1 HPG Working Paper Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action Multiple interests, processes and actors Miwa Hirono January 2018 HPG Humanitarian Policy Group

2 About the author Dr Miwa Hirono is Associate Professor at the College of International Relations at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. Acknowledgments The author would like to thank all those who agreed to be interviewed for this paper, and pay due respect to their dedication to humanitarian assistance. Thanks too to my peer reviewers, to Barnaby Willitts-King, for his time, comments, insights and encouragement throughout the preparation of this paper, and to Sherine El Taraboulsi- McCarthy, Matthew Foley, John Bryant and Rebecca Nadin for their support and helpful advice. My thanks also goes to the ‘Mapping the Humanitarian Terrain’ research project led by Jacinta O’Hagan, and to Ray T. C. Chen for research assistance for that project. I am also grateful to Ryan Manuel, Shogo Suzuki and Peter Trebilco for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper, and to Shiwen Zhang and Trissia Wijaya for their research assistance. Humanitarian Policy Group Overseas Development Institute 203 Blackfriars Road London SE1 8NJ United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0) 20 7922 0300 Fax. +44 (0) 20 7922 0399 Email: [email protected] Website: http://www.odi.org/hpg © Overseas Development Institute, 2018 Readers are encouraged to quote or reproduce materials from this publication but, as copyright holders, ODI requests due acknowledgement and a copy of the publication. This and other HPG Reports are available from www.odi.org.uk/hpg.

3 Contents Executive summary iii Introduction 1 1 1.1 The state of the art: studies of China’s humanitarian action 1 1.2 Methodology and data collection 1 1.3 Structure of the paper 2 The conceptual framework of Chinese foreign policy 5 2 2.1 Key components of China’s foreign policy 5 2.2 Four sources of China’s foreign policy 7 2.3 Summary 8 The evolution of Chinese humanitarian action 11 3 3.1 Fluctuating interests in humanitarian assistance 11 12 3.2 Deepening internationalisation 14 3.3 Summary 15 China’s humanitarian assistance today: an overview 4 4.1 How much humanitarian aid has China provided, and for what? 15 4.2 Where has China provided assistance, and why? 18 20 4.3 Summary China’s humanitarian assistance: decision-making and 23 5 implementation structures 5.1 Decision-making structure 23 26 5.2 Implementation 5.3 Summary 28 i Humanitarian Policy Group

4 Conclusion 29 6 6.1 Key findings 29 30 6.2 Obstacles and opportunities 6.3 Policy recommendations to the Chinese humanitarian community and 30 DAC donors ferences 33 Re ii Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

5 Executive summary This paper outlines key elements of Chinese foreign a more proactive role in conflict-affected countries policy and its sources; the evolution of China’s humani- such as Myanmar, Afghanistan and South Sudan. tarian assistance; current funding volumes and flows; and decision-making and implementation structures. Multiple actors China’s engagement in humanitarian aid derives from While China’s official humanitarian response remains a very complex array of national interests and processes, centralised and coordinated, the actors involved in paths and actors in foreign policy-making. China’s emer- this area have multiplied, with an increasing number gence as a global player often brings with it accusations of companies and civil society entities either directly that its humanitarian action will be used as a disguise, or a means, to expand its power. As this paper or indirectly contributing to humanitarian assistance. While these actors have symbiotic relations with the demonstrates, such accusations are overly simplistic. Chinese state, each has different interests, knowledge and expertise in conflict- and disaster-affected countries. Multiple interests The involvement of an increasingly broad range of players in humanitarian action will become increasingly China’s humanitarian assistance relates to three kinds important in the future, because humanitarian action, including short-term relief operations as well as longer- of national interest: diplomatic interests, international term programmes to enhance resilience, will increasingly reputation and indirect economic and commercial interests. Of these, the most important in informing depend on a wide range of knowledge and expertise. China’s humanitarian action is its diplomatic interest in countries in the Global South. However, China’s humanitarian assistance can also be driven by different Obstacles and opportunities sets of national interest on different occasions, rather than a particular set of criteria or policy framework. How does the link between the sources of foreign policy and humanitarian action give rise to obstacles This makes the provision of assistance ad hoc rather or opportunities to meeting needs on the ground? This than systematic. report identifies three findings. • China sees increasing the quantity and quality of Multiple processes its assistance, where appropriate, as furthering its China draws on multiple and sometimes contradictory national interests. But giving priority to improving diplomatic relations through the provision of processes as it seeks to integrate into the norms and institutions of the international humanitarian system. humanitarian aid can lead to preferential treatment for some recipients over others; aid may not be China is largely a ‘norm taker’ in the international commensurate with actual needs on the ground, humanitarian system as far as aid to natural disasters and opportunities to assist in other humanitarian is concerned. In the context of complex emergencies, crises may be missed. however, the country remains uneasy about the norms China’s integration into the international of the current international humanitarian system, and • humanitarian system, particularly in the context sometimes shows signs of becoming a ‘norm modifier’, of natural disasters, is welcome news to people in rather than necessarily framing its humanitarian need as well as to more ‘traditional’ donors in the policies in line with the traditional principles of the international humanitarian system. In particular, it is Development Assistance Committee (DAC) because a strong proponent of the role of host governments integration can facilitate better coordination with in the provision of humanitarian assistance, and of other international humanitarian actors. China’s proactive behaviour in conflict mediation is also the importance of development assistance in reducing welcome. But the current lack of collaboration poverty and humanitarian need. China is also seeking iii Humanitarian Policy Group

6 between DAC donors and China could lead to and needs, not just the humanitarian needs of a disproportionate focus on a small number of the countries with which China seeks to improve countries with which China happens to want diplomatic relations. • Recognise diversity in humanitarian assistance to improve bilateral relations; to uncoordinated and wasted efforts within a particular area of without necessarily privileging established humanitarian crisis; and to increased mistrust definitions of what constitutes legitimate between DAC donors and China. humanitarian action, and enhance dialogue T he pluralisation of actors involved in • on different ways of approaching complex humanitarian action represents an enormous emergencies, in order to address China’s unease about humanitarian assistance to such crises. opportunity, as more civil society actors and Encourage the Chinese government to contribute • commercial companies participate in operations with more resources, local knowledge and more to UN agencies, funds and programmes that deal with humanitarian crises, including the UN individual contacts. However, the private sector High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the can be insensitive to the impact of its activities World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children’s on conflict, and new civil society actors may lack knowledge and experience of delivering Fund (UNICEF), the Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) and the Central Emergency humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies. It is imperative that state and non-state actors Response Fund (CERF) – in both natural disasters and complex emergencies. involved in Chinese humanitarian assistance adopt a conflict-sensitive approach to the provision of • Explore ways in which China can contribute to humanitarian aid, and develop their knowledge local resilience, not necessarily only through the of the challenges of deliver-ing humanitarian provision of humanitarian aid but also through assistance in complex emergencies. development assistance, which accounts for the majority of China’s aid programmes. Create opportunities for the Chinese humanitarian • community and DAC donors to exchange Policy recommendations to the perspectives and experiences and learn from each Chinese humanitarian community others’ approaches to humanitarian issues. and DAC donors • Support partnerships that enable international learning, training and capacity-building in China. Providing The paper makes the following recommendations to the • funding through UNHCR, WFP, as, among others, Chinese humanitarian community and DAC donors: the CERF, as well UNICEF or with the ICRC and the other components of Red Cross/Red • Cooperate in sharing knowledge and information the in Crescent Movement, both about how to create a policy framework or the context of natural disasters and complex criteria for Chinese humanitarian action, in a emergencies, could constitute a significant the global effort. way that addresses global humanitarian trends humanitarian contribution to iv Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

7 1 Introduction China’s growing power has prompted an important 1.1 The state of the art: studies of debate about the essence of its foreign policy interests. China’s humanitarian action Realists often claim that these interests lie in the expansion of China’s material power in pursuit of global Studies of China’s foreign aid ( or regional hegemony (Mearsheimer, 2010). Others duiwai yuanzhu ) pay agree that the country’s long-term ambition is to become surprisingly scant attention to humanitarian assistance, a world power, but argue that the most important driver in the specific sense of responses to emergencies. The Chinese government, as do scholarly analyses, includes of Chinese policy is to maintain, and if possible enhance, provision of humanitarian aid within the overall foreign the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Yang and Zhao, 2014). Still others contend that China aid programme. This is, in part, due to the fact that seeks a peaceful international environment in which to the amount of money China spends on what it calls rendao or rendao yuanzhu humanitarian assistance ( continue its economic development, which is the essence zhuyi yuanzhu of the country’s national interest (Deng, 2008). There ) is very small, totalling only 1.7% of its overall foreign aid budget (UNDP, 2015). However, are, in short, many views about where China’s foreign humanitarian assistance is different in scope and nature, policy interests lie. has different foreign policy implications, is based on a Views about the relationship between Chinese different set of national interests and different decision- foreign policy and humanitarian action are similarly making processes and involves different actors. diverse. Is humanitarian action simply a means to Within the small body of literature on China’s enhance material power and influence in crisis- humanitarian action, attention has been paid mainly affected regions, in competition with Western to the historical roots of Chinese humanitarianism states and other emerging powers? Or is China’s (Hirono, 2013a; Krebs, 2014), to political culture and humanitarian action designed to enhance its tradition (Hirono, 2012) and to the potential of future prestige and image in the world? The humanitarian cooperation between China and ‘traditional’ donors community now recognises and acknowledges the importance of diversity in the international (Binder and Conrad, 2009). However, there has been little work on the mechanisms of Chinese humanitarian humanitarian system, but is still grappling with action, including resource flows (bilateral and how to deal with new actors that do not necessarily support the humanitarian norms and rules generally multilateral channels and financial and non-financial flows), structures and architectures and policy-making accepted by the existing members of the Development processes. This limits understanding of how China Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for makes aid decisions, and how these decisions are linked Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). to its foreign policy. China is one such new actor. In order to identify ways in which China and ‘traditional’ humanitarian actors can work together more effectively and efficiently, it is important to ask the central question 1.2 Methodology and data of this paper: how does China’s foreign policy shape collection its engagement in humanitarian action? In order to examine the links between foreign This paper is one of three case studies looking into the links between a state’s foreign policy and policy and humanitarian action, this paper uses as humanitarian action. By examining the cases of China, its conceptual framework four sources of Chinese foreign policy formation: national interests, processes Saudi Arabia and the UK (El Taraboulsi-McCarthy, of international integration, the influence of various 2017; Drummond et al., 2017), this work explores the increasingly complex relationship between foreign domestic actors and humanitarian values. Through this, policy and state humanitarian action. the paper examines a specific set of empirical questions: 1 Humanitarian Policy Group

