Introduction: The Nature and Scope of China’s Foreign Aid and Investment Diplomacy

  • John F. Copper


Foreign aid and foreign investments are both complex and controversial subjects. Even defining these terms has evoked intense debates and, at times, heated disagreements. There are good reasons for this: The terms have been used to mean different, sometimes contradictory, things. They reflect divisive views of economic and political policies. They connote moral behavior and are often used for propaganda purposes. They are instruments of power and influence. They mirror a nation’s status in the world.1


Foreign Investment Recipient Country Chinese Leader Communist Country Foreign Assistance 
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  1. 2.
    Peter Stephenson, Handbook of World Development: The Guide to Brandt Report (New York: Holmes and Meier Publishers, 1981), p. 6. More specifically aid refers to help given to developing countries, defined as those with a per capita income below a certain level, or funds given to multinational institutions such as the UN Development Program or the World Bank. Export credits are usually defined as foreign aid by the OECD.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Stephen Browne, Aid and Influence: Do Donors Help or Hinder? (London: Earthscan, 2007), pp. 12–13. The author also discusses such terms as “recipient,” “development,” “nonmilitary,” “concessional,” and “overheads.”Google Scholar
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    See Eugene W. Castle, The Great Giveaway: The Reality of Foreign Aid (Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery, 1957). The author notes that in the United States a significant amount of money and effort is made to “propagandize” foreign aid. See Volume 3, Chapter 1. On the other hand, opinion surveys show there is little public understanding of foreign aid. This works to the advantage of interest groups that favor aid giving.Google Scholar
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    Some writers, in fact, prefer the term “security assistance” to include both economic and military assistance. In the case of the United States, when aid proposals are made in Congress, security is generally used as justification. See Max F. Millikan, “The Political Case for Economic Development Aid,” in Robert A. Goldwin (ed.), Why Foreign Aid? (Chicago, IL: Rand McNally, 1962), pp. 90–91. It is worth mentioning here, given that this book is about China’s aid, that US aid to Taiwan from 1950 to the mid-1960s was given largely in the form of military aid—around 60 percent—and Taiwan was one of the big success stories of American aid producing economic growth and democracy.Google Scholar
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© John F. Copper 2016

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