Increasingly, governments are required to gauge and respond to public sentiment over and above the one-way communication of broadcast media. The social media and accompanying elevated public role have complicated the decision-making process in China to the extent of potentially influencing its outward engagements. On the receiving end of China’s diplomacy is Africa, which is undergoing its own important technological changes. South Africa’s domestic circumstances, however, demonstrate that larger factors can override online sentiment. In two such important regions in the world, it is important to consider whether these domestic changes are likely to strengthen or undermine future China–Africa future relations.