China has moved from being a traditional recipient of overseas development assistance to the position of a strategic partner with whom the EU engages on a wide range of policy issues. Increasingly, the country is an important source of aid for other developing countries.

In recent years, China has seen sustained high levels of economic growth. Incomes have risen, the numbers of people in poverty have fallen dramatically, and progress has been made towards the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Considerable disparities of income among China’s 1.3 billion population remain. Serious environmental degradation adds to the population’s vulnerability.

Three main areas of cooperation are detailed in the EU-China Country Strategy Paper (2007-13). The initial €128 million multi-annual indicative programme (2007-10) is:

  • supporting EU-China policy dialogues,
  • addressing global concerns such as climate change, the environment, and energy, and
  • assisting human resources development.


Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 1 376 049 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 74 years (male), 77 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - High human development (2014): 0,727
  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2010): 11.2%
  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2010): 14.1%
  • Upper middle income country - Gross National Income per capita (2014): 3,853 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2010-2014): 8.6%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015

Good Governance and Human Rights

  • A judicial guide on the application of tort liability law in cases involving Chinese media was produced for judges and legal practitioner, accepted by the Supreme People’s Court and widely circulated with over 3 000 hard-copies
  • 370 Chinese judges and legal practitioners strengthened their knowledge on media law through participation in seminars
  • 5 200 Chinese officials (top and medium level civil servants from Chinese government institutions such as the ministry of Human Resources and Social Security) attended seminars, training course and study visits on EU practices in public administration and human resources management


  • 420 tons of CO2 savings have been achieved through the introduction of energy efficiency technologies in two newly constructed residential buildings in Sichuan and Shenzhen (65% of energy saving reached)
  • 400 state energy inspectors were trained to supervise energy performance in low energy housings in Sichuan and Shenzhen


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