The China Story: Chinese foreign aid could face tough times ahead
Mon August, 2020, Age: 3 years
China’s foreign aid program has had a long history. From the 1950s through the 1970s, it was used to legitimize and export socialism to developing nations around the world. As China has become a major global power, its foreign aid programs have served a major soft power role. Beginning in the early 2000s, Chinese aid programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific islands expanded rapidly. With the implementation of the massive 2015 Belt and Road initiatives across Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, Chinese aid has helped to shore up grander strategies for global influence that span the commercial, military, and nonprofit sectors. But China’s delivery of aid has relied on a government-to-government approach, which may prove to be a two-edged sword. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are newly suspicious that aid from China may come with strings attached. The PRC’s economy has also been wracked by the coronavirus, which means that it will be operating future aid programs with a tighter budget even as it seeks to make up recent losses in international goodwill.