8 • How has Chinese humanitarian assistance evolved? Box 1: What is humanitarian action? What and how much humanitarian aid has China • Humanitarian action includes humanitarian provided, where and why? assistance and other measures to mitigate What are the major institutions and actors involved • suffering. According to the Good Humanitarian in the provision of humanitarian aid? 2 Donorship (GHD) initiative: Humanitarian action includes the protection A range of sources were consulted, including official of civilians and those no longer taking documents, press statements and statements at the part in hostilities, and the provision of UN General Assembly and Security Council and food, water and sanitation, shelter, health in other fora, including the High Level Forum on services and other items of assistance, Aid Effectiveness. Databases consulted included the undertaken for the benefit of affected UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian people and to facilitate the return to normal Affairs (OCHA)’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS), (GHD, 2003). lives and livelihoods Proquest, China Knowledge Resource Integrated People’s Daily ( Renmin Ribao Database (CNKI), ) The objectives of humanitarian action are ‘to save archives and Chinese government websites. The lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human author also conducted interviews with policy-makers, dignity during and in the aftermath of man-made academics and civil society actors in Beijing in June crises and natural disasters’ as well as ‘to prevent and July 2016 and January 2017. Contacting Chinese and strengthen preparedness for the occurrence policy-makers is always a challenge because of the of such situations’ (GHD, 2003). This definition permission process within the government related to and these objectives are very broad, and so meeting foreign researchers, and because the officials open to interpretation. In particular, the second who work on foreign aid are genuinely extremely objective can mean that humanitarian action can busy. The central agency dealing with foreign aid, encompass a wide range of activities including the Department of Foreign Aid in the Ministry of economic development and conflict mediation, Commerce (MOFCOM), has about 70 staff dealing which China is active in through its engagement in with foreign aid programmes covering more than conflict- and disaster-affected regions. 1 120 countries. Another challenge – and one which China specialists always struggle with – is that views There is debate about how the humanitarian usually follow the official line, and rarely contradict or community should deal with long-term needs. criticise government policies. Policies on humanitarian Traditionally, humanitarian assistance was rendered only at the time of an emergency, but the reality action are not as clear as in other areas, so fully is that protracted crises make up the bulk of the understanding official views in and of themselves can humanitarian caseload. Some scholars recognise be difficult. Interviews with officials were triangulated the importance of addressing long-term needs with another source as far as possible. Where such as economic development and rehabilitation appropriate, the author drew on past research on in tackling the root causes of humanitarian crises Chinese humanitarian assistance in Aceh in October (Büthe, Major and Souza, 2012), while others 2009 and Nepal in January and March 2017. have pointed to the danger of incorporating a longer-term development agenda into the scope of humanitarian aid if doing so expands the range 1.3 Structure of the paper of activities beyond emergency response (Barnett and Weiss, 2011: 12). Here, we take a broad view The paper begins by outlining key elements of Chinese of humanitarian action as including both short- and foreign policy and its sources (Chapter 2). This is longer-term contributions, reflecting the Chinese followed by a discussion of the evolution of China’s conception of humanitarian aid and the humanitarian humanitarian assistance (Chapter 3), an overview of consequences of Chinese actors’ engagement in current funding volumes and flows (Chapter 4) and conflict- and disaster-affected regions. an analysis of structures for decision-making and implementation (Chapter 5). Chapter 6 concludes The GHD initiative is ‘an informal donor forum and network 2 which facilitates collective advancement of GHD principles and Author’s interview with a former Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1 good practices’ (GHD, 2017a). As of October 2017, there were official, Beijing, 21 July 2016. 42 members (GHD, 2017b). 2 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

9 members can work together to provide international the paper with a summary of key findings and humanitarian assistance more effectively and efficiently. recommendations regarding how China and DAC Box 2: What does ‘emergency humanitarian aid’ mean to the Chinese? Officially, the Chinese government uses the term China is not a signatory to the GHD (see Box 1), jinji rendao yuanzhu ‘emergency humanitarian aid’ ( ) this paper does not assess its humanitarian action to mean the short-term provision of food, goods, the GHD principles, to which it obviously does not materials and personnel in times of emergency subscribe. (Information Office, 2014). The reference is to emergencies outside China, not emergencies on In the early communist period (1949–76), its own territory. In Chinese political discourse ‘humanitarianism’ was regarded ‘as a tool of the bourgeoisie’ or as in the service of European and and rhetoric, humanitarian aid and development US ‘imperialists’ attempting to ‘cover up capitalism’s assistance are linked, in that the latter is seen as merciless exploitation and oppression ... and to leading to the creation of conditions of peace, and deceive the proletariat and the working people’ .). ibid therefore helps to mitigate suffering ( (Hirono, 2013a: S208). Today, ‘humanitarianism’ is The Chinese government defines the rationale less politically loaded, but the communist legacy persists and the term is still not readily used, except for and the goals of the provision of emergency to describe the short-term provision of food, goods, humanitarian aid as follows: ‘Emergency materials and personnel overseas. More commonly humanitarian aid is provided when a country or yingji region suffers a severe natural or humanitarian used terms include ‘emergency rescue’ ( yingji guanli disaster. In such cases, China provides materials, ) ), ‘emergency management’ ( jiuyuan or cash for emergency relief, or dispatches relief and ‘disaster relief’ ( jiuzai ), all of which are used in personnel of its own accord, or at the victim international and domestic contexts. These terms country’s request, so as to reduce losses of life – particularly emergency rescue and emergency and property in disaster-stricken areas, and to help management – cover not only post-disaster assistance but also industrial accidents, major traffic the victim country tackle difficulties caused by the disaster’ (Information Office, 2011). Note that, since accidents and terrorist attacks. 3 Humanitarian Policy Group

10 4 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

11 The conceptual framework of 2 Chinese foreign policy Does China use humanitarian action merely as a foreign Box 3: What is ‘China’? policy tool to expand its national interests? Despite the This report uses the term ‘China’ to describe the significance of this question, the literature does not pay Chinese government. However, it is important much attention to the links between China’s foreign to bear in mind that ‘China’ is not a monolithic policy and its engagement in humanitarian action. This entity – ‘China Inc.’ – or that all foreign policy paper, therefore, begins by describing some aspects of decisions are made in a top-down manner. While China’s foreign policy, particularly as it relates to conflict- the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) retains and disaster-affected regions in the Global South, from ultimate power, China’s foreign policy formation the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence established in and implementation involve not only government the 1950s to the ‘Going Out’ strategy officially advocated agencies but also a wide range of other actors, in 1997, ‘Peaceful Development’ in 2004 under Hu including businesses across a range of sectors, Jintao and the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ under the academic institutions and various civil society current administration of Xi Jinping. Four major sources actors, many of which house quasi-governmental of foreign policy formulation are discussed, laying the officials (Jakobson and Knox, 2010; Gill and Reilly, foundation for the analysis of the links between foreign 2007). These actors’ policies and interests are policy and humanitarian action that follows. rarely coordinated, and therefore could appear, or even be, contradictory, and even antithetical to China’s foreign policy interests. 2.1 Key components of China’s foreign policy context in which China’s humanitarian action has Before discussing the sources of China’s foreign policy developed. Analysing these foreign policies in relation formation, it is important to trace what the Chinese to China’s overall international behaviour is beyond government has said about its foreign policy and how the scope of this paper, but later sections will explore it has developed. In the post-Cold War period, the govern- how the government’s description of its foreign policies ment has focused on ensuring a peaceful international relates to, or contradicts, the practices and realities of environment, allowing China to concentrate on economic China’s humanitarian assistance. development. Chinese foreign policy is subservient to domestic goals, the ultimate being maintaining, or if 2.1.1 The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence (Heping gongchu wuxiang possible enhancing, the legitimacy of the CCP regime yuanze) and the country’s internal stability. However, while this ultimate goal has remained the same, over time the China’s foreign policy is underpinned by the Five Chinese government has formulated various foreign policies appropriate to the historical and regional context. Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence, signed by Premier Zhou Enlai and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal This section is intended for readers who may not be Nehru in 1954, and endorsed at the Bandung Conference the following year. The Five Principles very familiar with Chinese diplomacy. As such, it describes some of the ‘must-know’ foreign policies are: mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; mutual non-aggression; mutual non- formulated by the Chinese government, and is limited to only those policies mentioned in later sections of interference in each other’s internal affairs; equality and mutual benefit; and peaceful coexistence. The the report. Here, we concentrate on how the Chinse importance of ‘non-interference’ and the ‘equality’ government explains these policies, providing the 5 Humanitarian Policy Group

12 development’ (Mulvenon, 2009: 2), including through of signatory states is particularly relevant to China’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations, providing humanitarian action, as these principles form the foundation on which China provides humanitarian humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and organising assistance to countries in the Global South. non-combatant evacuations. The Chinese military has improved its operational capability to work overseas, ) zhoubian waijiao which has also increased the effectiveness of China’s 2.1.2 Peripheral Diplomacy ( One of China’s key foreign policy priorities since humanitarian assistance given that the military is a key actor in the delivery of domestic and international the 1990s has been to improve relations with neighbouring countries (or countries peripheral to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. China) in line with the Five Principles of Peaceful 2.1.4 The Going Out strategy ( Co-Existence. This is not necessarily a new policy: zouchuqu even during the Mao period (1949–76) China was zhanlue ) mindful of its relations with its neighbours. In the President Jiang Zemin formally promulgated the ‘Going Out’ strategy in 1997. Based on this strategy, Jiang early 1990s, Peripheral Diplomacy was directed towards advancing China’s programme of internal emphasised the need, not only to continue ‘bringing in’ foreign investment, but also encouraging Chinese modernisation, and to that end resolving border disputes and encouraging regional cooperation, companies to ‘go out’ into the world. The result has been a marked increase in Chinese foreign direct including with South-East Asia and the Central Asian investment (FDI). In non-financial sectors, FDI stood states (Wang, 2014: 83). Today, Xi Jinping emphasises at just over $118 billion in 2015, 17 times higher the importance of Peripheral Diplomacy as the second tier of China’s overall diplomatic arrangements: ‘Great than 2005’s figure of just under $7bn (Shangwubu, 2006; Shangwubu Duiwai Touzi He Jingji Hezuosi, powers as the keys; periphery takes the first priority; 2015a). Chinese overseas companies won new project developing countries as bases; and multilateral contracts worth $154bn, compared to $22bn in 2005 [institutions] as an important stage’. The tenets of anlin , fulin ’ (‘be (Shangwubu Duiwai Touzi He Jingji Hezuosi, 2006; Peripheral Diplomacy are ‘ mulin , friendly, make them feel secure and help make them Shangwubu Duiwai Touzi He Jingji Hezuosi, 2015b). One official figure puts the number of Chinese nationals rich’) (Xinhua, 2013). China’s humanitarian action in neighbouring countries such as Myanmar and the working overseas at 512,000 (Shen, 2014). The ‘Going Philippines is part of its Peripheral Diplomacy. Out’ strategy has also paved the way for Chinese commercial engagement in the Global South, including 2.1.3 Responsible State ( in conflict- and disaster-affected regions. ) fuzeren guojia The term ‘responsible state’ has been a prominent feature of Chinese foreign policy discourse and analysis, ) hepin fazhan 2.1.5 Peaceful Development ( Another key issue that China has sought to address has often in relation to participation in multilateral been the perception in the outside world that it poses institutions and/or contribution to the international public good. The international community expects a threat to the established international order. Against this background, Hu Jintao, China’s president between China to be a more ‘responsible’ stakeholder in a variety of global issues (Zoellick, 2006). In turn, China’s 2002 and 2012, called for a foreign policy strategy humanitarian assistance is often described as one of ‘Peaceful Development’ in 2004. In 2009, a White 3 example of the country acting as a responsible state. Paper referred to Peaceful Development as ‘a strategic choice’ that aims ‘to create a peaceful and stable China’s aim to act as a ‘responsible state’ has been international environment for [China’s] development’ supported by new roles for the Chinese military under (Information Office, 2011). The White Paper also stated that ‘China strives to make due contribution to world the banner of its ‘New Historic Mission’ announced in peace and development. It never engages in aggression 2004. One of the aims involves ‘playing an important role in safeguarding world peace and promoting common or expansion, never seeks hegemony, and remains a staunch force for upholding regional and world peace and stability’ (Information Office, 2009). More recently, The definition of responsibility varies depending on the author. 3 China’s actions in the South and East China Sea and the Shirk (2007) states that there is a Chinese 'recipe', which the development of its blue water navy have raised concerns Chinese government uses to claim that it is a responsible state. about the country’s intentions. However, it would be The ingredients are 'accommodating neighbors', 'multilateralism' inaccurate to take the view that China’s international and 'friendship through economic ties'. 6 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

