LONDON - British MPs have requested a review into why the United Kingdom (UK) sent £71.6 million ($100 million) in aid to China in a single year, despite the country having an economy five times the size of the UK’s.

Figures on British aid to China were “buried” in the Department for International Development’s (DfID) annual report, which was “quietly put out this week as MPs go on their summer holiday”, according to the Daily Mail.

Some of the aid money was used to put Chinese firms in competition with British counterparts.

The revelation comes as China – which has the second-largest economy in the world and can afford a space programme – is rapidly becoming an outcast on the international stage, amid hacking, national security and human rights controversies.

Beijing is threatening the UK with retaliation after Downing Street banned Chinese firm Huawei from its 5G network.

The colossal aid sums were buried in the Department for International Development's annual report which was quietly put out this week as MPs go on their summer holiday.

The money is being spent on training primary school teachers, combating the illegal trade in wildlife and helping China set up off-shore windfarms.

It is also going towards teaching people in one of the world's most advanced countries to use technology and 'support human rights' in a nation with a questionable record.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith last night questioned why the UK was sending money to a country which was 'breaking every rule in the book'.

The vast amount was sent to China in 2018, the latest figures available, and was a 29 per cent increase on the amount sent in 2017.