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Quality of life key to Xinjiang unity

Xinhua, May 6, 2014 Adjust font size:

How should we address the social problems that have left China's far western region of Xinjiang vulnerable to terror threats and ethnic tension?

Improving the quality of living for all ethnic groups through balanced development might well be the answer. Promoting social and economic development is essential for defusing social conflicts, thereby ensuring ethnic unity and lasting stability in Xinjiang.

During his latest trip to Xinjiang, President Xi Jinping called development "the key" to all issues in the region, saying development should benefit the people, the local area and ethnic unity.

He ordered efforts to ensure a better life for residents who must "have jobs to do, money to earn and a promising future to enjoy."

The central government unveiled unprecedented aid packages to Xinjiang in 2010, aiming for the region's per capita GDP to catch up with the national average in 2015 and fulfill the national goal of a "moderately prosperous society" by 2020. Great strides have been made in Xinjiang in the fields of infrastructure, environment, poverty relief, employment and education since then.

The region has recorded double-digit economic growth in recent years. More than 1.7 million welfare houses have been built for urban and rural residents as well as herdsmen, benefiting about a quarter of the region's 22.6 million people. Most residents are now covered by government medical insurance programs.

Despite the achievements, Xinjiang, which accounts for one-sixth of China's territory, still lags behind economically and has problems of imbalance in wealth and development, exacerbated in mixed ethnic areas.

Xinjiang could profit its geographical, cultural and resource advantages in the course of China's latest round of opening up to the west and the proposed Silk Road Economic Belt.

Creating jobs for ethnic minorities is vital to stability because securing income through employment is crucial to lifting poor families out of poverty. With the support of the central government and affluent provincial regions, 150 key projects are expected to be carried out in Xinjiang this year.

It is important for the government to seek the opinions of local people and attend to their most urgent needs, taking into consideration the real situation in the region to bring tangible benefits to the general public.

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