World Bank Cuts Back Xinjiang Project Following Abuse Allegations

At The New York Times, Alan Rappeport reports that the World Bank this week announced it would scale down development work in the Xinjiang region following allegations that funds from a $50 million education project loan granted in 2015 were used for the ongoing crackdown on Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic minorities in the region:

The bank has been conducting a review of the project since Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, and Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, expressed concern about it in August and after an independent researcher found evidence suggesting that funds were being used to buy police batons and tear gas launchers.

The Chinese government has been facing criticism for detaining more than a million Muslim Uighurs and placing them in “re-education” camps where they are forced to renounce their religious beliefs and embrace the ideology of the Communist Party.

The bank said it had conducted an extensive review of the project and was not able to substantiate the allegations. However, the bank acknowledged the challenge of rigorously monitoring the situation and said it was making changes to the project.

The loan was intended to support five vocational schools in the region by upgrading teams of teachers and curriculums. Some of this money was going to “partner schools” that were indirectly receiving World Bank funding and were not under the bank’s supervision. [Source]


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