13 activities are necessarily assertive: China’s priority is still 2. To become a hegemonic power in the Asia-Pacific region, if not on the world stage. Although the the maintenance of a communist regime underpinned by a successful economy. As such, Chinese foreign policy Chinese government claims that its concern is continues to focus on ensuring a peaceful international for peaceful development, and that China is not environment to allow the country to concentrate on seeking to expand its power in order to dominate the region or the world, there are concerns that economic growth. China and the US are each offering hegemonic 2.1.6 The Belt and Road Initiative ( yidai yilu leadership, inevitably leading to competition ) The ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) consists of the between the two over influence on other states. 3. To protect and expand the economic and Silk Road Economic Belt and the Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road, both of which are transcontinental commercial interests on which the legitimacy of the communist regime rests. passages connecting Asia, Europe and Africa. Under 4. To display international prestige and burnish China’s the Initiative, China is committed to investing in reputation by presenting itself as a responsible power. infrastructure projects along these passages, and To put into practice diplomatic rhetoric, increasing ‘connectivity’ among the states within the 5. including around ‘South–South Cooperation’ and BRI area and with China’s western regions. In this Peripheral Diplomacy. These are key foreign policy context, it would not be surprising if China offered more humanitarian assistance to countries within the frameworks in multilateral institutions where China takes a leadership role, such as the Forum BRI area, to protect Chinese investment and to show on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the goodwill. The impact of the BRI is already being felt within China’s humanitarian sector. For example, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Chinese Red Cross is seeking to establish stronger The national interests of a globalised China are people-to-people ties between China and other countries so multifaceted that some are in contradiction. in the BRI area, outside of government-to-government aid channels (Zhongguo Hongshizi Bao, 2015). For example, if China gives priority to protecting economic interests in what others might call ‘rogue states’ such as Sudan (Interest 3), then this might contradict China’s aim of enhancing its international 2.2 Four sources of China’s reputation as a responsible power (Interest 4). China’s foreign policy humanitarian assistance to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake there in 2010 helped to promote South–South cooperation and showcase China as a To examine the links between the sources of Chinese foreign policy and Chinese humanitarian action in more responsible power (Interests 4 and 5), but it also meant depth, this paper sketches out a conceptual framework that China had to soften its One China Policy because Haiti recognises Taiwan’s sovereignty (Interest 1). based on four sources of foreign policy: national interests, international integration, domestic influences In essence, like other states China cannot afford to focus on just one national interest. The country needs and humanitarian values. to address multiple and sometimes contradictory interests simultaneously. 2.2.1 National interests National interests are one of the most important sources of any country’s foreign policy. The literature suggests 2.2.2 International integration China’s foreign policy is also shaped by how the that there are five kinds of national interest that relate country positions itself vis-à-vis international norms to foreign policy formation in China. and institutions created by the West, including ) as defined hexin liyi To protect ‘core interests’ ( 1. the international humanitarian system. While multilateralism is one of China’s foreign policy pillars, by the Chinese government. This includes the protection of ‘state sovereignty, national security, its participation in multilateral institutions and processes territorial integrity and national reunification, varies depending on the issue at stake – of particular importance to this paper is whether multilateral China’s political system established by the institutions are promoting cooperation concerning Constitution and overall social stability, and basic safeguards for ensuring sustainable economic and technical aspects of natural disaster response, for instance social development’ (Information Office, 2011). in search and rescue, or are concerned with the political 7 Humanitarian Policy Group

14 or social aspects of assistance. As far as the former is (Gill and Reilly, 2007: 38–39). China’s humanitarian concerned, it is useful to refer to Johnston’s (2008) action involves a variety of governmental and non- discussion of the steps by which countries ‘socialise’ into governmental actors, as detailed in Chapter 5. They international norms and institutions: through mimicry, have their own remits, which may or may not address social influence and persuasion: China’s foreign policy interests. The increasing number of Chinese non-governmental humanitarian actors means that China’s humanitarian action is not Mimicking explains pro-group behaviour as necessarily foreign policy-driven, but its foreign policy a function of borrowing the language, habits itself may need to adjust to address the reality of and ways of acting as a safe, first reaction to a novel environment ... Social influence explains Chinese humanitarian action. pro-group behaviour as a function of an actor’s sensitivity to status markers bestowed by a 2.2.4 Humanitarian values Realists argue that all states share the same ultimate social group ... Persuasion explains pro-group behaviour as an effect of the internationalization foreign policy aim of expanding their national interests (Morgenthau, 1948). This, however, assumes that of fundamentally new causal understandings foreign policy formulation takes place only at the of an actor’s environment, such that these new state level. In fact, it can take place at ‘three levels of understandings are considered normal, given, and (Johnston, 2008: xxv–xxvi). analysis’: systemic, state and individual (Waltz, 1959). normatively correct Humanitarian actors are not just organisations with a particular set of interests: at the individual level, they In areas such as disaster relief China has followed the also represent human beings with altruistic human path of socialisation as Johnston describes, from mimicry motives and a ‘concern [for] the protection of those to gradual integration into international systems, and in immediate peril and the prevention of unnecessary as such can be seen as a ‘norm taker’. However, where suffering’ (Barnett, 2009: 1). For individuals actively the issue is to do with the political or social aspects of assistance, including responses to complex emergencies, engaged in China’s humanitarian assistance, as in other countries there is empathy at a personal level towards China does not accept several of the norms or policies advocated by the West – including the Responsibility people affected by natural disasters. Although they to Protect (in its 2001 version), or UN Security Council work as representatives of their state, they assert the humanitarian imperative, as well as the importance draft resolutions on Syria. Here, China seeks to modify of assistance as a token of China’s position as a the ways in which the West attempts to resolve issues 4 such as these. It is, in other words, a ‘norm modifier’. ‘responsible state’. This dual trajectory in China’s foreign aid stance is While not commonly included as one of the conceptual discussed further in Chapter 3. frames to analyse the formation of China’s foreign policy, discussing values opens up new opportunities 2.2.3 Domestic influences Foreign policy is also developed under the pressure of a to study and understand China’s foreign policy-making in depth. However, this also raises an analytical range of domestic actors and influences, including: challenge: how can one distinguish a particular foreign policy as deriving from a sense of humanitarian the interplay within and between not only the obligation from one that uses moral argument as Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese an alibi for action that actually derives from other Government and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) but also new foreign policy actors on calculations? As far as China is concerned, a spirit of solidarity with disaster-prone countries in the Global the margins of the traditional power structure. These new actors include resource companies, South is significant. ‘This spirit emanates not only financial institutions, local governments, from a shared vulnerability to natural disasters but also from a shared commitment to equality, sovereign research organizations, the media and netizens integrity, and non-interference, all crucial elements of (Jakobson and Knox, 2010: vi). the worldview of many developing and non-Western societies’ (O’Hagan and Hirono, 2014: 418). An increasing number of foreign policy actors can lead to ‘an increasing set of tensions and contradictions’ between the interests and aims of government actors Author interview with a Chinese government official, Beijing, 4 in Beijing and those of companies and businesses June 2016. 8 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

15 policy-making will complicate Chinese humanitarian 2.3 Summary action. The fourth is humanitarian values. Using this China’s foreign policy is shaped by four major drivers. conceptual framework, the following sections discuss how patterns of foreign policy behaviour are reflected in The first is national interests, though these are so the way China’s humanitarian action has evolved, and multifaceted that some are in contradiction with others. how decisions about humanitarian assistance are made The second is the degree of China’s integration into, or modification of, international norms and institutions. and implemented. To set the scene, the next section offers an overview of the main developments in Chinese The third is the influence of domestic actors on foreign policy. Here, the growing pluralisation of foreign humanitarian action over the past half century. 9 Humanitarian Policy Group

16 10 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

17 3 The evolution of Chinese humanitarian action How have the links between the sources of China’s During the 1980s and 1990s, China concentrated on foreign policy and humanitarian aid evolved, and why domestic economic growth and deepening economic and have they done so in the way they have? This section diplomatic ties with the industrialised world. Large-scale examines the development of China’s humanitarian humanitarian aid to North Korea, Vietnam and Albania action since the 1950s, exploring which of the four ended (Li, 2012: 49), overall humanitarian spending sources of China’s foreign policy are relevant to the decreased and the revolutionary rhetoric of Third World solidarity was muted. Policy changed again in the way in which the country’s humanitarian action has 2000s, when China renewed its interest in humanitarian developed over time. assistance. The Sixteenth Party Congress in 2002, which reconfirmed the ‘Going Out’ strategy after President Jiang Zemin’s promulgation of the concept in 1997, 3.1 Fluctuating interests in furthered China’s opening up by making international humanitarian assistance economic and technical cooperation (which included humanitarian assistance) the basic premise of China’s Levels of interest in humanitarian action have varied foreign policy (Li, 2012: 48–49). over time, depending on the national interests defined In September 2004, China officially established a by China’s foreign policy – from spreading communist revolution to focusing on economic development and response mechanism for international emergency rendao zhuyi jinji humanitarian relief and assistance ( expanding activity beyond the country’s borders. (also called jiuzai yuanzhu yingji jizhi ), yingji ban China has delivered what is now called ‘emergency with the involvement of key ministries including the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Ministry humanitarian aid’ since the 1950s, for example to North Korea and Vietnam. Until rapid economic of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Ministry of Finance (Zhong, 2015: 27). The mechanism was designed development became China’s ultimate aim, as to establish an organisational framework and emphasised by Deng Xiaoping’s ‘Opening Up’ policy implementation system for China’s international in 1978, the main objective of China’s international humanitarian assistance. An inter-ministerial liaison humanitarian aid – as with its overall foreign system for overseas aid was established in 2008, assistance – was to support socialist states and the anti-colonial struggle. As Premier Zhou Enlai put it and upgraded to an inter-ministerial coordination 6 in 1964: mechanism in February 2011 (Zhong, 2015: 27). Alongside structural developments, the funding China devoted to humanitarian assistance increased The point of departure of our foreign aid is: to assist our brotherly nations in realizing their significantly, to almost $87 million in 2010, against an average contribution of $4.55m between 2006 and socialist construction, strengthen the power of the overall socialist camp; to assist the non-independent 2009 (see Chapter 4 for more details). countries in gaining independence; and to assist China’s renewed interest in humanitarian assistance the newly-independent countries in achieving self-reliance, developing the national economy, was also demonstrated by the creation of the China International Search and Rescue (CISAR) team consolidating their independence and strengthening the power of the various countries against ) in April 2001 (Jin, 2011: ( Zhongguo guoji jiuyuandui 33). Since its first international mission, in response imperialism according to the spirit of proletarian 5 (Renminribao, 1964). internationalism In Chinese government terminology, ‘coordination mechanism’ 6 The translation is from Zhou and Xiong (2017: 2). 5 has a higher bureaucratic status than ‘liaison system’. 11 Humanitarian Policy Group

