The World Bank is cutting back a US$50 million project in China’s restive Xinjiang region following a review prompted by allegations of abuses.
A statement from the bank dated Monday said it would close a component of the project to support vocational colleges involving partner schools that were the subject of the abuse claims.
It said that although visits to the partner schools “did not substantiate the allegations,” they were too widely dispersed to be properly monitored for adherence to bank standards.
“In addition, the project will be placed under enhanced supervision to ensure that all applicable Bank standards are adhered to,” the bank said.
The statement a review was ordered after serious allegations about the partner schools were received in August, but did not describe them in detail.
“The World Bank’s work is driven by core principles of inclusion, with special consideration for the protection of minorities and other vulnerable peoples,” it said. “When allegations are made, the World Bank takes them seriously and reviews them thoroughly.”
While the partner schools account for just 1 percent of the project’s financing, the move is politically significant because China has been criticized for confining more than 1 million members of Muslim minority ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
China says they are being offered training to reduce poverty and extremism.
Critics say they are political reeducation camps where inmates are held indefinitely without due process, subject to abuse and forced to renounce their traditional religion and culture, while pledging loyalty to Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
There was no immediate comment from China on the bank’s decision.
The World Bank project aims to upgrade the curriculum, teacher skills and post-graduation employment opportunities offered by five long-established public vocational colleges in Xinjiang, the bank said.
World Bank lending to China has been criticized since the country is now the world’s second-largest economy and is itself a major lender to poor nations, usually at market interest rates.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
BEIJING REACTS: China announced that Hong Kong’s extradition treaties with Canada, Australia and Britain would be suspended after those nations acted earlier New Zealand yesterday announced that it would suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The move came after China passed sweeping new security legislation for the territory. New Zealand is the final member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance to take such action after the Australia, Britain, Canada and the US previously announced similar measures. New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters said that the new legislation goes against commitments China made to the international community. “New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China,” Peters said. Moreover, Wellington would treat military and technology exports to