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Sinology in Würzburg

Public lecture: Prof. Dr. Lauren Johnston (University of Sydney), "China, Africa, and the Market for Donkeys" (24.01.2023)


The Department of Sinology welcomes all students as well as everybody who is interested to the CCCUW's upcoming third lecture. The lecture will be held on 24 January 2023 (18:00) in room 00.006 (Graduate School) by Prof. Dr. Lauren Johnston (University of Sydney) on "China, Africa, and the Market for Donkeys".

Rising Chinese per capita income and health insurance coverage are good news - except for the world's donkey population. As a slow and selective breeder, the donkey has for some 7,000 years served rural villages via transport and heavy lifting services. Today, however, it faces a battle for survival, due to a newly burgeoning Chinese Traditional Medicine market for “ejiao”. Ejiao is 3,000 year-old medicinal product made using gelatin from donkey hides that is understood to support blood health, ageing and pregnancy. Demand for donkeys in China has reached such highs that smugglers are increasingly active across Africa, where donkeys are being legally, but also increasingly illegally traded. The result is rising displacement of Africa’s poor to the fringes and women returning to doing the 'donkey work' themselves. That means not only greater physical stress but also diminished income and educational opportunity for girls. This presentation will review these trends, and explore ideas that might help to bring a new and more sustainable equilibrium to the market for donkeys - in the interests of China and Africa.