China's Media Influence in Africa

The Chinese government, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, is accelerating a campaign to influence media outlets and news consumers around the world. Africa occupies an important position in Beijing’s quest to influence the narrative on China’s rise, reflecting the importance China attaches to its broader relationship with countries across the Global South and their role in legitimating China’s claim to great power status. How and why is China influencing Africa’s media landscape? How are African countries reacting to the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to shape media narratives? What does this mean for China-Africa relations and our understanding of Chinese influence more broadly? In their latest report on Beijing’s Global Media Influence, Freedom House analyse the CCP’s tactics to shape the global media environment, including cyber operations and targeted disinformation campaigns. Focusing on Africa, this event discussed and evaluated the findings of the recent Freedom House report from local, regional and global perspectives. #LSEDigitalIR #LSEChinaForesight


This webinar was held on Thursday 19 January.

Meet the speakers and chair

Angeli Datt (@_datt @freedomhouse) is a Senior Research Analyst for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. She leads the China Media Bulletin, a monthly bilingual digest providing news and analysis on media freedom developments related to China, and co-authored the special report Beijing’ Global Media Influence. Prior to joining Freedom House, Angeli was the deputy director of research at Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) and wrote under the pen name Frances Eve. Angeli holds double master’s degrees in international affairs from Peking University and the London School of Economics and Political Science and an MA (Hons) in Modern History from the University of St Andrews.

Bingchun Meng is a Professor in the Department for Media and Communications at LSE, where she also co-directs the LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Research Centre. Prof Meng is currently the Director of LSE PhD Academy and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). Before joining the LSE, she was a post-doc fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, where she worked at the Centre for Global Communication Studies and also taught courses on Chinese media.Professor Meng’s research interests include gender and the media, political economy of media industries, communication governance, and comparative media studies. 

Cobus Van Staden (@stadenesque) is a senior researcher in the Foreign Policy Programme at the South Africa Instutute of International Affairs. Cobus van Staden completed his PhD in Japanese studies and media studies at the University of Nagoya in Japan in 2008. He expanded his work to comparisons between Japan and China during postdoctoral positions at the University of Stellenbosch, and the SARCHI Chair on African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the University of Johannesburg, before joining the Department of Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2013. His focus on China-Africa relations is further developed through the multi-platform China-Africa Project, which includes the China in Africa Podcast, the most prominent podcast dedicated to China-Africa relations, which is downloaded about 30,000 times per month.

Emeka Umejei (@emekaumejei) is the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow (Scholars track) at the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy. Dr. Umejei is a media scholar whose research focuses on Chinese media and Chinese digital infrastructure in Africa. He has taught at institutions across the continent, including the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, the American University of Nigeria, and the University of Ghana. He has also held research positions at the University of Duisburg-Essen and the University of Tubingen in Germany. His book ‘Chinese Media in Africa: Perception, Performance, and Paradox’ (2020) received wide acclaim. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Umejei served as an investigative journalist for several years, writing for leading newspapers in Nigeria, including the Independent and Leadership.

Chris Alden is Director of LSE IDEAS and Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science.