China's foreign aid is sharply in focus this week with an unprecedented new data trove showing the country's growing global reach and detailing how Beijing spends its cash.
In recent decades, the world's second largest economy has evolved from an aid recipient to a net aid donor. But a lack of official information on China's development activities had prevented the international community from understanding where and how the country spends its foreign aid.
That's because the government considers its international development finance program to be a "state secret," according to AidData, a research lab at Virginia-based College of William & Mary.
In an effort to pull back the curtain on Chinese aid, AidData unveiled new data this week that tracks China's official financing, including foreign aid, concessional and non-concessional state financing, between 2000 and 2014.
During that period, Beijing committed $354.3 billion to 140 countries, the group found. In comparison, U.S. official finance stood at $394.6 billion.