Foreign aid from China is often characterized as “rogue aid” that is guided by selfish interests alone. We collect data on Chinese project aid, food aid, medical staff and total aid money to developing countries, covering the 1956–2006 period, to empirically test to what extent self‐interests shape China's aid allocation. While political considerations shape China's allocation of aid, China does not pay substantially more attention to politics compared to Western donors. What is more, China's aid allocation seems to be widely independent of recipients' endowment with natural resources and institutional characteristics. Overall, denoting Chinese aid as “rogue aid” seems unjustified.