18 Japan, Russia, South Korea and Singapore following to the earthquake in Algeria in May 2003, the team has been deployed to disaster responses in Iran, the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 (Xinhua, 2008). As Chapter 5 details, a number of Chinese entities, Pakistan, Indonesia, Haiti, New Zealand, Japan and Nepal, among others. One of the key reasons for the including the CISAR team and the Ministry of Civil establishment and deployment of the team is to display Affairs, have stepped up their cooperation with China as a ‘responsible great power’. According to international institutions. then Deputy Prime Minister Hui Liangyu, the CISAR Nevertheless, the country has been careful to team ‘established our country’s good image as a maintain some distance between itself and the responsible state even further’ (Xinhua, 2006), and structures of the international humanitarian system. similar language is used to describe the team in the China is not a member of the DAC or of OCHA’s state media (Renmin wang, 2015). Donor Support Group, for instance, nor is it part of As noted, China has also modified its strict adherence the Good Humanitarian Donorship initiative. It is to the ‘One China’ policy by extending assistance also a less prominent actor in UN-led coordination 7 processes around reconstruction. to Haiti, which recognises Taiwan as a sovereign This reticence towards deeper engagement with the international state. This policy modification began in 2005, when humanitarian system is an anomaly. In other domains China deployed peacekeepers to the country, but it was applied to humanitarian assistance following the – peacekeeping for example – China has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to, and in some cases earthquake there in 2010. Humanitarian assistance reshape, multilateral mechanisms despite an initial to countries without diplomatic relations with China lack of knowledge or familiarity. That it has not was retrospectively legalised in the ‘Foreign Aid done so in relation to humanitarian assistance may Management Method’ regulation in 2014. Article 3 of be because its long-established tradition of assistance that regulation states: is based on a set of norms that do not necessarily Recipients of overseas development mainly align with the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence regarded as standard in the current include developing countries that have already established diplomatic relations with the international humanitarian system. For China, deeper People’s Republic of China and that require engagement with the structures and processes of the receiving aid, and international or regional international humanitarian system brings with it organizations that have developing countries as different and unfamiliar ways of thinking about how the main actors. In emergency and exceptional to deliver aid. circumstances such as humanitarian assistance, The first normative basis that China upholds is developed countries or developing countries without diplomatic relations with the People’s the legitimacy of the state. First and foremost, Chinese assistance is premised on the state’s central Republic of China can also be a recipient role in humanitarian assistance, grounded in the (Shangwubu Tiaoyue Falusi, 2014). concept of unity between the state and its people, which assistance in response to disasters is seen as By providing only humanitarian assistance (not enhancing. The second normative basis is the idea development aid), China is seeking to maintain the ‘One China’ policy in normal circumstances, while presenting of a ‘communitarian ethic of obligation’, which sees itself as sufficiently benevolent to provide assistance one’s ethical obligations as expanding in concentric circles. This means that China’s first responsibility is in an emergency (and in the process encouraging host to its own people, next to people in the Asia-Pacific states to switch their diplomatic allegiance to Beijing). region, and finally to populations in Africa and Latin America (Hirono, O’Hagan and Yeophantong 2012: 5). The third normative basis, deriving from more 3.2 Deepening internationalisation recent history since the Opening Up policy in the late 1970s, is that development such as infrastructure- building, rather than the establishment of democratic China has taken steps to deepen its links with the international humanitarian community in addressing natural disasters, including, in an unprecedented step, Author interviews with UN officials in Aceh, November 2009, 7 accepting the help of international rescue teams from and Kathmandu, March 2017. 12 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

19 In his General Assembly speech, Wu went on to structures, will address poverty in the longer term. comment on China’s strong preference for tying As reflected in China’s approaches to humanitarian assistance, these normative bases could make it humanitarian assistance to long-term development: difficult for the country to adapt the way it delivers Secondly, helping developing countries realize aid, and how it socialises into the international development represents the fundamental way humanitarian order. Under these circumstances, to reduce the need for humanitarian relief. The any pressure from the West to bring China into the international humanitarian system is likely to root of many problems facing our world today produce resistance or actively anti-Western sentiment. can be traced to poverty and backwardness. Therefore, their fundamental resolution lies in promoting development. While seeking to Alongside a reluctance to embrace deeper engagement with the international humanitarian system, the effectively respond to short-term humanitarian needs, the international community must work country also seems to be displaying early signs that it wishes to modify international humanitarian norms, in together to implement the 2030 Agenda and realize development (Wu, 2016). particular around the position and role of governments and the importance of development in addressing Such a preference is also shared by others at the the causes of humanitarian crises. In a speech at the UN; on the same day as Wu was delivering his UN General Assembly on 8 December 2016, Chinese Ambassador Wu Haitao argued that the international remarks, Peter Thomson, President of the UN General community should address the following points in Assembly, likewise stressed the importance of ‘the responding to humanitarian crises: interlinkages between sustainable development, peace and security, and human rights and humanitarian First ... international humanitarian action’ (Thomson, 2016). However, Wu’s emphasis assistance must abide by the UN Charter on the role of development in reducing humanitarian needs is particularly strong. Development is not just and the principles of humanism, neutrality one of the methods available to address humanitarian and impartiality, respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national issues; rather, it is the ‘fundamental resolution’. Again, unity of recipient countries and comply with China is not simply mimicking other actors in the international community: it is attempting to set itself international law and the law of the host countries. The international community must apart and articulate a humanitarian approach ‘with Chinese characteristics’. persist in using political means to seek peaceful solutions to disputes, avoid politicizing These two trajectories of China’s foreign aid policy humanitarian issues, and uphold the non- military nature of humanitarian assistance. – ‘taking’ international norms and ‘socialising’ into multilateral institutions on the one hand, and Wu emphasised that humanitarian assistance must modifying international norms and distinguishing itself from its Western counterparts on the other – relate to be delivered in a way that respects the sovereignty of the host state. This could be interpreted as a criticism China’s multiple identities as a great power, as a rising power and as a developing country. China scholars of the tendency of some states in the international consider the country to be at once both a great power community (and more particularly Western states) to ‘politicise humanitarian issues’ with ‘humanitarian and a rising power (Zeng and Breslin, 2016); while assistance’ that can be of a ‘military nature’. Wu made it is attempting to ‘socialise’ into the international community, doing so requires China to remain a similar criticism in his statement on Syria at the UN the following day. Acknowledging that the US and merely a follower in international society. At least in some issue areas, a country boasting the second- Russia were actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to largest economy in the world will not be content with ease tensions, Wu said that ‘any unilateral attempt to such a status. Rather, it wishes to lead international exert pressure or to politicize humanitarian issue will only cause further turbulence in the situation rather society by expressing its difference from other great than bringing the situation around’ (Xinhua, 2016). powers, and seeking to modify norms and institutions Clearly, China is trying to distinguish its humanitarian established by these powers. This was expressed in Xi Jinping’s report at the nineteenth National Congress of assistance from that of its counterparts in the the Communist Party of China: international community. 13 Humanitarian Policy Group

20 China champions the development of a 3.3 Summary community with a shared future for mankind, and has encouraged the evolution of the global This chapter highlights two major features of the governance system. With this we have seen a evolution of China’s humanitarian assistance. The first is that national interest has always further rise in China’s international influence, ability to inspire, and power to shape; and mattered in determining the ways in which China has provided humanitarian assistance. Those China has made great new contributions to (Xi, 2017: 6). global peace and development interests have evolved over time, from spreading communist revolution in the 1960s to protecting China’s expression of difference is also based on its economic interests in the 1970s–1990s and to ‘developing country’ identity, underpinned by what gaining a favourable international reputation in the China calls a ‘shared history’ with other developing 2000s, depending on the foreign policy direction of particular regimes at particular times. It is countries as victims of imperialism. In the above- important to note that economic interests have mentioned report, Xi also stated that: historically been relevant, but assumptions that The path, the theory, the system, and the culture China’s behaviour as a humanitarian actor derives of socialism with Chinese characteristics have only from economic interests is ill-founded as far as the historical evolution of its approach to kept developing, blazing a new trail for other humanitarian assistance is concerned. developing countries to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other countries and nations The second finding is that the evolution of China’s who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese humanitarian aid has taken multiple, and sometimes contradictory, approaches towards international wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the (Xi, 2017: 9). problems facing mankind norms and institutions. On the one hand, China has integrated into international institutions and norms when it comes to some technical aspects of China has also engaged in diplomacy and mediation to humanitarian aid in relation to natural disasters. prevent or end conflict in Sudan since 2006, Afghanistan On the other, it has tried to modify international since 2014, South Sudan and Myanmar since 2015 and Syria since 2016. There are however significant humanitarian norms by emphasising the importance of host governments and development, while at limits to what Chinese mediation can offer, and the the same time seeking a new role in mediating Chinese government has yet to engineer any meaningful conflicts. In short, the internationalisation of China’s breakthroughs in these conflicts. Efforts to engage with humanitarian assistance has come with ‘Chinese the Sudanese government, for instance, ‘did not lead to any further mediation, nor was it cited as part of a characteristics’. As such, China must be seen as both a ‘norm taker’ and a ‘norm modifier’. commitment to active conflict mediation. It was mainly the result of [Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya’s] Having traced the overall evolution of Chinese personal initiative and ability’ (Large, 2008: 39). humanitarian assistance from the 1950s to the However, the very fact that China – a country that had 2000s, the next chapter focuses on the contemporary previously adhered extremely strictly to the principle of non-interference in states’ internal affairs – is now landscape of Chinese humanitarian assistance. engaging with rebel groups diplomatically is a significant National interests are a continuing theme, but close examination of the ways in which China provides development. If China did become more proactive in this humanitarian assistance reveals the problematic area in the future (and China’s increasing global political and economic power suggest that it might), its diplomatic implications of multiple national interests as they relate to humanitarian action. efforts could help mitigate humanitarian crises. 14 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

21 4 China’s humanitarian assistance today: an overview This chapter examines contemporary Chinese search and rescue teams. Even allowing for this humanitarian assistance, exploring the government’s limitation, FTS figures do show a clear and rapid financial contributions to humanitarian responses increase in China’s contribution to humanitarian aid over the last decade. As Figure 1 shows, the to major crises between 2011 and 2015, outlining average contribution from 2004 to 2009 (excluding the nature of China’s humanitarian assistance, and assessing how the four sources of China’s foreign 2005, when China provided $62m to the Indian policy influence its aid provision. Ocean tsunami response, for which all major donors (including China) contributed an exceptional amount of funding) was $5.9m, while the average contribution from 2010 to 2015 (excluding 2013, when the 4.1 How much humanitarian aid contribution was unusually low due to the fact that has China provided, and for what? there were no significant natural disasters that year) was around $48m, an eight-fold increase. Even so, Calculating exactly how much the Chinese government this is a far slower increase than the growth in China’s GDP, which increased by just under 10% every year spends on humanitarian aid is not easy given the 8 lack of published data and the fact that governments from 2003 to 2015. It is also less pronounced than the growth in China’s net development aid, which are not obliged to report their expenditure to FTS. In China’s case, for example, FTS figures do not from 2004 to 2011 increased by on average 24% every year (Kitano and Harada, 2014: 10) (see Figure 2). necessarily include the cost of deploying international Figure 1: Chinese humanitarian spending and GDP, 2004–2015 12 90 80 10 70 60 8 US$, Trillions 50 6 40 30 4 20 Humanitarian spend (US$ millions) 2 10 0 0 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Humanitarian Aid Spend, US $, Millions Gross Domestic Product, US$, Trillions Sources: UNOCHA FTS, World Bank 8 Data retrieved from data.worldbank.org . 15 Humanitarian Policy Group

22 Figure 1 Estimated China’s net foreign aid Figure 2: China’s estimated net foreign aid US$ million US$ millions Source: Table 1 Source: Kitano and Harada (2014: 18) Figure 2 Estimated China’s gross foreign aid Table 1: China’s humanitarian spending on natural disasters and complex emergencies, 2004–2016 US$ million Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 10 Natural disasters 17.59 0.59 0.82 4.9 43 33.86 19.8 3.73 1.85 47.04 23.2 1.74 0 11 0 2.2 Food insecurity 0 3 0.3 0.25 2.8 66.62 18.78 1 1 13 10.05 12 0.53 0.5 0.53 0.53 Unallocated 0.53 0.53 0 2.5 0.2 0.5 0.5 1.05 1.5 13 1 1.21 0 0 5.3 4.35 3.2 0 0 0 Other 3.91 0 7.5 9.2 Total 44.21 23.09 1.09 6.87 19.82 1.05 37.56 86.92 27.39 6.58 52.48 36.73 Source: OCHA FTS. (Figures US$m) What does the eight-fold increase in China’s China’s humanitarian funding is spent on just one or humanitarian contribution look like, in comparison two major crises a year, and many humanitarian crises to other established or emerging donors? With receive little financial contribution from the Chinese the exception of 2013, the country’s humanitarian government. For example, the $68.5m China provided spending has ranked it somewhere between 19th in 2011 to the response to the East Africa food crisis accounted for 79% of Chinese humanitarian funding that year. In 2014 China provided $47m to the Ebola 10 ‘Natural disasters’ include earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis and response (85% of its total expenditure), and $22.6m the Ebola crisis. 9 to the Nepal earthquake response in 2015 (62%). Cases of food insecurity in this table exclude those caused 11 As these examples indicate, the majority of China’s through sudden-onset events. This includes contributions to humanitarian spending goes on natural disasters, East Africa, North Korea and Zimbabwe. Source: Table 1 rather than complex emergencies (see Table 1). 12 ‘Unallocated’ means contributions to the IFRC, ICRC, CERF and OCHA unearmarked by specific crises. 13 ‘Other’ includes civil unrest, including in Sudan, Yemen and Data taken from OCHA Financial Tracking Service (FTS), 9 Syria. . http://fts.unocha.org 18 16 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

