Medical diplomacy before and after COVID-19 : Chinese engagements in Zambia

Streaming Media


The Chinese in Africa / Africans in China Research Network Conference Organising Committee in collaboration with the Centre for Cultural Research and Development at Lingnan University, Hong Kong

Event Title

CAAC2021 2nd Online Mini-symposium : Contemporary Chinese Mobilities in East/Southern Africa

Document Type





10:30 p.m.


Online Session via Zoom


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought Chinese growing presence in the global medical field to the world’s attention. The practice of Chinese ‘mask diplomacy’ can be considered as the latest manifestation of China’s rising (soft) power in the Global South, but also in parts of Europe. Chinese medical aid to African countries is, however, not a new phenomenon. The scale and scope of these ‘medical diplomacy’ engagements have expanded significantly in the last two decades. There is no shortage of reports on the important role played by the Chinese state as a new alternative for medical development in Africa. China’s medical aid is visualized by abundant figures such as the amount of money donated and invested, hospitals built, numbers of Chinese professionals deployed, African practitioners trained and patients treated etc.. However, little is known about the lived experiences behind these numbers. Drawing on academic debates surrounding knowledge mobility, this paper presents the embodied experiences of Chinese-Zambian medical co-operation. Based on our qualitative research in Zambia, we analyse the factors and processes of knowledge (im)mobilities and (co)creation. We identify a number of important prisms that affect the exchange of knowledge between the Chinese and Zambian teams in the hospital where we conducted our fieldwork. Our paper will also provide some thoughts on the implications of COVID-19 pandemic on Chinese ‘medical diplomacy’ in Zambia [co-authored by Peter Schumacher].



Additional Information


Maggi W.H. Leung is Associate Professor at the Department of Human Geography and Planning at Utrecht University. Her research focuses on the geography and impact of migration and other forms of mobility (esp. academic and professional mobility), internationalisation of education and related outcomes in knowledge mobilty and capacity development. She has published on these topics in a range of geography and social science journals. She is one of the editors of Geoforum and the Handbook of Translocal Development and Global Mobilities (Edward Elgar, 2021).

Recommended Citation

Leung, M. (2021, February 26). Medical diplomacy before and after COVID-19: Chinese engagements in Zambia [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://commons.ln.edu.hk/videos/857/