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China slams U.S. over World Bank loan

World Tibet Network News
June 24, 1999


BEIJING, June 24, 1999- China slammed the United States on Thursday for opposing a controversial $160 million World Bank loan that would help resettle impoverished Chinese farmers in an area inhabited by ethnic Tibetans. “We demand the U.S. side change its opposition to the World Bank loan and stop using the Tibetan issue to interfere in China’s
internal affairs,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told reporters. The World Bank postponed for two days until Thursday a debate whether to approve the loan, which would finance the resettlement of 58,000 poor Chinese farmers from fallow hills in
Qinghai province to sparsely populated fertile lands in the province. Tibetan activists and other opponents of the project said it would dilute Tibetan culture and influence in the area and open the door to future exploitation of resources by ethnic Chinese. World Bank
officials and Chinese leaders say people of all ethnic backgrounds would benefit from new schools, medical facilities and irrigation systems made possible by the loans. Tibetans regard Qinghai part of their historic territory. The province is the birthplace of the Dalai
Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader. U.S. opposition to the World Bank loan for China was an attempt to “sabotage ethnic unity,” Zhang said, referring to relations between ethnic Chinese and Tibetans. Washington, the bank’s largest shareholder, said on Tuesday it planned to vote against the project.

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