Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2016


China, Africa, arms sales, peacekeeping, peacebuilding

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


This article offers a critical analysis of the conflict and regional security implications of one of the strategies (arms sales) utilized by China to expand and consolidate its presence in Africa. This worrying trend is juxtaposed against its equally increasing peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities in post-conflict states within the continent. The analysis, accordingly, argues that the simultaneous growth in the scope of arms transfers and increase in contributions to peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities is tantamount to a contradictory policy toward Africa. Arms sales to African states encourage some incumbent regimes to maintain their despotic and oppressive rule thereby increasing the probability of violent conflicts between regimes and opposition groups. Small arms also prolong civil wars because of the easy access to them. While Chinese arms have been implicated in many conflicts in Africa, China at the same time is also enhancing African Union peacekeeping activities through generous financial donations as well as participation in humanitarian assistance, national police training, and resettlement of ex-combatants, among other activities. The question is, why does China pursue these seemingly antithetical policies within Africa? Or, why does China play this contradictory role contrary to its narrative of noninterference in the internal affairs of other states?

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Global Security and Intelligence Studies, v. 2, no. 1, p. 81-102