China and the Global South: Interrogating Imperialist Ambitions

Special Issue: China and the Global South: Interrogating Imperialist Ambitions*

Guest Editors:

Stuart Davis, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Studies, City University of New York, Baruch College *

((stuart.davis /at/ )

Time Schedule:

  • December 10, 2022: *a 1,000-word abstract and a 100-word bio, mentioning the title of the special issue in the subject line, to the guest editor: (stuart.davis /at/
  • 10 January 2023: *accepted abstracts notified
  • 01 May 2023: full paper submission


This proposed special issue raises a question linked to the single most pivotal shift in the contemporary international relations: How do transformations in the media and technological landscapes of the Global South reflect China’s rise as the primary contemporary challenger to American economic and political hegemony? In addressing this question, contributions will help provide insight into a conflict that the US State Department (2021) has recently labelled the “most significant case of great-power competition in the 21st century”; a so-called “new Cold War” that has manifested across sectors ranging from resource extraction to telecommunications. Given their strategic role during and after the Cold War along with their histories of political conflict and economic disadvantage, nations within the Global South are key sites of economic and political conflict for larger states attempting to exercise economic and political influence. In the case of China, many pundits and academics (particularly in the US) have labelled its recent expansion into the Global South as “China’s new age of imperialism” (French, 2014), arguing that it is using its economic and political strength to impose its will on “weaker” nations. In a similar vein, within communication and media studies critics have designated China’s purported domination a form of “technological imperialism” (Greene and Triolo, 2021) wherein financial or technical support provides a wedge for commercial market domination and opens the door to increased cultural influence. Pushing against these dystopian views of Chinese globalization, others have argued that Chinese-oriented development portends a more egalitarian approach, particularly in the Global South. This expansion, in the words of political economist Giovanni Arrighi, offers “the promise of a global order based on economic interdependence but respectful to political and cultural differences” (Arrighi 2008, p. 379).

Building on the trailblazing work of Yan (2020), Davis and Xiao (2021), and a scant few others, this proposed special issue will turn to media and communication processes in the Global South in an attempt to move beyond sweeping claims about the impact of Chinese globalization. In this vein, we welcome empirical investigations of how the Chinese state and Chinese media and technology corporations are expanding in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Contributors might address topics related to Chinese development initiatives in media or telecommunications infrastructure, cultural diplomacy and soft power, the expansion of Chinese-owned platforms, and other topics related to China’s increasingly powerful role in telecommunications, ICT, news, and other media industries. Relatedly, contributions that deal with media responses to Chinese-led development are also welcome, including those that interrogate local responses such as heightened Sinophobia.


  • Albuquerque, A., Oliveira, T. dos Santos Jr., R., Quinan, R. and Mazur, D. (Forthcoming). Coronavirus meets the clash of civilizations. /Convergence. /(Forthcoming, Fall 2022).
  • Arrighi, G. (2008). /Adam Smith In Beijing: Lineages of the 21^st Century./ New York: Verso.
  • avis, S. (2020). More than “a little flu”: Digital advocacy journalism and the struggle for health justice in Brazil under COVID-19. In Peter Van Aelst and Jay Blumler. (eds.). /Political Communication in the Time of Coronavirus. /New York: Routledge.
  • Davis, M., and Xiao, J. (2021). De-Westernizing platform studies: History and logics of Chinese and U.S. platforms. /International Journal of Communication/
  • French, H. (2014). /China’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire //in Africa. /New York: Vintage Books.
  • Greene, R. and Triolo, M. (2021) Will China control the Global Internet via its digital Silk Road? The Carnegie Fund, December 11, 2021.
  • Liu, H. (2022). China engages the Global South: From Bandung to the Belt and Road Initiative. / Global Policy/ 13 (1): 11-22.
  • Mirrlees, T. (2022). Sanctioning China’s technology industry to secure Silicon Valley’s global dominance. In Stuart Davis and Immanuel Ness. (eds.). /Sanctions as War: Anti-Imperialist Perspectives on US Geo-economic Strategy/. Leiden/Chicago: Brill.
  • US Department of State (2020). Elements of the China Challenge. Available at:
  • Wasserman, H. (2016). China’s “soft power” and its influence on editorial agendas in South Africa. /Chinese Journal of Communication/9:1, 8-20, DOI: 10.1080/17544750.2015.1049953
  • Yan, Xuetong. (2020). Bipolar rivalry in the early digital age. /The Chinese Journal of International //Politics/ 13 (3):313-341. DOI: 10.1093/cjip/poaa007