San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

China donates $4.8 million to Costa Rica, loans another $4.8 million

A new donation from the Republic of China was signed Tuesday between President Laura Chinchilla and Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

The government has not yet defined the destination of the $4.8 million gift, according to Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo, who added that “there are so many needs that the money will be spent in a short time.”

The Chinese government also issued Costa Rica a $4.8 million loan. Last August, a donation for discretionary use caused controversy for Chinchilla’s administration. Castillo said at the time that an $8 million donation from the Chinese government “was actually part of a Chinese aid package to be used to build a National Police Academy.”

Representatives from both countries also signed cooperation agreements for hosting six Chinese teachers who will teach Mandarin classes in three training centers at the National Training Institute, for a period of two years.

They also agreed on a draft for technical cooperation for the National Stadium, donated by China, to provide a pumping system and specialized technical assistance for daily maintenance.

The Spanish-language news site reported Tuesday that Jia in the past has been questioned in China over corruption cases related to his wife’s businesses.

The website cites reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker on smuggling cases allegedly involving more than $10 billion in telecommunications equipment, crude oil, rubber, automobiles and cigarettes during a five-year period.

Communications Minister Francisco Chacón told that he was not aware of the case, but this is not the first time that Costa Rica has done business with a country whose officials are under scrutiny back home.

“That would mean we could not have had relations with the U.S. when Clinton and Bush were presidents, or with Italy during Berlusconi’s investigation,” Chacón said.

Contact L. Arias at

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