23 Table 2: Humanitarian donors by OCHA FTS ranking, 2005–2015 2013 2014 2015* 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 US US US US US US US US US 1 US European European European European 2 European European European European European European Commission Commission Commission Commission Commission Commission Commission Commission Commission Commission UK UK Sweden UK Sweden UK UK UK UK 3 Japan Norway Norway Sweden UK UK UK Sweden Japan Germany Germany 4 Sweden Netherlands Norway Sweden Japan Japan Sweden Japan Japan Saudi Arabia 5 Netherlands Sweden Norway Japan Canada Norway Norway Germany Sweden UAE 6 Germany Switzerland Netherlands Germany Norway Canada Germany Canada Saudi Arabia 7 Sweden 8 Canada Germany Canada Canada Germany Switzerland Canada Norway Canada Canada 9 Japan Japan Japan UAE Australia Switzerland Switzerland Norway Netherlands Spain Denmark Switzerland Switzerland Netherlands Denmark Denmark Saudi Arabia Kuwait 10 Norway Germany Spain Germany Denmark Switzerland Australia 11 Australia Denmark Denmark Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 12 Ireland Ireland Italy Denmark Switzerland Netherlands Netherlands Australia Netherlands Switzerland UAE 13 Ireland Australia Netherlands Denmark Belgium Saudi Arabia UAE Kuwait Saudi Arabia 14 France Spain France Spain Saudi Arabia Belgium Denmark Belgium Kuwait Denmark 15 Italy Italy Switzerland Ireland Belgium Saudi Arabia France Netherlands Australia Belgium France 16 Australia Australia Australia Belgium France France Finland Finland France Saudi Arabia Qatar 17 Finland Finland Spain Australia Finland Finland Finland Qatar 18 Spain Finland Finland UAE Ireland Ireland Ireland Qatar Finland France Belgium Belgium UAE Spain Italy China 19 UAE Belgium Ireland France Italy UAE Belgium Italy Ireland 20 Russia France Ireland Italy UAE 21 Luxembourg Luxembourg Kuwait Luxembourg Turkey Turkey Brazil Spain Italy Qatar New Zealand 22 Luxembourg Kuwait Luxembourg South Korea Italy Italy Luxembourg Pakistan Kuwait 23 Russia New Zealand Russia Russia Russia Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg Spain Spain 24 Turkey New Zealand South Korea China South Korea Russia UAE Russia China South Korea Pakistan 25 South Africa Kuwait South Korea Nepal India Luxembourg China South Korea South Korea New Zealand 26 New Zealand Austria India Thailand Oman Russia China Russia Turkey Austria Austria Greece Austria Brazil Austria Austria Austria New Zealand Austria 27 Oman China Nepal India Iran South Korea New Zealand Oman Russia 28 Portugal 29 New Zealand Greece Austria Qatar New Zealand Qatar Kuwait Turkey Pakistan New Zealand * Turkey has been listed in the as the second largest humanitarian donor in 2015 ($3.2 Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2016 billion). According to the GHA: ‘the humanitarian assistance [Turkey] voluntarily reports to the DAC is largely comprised of expenditure on hosting Syrian refugees within Turkey so is not strictly compatible with the international humanitarian assistance totals from other donors’. Source: UNOCHA FTS and support services. FTS does not record Chinese and 26th on the list of global donors (see Table 2). China’s humanitarian spending is always below funds contributed to other sectors, but China defines ‘humanitarian aid’ quite narrowly as cash assistance that of most DAC states, as well as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and often other Middle and the dispatch of medical and rescue teams, and Eastern countries. Overall, China contributed 0.18% other forms of assistance can feature as ‘goods and materials’ or ‘complete projects’, rather than of global humanitarian funding in 2015 and 0.23% in 2014. Humanitarian aid also accounts for only ‘humanitarian aid’ as such. According to calculations based on UNDP data (2015), ‘humanitarian aid’ in a small proportion of the country’s total overseas the Chinese terminology totalled $56.7m in 2010–12, assistance. According to the government’s Foreign Aid White Paper, ‘emergency humanitarian aid’ – but this rose to $241m once ‘goods and materials’ categorised as one of eight forms of overseas aid – are included. Sectoral allocations vary widely comprised 1.7% of total aid funding (Information depending on the nature of the crisis; in 2015, for Office, 2014). example, 62% of China’s total humanitarian funding went to shelter and non-food items, reflecting the According to FTS, China mainly provides food, large proportion of funding China channelled to the Nepal earthquake response. shelter and non-food items, health and coordination 17 Humanitarian Policy Group

24 humanitarian assistance can be made. The first is that 4.2 Where has China provided China’s humanitarian contributions do not follow assistance, and why? global funding trends. Although there are occasions where China has contributed to a crisis that has also received significant global funding (South Sudan and As mentioned earlier, China contributes funding to a Nepal in 2015; Ebola in 2014; Syria in 2013), this is very limited number of crises a year. Table 3 shows the not the general pattern. For example, China allocated top recipients every year, alongside patterns of global humanitarian funding. 62% of its entire humanitarian spend in 2015 on Nepal, whereas the largest allocations of global funding that year went on the Syria crisis (Nepal came third). In Although China does not have a policy document 2014 China spent nothing on the Syrian refugee crisis, that defines the criteria on which the government against a global contribution of $3.5 billion, making it decides where to send humanitarian assistance, four observations about the patterns of China’s the second largest response after Ebola. Table 3: China’s top humanitarian spending and global humanitarian spending 2015 2012 China’s humanitarian spending (total funding $36.7m) China’s humanitarian spending (total funding $27.4m) Nepal earthquake ($22.6m to various recipients (details 1. 1. Zimbabwe ($14m bilaterally; 51.1%) not provided); 61.5%) 2. Syria ($6.7m ($2.4 m each to Lebanon and Jordan Ethiopia food insecurity ($8m bilaterally; 21.8%) bilaterally and $2m to the ICRC; 24.5%) 2. South Sudan ($5m to WFP; 13.6%) 3. North Korea ($2m to WFP; 9.8%) 3. Global humanitarian spending Global humanitarian spending 16 Syria ($4,008m) 1. 1. South Sudan ($787m) 2. South Sudan ($1,089m) 2. Somalia ($612m) Nepal ($815m) 3. 3. Sudan ($585m) Sudan ($589m) DRC ($583m) 4. 4. 5. Kenya ($544m) Iraq (US$519m) 5. 2011 2014 China’s humanitarian spending (total funding $86.9m) China’s humanitarian spending (total funding $55.2m) Ebola in West Africa ($47m to various recipients; 85.2%) 1. Ethiopia ($23.3m bilaterally; 26.8%) 1. Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines ($1.8m; 3.3%) 2. 2. Kenya ($20.2m bilaterally; 23.2%) Somalia ($16m to WFP; 18.4%) 3. Global humanitarian spending Djibouti ($9.3m bilaterally; 10.7%) 4. 1. Ebola ($3,618m) 5. Cambodia floods ($7.9m bilaterally; 9.0%) 2. Syria ($3,505m) Japan ($4.7m mostly bilaterally; 5.4%) 6. South Sudan ($1,947m) 3. 4. Global humanitarian spending Philippines Typhoon ($865m) Somalia ($868m); Sudan ($741m) 1. Japan ($735m) 2. 2013 China’s humanitarian spending (total funding $4.8m) 3. Kenya ($530m) 4. Syria Regional Refugee Response Plan ($3.2m to Syria 1. DRC ($487m) 5. Afghanistan ($423m) via WFP, Jordan via IOM and Turkey via UNHCR; 66.9%) 2. North Korea ($1m; 20.9%) Global humanitarian spending 17 Syria ($3,140m) 1. South Sudan ($772m) 2. 3. DRC ($629m) 17 Comprising the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan 16 Comprising the Syria Response Plan ($1,238,569,886) and the ($959,284,768) and the Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan ($2,769,403,155). Plan ($2,180,971,363). 18 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

25 The second observation about patterns of China’s The notable exception to China’s practice of bilateral humanitarian assistance is that, as mentioned above, aid has been the Syrian refugee crisis. China’s contribution to the Syria Regional Refugee Response its contributions mainly go to ‘natural’ disasters Plan was routed through multilateral agencies, rather than to complex emergencies. ‘Natural’ including the International Organization for Migration disasters tend to be regarded as politically less (IOM), the World Food Programme (WFP), UNHCR controversial than complex emergencies involving and the International Committee of the Red Cross conflicts, which often involve helping people in (ICRC) (with the exception of bilateral aid to Lebanon areas controlled by rebels fighting government 20 ($2.4m) and Jordan ($2.4m) in 2012), forces. Such action can violate the principle of non- suggesting that, when it comes to refugee crises, which by interference (Hirono, 2013). Further, China lacks definition are transnational and multinational, China experience in relation to many areas of conflict. The seems to recognise the logic of channelling funds country’s foreign policy concerns have focused on through multilateral organisations. At the UN Refugee the US, Japan, Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific. Central Summit in September 2016, Premier Li Keqiang Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America traditionally featured only at the fringe of its foreign announced that China would provide an additional policy programme. China began to pay more $50m a year over three years to ‘multilateral humanitarian organisations and relevant humanitarian attention to these regions only in the 2000s, in the context of the ‘Going Out’ strategy (see Chapter 2). initiatives’, alongside equivalent funds through ‘bilateral channels’ (New China TV, 2016). The country also has a lot to learn about how best to contribute to complex emergencies, though the same could be said of donors with much longer experience The fourth observation is that China tends to provide humanitarian aid to countries that fit within the in these regions. Finally, the Chinese people, like other diplomatic narratives that China wants to promote, such East Asian societies, feel more empathy with victims of natural disaster than with, for example, victims as South–South cooperation and Peripheral Diplomacy (see Chapter 2). In 2011, China allocated 79% of of contemporary conflict in Africa, because of their its humanitarian aid to four countries in East Africa: experience of natural disasters in their own territories Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. While these (O’Hagan and Hirono, 2014), notwithstanding the high level of empathy felt towards the victims of the countries were suffering a severe drought, internationally global humanitarian assistance focused on Somalia, Japanese conflict of 1931–45. Sudan, Japan (the tsunami), Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Afghanistan (in that The third observation about China’s humanitarian assistance is that the majority goes bilaterally to order). China’s ‘disproportionate’ focus on these four countries arguably derived from its special diplomatic governments, rather than to multilateral agencies. relations with them. Ethiopia and Kenya are major In 2015, for example, 85% of China’s humanitarian 18 This may be funds were provided bilaterally. powers in Africa, and Ethiopia hosts the African Union, attractive to Chinese policy-makers because, unlike with which China is trying to strengthen relations as part of its strategy of South–South cooperation. With multilateral channels, it makes it easier for China to direct its funds independently of wider multilateral regard to Somalia, China’s main concern has been piracy processes and global funding trends, giving it more in the Gulf of Aden, which could disrupt oil supplies. For its part, Djibouti is strategically significant, as direct control over where funding is allocated. It well as a growing trading partner for China. In 2010 may also be seen as a way of ensuring that recipients know where the funding comes from. One Chinese Djibouti’s trade with China was worth $445m, a 50% government official interviewed for this study increase over the previous year (EIU Views Wire, 2011). Establishing a Chinese military base in Djibouti was also commented that, if any state provides a significant level of support, then it will do so bilaterally, but if under consideration in 2010 (Chan, 2017). the contribution is only small it will be channelled 19 multilaterally. Looking at China’s neighbourhood, its humanitarian aid to Nepal, Cambodia and North Korea stands out. China was the sixth largest donor to the earthquake response 18 Data taken from OCHA Financial Tracking Service (FTS), . http://fts.unocha.org Data taken from OCHA Financial Tracking Service (FTS), 20 19 Author interview with a Chinese government official, Beijing, http://fts.unocha.org . June 2016. 19 Humanitarian Policy Group

