Handbook on China and Globalization
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Handbook on China and Globalization

Edited by Huiyao Wang and Lu Miao

An excellent guide for understanding the trends, challenges and opportunities facing China through globalization, this Handbook answers the pertinent questions regarding the globalization process and China’s influence on the world.
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Chapter 19: The Chinese intelligence services in Africa

Gérald Arboit


The history of the Chinese intelligence services is largely unknown. The aim of this chapter is to examine those services, in all their diversity (including the Second Department of the People’s Liberation Army’s General Staff Department, Central Investigation Department, and International Liaison Department, both depending on the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and the Ministry of State Security), and their operations in Africa. Largely based on unedited Western intelligence sources completed by specified scholars’ work, this chapter offers an image largely different from what media generally suggests. Two periods of activity thus appear, one influencing the other in its forms. The first corresponds to China’s desire to appear as a revolutionary power (1958–64). The second opens in 1999 and merges with Africa’s race to China. The operational principles adopted in support of the national liberation movements are still those that are in operation today in the approach of China’s intelligence services in Africa: diplomatic competition with Taiwan, and preventing the appearance of a new actor in the Indian Ocean (yesterday the Soviet Union, today India).

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