Washington: Three top Republican senators have tabled a legislation in the US Senate to prevent World Bank from lending to China on projects that would be used against religious and ethnic minorities.
The move comes following reports of a questionable USD50 million World Bank loan to a Chinese organisation associated with the forcible internment of minority Chinese Uyghur Muslims.
Introduced by senators Chuck Grassley, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton on Wednesday, the Senate Bill instructs the US representatives at the World Bank to vote against and use best efforts to deny any loan or extension to countries that significantly exceed the graduation thresholds or that are designated as a country of concern for religious freedom.
Grassley and Cotton also introduced an additional measure, S.3017, which is a companion to the Accountability for World Bank Loans to China Act introduced in the House Representatives.
That legislation codifies Congress' support for Administration efforts to graduate China from the World Bank's International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) lending programme.
China has been lending development money outside its borders to extend its influence for years while taking in U.S. taxpayer dollars via World Bank loans. It's confounding that these loans still continue and they ought to stop, Grassley said.
What's worse is that these loans might have helped free up resources used to violate human rights and force Uyghurs into internment camps, he said.
These bills provide a short-term and long-term means to take away the status that allows China to receive loans and halt loans to any country like China that exceeds the World Bank graduation thresholds or poses a risk to religious freedom, he said.
Rubio said that the bill would provide the US Governor of the World Bank with the necessary guidance to uphold US interests and to focus on the bank's development mission.
For too long, countries like China and Russia have been allowed to exploit the World Bank's limited resources even after they should no longer qualify for assistance. I'm proud to co-sponsor this bill, which will also reaffirm our nation's continued commitment to international religious freedom worldwide," Rubio said.
According to Cotton, the World Bank is sending development aid meant for poor countries to China, the second-largest economy in the world with access to plenty of capital. The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) uses these loans to fund its repression of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.
The United States must urge the World Bank to end these loans, which are contrary to its own guidelines and the demands of justice. Every dollar loaned to China is a dollar spent on strengthening the CPC's grip over the Chinese people, Cotton said.