26 humanitarian contribution in 2014, in relation to in Nepal in 2015; the largest donor in Cambodia in 22 the Ebola outbreak). None of the other countries 2011; and the third largest donor in North Korea in 21 China provided the most aid to – Nepal, Ethiopia, the 2011–13. China’s ‘disproportionate’ attention to natural disasters in neighbouring countries suggests Philippines, Syria, North Korea and Zimbabwe – can be regarded as resource-rich. In 2013, the international that its humanitarian assistance is related to Peripheral Diplomacy: a way of demonstrating to its neighbours community contributed funding to Mozambique (floods) and the Sahel (food insecurity), both areas rich that China is their indispensable partner. China is a in natural resources. China provided no humanitarian potential alternative to Indian power in Nepal, and has funding to either emergency, implying that its been a major power in Cambodia and North Korea, particularly during the Cold War. Through Peripheral humanitarian provision is not necessarily determined by Diplomacy China can avoid ‘a collective attempt by its the extent of natural resources in destination countries. neighbours, especially those more directly aligned with the West, to restrain or contain China’s growing power 4.3 Summary in Asia’ (Lanteigne, 2016: 156). While there does appear to be a traceable link between China’s humanitarian spending is ad hoc rather than sources of China’s foreign policy and its decisions on systematic, without regard to any overarching criteria humanitarian allocations, the extent to which foreign setting out where and when the country should influences this process is less clear, and provide assistance. Comparisons between China’s policy directly humanitarian expenditure and global patterns are may be overstated in the literature. It is certainly the telling in this respect, and given China’s economic case that, when China provides humanitarian aid, it strength and its potential to contribute more to almost always says that it is doing so as a ‘responsible humanitarian response, it is important for the Chinese state’. China also clearly provides humanitarian aid to conflict- and disaster-affected states as a means to government to establish guidelines on its assistance that take global trends into account. deflect international criticism of its conduct elsewhere in international affairs, for instance in relation to Syria. China’s provision of humanitarian aid between 2011 Over Syria, both China and Russia received significant international criticism after vetoing draft UN resolutions and 2015 has sought to advance three major foreign policy interests. The first is strengthening bilateral on the conflict, and the concurrent timing of the first relations with countries in the Global South and in the four vetoes (2011–14) with the years in which China Asia-Pacific region. In the Global South, China tends provided humanitarian assistance to the Syrian refugee to give humanitarian aid to support its own diplomatic response (2012–14) is unlikely to be a coincidence. However, the fact that this assistance was so short-lived narratives (for example on South–South cooperation with Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia). In suggests that China is not trying to tie humanitarian countries in the Asia-Pacific, China’s humanitarian aid assistance to its image strategy in any serious way. If the is intended to help maintain good bilateral relations country really wanted to use humanitarian assistance to through Peripheral Diplomacy (for example with bolster its image, then the question arises why it does Cambodia, North Korea and Nepal). not provide more of it, particularly given the substantial increases in other international contributions, including The second foreign policy interest is to enhance overall overseas development aid and its engagement in fuzeren the image of China as a ‘responsible state’ ( UN peacekeeping. de daguo ). However, the ‘responsible great power’ discourse that conventional studies tend to emphasise The fifth observation is that, contrary to common has been only marginally important in terms of assumptions, China’s humanitarian aid does not the actual humanitarian assistance China has necessarily go to resource-rich countries. As Table provided. While a desire to establish the image of 3 shows, the only countries that fall under the a ‘responsible state’ in international affairs was the ‘resource-rich’ category are South Sudan (the third largest humanitarian contribution China made main motivating factor in China’s early engagement in 2015), Sierra Leone and Liberia (the largest in international humanitarian action at the turn of The categorisation of ‘resource-rich countries’ is drawn from 22 21 Data from OCHA Financial Tracking Service (FTS), Brautigam (2009: 278). . http://fts.unocha.org 20 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

27 the millennium, the actual amount of humanitarian sole reason for China’s engagement in humanitarian spending has not been reflective of this. While China action, neither is the primary motivating factor. has used the ‘responsible power’ discourse when indirectly Commercial and economic interests are only relevant to China’s provision of international delivering humanitarian aid, this does not amount to a state strategy on which to base policy decisions or humanitarian aid, in the sense that good bilateral relations, which humanitarian aid is meant to determine levels of humanitarian aid. contribute to, might be ultimately conducive to an environment where China can expand its economic The third foreign policy interest is commercial and economic. Again, while this is often regarded as the activities in the future. 21 Humanitarian Policy Group

28 22 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

29 China’s humanitarian 5 assistance: decision-making and implementation structures Who in China decides on the provision of 5.1 Decision-making structure humanitarian assistance, and what are the processes 5.1.1 The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by which those decisions are made? What do they tell us about the links between foreign policy and In the Chinese system, the Chinese Communist Party humanitarian action? What are the strengths and (CCP) sets general strategic policy direction, under weaknesses of current decision-making processes in which the state devises and implements policies relation to efficiency and impact on the ground? specific to individual situations. The opaque nature of the Chinese political system makes it impossible This section analyses the wide range of actors to draw any concrete conclusions, but the available involved in decision-making and the delivery of evidence suggests that most day-to-day administration international humanitarian aid, each with its own institutional interests. on humanitarian action is made by the state rather Figure 3: China’s decision-making and implementing structure and coordination mechanism for humanitarian assistance 23 Humanitarian Policy Group

30 than by the party. In other words, while the CCP reports suggest that its creation was linked to the retains the ultimate power to make major decisions, 2008 Beijing Olympics (Radio Free Asia, 2008). The it does not involve itself in the daily running of majority of the cases that the Office is concerned with humanitarian policy. It is possible that the Party’s are domestic, including natural disasters, terrorism and urban accidents, and it is unclear how and to Foreign Affairs Leading Small Group ( Zhonggong ) may play what extent it is involved in international disasters. zhongyang waishi gongzuo lingdao xiaozu a role in coordinating policy between the various The Office reports to the leaders of the State Council, ministries involved if a natural disaster or conflict is at the top of which sits Premier Li Keqiang, and the Central Military Commission, headed by the of significant importance to China’s foreign policy and security interests. The Leading Small Group, Chairman, President Xi Jinping. headed by President Xi Jinping, consists of the CCP The State Council’s involvement in international Politburo Standing Committee members responsible for national security issues within the State Council, emergencies is likely to expand in line with the growing role of the State-owned Assets Supervision and and various ministries that relate to national security. Guoyou zichan When ‘serious issues’ in the international situation Administration Commission (SASAC; arise, the ‘Leading Small Group’ conducts research ) and the National Health and jiandu guanli weiyuanhui 23 Family Planning Commission (NHFPC; and submits policy recommendations to the party. Guojia weisheng ). The former encourages However, available sources do not suggest that he jihua shengyu weiyuanhui Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to participate in this group has worked on any major humanitarian the Belt and Road Initiative by increasing their business crises. The International Department of the Central Committee of the CCP ( Zhonggong duiwai lianluobu activities in the Global South (Zhongguo Xinwen Wang, ) 2017), including in areas with humanitarian problems. also occasionally has an ad hoc involvement in It seems that the SASAC has yet to address the specific China’s international and domestic discussions on issue of how SOEs should deal with humanitarian issues, humanitarian aid (Li, 2015; Zhongguo Hongshizi but the Commission does appear to be engaged in this Bao, 2015). To the best of this author’s knowledge, area. For example, the ‘central enterprises’ page of the neither the CCP nor the state has issued a policy SASAC website has many examples of SOEs promoting framework on humanitarian aid. The rather abstract role of the party and the lack of a policy framework humanitarian causes in areas where they operate mean that a substantial part of the decision-making (State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commision, 2017). The NHFPC’s role in international about details of humanitarian aid is the province of various ministries and organisations, as indicated humanitarian crises, derived from public health issues, is also likely to increase. The NHFPC was one of the in Figure 3. As far as international humanitarian central actors in China’s assistance in the Ebola response action is concerned, the main state actors include the in West Africa in 2014. State Council and various ministries, particularly the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). 5.1.3 Ministries and departments MOFCOM is responsible for putting the State Council’s guidance into practice by directing and 5.1.2 The State Council The State Council, overseen by the National People’s arranging humanitarian aid (Renminribao, 2010; Congress, plays a bureaucratic and administrative Zhong, 2015). Its designated role is ‘drawing out and organising the implementation of policies and role in the Chinese government, and makes major programs of foreign aid, promoting the reform of policy decisions on aid (Lancaster, 2007: 3; Jakobson foreign aid methods, organising foreign aid negotiation and Manuel, 2016: 103). The Council established Guowu yuan yingji guangli and signing agreements, dealing with the affairs of an Emergency Office ( , a.k.a guowu yuan yingji ban intergovernmental aid, compiling foreign aid planning ) in 2006, bangongshi and organising its implementation, and supervising and designated it as the special section to deal with and inspecting the implementation of foreign aid what the Office defines as ‘emergencies’. Available data does not suggest any specific criteria for the projects’ (Shangwubu Duiwai Yuanzhusi, 2015a). involvement of the Emergency Office, but some media MOFCOM’s Department of Foreign Aid ( Duiwai yuanzhu si ) consists of 15 offices, including two in Asia, three in Africa and others in West Asia, North For a general discussion of the coordination roles of ‘Leading 23 Africa and Europe, Latin America and the South Small Groups’, see Miller (2008). 24 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

31 Pacific (Shangwubu Duiwai Yuanzhusi, 2015b). One Trade and Development (UNCTAD), while the MFA informant in this study reported that the Department handles China’s relations with the UN development agencies. It also proposes the level of China’s is severely overstretched, with about 70 staff dealing 24 contribution to multilateral institutions and provides with China’s entire aid programme. Generally, much the funding (Xiong, 2013: 75). The MoF deals with of China’s bilateral humanitarian aid is implemented the World Bank Group and regional development and paid for by the Department of Foreign Aid financial institutions such as the Asian Development (Xiong, 2013: 75). Humanitarian aid through multilateral channels is implemented by MOFCOM’s Bank, and other ministries and committees including guoji hezuo ju ). International Cooperation Agency ( the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Health deal with other relevant multilateral organisations. Each of these ministries The fact that humanitarian assistance is directed consults on and decides the contributions that go mainly by MOFCOM raises the question whether to multilateral organisations, with the approval of assistance is intended to support Chinese business activities. Several interviewees in China suggested the State Council through the MFA. Once proposals are approved (which they generally are (Xiong, that MOFCOM focuses on China’s economic 25 interests, but the extent to which this applies to 2013: 75)), allocations are made by the MoF. This humanitarian aid is unclear. It is certainly true that management system determines core decisions by each the major part of China’s foreign aid is implemented ministry and commission, and ensures that decisions through ‘investment lump-sum contracting’ and a conform to China’s overall foreign policy direction, ‘contract responsibility system’, which means that and are economically sustainable. contracted companies are engaged in the world of The Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA; Minzhengbu ) foreign assistance. However, where humanitarian is an increasingly important component in China’s emergencies are concerned, ‘contract work’ is approach to the provision of humanitarian aid. It impossible because the response must be very quick, suggesting that MOFCOM’s ministerial interests may represents China by participating in, and sometimes be less important. MOFCOM works on humanitarian organising, meetings to promote international, regional and bilateral cooperation related to humanitarian aid, not because it seeks to extend China’s business aid and disaster relief. In 2015, for instance, MOCA interests, but because it is the main ministry for hosted the Eighth Shanghai Cooperation Organisation foreign aid, including humanitarian assistance. Meeting of Heads of Emergency Prevention and Relief Agencies; co-hosted with Malaysia the Fourth ASEAN The MFA also has a role in humanitarian assistance, but unlike MOFCOM it does not have an agency Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise; participated specially assigned to foreign aid; instead, each regional in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction; and was involved in consultations department deals with humanitarian aid to its own region (for example, the Asia Department deals with leading to the creation of the Sendai Framework. 26 humanitarian aid in Asia). The Ministry participates in several international In general, Chinese cooperation programmes, including with UNICEF, embassies in disaster- or conflict-affected countries UNHCR, APEC, SCO, IMO, the EU, ASEAN, the submit their aid proposals to the MFA, where they are discussed and approved. This process allows the World Bank and the ADB (Minzhengbu, 2015: Chinese government to reflect foreign policy aims in 52–53). MOCA is also involved in activities such as its humanitarian aid decision-making. international exchanges, consultation and cooperation in so far as they concern ‘civil affairs’ (Minzhengbu, 2015b: 53). Representing foreign policy interests is In terms of China’s multilateral relationships, MOFCOM deals with entities such as the World Trade not MOCA’s main remit, and it has no involvement in Organization and the United Nations Conference on any cooperation programmes on complex emergencies. MOCA’s involvement in international cooperation may demonstrate that, at least as far as China’s Author interview with a former MFA official, Beijing, June 2016. 24 participation in multilateral institutions relevant to Author interview with a former MFA official, Beijing, June 2016; 25 disaster relief is concerned, the country’s socialisation email correspondence with a former Chinese diplomat/scholar, into the existing international humanitarian June 2016. institutions has made substantial progress. In terms 26 Email correspondence with a former Chinese diplomat/scholar, of Johnston’s typology (discussed in Chapter 2), June 2016. 25 Humanitarian Policy Group

