China slams Canadian allegations against AIIB as 'outright lies'
Canada announces that it has halted ties with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank until investigations into the allegations are completed.
China slammed on Monday allegations that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is under the influence of Beijing after a former executive claimed it was "dominated by the Communist Party."
"Based on my understanding, the AIIB abides by the principles of openness, meritocracy and transparency in employee hiring and management," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters, responding to remarks made by the bank’s former global communications director who resigned earlier this week.
“As a patriotic Canadian, this was my only course. The bank is dominated by Communist party members and also has one of the most toxic cultures imaginable. I don’t believe that my country’s interests are served by its AIIB membership,” Bob Pickard said on his Twitter account.
China’s Embassy in Canada denounced the accusations and described his allegations as "baseless and disappointing."
“The individual’s remarks are outright lies meant to sensationalize,” the Embassy said in a statement.
“China, as a valued member of the AIIB, consistently adheres to multilateral regulations and protocols."
I have tendered my resignation as the global comms chief of @AIIB_Official. As a patriotic Canadian, this was my only course. The Bank is dominated by Communist Party members and also has one of the most toxic cultures imaginable. I don’t believe that my country’s interests are…— Bob Pickard (@BobPickard) June 14, 2023
Following Pickard's statements, Canada's Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on Wednesday that the North American country opened a probe into the claims and will freeze its ties with the bank until the end of the investigations.
"The Government of Canada will immediately halt all government-led activity at the bank. And I have instructed the Department of Finance to lead an immediate review of the allegations raised and of Canada's involvement in the AIIB," Freeland said in a press briefing.
"The review I am announcing today is to be undertaken expeditiously. And I am not ruling out any outcome following its completion," she added.
According to Wang, "Since its establishment more than seven years ago, the AIIB has adhered to international, normative and high-standard operations with the joint efforts of all members."
"A series of important achievements have been made in institutional building, strategic policies and investment work, which have been widely recognised by the international community," he said, noting that the bank currently employs personnel from 65 countries and economies.
The former communication chief told AFP that he "hastily" left China for Japan immediately over alleged safety concerns.
"I left in such haste many of my belongings and even my wallet were left behind."
Pickard further claimed that AIIB resources are being used by Beijing to extend its geopolitical agendas and goals.
"In practice, I believe it serves China's interest," he told AFP from Tokyo.
"These are not disconnected ventures, the Belt and Road initiative and the AIIB... these are similar kinds of countries that China has been trying to cultivate politically."
The bank, which includes 106 members, including Canada, Germany, France, and Australia, was launched in 2016 by Xi as an initiative to increase financial and trade cooperation between its participants, which also covers economic investments in different regions of the world - which prompted the United States to refuse to join the international collaboration project.
Commenting on Canada's decision to halt cooperation with the bank, Pickard expressed that he was "happy that my country's government is taking seriously the issue of lack of transparency and undue CCP influence over what is supposed to be a multilateral organisation."
"I believe that the Canadian government will find that ultimately, the interests of this bank do not coincide with the interest of our country," he added.
"Why is Canada participating in an organisation that at the end of the day, makes China more powerful?"