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Print Edition> World
UPDATED: August 23, 2010 NO. 34 AUGUST 26, 2010
Giving Globally
China sent its first medical team to Algeria in 1963. Since then, it has sent about 21,000 medical workers to 69 other developing countries. They have treated about 260 million patients


TECHNICAL GUIDANCE: A Chinese technician instructs local workers at a construction site in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 22 ZHAO (YINGQUAN) 

China's foreign aid during the past 60 years has achieved a great deal, helping boost beneficiary countries' development, benefiting local people and cultivating managerial and technical personnel, all while improving China's relationships with these countries.

"China's aid should favor the least developed countries as well as inland and small island developing countries, and focus on projects that are urgently needed and welcomed by local people, such as hospitals, schools, water supply systems and clean energy," said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at a national work conference on China's international aid in Beijing on August 13.

A recent China News Service article sheds light on this six-decade-old cause, based on information from the Department of Aid to Foreign Countries of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. Edited excerpts follow:

By the end of 2009, China had offered economic and technical aid to more than 120 other developing countries. It had also donated to more than 30 international and regional organizations, allowing them to undertake multilateral assistance activities.

Over the past six decades, China has offered assistance to foreign countries in eight areas:

—Project construction is the major channel through which China offers foreign aid. By offering financial assistance, interest-free loans and concessional loans, China has helped beneficiary countries build more than 2,100 agricultural, industrial and public projects.

—Technical cooperation is an important way for China to enhance beneficiary countries' capacities for development. China sees great value in technology transfers. After assistance projects are completed, China will send experts to instruct local staff in production and management. It also helps train technicians and managers so as to guarantee these projects' sustainable development.

—China has offered many types of materials and equipment, in accordance with beneficiary countries' demands and requirements. These include office supplies, food, medicine, machinery, medical equipment and vehicles. China always offers its best products to other countries as assistance.

—China takes great care to train personnel for other developing countries. It began offering government scholarships to other developing countries in the 1950s. By the end of 2009, it had offered government scholarships to more than 70,000 foreign students from these countries. In addition, China has trained more than 120,000 professionals for them. Training courses cover a wide range of areas, including economics, management, agriculture, health, law, education and environmental protection.

—When beneficiary countries have trouble paying off China's interest-free loans, China always extends the payment date as required, rather than pressing them. Since 2000, China has exempted poor countries' debts five times. To this point, it has signed debt exemption agreements with 50 countries, forgiving 380 expired debts.

—Either bilaterally or multilaterally, China has offered emergency assistance to countries suffering from natural and humanitarian disasters. The country established an emergency humanitarian assistance system in 2004, so as to offer faster and more efficient rescue services. China launched its largest humanitarian rescue operation after the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, and offered about 700 million yuan ($103 million) in various kinds of assistance to tsunami-hit countries. In the past six years, China has carried out nearly 200 international emergency rescue operations.

—China sent its first medical team to Algeria in 1963. Since then, it has sent about 21,000 medical workers to 69 other developing countries. They have treated about 260 million patients. And nearly 900 of these medical workers were awarded by the presidents of beneficiary countries. Currently, there are 54 Chinese medical teams with 1,300 medical workers offering medical services in 48 developing countries.

—China started to dispatch volunteers to teach Chinese abroad in 2004. By the end of 2009, it had sent 8,000 volunteer teachers to more than 70 countries throughout the world. In February 2005, China sent its first youth volunteer team to Thailand for a 10-day salvage mission. By the end of 2009, it had dispatched 405 youth volunteers to 19 other developing countries for Chinese teaching, traditional Chinese medical treatment, agricultural technology promotion, sports training, computer training and international rescue.

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