32 MOCA’s socialisation is now in the ‘persuasion’ for [a] humanitarian aid mission’ since the founding of stage – the highest level in the socialisation process, communist China in 1949 (Fan, 2015). where cooperation is considered ‘normal, given, and The PLA’s General Headquarters is responsible normatively correct’ (Johnston, 2008: xxvi). for coordinating the activities of Chinese actors providing humanitarian relief and goods to emergency- MOCA is also becoming more important in China’s affected areas. The Emergency Response Leading humanitarian aid as the number of Chinese NGOs Chuchi tufa shijian lingdao xiaozu ) Small Group ( working in humanitarian assistance overseas increases. and the Emergency Response Office (ERO; Until the early 2010s, only a handful of major yingji bangongshi ) were established in March 2005. Under NGOs, such as the Chinese Red Cross and China the direction of the former, the ERO has dealt with Charity Foundation, were allowed to work overseas. According to Huang Haoming, the Vice-Chairman domestic and international emergencies including snow disasters, train crashes and earthquakes, and and Executive Director of the China Association provided security during the Beijing Olympic Games. for NGO Cooperation, by 2015 approximately 50 The ERO is responsible for the command of troops, NGOs had delivered foreign aid abroad (Xinhua, the management of relief operations within and 2015c), with the majority involved in disaster relief outside China, and the coordination of activities in Nepal. In 2015, MOCA published an official document entitled ‘MOCA’s instruction on [how to] involving other governments. An information-sharing mechanism has been established involving the ERO support and guide social forces involved in disaster and more than 20 ministries and agencies, including relief operations’ (Minzhengbu, 2015a). Although the MOCA, the Earthquake Bureau and the Ministry this does not mention international relief operations per se, scholars claim that MOCA should explicitly of Water Conservation (Hirono and Xu, 2013). include international activity in its policy (Zhang and The central role of the PLA in coordinating Chinese Lu, 2015). MOCA, the International Department of actors arguably has two important functions. First, the Central Committee of the CCP, MOFCOM and this is a centralised party/state coordination system, the MFA have reportedly drafted an instruction ‘on which ‘allows immediate delivery of humanitarian [how] China’s social organizations should go abroad’ materials to disaster-affected areas; earnest (Li, 2015). Developments such as this are indicative of the importance of domestic influences on policy- manifestation of the high effectiveness of China’s aid; and reduction of the process of authorisation request making in relation to how Chinese actors ‘go abroad’ and approval’ (Zhou, 2013: 37). Second, delivery of to participate in humanitarian assistance. such goods requires not only the acquisition of the 5.1.4 The People’s Liberation Army goods themselves, but also the mobilisation of China’s The PLA plays a central role in Chinese humanitarian civil aviation sector. This system helps Chinese aid 27 assistance. reach disaster areas rapidly, enhancing effectiveness It contributes to international disaster and efficiency in contributing to the overall relief by assigning personnel to the CISAR team, and provides airlift capabilities. For example, the PLA humanitarian effort. China takes pride in the speed of its delivery – it supplied one of the earliest teams Air Force deployed eight IL-76 aircraft and three helicopters carrying relief supplies and 190 pieces to arrive in Aceh after the 2004 tsunami and in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there. This effectiveness is of engineering machinery to Nepal in the aftermath of the earthquake there in April 2015 (Fan, 2015; often linked to China’s claim to being a ‘responsible Xinhua, 2015). Personnel can be assigned directly state’ – one of its key foreign policy interests. to a disaster area; in the case of Nepal, for example, China dispatched over 1,000 military personnel and 5.2 Implementation structure members of its armed police forces, ‘the biggest group the PLA and armed police forces have sent overseas 5.2.1 Chinese embassies China’s embassies in disaster-affected countries have The PLA performs emergency rescue and relief operations 27 according to the Law of the People’s Republic of China on an important role to play in sharing information Emergency Response, implemented on 1 December 2007; and with concerned ministries and bureaus. Embassy the Regulations on the Participation of the Military in Disaster staff usually include representatives of the major Relief Operations, issued by the State Council and Central ministries, for example the MFA and MOFCOM, Military Commission on 7 June 2005. 26 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

33 moment in NGO involvement in humanitarian which report directly to their respective ministry in Beijing. Embassies also act as information-sharing work outside China. A large number of Chinese platforms on which various actors can draw. Non- organisations deployed to Nepal for rescue, relief 31 state entities, such as companies and civil society Immediately after and reconstruction work. the earthquake, One Foundation and the Beijing groups, also coordinate formally and informally with various embassies, and share information about the Normal University jointly held the first coordination 28 meeting between Chinese NGOs and international humanitarian needs of a particular country. organisations in Beijing. This established the China 5.2.2 The CISAR team NGO Consortium for Nepal Earthquake 2015, consisting of 12 major NGOs in China, including the The CISAR team was established in April 2001. Its 222 personnel are drawn from the China One Foundation, the China Foundation for Poverty Earthquake Administration, the PLA Engineering Alleviation (CFPA) and the Amity Foundation, Unit and the Armed Police Force General Hospital and six international organisations and NGOs, among them the UNDP China Office, Save the (Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Children, Oxfam Hong Kong, the Asia Foundation, Republic of China, 2011). In 2010, China’s CISAR team was given the INSARAG External Mercy Corps and Plan International, and Beijing Normal University ( Classification’s Heavy designation, recognising it as , 2015; Jijinhui Jiuzai Xietiaohui 29 Bannister, 2015b). The consortium helped create ‘a a first-class rescue team. Teams can deploy very joint information platform [by social networking quickly, and in some cases – Aceh in 2004 and Haiti sites such as WeChat] sharing the latest progress in in 2010 are noted above – can be one of the earliest to arrive in a disaster area. When an earthquake Nepal and the relief work done by Chinese NGOs’ strikes, the China Earthquake Administration estab- (Bannister, 2015a). This type of information-sharing lishes information support groups (Qu, 2011) to and coordination among Chinese groups in the Chinese language is useful for many Chinese NGOs collect information from various sources, including and volunteers given their general lack of English- the MFA and global disaster specialists, and decides language ability and local knowledge. how many and what kind of personnel are needed. It then makes a suggestion to the MFA, and possibly The consortium also helped to create a collaboration to the State Council, as to the composition of the and cooperation mechanism with relevant ministries CISAR team (State Council approval is needed if the 30 of the Chinese government in Nepal, as well as joining damage caused by the earthquake is significant). 32 the UN’s humanitarian coordination mechanism. This means that the level and scale of assistance Mercy Corps worked with CFPA to familiarise it (e.g. how many personnel China sends; how much with OCHA coordination meetings, and to deliver funding China provides) is not necessarily determined 33 by foreign policy calculations, but derives from humanitarian goods to disaster victims. Likewise, the local need, as well as from the experience China has Lutheran World Foundation worked with the Amity developed in this area. Foundation through the ACT Alliance, including 34 in needs analysis and the delivery of assistance. Partnerships such as these offer a promising model for 5.2.3 NGOs future cooperation or collaboration. Until recently, the Red Cross Society of China and the China Charity Foundation were among ) minjian zuzhi The author’s interactions with NGOs at international the very few civil organisations ( delivering humanitarian aid in cooperation with symposiums in 2015 and 2016, and interviews, the Chinese government (Hirono, 2011). However, suggest that Chinese NGOs are increasingly interested the Nepal earthquake in April 2015 was a pivotal 31 Author interview with a Chinese scholar, Beijing, June 2016. 28 Author interview with a Chinese scholar, Beijing, June 2016, Author interview with a Chinese scholar, Beijing, June 2016. 32 and with Zhang Yong, Blue Sky Rescue Team Leader, Beijing, Author interviews with Peng Bin, Mercy Corps Beijing 33 June 2016. Representative, Beijing, January 2017; and with Prabin 29 INSARAG is ‘a global network of more than 80 countries and Manandhar, Country Director of the Lutheran World Foundation organisations under the UN umbrella’. It accredits national urban Nepal, Kathmandu, March 2017. search and rescue teams across the world (INSARAG, n. d.). Author interview with Prabin Manandhar, Country Director of the 34 Author interview with a Chinese government official, June 2016. 30 Lutheran World Foundation Nepal, Kathmandu, March 2017. 27 Humanitarian Policy Group

34 35 in expanding their operations overseas. For example, investment in oil fields in South Kordofan bolstered the Sudanese regime in its conflict with the Sudan People’s Blue Sky Rescue ( Lantian jiuyuandui ) has assisted disaster-affected people in the Philippines (2013), Liberation Movement (SPLM), prompting international criticism of what was perceived as China’s ‘business Myanmar (2014) and Nepal (2015), and is now seeking to expand its operations to other humanitarian is business’ approach. Against this background, some contexts, including conflict areas such as South Sudan Chinese companies, particularly those present in and Somalia. It has a designated group to collect conflict-affected countries, are beginning to take a more conflict-sensitive approach. The Chinese government information on humanitarian needs in these contexts, has also encouraged companies to be more community- and assess whether BSR has the capacity to deploy 36 minded; in the response to floods in Myanmar in 2015, and provide assistance. At the time of writing in for instance, the Chinese embassy ‘called on Chinese November 2017, BSR had not dispatched staff to enterprises, companies and institutions in Myanmar to conflict-affected regions, but as its capacity develops it may well do so in the future. actively follow up the flood rescue program and collect charity donations as well as goods to take part in the flood rescue action’ (Xinhua, 2015). Many NGOs are off-shoots of businesses, and humanitarian assistance is seen as part of Chinese businesses’ corporate social responsibilities. For 5.3 Summary example, members of the One Foundation’s boards of directors are all well-known entrepreneurs from This section raises three key points. First, Chinese corporations including Alibaba, Tencent and China embassies can ensure that various ministries’ interests Merchants Bank (Yang and Huang, 2015). Company and directives are represented in China’s humanitarian presidents are interested in philanthropy, and now assistance in local areas in need. Second, the CISAR have the financial resources to fund such activity. One company, Pearl Delta, has established an NGO team’s work is not determined by foreign policy calculation, but rather more by local need. NGOs and called the PHR to send medical teams to areas facing companies are further diversifying the links between humanitarian crises, reflecting the company director’s foreign policy and humanitarian action. NGOs tend personal interest in providing assistance. These to increase people-to-people relations, so from the organisations could not have been established without 37 the success of their respective main companies. Chinese government’s point of view NGO activity fits Civil society engagement in disaster relief work outside nicely with China’s diplomatic interests in developing China is also actively encouraged by the Chinese countries. At the same time, Chinese companies are at government, which regards it as a useful complement the forefront of the economic activity that underpins to its attempts to promote people-to-people diplomacy the legitimacy of the CCP, and their actions can damage minjian waijiao or renmin waijiao China’s reputation if they are not in line with a conflict- ) (Sun, 2017). ( sensitive approach to aid. 5.2.4 Commercial companies This section also highlights the centralisation of China’s ‘Going Out’ strategy ( zouchuqu zhanlue ), promulgated in 1997, dramatically increased the decision-making and implementation processes. number of Chinese companies investing in disaster- and Decisions to act are made through coordination between the PLA, MOFCOM and the MFA. Such a conflict-prone regions. However, these commercial centralised decision-making system enables Chinese activities were not always without unintended humanitarian aid to be delivered extremely quickly, consequences; in Sudan, for instance, Chinese if only to natural disasters, not complex emergencies. The MFA’s central role in decision-making allows 35 Author interviews with a Chinese scholar, Beijing, June 2016; China to link humanitarian aid to diplomatic two civil society actors, Beijing, June 2016; and a civil society actor, Beijing, January 2017. Discussions at HPG-CAG narratives and discourses, such as South–South Symposiums, 21–23 October and 19–20 November 2015. The cooperation. Beyond the government, an increasing majority of NGO activities today focus on natural disasters, but range of actors from civil society and the commercial some NGOs are considering expanding into conflict-related sector are involved in humanitarian action overseas. humanitarian crises. The activities of these actors are heading in multiple Author interview with Zhang Yong, Blue Sky Rescue Team 36 Leader, Beijing, June 2016. directions, representing the increasing pluralisation of Chinese humanitarian action. Author interview with a civil society actor, Beijing, July 2016. 37 28 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

