May 24, 2011
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has frozen "payments of grants to China worth hundreds of millions of dollars over suspected misuse of the money and the government's reluctance to involve community groups in the projects," the Associated Press reports (5/24). "We have identified weaknesses in the quality of the implementation of the finances in China," Andrew Hurst, a spokesperson for the Global Fund explained, Agence France-Presse reports (5/23).
Jon Liden, a Global Fund spokesperson, "said China agreed Friday to a number of stipulations on how money would be used and monitored," the New York Times reports, adding that "sources familiar with the negotiations said China pledged to the Global Fund that it would repay any funds that were misspent." According to the newspaper, there are "growing questions over whether China [as a middle-income country] should be allowed to benefit from the fund's largesse," but "fund officials insist the controversy over eligibility criteria had no bearing on the fund's decision to hold up payments" (LaFraniere/Ansfield, 5/20). The AP reports that the Global Fund "has asked the government to respond to its concerns by an initial deadline of June 7," according to Liden (5/24).