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China Attacks World Bank

September 25, 2000

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) _ China lashed out at the World Bank on Monday, accusing the big international lender of improperly interfering in the domestic politics of some members.

``The bank should not involve itself in any political affairs,″ Finance Minister Xiang Huaicheng told a panel ahead of the IMF and World Bank meetings that formally open Tuesday.

China is the World Bank’s biggest borrower but says bank officials sometimes bow to pressure from some members, and Xiang said this must stop.

Xiang pointed to China’s Western Poverty Reduction Project as being caught in the political cross fire.

World Bank directors in July rejected a $40 million loan that would have resettled 58,000 farmers on traditionally Tibetan land _ overruling an earlier recommendation by World Bank staffers.

Beijing has accused Washington and Tokyo of applying pressure in that case.

``The bank must not make concessions to political pressures from some members,″ Xiang said. ``Instead it must stand firm against politicization and maintain its political neutrality.″

The Chinese minister also griped that the cost of doing business with the World Bank is going up.

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