Jan 10, 2020

Congress seeks answers from World Bank over hiring rules for Taiwan nationals

World Bank President David Malpass. Photo: Indraneel Chowdhury/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Congress asked the World Bank to clarify its hiring practices, following an Axios report in December that revealed the international financial institution told staff, contractors and consultants from Taiwan to present Chinese travel documents to maintain or pursue employment.

What's new: Bipartisan leadership on the Foreign Affairs Committees in both chambers sent a letter to World Bank President David Malpass on Jan. 7, citing concern that the rule could be considered "discrimination based on nationality," which would be inconsistent with the World Bank Group's Code of Conduct and Articles of Agreement.

  • Signatories included House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), along with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

Where it stands: The World Bank revised its rule to represent a compromise in December, stating it gives hiring preference to people from member states, but does not ban hiring those from non-member states.

  • Taiwan isn't a member state, but Taiwanese nationals have historically worked at the World Bank.
  • The new rule added that: "The Bank Group's recruitment policy is to hire staff of the highest caliber, on as wide a geographical basis as possible, with preference to nationals of WBG [World Bank Group] member countries or countries of operations."

Why it matters: Taiwan is self-governed, but China maintains the island is part of its sovereign territory. China has long sought to squeeze Taiwan from multilateral institutions, and Taiwanese people from the international community.

Read the letter:

Go deeper: China steps up political interference ahead of Taiwan's elections

Go deeper

China steps up political interference ahead of Taiwan's elections

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Taiwan's Jan. 11 presidential election approaches, the Chinese government is spreading disinformation and taking coercive political maneuvers aimed at convincing voters Taiwan is helpless without China.

Why it matters: China is meddling in the internal political affairs of numerous countries around the world. In Taiwan, China's multi-pronged campaign to sway voter behavior demonstrates Beijing's growing ability to challenge the foundations of democratic governance.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

Taiwan's president wins re-election in retort to Chinese efforts

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen smiles as she leaves after casting her vote in the presidential election on January 11, 2020 in Taipei, Taiwan. Photo: Carl Court / Staff/Getty Images

Taiwanese voters re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen in the general election on Saturday, as opposition leader Han Kuo-yu conceded defeat and offered his congratulations, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters per Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: After offering voters a stark choice between a democracy with her or dictatorship with China, Tsai has won re-election in a stunning retort to Beijing — she received more votes than any candidate in Taiwan’s democratic history.

Go deeperArrowJan 11, 2020

Rep. Jim Jordan named House Judiciary ranking member

Reps. Jim Jordan and Doug Collins. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The House Republican Steering Committee has named Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as new ranking member of the House Judiciary Chairman, as Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) steps down from the position to challenge Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) for her Georgia Senate seat, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Jordan is among President Trump's closest allies in Congress, serving as a member of his impeachment defense team during his recent Senate trial. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), another loyal Trump ally, is likely to take over Jordan's position as ranking member of the House Oversight Committee.