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Diploma serves diplomacy: China's "donor logic" in educational aid

Yuan, Tingting


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Assistant Professor in Education


China's engagement in Africa is an increasingly popular topic in the 21st century. However, not much attention has been paid in the field of education and little evidence can be seen in what actually happens on the ground. This article aims to explore China's educational aid to Africa, from both textual and fieldwork sources. It will focus on three parts: first, the existing recognition of Chinese distinctions in foreign aid and China's donor logic based on "win-win" strategies; second, an argument that China's donor logic in educational aid might be informed by producing soft power through "public diplomacy"; third, a discussion of people's perception collected in Tanzania, including voices from officials and returning African students. The article will take China's main educational approach, the Government Scholarship Scheme as an example, and look at how this educational practice has been processed in a "diplomatic" way. It is concluded that China's educational aid and its features in practice, based upon diplomatic policies and China's distinctive donor logic of foreign aid, is serving bilateral relations rather than orthodox aid relations. If quality transformation and communication can be maintained in the Chinese universities, education would contribute to a lasting and cooperative relationship between China and Africa. It may add more complexities to "soft power" within broader conceptions under the contemporary global political economy. © China: An International Journal.


Yuan, T. (2014). Diploma serves diplomacy: China's "donor logic" in educational aid. China: An International Journal, 12(2), 87-109

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 1, 2013
Online Publication Date Aug 1, 2014
Publication Date Aug 1, 2014
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2022
Journal China: An International Journal
Print ISSN 0219-7472
Electronic ISSN 0219-8614
Publisher National University of Singapore, East Asian Institute
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 87-109
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