China's Foreign Aid Activities in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia [February 25, 2009] [open pdf - 1MB]
"In the past several years, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has bolstered its diplomatic presence and garnered international goodwill through its financing of infrastructure and natural resource development projects, assistance in the carrying out of such projects, and large economic investments in many developing countries. This report examines China's economic impact in three regions -- Africa, Latin America (Western Hemisphere), and Southeast Asia -- with an emphasis on bilateral foreign assistance. China's foreign aid is difficult to quantify. The PRC government does not release or explain Chinese foreign aid statistics and much of PRC foreign aid does not appear to be accounted for in the scholarly literature on foreign aid. Some Chinese foreign assistance partially resembles official development assistance (ODA) as defined by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but in other aspects shares characteristics of foreign investment. In terms of development grants, the primary form of assistance provided by major OECD countries, China is a relatively small source of global aid. However, when China's concessional loans and state-sponsored or subsidized overseas investments are included, the PRC becomes a major source of foreign aid. [...]Overall, China's foreign assistance during the past several years has been driven primarily by Beijing's desire to secure and transport natural resources and secondarily for diplomatic reasons."
CRS Report for Congress, R40361