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Statement December 11, 2019

Stating the Facts: Xinjiang TVET Project

As an institution focused on ending poverty, the World Bank Group knows that inclusive societies are key to sustainable development, and we oppose discrimination. We promote equal access to opportunities, including education and training, so that everyone can seek to realize his or her full potential. We are fully committed to the integrity of our projects. We respond immediately when issues are raised.

Immediately after receiving a series of serious allegations in August 2019 in connection with the Xinjiang Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project, the Bank launched a fact-finding review, and World Bank senior managers traveled to Xinjiang to gather information directly. Since receiving the allegations, no disbursements have been made on the project

Fact: The project did not finance facial-recognition technology or surveillance equipment.

  • The technology and other equipment in the June 25, 2017 Procurement Plan was originally requested by the Project Management Office as part of security equipment for the project schools.
  • The tender for the equipment in question was cancelled by the authorities on October 16, 2017, prior to the deadline for bid submission.
  • Consequently, the contract was eliminated from the procurement plan.
  • Contrary to social media claims, the equipment was not purchased using Bank financing or project counterpart funds and was not part of the project.

Fact: All procurement plans submitted after June 2017 were disclosed in English and Chinese and contained no reference to surveillance technology.

  • At the time the procurement plan and procurement document in question were submitted by the Government, a previous procurement policy framework was in place which did not require such documents to be translated into English.
  • Publication in English of procurement plans for China is now consistently enforced through the Bank’s online procurement planning and tracking system. All subsequent procurement plans for this project are published in English.

Fact: The World Bank review examined 100% of contracts financed under the project.

  • The procurement and financial management reviews covered the period from the beginning of the project until July 31, 2019.
  • The mission reviewed all 105 procurement contracts under the project, covering goods, works and consulting services funded both from Bank and project counterpart funds and carried out on-site inspections of a sample of goods and works delivered
  • The review confirmed that the project funds were not used for the purchase of unauthorized equipment.

Contacts

David Theis
(202) 458-8626
dtheis@worldbankgroup.org
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