The salience of China in relation to Darfur has generated a paradox in popular perceptions whereby China is seen as both the cause and the potential solution to an armed conflict. Such a black-and-white view may make effective ammunition for advocacy, but China’s role in Sudan and the African continent more generally is actually more complex. This paper offers a short assessment of China’s role in the mediation and resolution of conflict in Africa, with Darfur used as a key example – in many ways forming the exception to the wider rule.