China in Africa

In Zheng He’s Footsteps
Publisher: Best Red
Availability:in stock 1000 item(s)
Width: 235MM
Height: 168MM

About the book

The years Li Xinfeng spent as a Chinese correspondent in South Africa are evident in the insights he shares in China in Africa: Following Zheng He's Footsteps – the narrative of his research into the traces left by the famed navigator during his travels in and around Africa. Beginning on Kenya's Pate Island, Li's research led him to travel around much of the southern part of the African continent, searching for signs that Zheng He's fleet had been there some six centuries earlier.

China in Africa: Following Zheng He's Footsteps is more than just one person's quest to retrace the journey of an alluring historical figure, shrouded in legend:  Zheng He has become an important symbol for the Chinese people and the world of peace-loving cultural exchange in general. Li's comprehensive research into the African travels of this iconic figure presents a challenge to the postcolonial world, highlighting the stark contrast between colonising and fair exchange for mutual benefit. A consistent thread in the narrative is how best to respond to the challenge of overturning the exploitation of colonial relationships with friendly collaboration in modern times.

About the authors

Li Xinfeng, PhD is a writer, photographer, and research director of West Asia and Africa Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He is a researcher and professor in the graduate school of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; doctoral supervisor; deputy secretary general of the China Prose Society; deputy secretary general of the China Reportage Society; standing director of the China African Research Society; and director of the China Middle East Research Society. 

 Li graduated from the English Language Department of Xi’an International Studies University in 1981 and started teaching at the same university. He was twice admitted into the graduate school of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and was awarded a masters degree in law and a doctoral degree in management. He was later awarded a masters degree in arts by Wales University in Great Britain at the completion of his government-funded studies. In 2006, Li, as a member of a “Servicing Doctor Team,” worked as an assistant to the Western Hunan Autonomous Prefecture governor. He was a member of the 8th China Youth Federation, and became a member of the China Writers’ Association in 2007 and a member of the China Photographers’ Association in 2008.

Li has been a senior reporter, South Africa division director, and chief reporter of the People’s Daily, and a special reporter for People’s Daily Online and The Global Times. His has traveled more than half the African continent. He was the first Chinese reporter who visited descendants of the Zheng He fleet on Pate Island in Kenya, who discovered Mwamaka Sharif, the “Chinese Student,” and the only Asian reporter who visited and reported on the inland areas of Somalia 22 years after civil war broke out there. 

About the translator

Shelly Bryant divides her year between Shanghai and Singapore, working as a poet, writer, and translator. She is the author of eight volumes of poetry (Alban Lake and Math Paper Press), a pair of travel guides for the cities of Suzhou and Shanghai (Urbanatomy), and a book on classical Chinese gardens (Hong Kong University Press). She has translated work from the Chinese for Penguin Books, Epigram Publishing, the National Library Board in Singapore, Giramondo Books, and Rinchen Books. Shelly's poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites around the world, as well as in several art exhibitions. Her translation of Sheng Keyi’s Northern Girls was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2012.  You can visit her website at