China in the global architecture of humanitarian aid

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Post-graduate student, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs
Affiliation: HSE University
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 3

The article examines aspects of China's growing involvement in global humanitarian governance system. On the one hand, during the Xi Jinping era, China's stance on the humanitarian agenda has become more proactive, including an increase in aid volume, the initiation of institutional changes in the system of coordination and distribution, and a greater focus at the planning level. On the other hand, China is making more active use of multilateral platforms: it works more closely with the UN agencies with a humanitarian mandate and The International Committee of the Red Cross as well as develops its own initiatives. At the same time, these steps still do not enable China to have a comparable level of influence on the humanitarian sphere as that of traditional donors. Compared to traditional donors, China's material input is relatively small. The specificity of China's humanitarian aid, in particular its provision upon request and close to development assistance - has both positive and negative effects. Thus, greater flexibility is accompanied by unpredictability and an ambiguous image of China as a humanitarian donor respectively.

It is concluded that China makes key efforts at the level of rhetoric, using the narrative of South-South cooperation to build an image of a reliable partner within the international community and to strengthen the negotiating position to promote its own ideas within the framework of the established system. The basis of China's strategy may be characterized with the phrase "learning by watching". It puts emphasis not on the establishment of alternative institutions as opposed to the existing system, but on the adoption of experience and the soft integration of own initiatives.

KeywordsChina, humanitarian aid, South-South cooperation, CIDCA, Health Silk Road, SSCAF
Publication date24.03.2022
Number of characters19315
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