representatives to review their relations thus far and chart a way forward, following multiple changes in their domestic arrangements, including elections, re-elections and constitutional revisions on both sides.

All this will take place against the backdrop of major shifts in the international order, with many analysts now turning their attention to what Graham Allison has termed the ‘Thucydides Trap’ of an inevitable clash between the rising power of China and the United States, the global hegemon since 1945, and made more powerful by the end of the Cold War.

Most recently, in early April, 2018 a trade dispute erupted between the United States and China. Trump’s administration proposed 25 percent tariffs on $ 50 billion-worth of roughly 1,300 Chinese imports. This has invoked much debate and criticism, with some arguing that it is not so much about trade as about China’s rise as a technology power. To make sense of the above, UJCI has invited some of the best Chinese scholars to dissect this issue.

At this Public Dialogue, Professor Wang Dong of Peking University, the leading Chinese scholar on the history and development of Chinese foreign policy, will address these and many other questions, together with Professor Henry Sun, International Director of the Business Research Institute and Visiting Professor at Business School, University of Chester, United Kingdom.

Professor Dong and Professor Sun will be joined by the prominent South African Scholar Ms Sanusha Naidu, who will discuss the past, present and future of bilateral and multilateral areas of operation between African countries and China.

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Chinese Lantern Festival 2018

On Friday 2 March 2018, the UJCI staged a Chinese Lantern Festival, which also served as an event for welcoming its new Chinese Co-Director.

The Lantern Festival is one of the most important Chinese traditional festivals. It falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month, which is also the first night of the full moon. In China, the first lunar month was once known as ‘Xiao’ or ‘Yuan’. Both of these two terms refer to the first month of a year, so this day is also known as the ‘Yan Xiao’ Festival. In the Lantern Festival, displaying lanterns is a big practice throughout China. Other performances such as a Dragon Dance or Lion Dance will be held. ‘Guessing lantern riddles’ is also an essential part of the Festival.

During the event, people make and eat ‘Yuanxiao’, a specific type of dumpling made from sticky rice with a sweet filling. All family members get gotether to share the joy of reunification, which represents the deepest meaning of this special day.

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Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day

On Tuesday 3 October 2017, the UJCI celebrated the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and China’s National Day.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festival in China, signifying the idea of reunion. On this day, people, especially family members, have happy get-togethers. Moon cakes, symbolising ‘reunion, just like the full moon, form an important part of the festival, and are presented to family and friends.

October 1 is China’s National Day. It is close to Mid-Autumn Day, so Chinese people usually celebrate those two festivals together. Therefore, the UJCI also celebrated China’s  68th birthday together with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

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Seminar on BRICS-Africa Cooperation

On 29-30 August 2017, the UJCI and the UJ SARChi Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, in collaboration with Oxfam International’s Africa-China Dialogue Platform based in Addis Ababa, Ethopia, hosted a seminar on ‘BRICS-Africa Co-operation: Progress, Prospects and Challenges’.

The seminar was aimed at exploring issues surrounding BRICS and its relations with Africa prior to the Ninth BRICS Summit held in held in Xiamen, Fujian Province in China in September.

The seminar was addressed by speakers from each of the five BRICS countries. They were:

Dr. Bruno De Conti, Coordinator of the Graduate Programme in Economics of the BRICS Network University (BRICS NU)  at the University of Campinas in Brazil, and Director of the Confucius Institute at the same university.

Prof. Maxim Khomyakov, Vice-President of Ural Federal University in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and Director of the BRICS Studies Centre at the same university.

Prof. A.K. Ramakrishnan, Professor at the School of International Studies and Director of the Human Rights Studies Programme at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

Prof. Liu Haifang, Associate Professor in the School of International Studies and Executive Deputy Director and Secretary-General of the Centre for African Studies at Peking University.

Prof. Chris Landsberg, SARChI Chair of African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg.

For an article about the seminar on the UJ website, click here.

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China’s soft power status and its implications for Africa

From left to right are Prof Chris Landsberg, Prof Gilbert Khadiagala, Ms Yu-Shan Wu, Dr David Monyae, and Ass Prof Lt-Col (Ret) Martin R Rupiya.

On 2 August 2017, the UJ Confucius Institute and the African Public Policy and Research Institute (APPRI), in partnership with the UJ Library, hosted a discussion on ‘China’s Global Soft Power Status (via UN Peacekeeping) and its implications for the 2002 African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the 2013 African Capacity for Immediate Responses to Crises (ACRIC)’.

The speakers were:

Associate Professor Lt-Col (Ret) Martin R. Rupiya, executive director of the APPRI, and visiting fellow of the Institute for African Renaissance Studies (IARS) at the University of South Africa

Professor Gilbert Khadiagala, Jan Smuts Professor of International Relations and Head of Department at the University of the Witwatersrand.

The discussion was chaired by Ms Yu-Shan Wu, Senior Researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).


In just under seven decades, without going to war, the Chinese Community Party has transformed the Peoples’ Republic of China into a country with significant global soft power status. To this end, China has forged new relationships in the international security system, as manifested by its substantive contributions to the United Nations peacekeeping system.

Emloying this platform, Beijing has offered to contribute to the collective security instruments of the African Union, notably its African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACRIC). Will this be the panacea for the still struggling APSA and ACRIC, structures that spurn foreign assistance for ideological reasons, and seek to reassert Africa’s self-reliance?

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Dragon Boat Festival 2017

From left to right: Dr David Monyae, Co-Director, UJCI; Mrs Tang Deyan; Prof Yin Fulin, Co-Director, UJCI; Ms Ren Xiaoxia, Vice Consul General, Chinese Embassy; Mr Michael Sun, City of JOhannesburg MMC for Public Safety; and Ms Han Fang, Chairman of the Chinese Funding Association.

On 30 May 2017, UJCI held a Dragon Boat Festival at its premises in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

The Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu Festival, is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is a significant holiday celebrated in China, and the one with the longest history. It is one of the most important Chinese festivals. The origin of this summer festival centers around a scholarly government official named Qu Yuan. He was a good and respected man, but because of the misdeeds of jealous rivals he eventually fell into disfavor in the emperor’s court. Unable to regain the respect of the emperor, in his sorrow Qu Yuan threw himself into the Miluo River. Because of their admiration for Qu Yuan, the local people living adjacent to the Miluo River rushed into their boats to search for him while throwing rice into the waters to appease the river dragons. Although they were unable to find Qu Yuan, their efforts are still commemorated today during the Dragon Boat Festival.

The boat races during the Dragon Boat Festival are traditional customs to attempts to rescue the patriotic poet Qu Yuan. Qu Yuan drowned on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 B.C. Chinese citizens now throw bamboo leaves filled with cooked rice into the water. Therefore the fish could eat the rice rather than the hero poet. This later on turned into the custom of eating rice dumplings.

The celebration is a time for protection from evil and disease for the rest of the year. It is done so by different practices such as hanging healthy herbs on the front door, drinking nutritious concoctions, and displaying portraits of evil’s nemesis, Chung Kuei. If one manages to stand an egg on its end at exactly 12:00 noon, the following year will be a lucky one.

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