Olivia Fifi Gieskes

An Ethnography of China’s Humanitarian Interventions in the DRC and Impacts on Everyday Human Security

This research examines labelling politics of Chinese humanitarian interveners in the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and related impacts on human security. The upsurge of Chinese humanitarianism in the DRC is paralleled by rampant academic and public discussions on the obscurity of Chinese aid, and the less emphasis on political security compared to Western “traditional” interventions. These interrogations however tend to overlook practical questions on how Chinese humanitarian interventions are implemented, and how Chinese humanitarian practices affect the broader notion of human security. More so, there is particularly scant knowledge of how humanitarian organizations, Congolese state actors and aid recipients resist, negotiate or acquiesce to Chinese “non-traditional” humanitarian interventions.

This research ethnographically explores how discourses on security, frames of Congo’s crises, socio-cultural imaginaries of Congolese and Chinese stakeholders, and cultural capital are employed to legitimate Chinese interventions in relation to human security. The research hereby aims to provide more knowledge on the involvements of Congolese stakeholders in Chinese interventions, and conditions under which Chinese interventions undermine or strengthen human security in local Congolese contexts.