China has been much more involved in Africa's economy and trade than in its security. However, over the past decade or so, China has increased its participation in the United Nation's Peacekeeping Operations (UN PKOs), particularly in Africa. It has also taken steps to better protect its overseas nationals and, in 2017, established a naval base in Djibouti. This article focuses on the participation of China's People's Liberation Army in the United Nation's Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) since 2013. It aims to unpack the diplomatic process that led China to take part in this mission and to analyse the form of this participation. Mali was the second time (the first being in South Sudan in 2012) that China opted to deploy combat troops under the UN banner, underscoring a deepening involvement in PKOs and an increasing readiness to face risks. Finally, this article explores the implications of China's participation in the MINUSMA for its foreign and security posture as a whole. Often perceived as a realist rising power, by more actively participating in UN PKOs China is trying to demonstrate that it is a responsible and “integrationist” great power, ready to play the game according to the commonly approved international norms. Is this really the case?