Chinatown in Senegal

By Damien Ma

Not my normal beat, but I found this Al Jazeera International segment on the Chinese presence in Senegal fascinating. Not least because the Chinese interviewed were candid and unguarded, leading to comments that would be considered politically incorrect in the west. Around the 7-minute mark, a young Chinese woman, surrounded by a Chinese posse in what seemed to be a karaoke bar, says offhandedly that "I am wondering why people here are so dark and the ocean is so blue." That's just an awkward and insensitive comment, but having had conversations with the average Chinese about race issues, this is hardly surprising (take a look at the story of Lou Jing and China's American Idol). 


Beyond the on-camera candor, the segment offers a great inside look at Chinese entrepreneurs making a living in Senegal. It's well worth the entire 23 minutes. 
See web-only content:
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/09/chinatown-in-senegal/62838/

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/09/chinatown-in-senegal/62838/