Building Uhuru: Chinese Workers and Labour Diplomacy on the Tan-Zam Railway

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    In the wake of the Sino-Soviet split of the early 1960s, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recast its foreign policy into a 'Third World' struggle against the twin imperialisms of the United States and the Soviet Union. In concrete terms, this translated into increased Chinese foreign aid to fellow nonaligned, autonomous socialist countries, with work teams from China having a hand in constructing dozens of turnkey aid projects all over the world. By committing their own labour power and expertise to develop infrastructure in these countries, Chinese leaders sought to position China as the beaming sun from which Third World socialism emanated. The African continent occupied a privileged position in this diplomatic effort. In particular, the Tanzania-Zambia (Tan-Zam) Railway, built in the first half of the 1970s, is to this day held up fondly by the Chinese authorities as a symbol of Sino-African friendship. This essay looks into the lived experiences of the Chinese workers and technical experts who helped build the railway.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProletarian China
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherVerso Books
    ISBN (Print)9781839766336
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


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