Re­port: China catch­ing up to U.S in for­eign aid Re­searchers: Much of $354B serves China’s in­ter­ests.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - FROM PAGE ONE - By Joe McDon­ald

China is close to

BEI­JING — match­ing the United States as a source of of­fi­cial grants and loans to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, but much of Bei­jing’s fi­nanc­ing serves its own eco- nomic in­ter­ests and yields scant ben­e­fits for re­cipi-

ents, a multi­na­tional group of re­searchers re­ported Wed­nes­day.

The re­search by AidData, a lab at the Col­lege of Wil­liam & Mary in Vir­ginia, is the most ex­ten­sive ef­fort yet to mea­sure of­fi­cial fi­nanc­ing by China, which re­leases few de­tails of its aid flows. That has spurred con­cern about Bei­jing’s in­ten­tions as it tries to ex­pand its global in­flu­ence to match China’s sta­tus as the world’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy.

China gave or lent $354.4 bil­lion in the 15 years end- ing in 2014 in Africa, Asia

and else­where, com­pared with $394.6 bil­lion for the United States, ac­cord­ing to AidData. It re­leased a data- base of Chi­nese fi­nanc­ing, as­sem­bled from thou­sands of sources of in­for­ma­tion, and a study on its im­pact by schol­ars from Har­vard Univer­sity, Ger­many’s Hei

del­berg Univer­sity and Wil­liam & Mary.

the very top level, you could say the U.S. and China are now spend­ing ri­vals when it comes to fi­nan­cial trans- fers to other coun­tries,” said AidData’s ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, Bradley C. Parks.

China’s se­cre­tive­ness about its spend­ing has fu­eled com­plaints its aid might prop up cor­rupt regimes or un­der­cut en­vi­ron­men­tal and hu­man rights stan­dards Western donors are try­ing to en­force.

At­tenti o n to Chi­nese fi­nanc­ing has in­creased as Bei­jing pro­motes its “Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive,” a multi-bil- lion-dol­lar ef­fort to ex­pand

China’s trade links with Asia, Africa and the Mid­dle East by build­ing ports, roads and fa­cil­i­ties.

About 23 per­cent of Chi­nese spend­ing met the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment’s def­i­ni­tion of “of­fi­cial devel­op­ment as­sis­tance.” By con­trast, 93 per­cent of U.S. spend­ing qual­i­fies as aid.

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