Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 00:19:02 -0500 (CDT)
From: (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: TIBET & WORLD BANK—August 30 Action
Article: 73283
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

/** pn.alerts: 80.0 **/
** Topic: TIBET & WORLD BANK—August 30 Action **
** Written 8:14 AM Aug 17, 1999 by in cdp:pn.alerts **
From: Neil Tangri <>
Subject: TIBET & WORLD BANK—August 30 Action

Stop the World Bank China project in Tibet: Call to a rally

By Neil Tangri, 17 August 1999

11:30 am—3:30 pm
World Bank Building

Featuring: Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, Members of Congress,representatives from the human rights and environmental movement, Tibetan music and dance, & much, much more!

On June 24th, the World Bank Board of Directors approved a $40 million loan to China to fund the resettlement of 58,000 Chinese farmers into Tulan County—a traditional Tibetan and Mongolian area. The project promotes China's policy of colonization at the expense of ethnic minorities, and it also violates the Bank's own environmental and social policies. Join us on August 30th at the World Bank and make your voice heard in opposition to this project!

For more information contact:

ICT in DC 202.785.1515
Milarepa in SF 415.553.8533
SFT in NY 212.594.5898
USTC in NY 212.481.3569

Sponsored by US Tibet Committee, Students for a Free Tibet, the Milarepa Fund, International Committee of Lawyers for Tibet, Center for International Environmental Law, Friends of the Earth and the International Campaign for Tibet


Please note that the following background information was written by the US Tibet Committee. The coalition is currently in the process of drafting materials which reflect the views of the entire coalition. These background materials should be available shortly

U.S. Tibet Committee

The World Bank: Undermining Tibet's Future Executive Directors Approve China's Westward Colonization

On June 24th, 1999, the World Bank Board of Directors approved a $160 million loan in support of China's Western Poverty Reduction Project. The project includes a loan to finance population transfer of 57,775 Chinese farmers onto fragile nomadic lands located within a so called ‘Tibetan and Mongolian autonomous prefecture’. Though ostensibly designed to alleviate poverty, the project promotes China's policy of colonization of Tibet, and violates the World Bank's own environmental and social policies. Afraid and unwilling to challenge China, its biggest client, the Board of Directors overruled American and German opposition and approved a flawed project. The approval of this project sends a clear signal that the World Bank does not respect its policies; it also means that the Bank is providing financial and institutional support to the Chinese government's population transfer, the greatest threat to the survival of the Tibetan people, and sets a dangerous precedent to all occupied territories: Environmental groups, Tibet support groups, students, bank-watching organizations, musicians, politicians, grassroots activists and concerned citizens have joined Tibetans to challenge this project. The result of this alliance has been a torrent of opposition, including an enormous fax and e-mail campaign. A week before the vote, the International Campaign for Tibet (on behalf of local people) filed a claim to the Inspection Panel to investigate these policy violations and the associated harm—this claim is still pending.

Why are we so concerned about this project?

The Bank claims the project will help the poor by decreasing population pressure in the move-out area, east of Tso-ngo-po (Kokonor Lake), and settling them in a sparsely populated move-in area, Tulan Dzong (Chinese call it Dulan county) south west of Tso-ngo-po, both in Amdo province of Tibet. But consider the following:

The World Bank has policies that are supposed to minimize the environmental and social impacts of a project. If the Board approved the project, doesn't that mean it meets World Bank policies?

Unfortunately, no. The project was designed and approved without the adequate environmental and social analysis, violating several of the Bank's most important policies, including those on Environmental Assessment, Indigenous Peoples, Information Disclosure and Involuntary Resettlement.

The Bank management's willingness to violate its own policies was exacerbated by intense political pressure from China, including threats of economic reprisals against opposing countries and withdrawal from the Bank. The World Bank has been guaranteed by China that Prison labor will not be involved or benefit from this project. Why is this still an issue of concern?

Actions speak louder than words. The move-in area has a high concerntration of laogai (reform-through labor' camps). The local economy depends heavily on prison labor, which is used extensively in land reclaimation, road construction, and grain processing. With the high likelihood of this project becoming entangled with the pervasive prison labor economy, it is disturbing that the World Bank and China have refused to publicly release two existing studies on prison labor in the project area. If the World Bank refused to provide funding for this project, would the Chinese government continue to implement the project? If so shouldn't the Bank stay involved to try to improve the project? If is a speculative expression for an uncertain future. The Bank will have absolutely no impact on what China will or will not do. It is presumptuous to believe that the Bank can influence China's behavior. The Bank should not finance a project that does not meet its standards, that is in violation of its policies and procedures, and that will cause irreversible harm to the Tibetan and Mongolian nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples living in the project area. Furthermore, financing this project provides an air of legitimacy the Chinese government's violent occupation of Tibet, giving an international seal-of-approval (and public monies) to China 's illegal population transfer policy. The continued population transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibetan territories is one of the greatest threats to the survival of the Tibetans, and has already made them a minority in many parts of their own land.

What does the campaign want?

The simple short answer is to stop the project from going forward. The Bank 's business is alleviating poverty, not destroying a people and a culture or becomeing an agent for colonialism.

Isn't the only reason that this project has received so much attention because activists and Tibet sympathizers have interfered? If it weren't for them, wouldn't this be a routine approval process? Yes, if Tibetans, Mongolians, and the international community hadn't raised objections to this project, then certainly the Board would have approved the project not knowing the management's policy violations and threats to the local people and environment. The Bank is unaccustomed to considering public input to their projects though they are funded by public monies and directly affect billions of people around the world.

-- Neil TANGRI