Over the last 10 years, China has become one of the most important investors in the world. In 2015, official outbound investment flows from China reached a record high of almost US$146 billion,1 second only to the United States.2 This investment is reaching all corners of the globe, with Chinese companies and financial institutions active in both developed and developing countries on every continent. Chinese companies play various roles in overseas projects, from research and design to construction, development and operation. Chinese banks and investment funds make many overseas projects possible by providing loans, foreign currency, insurance and equity investments.
This investment is taking place in many sectors, including energy infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, real estate, construction, trade and many other areas. This investment brings with it numerous potential benefits, but also human rights, social and environmental risks. Communities that have been harmed by Chinese investments, and the civil society groups that seek to support them, often encounter difficulties obtaining project information and engaging developers and financiers to influence the project design, prevent harmful investments or seek redress after the fact.