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China: from aid recipient to aid donor

In almost every sense, China looms large in world history. It spent many centuries as the world's largest economy, before the rise of communism and financial troubles saw it fall off the pace during the 20th century. But reforms and an "opening up" process that started in 1978 has brought about change on an enormous scale. The nation transformed away from low income farming, and towards megacities and giant factories which manufacture the world's products.

With this new prosperity has come another major shift. China spent decades as a recipient of aid and expertise from the international community, but the story has entered a new era. The recent catastrophic floods in Myanmar are an example of this, with China delivering thousands of aid packages to people whose homes and livelihoods had been affected by the natural disaster. Check out the video above, which shows the effort in action. Along with clothes, food, and basic supplies, China has also sent motorised dinghies to help with the rescue and recovery effort. Elsewhere, China has also announced a plan this month to build a new coastal highway in Liberia, as part of its aid package in the wake of the Ebola pandemic.

There are a lot of strong opinions floating around about China's 21st century rise, and what this means for other countries. But one thing's for sure: it's going to be a big deal. China is already the world's second largest economy, and its rapid growth is still underway. That's why it's important to encourage China to become a transparent, supportive partner for other countries in times of need, and for that support to enable people around the world to escape poverty and hardship. Hundreds of millions of Chinese people have been raised out of poverty by China's economic success, and there's so much potential for that to cause a ripple effect that benefits just as many people in other countries.

There's definitely evidence to suggest that China is becoming more transparent and more focused on international partnerships for its aid and development initiatives. That's a good thing for everyone, and I'm excited by the possibilities for the future!