Panel Slams Bank On China Project

14 June 2000

The Wall Street Journal ran an article on 4 May stating that “the World Bank badly mishandled an anti-poverty project that would resettle 58,000 Chinese farmers onto hotly disputed farmlands traditionally inhabited by ethnic Tibetans, according to a report by an internal bank watchdog panel”.

Although copies of the Inspection Panel report had not been made public at the time of writing, it became known that it concluded that Bank staff seriously violated their own guidelines while preparing the $160 million China Western Poverty project. Bank staff did not adequately assess the impact on the environment in Qinghai Province and on the Tibetans who live there.

“From our understanding it is a damning report, and we expect the Bank to cancel the project,” said John Ackerly, president of the International Campaign for Tibet, the Washington-based human-rights group that filed the complaint to the Panel on behalf of local Tibetans.