Britain urged to freeze ties with AIIB: China’s response to World Bank
Britain’s representative on the bank’s board is Sir Danny Alexander, former chief secretary to the Treasury.
The Government is being “played for a fool” and must freeze ties with Beijing’s response to the World Bank, according to a senior official who left the organization over accusations it was controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Bob Pickard recently resigned as head of communications at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which British taxpayers fund £2.5bn, claiming it was “dominated” by Party apparatchiks.
The Beijing-based lender finances projects in developing countries, many of them allies of China.
But the Government’s links with the AIIB have become increasingly controversial as fears grow over Beijing’s expansionist policies, its involvement in key UK industries such as telecommunications and nuclear and, lately, concerns over the ‘Chinese spies’ in Westminster.
The UK’s involvement in the AIIB dates back to David Cameron’s coalition between 2010 and 2015, which wanted to curry favor with the Chinese as potentially lucrative trading partners.
The British representative on the bank’s board is Sir Danny Alexander, former chief secretary to the Treasury during the Cameron government.
Pickard, who is Canadian, told The Mail on Sunday that the UK’s membership of the AIIB “makes China look good” but the West “shouldn’t accept that”.
AIIB employees like Alexander, he added, were “luxurious expatriates in highly paid positions” who enjoyed “a good life” but were only there to lend credibility to the bank and act as “window dressing.”
“The bank uses them for propaganda purposes of the Chinese Communist Party,” he added.
‘They’ve co-opted a lot of useful idiots. We have to open our eyes to this reality. They are taking us for fools.
Canada has suspended its membership in the AIIB while it investigates Pickard’s claims. Asked if the UK should do the same, Pickard said: “Everyone has to look in the mirror, connect the dots and decide for themselves.”
The AIIB has more than 100 member countries – including Russia – and is led by Jin Liqun, a former member of the Communist Red Guard.
Western nations, including the United States and Japan, have refused to join the bank, which counts China as its largest shareholder.
Last night, Lord Alton of Liverpool, a peer of the bank that has been banned from China, called on Britain to review its membership of the bank.
He said: ‘It is reprehensible to oil the wheels of organizations linked to this totalitarian regime and line their pockets with UK taxpayers’ money. The AIIB is basically a state-linked bank that finances projects that promote the interests of the Chinese Communist Party.’
A recent report by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee concluded that it was “possible” that Alexander’s appointment to the AIIB board – and Cameron’s role in a £1 billion China-UK investment fund – “ “were in part designed by the Chinese state to lend credibility to Chinese investment, as well as to the Chinese brand in general.”
One of the AIIB-funded projects involves a company with ties to alleged abuses against Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.
A Treasury spokesman said the AIIB’s internal review found Pickard’s allegations were “unfounded.” “We will continue to work with the AIIB and its partners to support strong governance and processes at the AIIB,” he added.
The AIIB and Alexander were contacted for comment.