World Bank arm’s financing of Xinjiang-linked firms questioned

A US think tank has linked some $486 million in direct loans and investments from an arm of the World Bank to four Chinese companies it says benefit from state-sponsored forced labour programs in Xinjiang.
Image: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images AsiaPac

A US think tank has linked some $486 million in direct loans and investments from an arm of the World Bank to four Chinese companies it says benefit from state-sponsored forced labour programs in Xinjiang.

In the report dated Wednesday, the Atlantic Council named Chenguang Biotech Group Co., Camel Group Co., Jointown Pharmaceutical Group Co. and Century Sunshine Group Holdings Ltd. as getting backing from the International Finance Corp.

The firms “recruited workers through overtly racist/discriminatory hiring practices,” subjected minorities to Communist Party indoctrination and “contributed to the destruction of cultural heritage,” the report said, citing sources including corporate documents and stories in state media.

The Atlantic Council said these and other problems violated the IFC’s own Performance Standards, and called on the development bank to divest from corporate investments in Xinjiang.

A spokesperson for Jointown Pharmaceutical told Bloomberg News by phone Thursday the report was completely groundless. Representatives for the other three companies did not immediately respond to requests for responses.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US is leading a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics — resulting in some nations declining to send senior government officials to the event — citing what it says are “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses.” Beijing denies those charges, calling the allegations of genocide in the western region “the lie of the century.”

© 2022 Bloomberg

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