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東京大学公共政策大学院 | GraSPP / Graduate School of Public Policy | The university of Tokyo

China’s Rise and the Reshaping of Sovereign Debt Relief 2023年07月04日(火)

GraSPP Research Seminar 

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GraSPP Research Seminar—Economic Policy, Finance & Development Series―

China’s Rise and the Reshaping of Sovereign Debt Relief

Professor Muyang Chen, School of International Studies, Peking University

Moderator: Professor Toshiro Nishizawa, GraSPP

Date & time

Tuesday, July 4, 2023 | 13:30-14:30


Seminar Room C, 12th floor, International Academic Research Building




This is an in-person seminar for UTokyo students and faculty members. Please register here.


China has become the world’s largest bilateral creditor to low- and middle-income countries, and yet its participation in collective debt-relief frameworks led by Western multilateral institutions—the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Paris Club—has not met those institutions’ expectations. Prevailing discussion perceives China’s “reserved” participation as free-riding on or contesting the international sovereign debt regime. This article advances ongoing discussion by drawing a historical parallel between China’s current debt-relief approach and that of the United States and the multilateral institutions during and after the debt crisis of the 1980s. The article finds that towards the end of the 1980s, the US transitioned from practicing a new money approach—continued financing for existing projects—to a haircut approach—increasingly writing off debts. Around the same time, multilateral institutions started to become more acceptive of debt forgiveness. Yet China’s policy banks, the main financiers of its overseas projects, have been primarily practicing a commercially oriented, new money approach. China’s rise has therefore revitalized an approach that western private banks once commonly practiced and weakened the current international sovereign debt regime that took shape in the post-1980s decades.

About the speaker

Professor Muyang Chen is affiliated with Peking University’s School of International Studies. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of development, political economy, and international relations. Professor Chen’s research focuses on understanding the state’s role in development and addresses how China’s development finance affects global order. She also studies the role of public financial agencies in facilitating development assistance, export finance, and industrialization.

Before joining Peking University, Professor Chen was a JSPS-funded Visiting Scholar at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (2017), a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Global Development Policy Center (2018), and was offered Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University (2019-2020).

Professor Chen holds a Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Washington, an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and dual bachelor’s degrees from Peking University and Waseda University.

For inquiry

Professor Toshiro Nishizawa | tnishizawa<>

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