China International Financial Institutions
Report February 16, 2022

Financing & genocide: Development finance and the crisis in the Uyghur Region

By Laura T. Murphy, Kendyl Salcito, Nyrola Elimä

A joint investigation by the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University and NomoGaia, published in coordination with the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab, reveals how the World Bank’s private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has several significant investments in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where indigenous peoples have been subjected to what international legislators, legal scholars, and advocates have determined to be a genocide.

Significant evidence suggests that several of IFC’s clients are active participants in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression against the Uyghurs, including through forced labor, forced displacement, cultural erasure, and environmental destruction. IFC’s failure to adequately safeguard communities and the environment affected by its financing in the Uyghur Region makes the institution complicit in the repression of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other minoritized citizens.

Using Chinese state media and propaganda, satellite imagery of IFC’s client operations, IFC project documentation, public reports, and corporate disclosures, this report presents credible evidence that IFC financing is contributing to companies committing gross human rights abuses against Uyghur peoples in the region and makes evidence-based recommendations to IFC and other parties.


Laura T. Murphy
Professor of Human Rights and Contemporary Slavery
Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University

Kendyl Salcito
Executive Director

Nyrola Elimä
Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news, documenting human rights abuses, and building digital resilience worldwide.