China's Global Health Engagement and Development Assistance

China’s Global Health Engagement

Part of Global Health Policy Center’s initiative on how the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries are influencing activities, practices, and strategies in the area of global health diplomacy.

Health diplomacy has always been at the forefront of China’s engagement with other parts of the world. Over the past fifty years, China’s approach to global health considerations has undergone major changes. The Chinese leadership’s recent recognition of engagement on global health helps build the country’s global image as a contributor to global welfare.  Meanwhile, as China’s demand for long-term, reliable access to natural resources in Africa and Latin America to sustain its rapid economic growth at home continues to increase, Beijing perceives health diplomacy as a convenient instrument to achieve its economic goals.

The Freeman Chair in China Studies will focus on China’s emerging global health activities, practices, and diplomatic strategies.   The project also aims to facilitate the development of partnerships with Chinese policy research institutions to support shared research projects, and to organize international discussions.

China’s Development Assistance

Part of the Chevron Forum on Development

China has in recent years expanded its international footprint as a net donor in development, particularly in Africa and Latin America.  Some of China’s methods and objectives in this regard have been controversial with the international aid community, and China has occasionally treated the methodology of its aid efforts as a competitive asset and has seemingly sought to deliberately distance itself from international efforts.  As a result, in some areas that might otherwise lend themselves to a more collaborative approach, particularly in health and agriculture, very little collaboration between China and the United States has actually been realized.  This is unfortunate.  To the extent the United States and China need, as an overarching matter, to develop habits of cooperation that serve as the basis for mutual strategic trust, cooperation on development would seem a natural process.  Finding areas of common interest, common resource allocation, and common operational overlap on development issues should be a priority for both countries, but needs to be driven by policy mandates that lie far outside most operation and tactical areas of the development system.

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Photo: Björn Wylezich/Adobe Stock

Photo: Björn Wylezich/Adobe Stock

Key Players in Global Health

This report represents the first step in an 18-month CSIS initiative focused on how the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries and South Africa are influencing activities, practices, and strategies in the area of global health diplomacy.

Report by Katherine E. Bliss and Xiaoqing Lu Boynton, Victor Cha, Sudeep Chand, Heather Conley, Jennifer Cooke, François Delmas, Uttara Dukkipati, Charles Freeman, Judyth Twigg — November 10, 2010