Supporters Protest World Bank Resettlement Project; Poverty Reduction Scheme Opposed
by Thousands as International Campaign for Tibet Launches Online Petition
- June 3 - Pressure is mounting for the World Bank to withdraw its support of
a controversial poverty reduction scheme in a Tibetan area of Western China. The
Western Poverty Reduction Project would be funded by $160 million from the World
Bank and the International Development Association; it aims to resettle 57,800
Chinese and Chinese Muslims into Tsonub Tibetan and Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture.
In response, a coalition of Tibet support groups, human rights groups, cultural
groups, and researchers have deluged World Bank President James Wolfensohn with
faxes, e-mails, calls, and letters expressing disdain for the ill-conceived and
environmentally unsound project.
Tibet supporters are also contacting the 24 Executive Directors of the World Bank
before their June 24 vote on the project. The International Campaign for Tibet's
award-winning website has launched a World Bank Action Center accessible from
The site offers background on the project and the opportunity to contact the World
Bank to protest this project. Media coverage is linked as the debate continues
The influx of Chinese on the Tibetan Plateau further carries out China's effort
to dilute Tibetan culture by threatening to reduce the Tibetan population of Tulan
County from 22% to 14%. Such a reduction could call into question the autonomous
standing of Tibetans in the region.
The Dalai Lama, whose Government in Exile called last week for the abandonment
of the project, maintains that population transfer is the greatest threat to the
survival of Tibetan culture.
"From Indonesia to Brazil, projects funding transmigration of the ethnic majority
onto the lands of ethnic minorities are littered with failure. It would be a travesty
if the World Bank funded another such project," said John Ackerly, President of
the International Campaign for Tibet.
The project has generated considerable controversy within the World Bank, and
China is reported to have threatened some form of retaliation if the project is
not approved. Both the Financial Times and the New York Times have reported on
the controversial nature of the resettlement project.
The International Campaign for Tibet monitors and promotes internationally recognized
human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet. Founded in 1988,
ICT is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in Washington, D.C.
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