Xinjiang sought World Bank funding for surveillance

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, whom we recently interviewed on the Sinica Podcast about her work on an explosive leak of documents detailing the ongoing repression of Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang, has another scoop on Axios based on more than 8,000 pages of official World Bank Chinese-language procurement documents that seek to secure funding for  surveillance programs in Xinjiang.

A World Bank spokesperson told Axios the June 2017 procurement documents had not been translated into English, meaning only Chinese-speaking staff could read them.

This means oversight was nearly impossible for this specific procurement plan because Chinese nationals who staff the World Bank office in Beijing cannot be relied on to be whistleblowers about Chinese government plans…

The World Bank told Axios those funds were not disbursed…

In August 2019, the loan program came under congressional scrutiny for possible complicity in China’s repression.

In November, the World Bank announced it was scaling back the program.

Allen-Ebrahimian’s article is here; the source documents are here.

Back in Beijing, the propaganda writers are still in high dudgeon about the house passing the U.S. Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. Xinhua’s English home page today features an article titled Chinese mission to UN rejects U.S. ambassador’s human rights accusations, with its equivalent also on the Chinese-language home page.

There’s also a Chinese home page piece written in stronger language titled Cadres and ordinary people in Xinjiang: The results of deradicalization work must not be vilified by the U.S., which quotes people from various ethnicities and walks of life who all wholeheartedly approve of the government’s concentration camps system:

“I will never forget Xinjiang a few years ago. At that time, horror was frequent and religious extreme thoughts spread like a plague… But now everyone’s confidence is back and everyone is happier…”

“…In order to help students get out of the haze of religious extremism as soon as possible, teachers paid close attention to each student’s ideological change and growth. If you like music, you can learn music, if you like auto repair, we’ll teach them the technical skills…”

“As a mother the motherland cannot not ignore it when a child makes a mistake. The education work is not a measure that restricts or deprives the person of liberty…”