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Issue Brief - Brief on White Paper on China's International Development Cooperation in the New Era

Feb 5, 2021

On 10 January 2021, the State Council Information Office of China issued its much-awaited third White Paper (WP) on China’s foreign aid, six and a half years after the release of the second WP was published in July 2014. Its release has been timed to coincide with China celebrating seven decades of foreign aid that began in the 1950s and embarking on a new stage in its journey as a provider of development cooperation.

The first WP was released in April 2011 in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of foreign aid, covering data and events up to 2009. As the Government’s first-ever attempt, it provided a high-level summary of its aid policy (including different historical contexts, rationale and principles), financing (including three financial arrangements and eight patterns), distribution (geographically and sector-wise), management and international cooperation. Building on that and using a similar structure, the second WP provided updates on the progress that had been made between 2010 and 2012.

The newly issued third WP provides a comprehensive overview of China’s foreign aid experience and guiding principles combined with a forward-looking perspective. It is an exhaustive document exceeding the total length of the previous two papers combined. Below, we summarise key developments and new concepts described in the 2021 update and provide some suggestions and reflections on how to move these concepts forward. 

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