Lin Songtian, China’s brash former ambassador to South Africa, returns home


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China’s most outspoken ambassador in Africa, Lin Songtian, abruptly left his post in South Africa yesterday, just a few days after news had broken that he had been ordered back to China.

Lin published a farewell letter on Monday in the South African newspaper Independent, in which he reflected on his two and a half years in Pretoria but didn’t share what he will be doing next. All he said was that he “will assume a new post for a new chapter.”

It’s still not entirely clear if Lin had been recalled under duress or if he is being reassigned to a new, higher-profile position within the China Foreign Ministry. 

Word first emerged late last week that Lin would soon be leaving. Journalist Peter Fabricius broke the story on the Daily Maverick website late Thursday and a second story came out the following day on, written by Carien du Plessis.

Carien joins Eric and Cobus to discuss Lin’s controversial legacy in South Africa and what might be next for one of China’s most brash, charismatic diplomats.