Region achieved major growth goals since 2010: expert
The central government's support to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the last 20 years has played a vital role in the region's stability and development, a top political advisor said Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the sixth conference on the work of supporting Xinjiang concluded in Kashgar, in southern Xinjiang.
After two decades of investment and economy-focused assistance, experts said that future support to Xinjiang should focus on education and human resources to increase the region's self-development ability.
In order to boost the development of Xinjiang, given its remoteness and poor industrial base, China began to pair provinces and municipalities with regions and cities in Xinjiang 20 years ago.
The work to support Xinjiang in the past two decades, especially after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, has been more clearly aimed, positioned and better implemented, said Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
The first central work meeting on Xinjiang was held in 2010.
Before the first meeting, the central government had set up a mechanism under which 19 provinces or major cities, including the prosperous cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangdong Province, provide financial and technological support to Xinjiang.
Turgunjan Tursun, a professor at Zhejiang Normal University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that Xinjiang has achieved its major development goals since 2010 after the first meeting.
Narrowing the gap
The Beijing municipal government has planned to invest a new round of 827 million yuan (1.6 million) for 26 projects in Hotan, news portal ts.cn reported Tuesday.
Beijing first sent a group of officials to Hotan prefecture in 1997. Now, the municipality supports one city and three counties in the prefecture, covering 70 percent of the population, as well as the 14th division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, according to Banyue Tan (Bimonthly Talks), a journal published by the Xinhua News Agency.
The total amount of investment from Beijing to Xinjiang in education since 2012 has reached 3.4 billion yuan, which was used to build or expand 130 kindergartens, 85 primary and middle schools and train 10,440 Xinjiang teachers.
Beijing also invested another 873 million yuan during the same period to build and transform seven local hospitals and reconstruct the heating facilities of more than 30 township-level health centers.
"The central government has motivated the whole country to support Xinjiang," Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies at Beijing's Minzu University of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The projects helped narrow the gap between Xinjiang and the eastern part of China, and this shows national unity, and will help sustain national stability, Xiong said.
In the past three years, East China's Zhejiang Province has invested in 52 projects in Xinjiang, attracting investments valued at 10.2 billion yuan to these projects and helped 12,000 local residents find jobs, the Xinjiang Daily reported.
Zhejiang planned to invest 10 billion yuan in Xinjiang during China's 13th Five-Year Plan period and help 100,000 locals find employment, the report said.
Villager Abudusaitaer Sadier from Yengisar county, Kashgar, runs a greenhouse through which she can make 25,000 yuan per year. The greenhouse was built as part of an assistance project donated by East China's Shandong Province.
"Now I live better and better and can help others get better off," she said.
Ehmed from Markit county, Kashgar, works in a modern agriculture garden built with the help of Shandong. He said he earns 2,000 yuan per month.
The garden employs more than 300 local villagers, including Ehmed, and their average annual net income increased from 5,000 yuan in 2010 to 8,000 yuan in 2016.
Xiong said that the central government's support to Xinjiang, as well as its support to Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, is a vital part of the country's ethnic policy.
The government has taken full account of their geographical environment, cultures and needs such as infrastructure, Xiong said.
"In the future, it should focus on how to improve the region's soft power," said Tursun.
Although more than 50 million tourists visited Xinjiang last year, the region's tourism industry is still poorly managed compared with other provinces like Yunnan.
Education is the essence and talent is the key to turn the region's cultural and agricultural advantages into industrial advantages, Tursun noted.