This September, the South African Institute for International Affairs published a study titled "The Chinese Stance on the Darfur Conflict” (PDF) by Gaafar Karrar Ahmed.
It documents China’s early support for Khartoum’s position on Darfur. By December 2004, however, China began to express its concern over the deterioration of the situation and advised the Sudanese government to actively address the Darfur crisis.
Beginning in November 2006, China applied direct pressure on Sudan to cooperate with the international community to establish an international peacekeeping force. To some extent, China’s desire for a successful 2008 Olympics motivated the change in approach.
The study concludes that conflicts like Darfur should encourage China to establish research centers and institutes such as exist in the West to provide Chinese decision makers with timely analysis and policy recommendations.