Chinese president Xi Jinping announced last Friday that China would be donating two billion dollars to underdeveloped and developing countries, in order to help further the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
Xi Jinping made the announcement at the UN summit last week, which was held to launch the non-binding goals to end poverty and other global issues within the next 15 years.
As part of his announcement, Jinping also declared that China hopes to raise their donation to a total of $12 billion by 2030, which will be the end of the 15 year period of the current Millennium Development Goals.
As an additional part of China’s promise to aid underdeveloped countries, Xi Jinping promised to absolve the debt of several developing countries to China.
All these promises come at the inauguration of the 2015 through 2030 Millennium Development Goals, which are aimed at alleviating poverty, among other things, over the course of the next 15 years.
The Millennium Development Goals as an institution originated at the close of the millennium, devised as a set of benchmark goals to achieve in the first 15 years of the millennium.
Among the goals set by the original resolution were the rather far-fetched goals of eliminating extreme poverty and achieving universal primary education.
Although they fell short of many of these goals, the UN set itself a new set, which it announced at the beginning of last weekend’s summit.
It was in light of these new developments that China made its announcement. To those feeling as though this is out of character for China, it actually fits surprisingly well with China’s apparent grand strategy.
China has been building economic hegemony in impoverished regions for a while now, investing in infrastructure and regional defense.
China offers loans at extraordinarily low interest rates and more importantly, without the restrictions placed on the money given by Western sources.
The kind of money China puts into these economies gives it strong economic leverage in these areas — more than is available to Western nations who are bound to try and protect human rights.
Besides the raw, country to country economic capital that China gives or loans to these countries, Chinese companies are also heavily invested in these regions.
Employing natives in far away, largely underdeveloped regions injects Chinese capital directly into the economy in such a way that the recipient economy is increasingly reliant on the Chinese investors.
How China will leverage its sizeable contribution to the Millennium Development Goals has yet to be seen, but it seems unlikely that the careful and deliberate Chinese government would dedicate such a sum for purely humanitarian reasons.
There is, of course, the most immediate benefit of such a contribution, and that is international standing.
Being seen as willing and able to contribute significantly to the world’s health and welfare indicates a country’s position as a world power.
Moreover, such humanitarian efforts solidify China’s international standing, providing it with footing to defend its questionable human rights record at home by pointing to its good deeds abroad.