摘要：鲁汶大学人类学家、移民问题专家彭教授（Prof. Dr. Ching Lin Pang)在布鲁塞尔《非洲人在广州》影展的开幕辞（摘选）
Dengfeng Village near Xiaobei metro station is one of the 300 urban villages in Guangzhou, surrounded by modern steel and glass high rises. However together with Sanyuanli it is more famous or infamous for housing the largest number of Africans in Guangzhou. Where do the Africans come from? In the past decade tens of thousands of African traders have arrived in Guangzhou, the center of China’s ‘world factory’ and neighboring city of Hong Kong. It is estimated that some 15,000 Africans live in Guangzhou. They gather around several major wholesale markets near old railway stations such Xiaobei and Sanyuanli and buy Chinese manufactured goods in bulk and ship them back to Africa from trucks, fertilizers, buses, furniture, to light consumer goods such as shoes, mobile phones, clothing, jewelries, you name it. Some traders manage to open their own shops and become middlemen in the lucrative global business. Due to the visible presence of Africans in these two districts they have been named ‘Chocolate City’, ‘Little Africa’, ‘Guangzhou’s Harlem’.
Deng Feng, the urban village near Xiaobei is the place which inspired the Chinese photographer Li Dong, who have framed a wide range of scenes of Africans in interaction with Han Chinese, Hui and Uighur Muslims. The pictures give us a first glimpse of the vibrant and lively neighborhood, especially at nighttime and in the rain. The pictures show a colorful mix of goods, people and buildings. Despite inhabiting different cultures, languages, faith and lifestyles interactions take place in light or less light forms. Light forms: bargaining between Africans and Chinese, Africans eating ‘oily stick’ and ‘soybean milk’, the staple of Chinese breakfast. Less light forms African Muslims pray together with Hui and Uighur Muslims, second generation children whether or not of mixed marriages speak fluently Mandarin Chinese.
There is also a lot of tension due to mutual stereotyping. Especially the regular ID check by Chinese policemen cause a lot of animosity among Africans.
At a more basic level there is an underlying sense of common destiny: Africa being on the road of development and China, having made great progress from a poor isolated country into the second largest world economy still consider itself in some ways a developing country. Or at least China has not forgotten its recent past as a destitute country. So many Chinese recognize the hardship of African merchants and like to compare them to Chinese merchants who went around the globe in search of a better life in earlier times. So the Africans in Guangzhou serve as a mirror reflection for the Chinese reminding them of less fortunate times.
Although Africans have been present in Guangzhou since the past decade this phenomenon is hardly known in the West. This exhibition is very timely and provides a good occasion to get a first impression of Africans in China.