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?