Mao’s most famous statement about postcolonial struggle came in response to the Congo Crisis of the 1960s, yet China’s understanding of and involvement in that conflict has been largely ignored. Based on briefly declassified archival sources and long-forgotten cultural works, this essay examines the significance of China’s engagement in the heart of Africa. A close reading of the spoken-word drama War Drums on the Equator (1965) reveals the importance of mobilizing “subjugated knowledge” in asymmetrical conflict.

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