The U.S Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report showing that the World Bank funneled $25 million in 2021 to various Chinese companies that are on the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions lists, meaning nobody is supposed to be doing business with them.
Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps., for instance, received $7.1 million from the World Bank in 2021 for being a "state-run paramilitary corporate conglomerate" that is "involved in a pervasive program of egregious rights violations that [affect] the most marginalized people in the Uyghur Region," explains another report by the Helena Kennedy Centre at the United Kingdom's Sheffield Hallam University.
The GAO report says that these and other findings could "raise national security or foreign policy concerns for the U.S.," as well as raise new questions about the role of the U.S. as the top financial contributor to the World Bank, which appears to be very closely aligned with communist China.
(Related: According to the World Bank, a global food crisis is coming – and it is supposedly Russia's fault.)
In its defense, the World Bank told the Washington Free Beacon that it "upholds a principle of universal / open eligibility, which guarantees that bidders from all our 189 member countries are eligible to bid for Bank-financed contracts."
"The only exceptions are entities that are subject to sanctions imposed by the United Nations' Security Council," a spokesman added.
Other Chinese-linked companies that received cash from the World Bank in 2021 include the China Communications Construction Company, which received a $6.8 million contract from a World Bank borrower.
The China Communications Construction Company, according to former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, is one of the "leading contractors used by Beijing in its global 'One Belt One Road' strategy, engaged in corruption, predatory financing, environmental destruction, and other abuses across the world."
Other Chinese-linked recipients of cash from the World Bank in 2021 include the China National Chemical Corp., Ltd., and China Mobile Communications Group Co., Ltd., both of which were sanctioned for their connections to the Chinese military.
There is also the China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation, which was sanctioned for attempting to undermine the "democratic" process in Venezuela.
A subsidiary of Huawei, another blacklisted Chinese company that is accused of engaging in corporate espionage and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, also received $9 million in contracts from the World Bank the year prior in 2020.
The World Bank insists that it screens its contractors against the U.S. sanctions lists, but only for "practical concerns" related to transfers of money. The bank added that it does not "permit use of [U.S. sanctions] or other national lists to determine eligibility" for contract awards.
Borrowers are also allowed to find alternative payment routes, the World Bank indicated, in order to work with sanctioned contractors.
Because the World Bank does not include ownership names, addresses, or other identifying information in its public data, the GAO says it was unable to definitively identify all recipients of World Bank cash, despite making every effort to do so.
"While the World Bank was created to support developing countries, companies in China – the world's second-largest economy – are the biggest beneficiaries of its contracts," reports explain.
"Businesses in China received 29.2 percent of all contract funding from the World Bank between 2013 and 2022, compared with 2.4 percent for U.S. companies and 4.4 percent for French companies, the GAO analysis found."
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