Unlike the United States and countries in Europe, China has never been regarded as a popular destination for economic migrants. Today, that is no longer the case. China’s four-decade long economic boom is now a magnet for immigrants, particularly from Africa.
The Guangzhou Dream Factory is a new documentary produced by a pair of American filmmakers that explores the promise and peril facing a new generation of African migrants to China’s southern economic capital in Guangzhou. In this edition of the China in Africa podcast, Eric & Cobus speak with journalist Christiane Badgely and Erica Marcus about why so many African migrants dream of immigrating to China and the difficult conditions that await them upon their arrival.
Although the film is not yet available for public release as it is now making its way across the United States film festival circuit, a trailer of the documentary can be seen here:
Show Notes – African migration to China is an issue that we have covered extensively at The China Africa Project over the past several years:
- Why Gambian migrants are giving up on their “China Dream”
- China was once a hot destination for African migrants, not any more
- Anti-African discrimination on the rise in China
Guangzhou, a.k.a. Canton, is southern China’s centuries-old trading port. Today the booming metropolis of 14 million is a mecca of mass consumption, its vast international trading centers crammed with every “Made in China” good imaginable. Every year more than half a million Africans travel to Guangzhou where they buy goods to sell back in Africa. Over time, some have chosen to stay, and for these Africans China looks like the new land of opportunity, a place where anything is possible. But is it?
Featuring a dynamic cast of men and women from Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, GUANGZHOU DREAM FACTORY weaves the stories of Africans chasing alluring, yet elusive, “Made in China” dreams into a compelling critique of 21st century global capitalism. Following a filmmaker’s journey from Ghana to China and back to Africa, GUANGZHOU DREAM FACTORY provides a rare glimpse of African aspirations in an age of endless outsourcing.