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Sens. Cruz, Grassley, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Curb China’s Access to World Bank Lending Intended for Developing Nations

April 30, 2021

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) today introduced the World Bank Integrity Preservation Act of 2021, legislation to curb China's access to the World Bank's low-rate debt financing intended for developing nations.

Upon introduction, Sen. Cruz said:

"China poses the single greatest geopolitical threat to the United States over the next century, and they continually take advantage of the World Bank's low-cost lending intended for poorer countries. The Chinese Communist Party is engaged in an ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs. They exploit international finance for their human rights atrocities. The World Bank has also contributed to the Belt and Road initiative, in which the Chinese Communist Party utilizes coercive debt traps to advance their interests."

Sen. Grassley said:

"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. What's worse is that these loans might have helped free up resources used to violate human rights and force Uighurs into internment camps. Our bills provide a short-term and longer-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."

Sen Rubio said

"For too long, Beijing has been allowed to exploit the World Bank's limited resources even though they should not qualify for assistance. I'm proud to reintroduce this bill that would provide the U.S. Governor of the World Bank with the necessary guidance to uphold U.S. interests and to focus on the bank's development mission. This bill also reaffirms America's continued commitment to religious freedom worldwide."


Sen. Cotton said:

"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 Chinese Communist Party uses these loans to fund its repression of Uighurs 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 CCP's grip over the Chinese people."

Sen. Scott added:

"Under no circumstances should American taxpayers be on the hook for World Bank loans to countries actively repressing religious minorities, especially to Communist China, which is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims. I'm proud to join my colleagues in this bill to protect taxpayer dollars and hold General Secretary Xi accountable for his horrific crimes."

Read the full text of their bill here.

BACKGROUND

The World Bank, which receives funding from the United States and other nations, offers low-cost loans intended for developing or otherwise economically challenged countries. Loan recipients are expected to reduce their loan portfolios once they reach a certain income level known as a "graduation threshold." China reached this threshold in 2016, yet remains one of the Bank's top borrowers. It borrows about $2 billion a year despite being the world's second-largest economy and a major global lender itself. In its own lending to other countries, China seeks to exert geopolitical influence and control.

China has also come under international scrutiny for its human rights abuses and infringements on religious freedom. The World Bank has provided loans for programs likely linked to its systematic persecution of Uighurs.

The World Bank Integrity Preservation Act would direct the U.S. Executive Director at the World Bank to vote against and use their best efforts to deny any project in a country that has reached the graduation threshold and is listed as a Tier 1 country or on the special watch list for religious freedom abuses under the International Religious Freedom Act.

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