China’s Engagement in International Development Cooperation The State of the Debate

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Published by the Institute of Development Studies, this research aims to investigate the recent evolution of China’s discourse on development and aid. More precisely, how do China’s policymakers and influential scholars understand and debate China’s role in the field of international development aid, specifically in the context of China as a ‘rising power’? However, to reflect upon Chinese discourse in this manner is contrary to the Chinese perspective itself, where development and aid are rarely referred to in relation to each other. Instead, in the Chinese mind-set, to this day, national development and foreign aid seem to be two unrelated issues. It is exactly this point that shapes China’s attitude toward aid and creates a divergence between China and the West on international development cooperation. Meanwhile, when dealing with China’s current policy debate on foreign aid, one primary issue is that the debate is essentially fostered by the West. The West is facing China’s rise, China is facing the West’s request for international development cooperation and Africa is facing more and more new donors. The potential of this new context is vast.

This Report was also used as one of the background reading materials for the “Non-State Actors in Asian Development Cooperation: The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations” conference. Thanks to the Asian Foundation for providing this material.