China's foreign aid programs must not interfere in domestic affairs of countries it donates to, according to new rules from the Ministry of Commerce released on Monday.
The regulations underscore the no-strings-attached philosophy underpinning China's growing foreign aid programs, particularly in African states, which stands in contrast to the approach of the West.
Critics have said China's aid program lacks transparency and turns a blind eye to conflicts and human rights abuses. China's close links with oil-rich African states, including Sudan and Angola, have fuelled criticism as well that Beijing only cultivates relations to secure access to energy and raw materials to power its surging economy.
China said in July that more than half its foreign aid of over $14 billion went to Africa.
China's aid programs must respect the sovereignty of the recipient country, the regulations said, even as they work to alleviate poverty, promote economic growth and develop diplomatic ties.
China has also worked to use its growing military muscle for humanitarian causes as it works to win over international support, dispatching an elite People's Liberation Army team to West Africa to aid in the fight against the Ebola virus.
The rules also call for punishing fraud, bribery and other improper uses of aid funds, and for aid workers to avoid engaging in outside businesses.
China's trade with Africa ballooned to $170 billion in 2013 from $10 billion in 2000.