RAS Book Club

China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire

Author: Author Howard French (2015)

Discussion Leader: Dr. Raymond Kolter

RAS member Dr. Kolter is professor of international relations and scholar of Chinese politics and diplomacy at Fudan University

Chinese immigrants of the recent past and unfolding twenty-first century are in search of the African dream. So explains indefatigable traveler Howard W. French, prize-winning investigative journalist and former New York Times bureau chief in Africa and China, in the definitive account of this seismic geopolitical development. China’s burgeoning presence in Africa is already shaping, and reshaping, the future of millions of people. From Liberia to Senegal to Mozambique, in creaky trucks and by back roads, French introduces us to the characters who make up China’s dogged emigrant population: entrepreneurs singlehandedly reshaping African infrastructure, and less-lucky migrants barely scraping by but still convinced of Africa’s opportunities. French’s acute observations offer illuminating insight into the most pressing unknowns of modern Sino-African relations: Why China is making these cultural and economic incursions into the continent; what Africa’s role is in this equation; and what the ramifications for both parties and their people—and the watching world—will be in the foreseeable future.

Since 2008, Howard French has taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. For 23 years prior to joining the Columbia faculty, he was a reporter for The New York Times, where he worked as a foreign correspondent for two decades During this time, French was the paper’s bureau chief in Shanghai, Tokyo, Abidjan and Miami (covering Central America and the Caribbean). French’s documentary photography has featured in solo and group exhibitions on four continents, and collected by the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum in St. Louis.

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