How a Chinese journalist covers Africa: A discussion with CGTN’s Shen Shiwei


Play episode:

China’s media influence in Africa is rapidly expanding. State media like CGTN, China Radio International and the China Daily newspaper all have a robust presence on the continent, and news content from Xinhua is now increasingly common on African news sites.

There’s been a lot of analysis by both journalists and scholars over the past year about the implications of Beijing’s increasingly ambitious media strategy on the continent. Although experts including Aubrey Hruby, Merriden Varrall and Sarah Cook have all written extensively on the issue, mostly on the broad macro trends, most of these reports lack the first-person insights from Chinese journalists actually who report on Africa for Chinese media outlets.

Shěn Shīwěi 沈诗伟 is a Beijing-based international journalist who spent years working on the continent before returning to China where he’s now a regular commentator on African affairs for various Chinese TV, newspaper, and radio outlets. 

In addition to working as an International News Editor at CGTN, Shiwei is also a columnist for the Global Times and a Research Fellow at the Institute for African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University.

Shiwei joins Eric & Cobus to discuss his approach to reporting the China-Africa story and why the Chinese news narrative about Africa is so different from that in the United States and Europe. 

It’s important to note that Shiwei’s comments on the show are only his personal views and do not represent those of CGTN or any of the organizations that he’s currently affiliated with.