35 6 Conclusion a decision-making structure that reflects China’s This paper began with a discussion of the sources and objectives of China’s foreign policy. While diplomatic interests. there is much speculation about this, this study The foreign policy aim of gaining international has argued that little of that speculation is correct, either singularly, or in and of itself. The way China reputation as a ‘responsible state’ is related to China’s humanitarian action, but the former is not necessarily engages in humanitarian aid derives from a very the key driving force for the latter. If China were complex array of national interests and multiple genuinely serious about leveraging its assistance to processes, paths and actors in foreign policy-making. This concluding section summarises the paper’s key bolster its image it would have increased the amount of humanitarian aid it provides beyond current findings, and advances four arguments about the links between the sources of China’s foreign policy and its levels, which account for less than 1% of global humanitarian funding. humanitarian action. It then discusses the obstacles and opportunities these links present for the delivery Commercial and economic interests are often of humanitarian assistance to people in need. It concludes with a set of policy recommendations to key regarded as the sole reason for China’s engagement stakeholders, including the Chinese government, non- in humanitarian action, but such interests are only indirectly relevant to decisions to participate in the state actors and the donor states of the OECD-DAC. provision of international humanitarian aid. The assumption in much of the literature – that China’s 6.1 Key findings behaviour in the Global South relates exclusively to energy resources – is too simplistic. Likewise, there is This paper has outlined key elements of Chinese no evidence to suggest that China is attempting to use foreign policy and its sources; the evolution of its humanitarian aid to pursue hegemonic intentions. China’s humanitarian assistance; current funding volumes and flows; and decision-making and The relevance of multiple national interests to China’s implementation structures. In doing so, it has used a humanitarian aid means that, on each occasion conceptual framework consisting of the four sources humanitarian aid is provided, a different set of national interests can be at play, making China’s of China’s foreign policy: multiple national interests, international integration, domestic influences and provision of humanitarian aid ad hoc rather than systematic. China has no criteria or frameworks for humanitarian values. The discussion in this section humanitarian aid, nor does its humanitarian record highlights key findings. match global trends in assistance. There is a consistent and strong emphasis on natural disasters over complex 6.1.1 Multiple interests China’s multiple national interests lie at the heart of emergencies, presumably due to China’s commitment its provision of humanitarian aid. Reputation, bilateral to the principle of non-interference, and a preference relations, indirect economic and commercial interests for bilateral over multilateral funding channels. and altruism are all aspects of China’s humanitarian action. Of these, the most important national interest 6.1.2 Multiple processes is strengthening bilateral relations by giving substance China’s integration into the international humanitarian to China’s diplomatic rhetoric in the Global South. system has been a multifaceted process. On the one In particular, China’s foreign policy discourse, hand, it has been keen to be part of the international including South–South cooperation and China–Africa humanitarian system in relation to technical aspects cooperation, provides the impetus for humanitarian of natural disasters and MOCA’s cooperation with multilateral organisations on natural disasters: in aid to countries affected by natural disasters. This is other words, showing ‘norm-taking’ behaviour. On evident in the way China has allocated its assistance; its preference for bilateral over multilateral aid; and the other, in the context of complex emergencies and 29 Humanitarian Policy Group

36 other political and social aspects of assistance, the that Chinese aid is preferential, and does not reflect country remains uneasy about the norms of the current levels of actual need. international humanitarian system, and at times shows China’s integration into the international humanitarian nascent signs of becoming a ‘norm modifier’, focusing on the role of host governments and the importance of system, particularly in the context of natural disasters, development. In so doing, China attempts to preserve is good news for people in need, and for traditional historical and cultural principles, while developing a DAC donors, because integration can facilitate better coordination with other international humanitarian form of assistance ‘with Chinese characteristics’. The third contradictory process involves China’s offer of actors in disaster areas. As yet, China’s efforts at diplomatic mediation between conflicting parties in conflict mediation have not come to fruition, though countries such as Myanmar, Afghanistan and South as its power grows, its political and diplomatic role is Sudan. In its provision of assistance, China may assume also likely to increase. various identities: as a great power, it may assume the identity of ‘norm taker’; and as a rising developing One should also be mindful of China’s norm- modifying behaviour, particularly in the context country, it may assume the identity of ‘norm modifier’. of complex emergencies. China has no interest in These contradictory attitudes to international institutions integrating into a Western-centric humanitarian and norms constitute one of the characteristic features of China’s approach to humanitarian action. system. The lack of collaboration between DAC donors and China (and other non-DAC donors 6.1.3 Multiple actors for that matter) could lead to a disproportionate focus on a small number of countries with which The Chinese government’s humanitarian response is China happens to want to improve bilateral centralised and coordinated, with policy directives from the CCP given substantive form via key relations. Absence of collaboration can also lead to uncoordinated and wasted efforts within a response. institutions of the state, including MOFCOM and the MFA, and with the central coordination of the More fundamentally, it could foster mistrust between PLA. Chinese companies and a wide range of civil DAC donors and China, which would not help effective humanitarian operations on the ground. society actors directly and indirectly contribute to humanitarian assistance, and each has different sets of interests in conflict- and disaster-affected countries. Finally, the increasing pluralisation of Chinese The involvement of an increasingly wide range of actors involved in or affecting humanitarian aid players in humanitarian action will be important in brings both obstacles and opportunities. Pluralisation the future, because humanitarian action, including presents an enormous opportunity as more civil society actors participate in operations with more long-term programmes to enhance resilience as well as short-term relief operations, will depend on a resources, local knowledge and people-to-people contacts. At the same time, it is imperative that both wide range of specialised knowledge and expertise. Implementers, particularly the CISAR team, but also state and non-state actors adopt a conflict-sensitive approach to the provision of humanitarian aid. the PLA, civil society actors and the commercial Lack of expertise in and knowledge of rescue and sector, are gaining increasing experience, and there is relief operations could also complicate humanitarian an opportunity to further develop links between these operations, especially in the absence of coordination actors and their international counterparts. among all actors involved. 6.2 Obstacles and opportunities 6.3 Policy recommendations to the The fact that national interests matter to the Chinese Chinese humanitarian community government’s provision of humanitarian aid does not and DAC donors in itself present an obstacle to meeting needs on the ground. Indeed, the fact that they matter enhances the What do these findings mean for the Chinese quantity and quality of China’s humanitarian aid. But humanitarian community and DAC donors? This giving priority to improving diplomatic relations in the provision of humanitarian aid reveals the ad hoc paper concludes by offering policy recommendations nature of China’s humanitarian assistance. This means to address the obstacles identified above. 30 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

37 of both humanitarian and development assistance, First, the Chinese government and DAC donors should cooperate in sharing knowledge and information which accounts for the great majority of Chinese aid about how to create a policy framework or criteria for programmes. As discussed above, Chinese government China’s humanitarian action, in a way that addresses officials believe that development provides a foundation for peace, and therefore addresses the root global humanitarian trends and needs, not just the causes of humanitarian crises. DAC donors and China humanitarian needs of the countries with which China should jointly explore development paths that help seeks to improve its diplomatic relations. enhance resilience. Second, DAC donors should be discouraged from pushing China to accept international humanitarian Third, emerging actors such as Chinese companies and civil society are extremely keen to gain more norms particularly amid complex emergencies. Doing so might exacerbate existing anti-Western discourse training in the skills and knowledge relief and rescue in China. Instead, all parties must recognise diversity operations call for. There are many opportunities for international cooperation between Chinese in humanitarianism without necessarily privileging established definitions of what constitutes legitimate actors and DAC donors in this respect. For example, humanitarianism, and enhance dialogue on different it is important to support China’s humanitarian ways of approaching complex emergencies. There is community by helping it to build individual and a middle ground between pressuring China to join organisational capacities. China does not operate within the DAC framework, and Chinese actors the DAC and accepting the status quo bilateralism that offers limited Chinese assistance to complex – particularly civil society and businesses – lack experience of delivering humanitarian aid in the emergencies. China can be a more responsible and responsive multilateral humanitarian donor in some context of the current international humanitarian system. We are witnessing the early stages of of the most pressing complex emergencies without China’s civil society and business engagement in necessarily joining the DAC – particularly through the humanitarian system, and at this early stage the UN channels. Providing funding through UNHCR, international community and China should make WFP, UNICEF or the CERF, as well as, among others, efforts to exchange perspectives and experiences with the ICRC and the other components of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement – both in the context and learn from each other, without requiring of natural disasters and complex emergencies – could China to conform to the Western paradigm of humanitarianism. More funding should be provided constitute a significant contribution to the global 38 to support partnerships that enable international China has begun making humanitarian effort. learning, training and capacity-building in China. financial contributions to these organisations, and Capacity-building is not just about practical issues this should be encouraged. China and the DAC such as how to deliver aid. It can also be about donors could also explore ways in which China can contribute to local resilience through the provision structural issues, such as how each organisation develops its decision-making structure and policy to facilitate the rapid and effective delivery of I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer of an earlier version of 38 this paper for this suggestion. humanitarian aid in crises. 31 Humanitarian Policy Group

38 32 Exploring the links between Chinese foreign policy and humanitarian action

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43 HPG Humanitarian Policy Group The Humanitarian Policy Group is one of the world’s leading teams of independent researchers and information professionals working on humanitarian issues. It is dedicated to improving humanitarian policy and practice through a combination of high-quality analysis, dialogue and debate. Readers are encouraged to quote or reproduce materials from this publication but, as copyright holders, ODI requests due acknowledgement and a copy of the publication. This and other HPG reports are available from www.odi.org.uk/hpg. © Overseas Development Institute, 2018 Humanitarian Policy Group Overseas Development Institute 203 Blackfriars Road London SE1 8NJ United Kingdom Tel. +44 (0) 20 7922 0300 Fax. +44 (0) 20 7922 0399 Email: [email protected] Website: http://www.odi.org//hpg Cover photo: A man stands amongst the rubble of the Jyekundo earthquake in Qinghai, China. © Tsemdo Thar

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