Algeria: Business as Usual After Chinese Face Off

The influx of Chinese immigrants to Algeria ignited a face off between the immigrants and locals in the Algerian capital Algiers. About 100 residents and migrants clashed, using knives and bludgeons, sparking a debate over whether this incident would impact Chinese investments in the North African country. Bloggers weigh in on the debate.

Talking Under the Random Dribble, whose headline screams Algerians get more than they bargained for with China writes:

A fight has broken out between Chinese and Algerians in Algeria…Algerians complain the new migrants drink alcohol and don’t respect Islam (”They drink alcohol and do not respect our religion. They must leave.“)…

While Algerian American Kal, from The Moor Next Door, describes it as Chinatown show down. The blogger notes the history between the two countries and their flourishing relationship saying:

Algeria and China have quite fine relations. To say “Algeria and China” is to say the governments of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria and the People’s Republic of China enjoy long and friendly relations The PRC was the first country to recognize independent Algeria. Quite a few Algerian military officers, engineers and others were educated in the PRC. Chinese television once broadcast programs on the Algerian “people’s revolution”. Algerian communists counted many, many Maoists in their ranks in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and the Chinese Embassy is historically one of the more important in Algiers. Any Algerian who has done his national service has held a Chinese made rifle and served in a military modeled after the People’s Liberation Army.

Kal then zooms in to contemporary times and describes a new era of relations:

Algerians have not taken well to the large numbers of Chinese that have arrived in Algeria over the last decade, mostly to build the housing units and infrastructure projects president Bouteflika promised Algerians in 1999, 2004 and 2009. Algerians want those jobs. But they’ve gone to Chinese firms on Chinese terms.

He further notes:

So the flare ups in Sino-Algerian relations recently have been the result of domestic politics; in other words, areas the two governments historically have ignored in their dealings with one another. But now, rebells in Algeria are setting upon Chinese interests based on the conduct of a Chinese rebellion; and ordinary Algerians are roughing up Chinese nationals, brought to the country as a result of this otherwise long and happy relationship.

And how will this ‘brawl’ impact Sino-Algerian relations? The Moor Next Door assures us it is business as usual in Algeria:

A headline like “Brawl breaks out in Algeria,” is the North African equivalent of something like “dog bites man”. One should consider that the day before Bab Ezzouar violence, there were youth riots in El Tarf, on the Tunisian border and that for a little more than a year intermittent violence has taken place between Ibadite Berbers and Arabic speakers Berriane, just north of Ghardaia. This is to say nothing of the numerous fits of car and tire burning that go on quite often elsewhere in Algeria. This is part of the setting of Bouteflika’s Algeria, and it is the failure of the socio-economic order he has setup, that addresses only macro-level economic and social problems, but fails to address the basic tensions in Algerian society in an effective way.


  • Toufik

    I am Algerian and I think that China is our friend and our brother. Chinese are welcome to Algeria. Our homes are their homes. Our petrol is their petrol. Our lives are their lives. French are unwelcome to Algeria.

    • sarah

      definitly! french are not welcome i totally agree with you, when it comes to critics they are always the first but when we need support they don’t show up; for chinese people, they are welcome, as long as they respect algerians, their religion and traditions!
      esalamu alaikum

  • redouane

    I cannot beleive you two (Toufik and Sarah) go the vent your frustration on the French. Toufik you are perhaps young and naive to say that everything Algeria has it is also for the chinese… what’s sort of talk is this? What does this change in terms of the Chinese workers being beaten in Algiers. Is this what you call “our homes are their homes” I call it xenophobia… The French have left Algeria a long time ago, and left us beating and killing each other like brat boys on the loose. Many Algerians would dream about going to France to work and live…. while your seem to be saying the contrary…. Algerians have only themselves to blame not the French….

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